The Micro Form

I’ve been playing with micro fiction.  I’m really taken with the idea of trying to fit the whole story arc of introduction, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution into just fifty words.  We had our writer’s group last night and I wrote another based on the prompt I chose.  (Mine seem to read better on the paper than being spoken out loud.  At least, that’s my opinion.)

For the one I wrote last night, I had the image in my head of watching the snow fall at night through the lamplight out on the street.  Then I remembered what it was like to be in a car, driving along, and then be gently sliding slowly around to rest, looking back the way I’d come.  It turned into this –

Snow lazily drifts through the lamplight, twinkling.  A car glides silently down the deserted street. It’s forward momentum diverted, it spins gracefully around in place.  It comes to rest, as gently as the falling snow, facing back the way it came.  The car turns round and continues on its way.

My fascination began about a week ago when I was rocking my child in the middle of the night.  I had been working on an essay about the night a tornado hit our house.  I wondered, if so much happened during such a short period of time, could I turn it around and pack all of that into just a few words?  I came up with this –

Snatch baby up and run.  A roar – house lurches.  Through the kitchen door, down the cellar steps into an old coal bin.  Baby cries.  “Shhh… mama’s gotcha.”  Lightning flashes, water pours in the corner, subsides.  Venture upstairs.  Smoke?  No, plaster dust.  Grab car seat, purse and cell.  “Something’s happened.”  “I’m on my way.”

Of course, I realized the next day that it isn’t technically fiction, more like a flash essay.  I tried again and came up with this one – a little homage to Porgy and Bess

C. and F. met in the sweet Summertime.  They were young and sharp.  They fell in love, hearts soaring with the score.  But like notes in a syncopated jazz song, they were never quite in step.  At the end of the song, their love fell flat.

I highly recommend playing with the micro form.  It’s fun and may just inspire you to look at your writing a little differently.

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