Early this year, the folks who hang out over on the SFFWorld.com forum started a micro-fiction contest.

I know, I know. Micro-fiction? What the heck is that?

Well, according to the internet, it is very short fiction. If you thought flash fiction was short (usually 1000 words or so), try micro-fiction.

For the SFFWorld.com forum contests, we’ve defined micro-fiction at 100 words or less.

Yup, that’s it. 100 words. This post is three times as long (without counting my examples below).

No, it’s not poetry, or poetry prose, but it might be poetic. Essentially, you just write a really short story.

So, what’s micro-fiction all about?

That’s a good question. In this age of multi-tasking, I guess micro-fiction fills some instant story-itch. Really, I don’t have a clue. I suppose it is something for writers to do while they are procrastinating on writing their novels.

Is it even worth your time to read (or write)?

I guess that depends on whether you are having fun with it. If you like reading and/or writing micro-fiction, then it is not wasting time! It’s entertainment. And, you just might learn something. However, like any fiction, whether you get any value out of it depends on the story.

I’ve read some very clever tales told in fewer words than I take to order breakfast, but I do find that writing a story on such restrictions hurts my head. It’s just so hard. How do I fit a beginning, middle, and end? What details do I include? What if I want to evoke a mood? It definitely teaches one to economize and go for the throat as soon as possible.

Here are a few (terrible) examples of my own attempts at micro-fiction.

Behemoth from the Abyss (91 words)

We stood below the stunned creature, staring at what looked like its mouth. A tentacle the size of a redwood slipped from the NASA-designed grappling hooks, crushing the military semi-truck parked beneath it.

“Oh, dear,” I said. “I hope no one was in that.”

The lead scientist grunted. Her assistant gave me a look that said I should shut up, and the physicist said, “Maybe we should move.”

Why there was a physicist on the deep-sea live-specimen retrieval team, I never did find out. But we should have listened to him.

Dayto (94 words)

“Mom!” Janh said.

He had on white shorts, no shirt. The Vietnam morning sun glistened his tanned torso with youthful sweat.

“It’s not working again,” he added, giving their house-robot a swift kick.

“Turn it off,” his mother called from the interior of their stilt home. “Then back on.”

Muttering under his breath that he had tried that already, Janh followed his mother’s instructions.

Upon reboot, the house-robot blinked, and then a pre-programmed innocent smile spread across its face.

But by then, it was all over. Model Dayto-34J7 had broken free of its code.

Not exactly poetry, but those are my two attempts.

Would you like to read more? Or maybe try your hand at it? Join the fun over on SFFWorld.com and share your (100 words or less) story.

Enjoy the weekend,

N. E. White


5 thoughts on “Micro-fiction

  1. Thanks for introducing me to micro-fiction, Nila. I’d never heard of it, but I really enjoyed your two stories (and stories they were, which is impressive given the restrictions)!

    1. Oh, thanks for the compliment, Phillip! I wouldn’t normally go for writing micro-fiction, but it seemed so easy. Only 100 words, I should be able to crank that out in five seconds, right? It is not so easy. I really want to get back to my other projects, though. Lately, however, it seems I only have time for these uber-shorts. I’m hoping life will settled down over the holidays and I’ll crank out the next great American fantasy novel. 😉

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