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Writing 101: Be Brief

You discover a letter on a path that affects you deeply. Today, write about this encounter. And your twist? Be as succinct as possible.

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You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.

Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.

None of us will ever know the whole story in other words. We can only collect a bag full of shards that each seem perfect.

— From 100 Word Story‘s About page

Brevity is the goal of this task, although “brief” can mean five words or five-hundred words. You might write a fifty-word story, as writer Vincent Mars publishes on his blog, Boy in the Hat. Or you might tell your tale in precisely one-hundred words, like the folks at 100 Word Story — an approach that forces you to question every word.

For writers who tend to write more, a longer word count may be considered concise, too. At Brevity, writers publish nonfiction of seven-hundred-fifty words or less: there is space to develop a piece, yet a focus on succinctness.

For inspiration, browse two fifty-word stories — on the silence between a husband and wife, or a story on time and a missed connection — or these one-hundred words by H. Edwards to see how others write clever concise tales.

Need a helping hand? Head to The Commons.

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      1. Thanks for the encouragement! I wish you the best of luck on your writing journey, and I will follow your progress. I also recently found myself dissatisfied enough with my career to walk away from it.

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  1. It was a love poem to a lost love that ripped my heart out. It was penciled with humble regret on the back of a paper bag and signed by Homeless Hattie. I wanted to give it back but I didn’t know where she lived.

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  2. I’m hoping this doesn’t require you to be part of a class to participate, this was a great writing challenge. Here is mine, 50 words exactly.

    I reached out and snatched the folded paper from the sidewalk. It read “Please send help. I’ve been kidnapped. His name is Mister Carmichael. He works at my school.”

    I glanced at the locked door behind me before shoving the crumpled note in my pocket. Time to go to school.

    -JK

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