2K to 10K 31 Plays in 31 Days 750 Words A Newbie's Guide to Publishing a room of one's own Aaron Sorkin Adam Lauver Aimee Mann Alden Jones Alexander Masters All Things Considered alphabetical order amazing Amazon Ang Lee Angels in America animation Ann Patchett Ann Voss Peterson Anne Lamott Anne R. Allen AOL Instant Messenger Apartment Therapy audio drama Austin Kleon author pages avalanche thinking baby bump Barnes & Noble basement cat Belgariad benonsensical Big Fish Bill Watterson Bird by Bird Blake Snyder blogging book porn books Books-a-Million Boston Boston Playwrights' Theatre Boston Theater Marathon Brain Pickings brainstorming Brandon Sanderson brevity Bridge Rep of Boston Buffy the Vampire Slayer BuzzFeed C.J. Redwine C.S. Lewis caffeine Calvin and Hobbes Carlo Gébler cat Catherine Lacey cats Charlie Jane Anders Cheryl Strayed Chris Baty Chuck Wendig clichés coffee collaborative writing Colson Whitehead comedy conflict copyeditor Corpse Bride Cracked.com Craig Fehrman Craig Mazin creative autobiography creative nonfiction creativity Curious George Cynthia Herron Daily Kick in the Pants Dante Alighieri David Daniel David Eddings David Farland David McRaney David Ogilvy David Rakoff day jobs Dean Wesley Smith Dear Sugar Deborah Martin delayed gratification depression description dialogue discipline divorce Dogma Dragon Age: Origins Dragonlance dreams Dungeons & Dragons East of Eden Eat Pray Love Edward Kelsey Moore Elise Capron Elmore Leonard Emerson College Emily Kaye Lazzaro endings epic Ernest Hemingway escalation ESP Esquire magazine extroverts F. Scott Fitzgerald Facebook fanfic Fangs and Clause fantasy Father's Day fear fear of the basement fellowships fiction authors Fiction500 first lines first novel flash fiction formal writing Freedom freewriting full-length plays fun. Game of Thrones Gandalf genre fiction GIgantic Sequins Go God Going Viral Google graffiti Grant Snider greeting cards Half Empty Hallmark Harper Voyager HarperCollins Harry Potter homeless people Hovey Players Hovey Summer Shorts Festival Howard Gardner Hugh Howey Hurricane Island ICanLegoThat ice cream trucks IFTTT iice cream trucks imposter syndrome Incidental Comics Independent Clause internal conflicts interviews introverts io9 Ira Glass Irish Famine italics J.A. Konrath J.K. Rowling J.R.R. Tolkien James H. Duncan James Thurber Jan Reymond Jane Vandenburgh Janice Hardy jeffjlin.com Jen Doll Joanna Penn John August John Coffee John Scalzi John Steinbeck Joss Whedon jury duty Kamala Nair Karen Russell Kevin J. Anderson Kevin Smith keyhole effect kids Kimberly Ann Southwick Kindle Singles Kristine Kathryn Rusch Kurt Vonnegut L. Ron Hubbard Lake Superior State University Le Morte d'Arthur Legos Letters of Note Letters to a Young Poet LIC One Act Festival Lifehacker.com Lilo and Stitch List of Banished Words Lists of Note literary fiction literature Llyod Alexander Lord of the Rings Luke Skywalker magical fantasy world Maine man cave manuscript factory Marc Maron Margaret Weis Mark Twain Mass Effect mass effect 3 Massacre Lane Massacre Pond Maurice Sendak Megan Stielstra microfiction Microsoft Word middle school momentum Mona Simpson money Monica Byrne monologues music musical NaNoWriMo Nathan Bransford National Novel Writing Month Native Americans Neil Gaiman Never Check E-Mail in the Morning New York Times No Plot? No Problem! nonfiction Nora Roberts note to self NPR Old Testament Olivia D'Ambrosio On Writing online resources Open Culture Oprah organization outlines outlining Outward Bound overused phrases pacing page turners pantser paper routes paradigm paradigm shift parapsychology parenthood parenting passion perfectionism Pete Docter Peter Corea picture books Piers Anthony Pixar planning playwrighting playwriting plot plotter podcast poetry pomodoro technique premonitions procrastination productivity prolific prose poem psychology publishing myths race Rachel Aaron Rachel Scheller Rainer Maria Rilke Ray Bradbury real estate rejection relationships Republic of Brown research revision reward systems Richard Feynman Robert Heinlein Romainmôtier Roni Loren rough drafts running Ryan Casey Samuel Park Save the Cat! Scarborough scheduling schizophrenia science fiction Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America Scientology scrivener self-doubt self-publishing sequence Shadowrun Shakespeare shared sacrifice Sherwood Anderson shitty first drafts short films short plays short stories short-short stories singing single parent Sir Thomas Malory sketches smart phones smartphones Songs of Innocence and Experience soundtrack South Portland Spider-Man SPIN Magazine Starbucks steal like a writer Stephen King Stephen Marche stories submitting success! suicide Susan Sontag Tad Williams Tasslehoff Burrfoot teaching technology telekinesis ten-minute plays terribleminds thank you in advance The Atlantic Wire The Berenstain Bears The Boston Globe The Business Rusch The Chronicles of Narnia The Chronicles of Prydain The Creative Habit The Creative Penn The Divine Comedy The Formative Years The Game The Getaway Car The Girl in the Garden The Grinder The Interview The LIfe of Pi The Lighthouse The Manuscript Factory the new normal The New York Times The Old Reader The Other Side of the Story The Passive Voice The Rumpus Thelonious Monk thinking patterns This American Life Three-Minute Fiction time travel timed writing Tony Kushner Torch transcript Trinity College Tuesdays with Morrie Twitter Twyla Tharp undefined Vericon vignettes Virginia Woolf Voltron Wall Street Journal Whatever Where the WIld Things Are Wikipedia Wild William Blake William Shakespeare Winesburg Ohio Wool workaholic workflowy Working Writers world building Write or Die Writer... Interrupted writerly bedrooms writerly headspace writers writers block Writer's Digest Writer's Market writing writing early writing fast writing routines Written? Kitten! WTF Podcast You Are Not So Smart

Entries in microfiction (13)


Week Eighteen: Suicidal guy who comes to the brink and back, renewed purpose


Alright, so I wasn't going to post this one. One of the prompts for Microfiction Week was already about suicide. You're going to start to get the wrong idea about Freshman Me. 

But I am posting it for Week Eighteen, because it turns out to be the final prompt in the Freshman year box! After this, we are Sophomores. Expect the caliber of writing prompts to be either sophisticated or sophomoric. (Probably both, but moreso the latter.)

For this week, it does not have to be a guy. He or she does not even need to be suicidal. How about there is a difficult decision of some kind, some angst or discord about it, and a decision that shows change of some kind.

300 words! Sunday! Midnight!


Week Thirteen: Beautified!

Week Thirteen's completed challenge can be found here!

Is it a prose poem? Microfiction? Creative nonfiction? Good? Bad? Odious? Cathartic? Awkward? Empathetic? Self-centered? Big-hearted?

It is for you to decide. 

Reflections tomorrow, followed by Week Fourteen!


Week Twelve: Burned!

Week Twelve's completed challenge can be found here!

Is it a poem? Microfiction? It's short, that's for sure. But I think it says everything I wanted to.

Reflections tomorrow, followed by Week Thirteen on Friday!


Reflections on Week Ten

[Read the completed story here!]

This one was shockingly not at all difficult for me. Is it that Microfiction Week detonated all my blocks and barriers, or did Dean Wesley Smith's advice inspire me to better discipline, or both? Whatever the case, I seem to have a much easier time with nonfiction than I do with fiction. Writing Week Five's story (once I knew what to write) was also a great experience. 

I drafted this a bit differently than the others: probably for the first time ever, I put no pressure on myself for this thing to make sense. In my half-hour each morning I would just try to capture a few moments or feelings I remember having during my year as an adjunct college professor. These little scenes were in no order whatsoever, and I didn't have any idea how each of them (or any) would fit into a larger narrative. (In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott advises trying to describe only what you could see in a one-inch by one-inch picture frame. Without realizing this at the time, it's pretty much what I was doing here.)

Once I had over 2,000 words, I printed it off and cut each vignette into a separate strip of paper. Then I launched a hostile takeover of the kitchen table, as can be seen below:

[Yesthose scissors are pink.]

I know I've read a few times that this is a great way to revise a story, but of course I've always been too much of a procrastinating perfectionist control freak to actually give it a try. I'm glad I didI was pretty easily able to group the slips by chronological sequence and emotional throughline. Several of them didn't fit anywhere, and that too was quickly apparent. And some others were created in revision to bridge gaps. 

I'm pretty happy with the end result, but kind of sad that I had to stop. I didn't touch at all on all the plagiarism (unintentionial and the other kind) I encountered, or the challenge of teaching non-native English speakers something I barely understood myself. At some point down the road, once I have some distance, I'll probably revisit this piece and expand it, maybe even submit it somewhere. 

Anyway, give it a read and tell me what you think!


Reflections on Week Nine

[Read the completed stories here!]

That was the most fun I've had with one of these yet. It was also the most organized I've beenprompts were scheduled to be posted in advance (you don't really think I was up at 4am do you?) and I had already completed each challenge a day or two before they were due. This gave me time to revise if needed. 

Also, because the goal was truly just to burn through these truly awful "ideas," I was able to relax and experiment a bit more than usual. 

And, folks, we didn't even get through all of them. I mean, these prompts are all terrible to some extentI was learning, okay?!but many more are, well, like Wednesday's

We'll have to do another microfiction week soon. Perhaps real soon!

Week Ten will be posted next Tuesday, as I am on vacation until then. You will just have to wait. I know, I know. And I am sorry. 

Okay, I'm vacation sorry. It's an insincere sort of regret. That's the best I can do for you.

See you soon!



Week Nine, Friday

...'Cause, like, sex? And... har har? You know?

You know.

The completed story can be found here!


Week Nine, Thursday

Ah, another double entendre, à la Tuesday's prompt. (My French is really coming along, don't you think?)

There's a lot going on here, so let's take a moment to deconstruct this a little.

You see, sometimes, a person can see past all your layers and defenses and know immediately what you're about. We call this "seeing through" someone.

But sometimes, sometimes, a person can look at you and see nothing. As if you were not even there. And that's called "looking through" someone.

"Seeing" and "looking" are synonyms, and yet, in this context, they could not be expressing something more different. Let's... hoo boy. Let's just let this settle in. Wow, you know?

The completed story can be found here!


Week Nine, Wednesday

Ha ha ha ohhhh dear sweet melodramatic Freshman me. I have so many questions for you.

How does one even measure poetic force? (What's the SI unit on that?)

Does a faucet, dripping or otherwise, contain any poetic force at all?

Are you just very passionate about not wasting water?

Whatever's going on, I'm not sure it's that you're tired. Shhh. C'mon buddy. It's okay. You can talk to me.

The completed story can be found here


Week Nine, Tuesday

Yep. Is this train inbound... or sinbound?

I can't remember if someone had actually graffitied an "S" onto an INBOUND sign or if this was ingenuousness of my own imagining.

I do remember that I thought this was just intensely clever. So much potential here. Can't you see it?



The completed story can be found here!


Week Nine, Monday

Cheery, huh?

Look, most neophype scribes go through a "suicide = profound" phase. It doesn't mean every writer is depressed. We're just inward-looking people who have to work out some stuff, clear our collective throats if you will, before we can start working on things that are not, well, this.

And anyway, the subject matter doesn't necessarily make a story clichéd. It's what you do with it. So there.

The completed story can be found here!