Don't Think, Just Write

A Man's Journey

Short Short Fiction

I don’t read many magazines from month to month, and when I do, I’m usually disappointed by the lack of interesting content. But this month’s Esquire Magazine has a ton of good stuff.  There are a couple short stories, one from Steven King and his son, there are a bunch of articles on fatherhood, always a fun subject, and a full-page on how to serve the perfect shot, “But only once in any given night. It’s the repetition that makes the asshole.”  Advice I’ll try to live by from now on. But my favorite part was a bunch of 79 word short stories penned by some noted writers. They’re quick reads with no room for wasted words or narrative. Get in, get out. I like that.

They’re also having a Short Short Fiction contest which got me thinking about what it would take to write a 79 word short short story. One thing I was certain of, there has to be a lot left to the imagination of the reader.

So this morning I decided to write a few and see if I could get the hang of it.  I don’t know if I’ll submit.  If I do it will have to be better than the three I wrote today, but I’m sharing them regardless.  Let me know what you think.

Co-worker

The stark light of the elevator sobered her thoughts, then took her home to the seven years of trust. He held her hand and led her to his room. Seven years. The tiny light on the door lock flashed green. She paused. Seven years. Her hand moved to his face, lean, unshaven, and handsome. Strikingly different from home. Lips now less than one inch apart. Seven years. “I’ll see you in the morning,” she whispered.

26.2

His body glided between runners climbing the Verrazano Bridge, full of energy and anticipation. A race against himself. In the distance he could see the buildings and bustle of Manhattan, the goal. In Brooklyn, cramps attempted to doom his stride, but he pressed on. Through diverse neighborhoods, the grim projects of The Bronx  The tall buildings and screaming crowds of Manhattan promised the end of his pain. He finished the race, beat his best, but the city broke its promise.

Court Appointed

The silence of his cell was interrupted by the clicking of heels on concrete. He raised his face from his hands to the accusing glare of a guard. Behind him, a woman. In a past life, a free life, he knew her, or used to know her, but only for a night.  The guards stepped away, leaving them alone to confer. She looked him in the eye. “I didn’t kill her.” He’d grown accustomed to the accusing glare.

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12 thoughts on “Short Short Fiction

  1. Great post, Kenny. You know, I’m going to have to try to write a short short. As if I don’t already have a lot going on. Thanks a lot! Lol! I liked your short shorts. That sounds really funny. I would like to see you in short shorts 😉
    I’ll try again. I really liked your short stories. Will you leave them, or expand on them? I see potential in all of them. Keep it up!!

  2. What a cool concept! Love how much you crammed into each one and I get what you’re saying about becoming efficient with every single word. I agree with Lucy, kind of addictive and makes me want to take a crack at it. Maybe later, got too much going on with the novel and blog. But will keep in mind for the fall. Very good work, Kenny. Look forward to more blogs from you!

  3. I can’t describe how much I enjoyed them. I’m throwing in some constructive criticism, so bare with me. I liked the first one the most, out of the three. I think primarily because the description allowed my mind to picture the whole scene (the tiny light on the door for me represented a hotel room; I may be wrong, but that’s what the description stood for). The repetition of “seven years” had an impact on the story line. The very short sentence structure was particularly effective. Before reading each sentence twice to grasp the mood and concept, it gets you to re-think about who she’s with, is it the man of 7 years or her lover. Loved it. 26.2 gets better on a second read, and I thought it was really well written. I also liked the title, as some may not know what it stands for. I really enjoyed how in 79 words you took the reader from Brooklyn, to the Bronx, to Manhatten. What threw me a little off, however, was the last line ‘but the city broke its promise’. I read the piece several times and then I understood it, but initially it didn’t seem like it fit in. I don’t have much commentary for ‘Court Appointed’. For me I found it as the least effective, out of the three, in having me draw out a story that extends beyond one single description. Co-worker and 26.2 mapped out a tale. Court Appointed went back to the ‘glare’ that the main character got used to, but I don’t think that was the main intention of the text.

    Great concept you’re applying Ken… creative 🙂

    • Thank you very much for your comments and critizism, Reem. These are the type of comments I was hoping for when I started this blog and put my writing out for all to read. I want to know what work and what doesen’t. What makes sense and what misses it’s intent. Your comments did just that, they let me know what you liked and what you didn’t, and you were specific. Thank you for that.

      In the second piece, the Co-Worker, the green light on the door was meant to signify, go ahead, do it. It did let everyone know that the story was taking place in a hotel but I wanted it to be decision time for her. The green light of the door said, ‘Go’ but her thoughts of 7 years of trust at home said stop. I should have crafted it differently to bring that meaning out.

      Thanks again for all your comments. I appreciate them more than I can express here.

      • Well I think the beauty of these short pieces lies in the fact that you can have a person visualize a scenario and interpret the text in their own way. Reading it again, now that I know the symbolism behind the green, I see it. Initially, the green light flashing allowed me to picture a hotel room; to feel the moment; to actually wear the character’s shoes. It’s a great piece . Really. I felt like I was experiencing her thoughts, feeling the intensity of the situation, and feeling the weight of the risk involved (the emphasis of 7 years, trust, and home all bring that out). I think the crafting was perfect in this piece.

  4. Lilly on said:

    Great micro stories! I like the first one the best. Romance, cheating, angst…it has a lot of emotional impact. I like the last one, too, but as I read it again, can I give you one suggestion? I’d switch the order of the last 2 lines, making the dialogue the last line. I think the ending would have more impact that way. 🙂

    • I see exactly what you mean and you’re so right, Lilly. Swapping the last two lines would make the one piece of dialog impactful at the end. You’re so damn smart. Have I told you that before?

      Thanks for commenting. As I said before, I need the critiques and critizism.

    • Thanks for the feedback Lilly. And for stopping by. I like the change you suggested. That’s why I started this blog, for feedback just like yours.

      Thanks again.

  5. I love these – the first one especially is a lot like prose poetry. I’m happy to now be a regular reader of your blog!

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