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  • Karen Hamilton-Viall

Microfiction Challenge

Updated: Jul 28, 2021

I entered the NYC 100 word Microfiction challenge in 2020. I'd never entered any sort of writing competition before and it was something to do to occupy my hands whilst I had so much time off work. The idea is to write a tiny complete story in 100 words or less. On a set date in May, they set me a subject genre, an activity and a word to include. My challenge was a historical novel, brushing hair and I can't recall now what the keyword was. I forgot all about it on the day and didn't see the challenge in my inbox until my time was nearly up! I penned a quick story and got feedback but sadly it wasn't good enough to get through to the next round. Bit of a disaster really.

I did however really enjoy the challenge and I decided to get my friends to give me some more challenges. It was a fun test of my writing skills to try to create a story and convey emotion in so few words. It helped me to analyse my word use and become more concise. Is that sentence really necessary? Could those 3 words be conveyed in one word? Can you make readers care about a character in just 100 words? It also made me write in some genres I would never have thought of trying. I really recommend giving it a go. Here are some of the challenges I was set:

The challenge below was a thriller about litter picking and the word was swarming.

The genre for this story was urban fantasy, action driving something, disturbed (or variant of)

The genre here was erotica, the action was knitting and the word was devastating. Every pun intended! I'd cut the last sentence in hindsight:

This one was historical fiction, the activity was pruning and the word was thunderous:

This one was Medieval Fantasy, gathering healing herbs, the word was heresy or variant of.

Crime, hula hooping, scatter:

You get the idea, why don't you have a go at seeing what micro fiction you would make with the same words? Here are a few more ideas for you to try:

Genre: paranormal romance, action: surfing, word: glinting (or a variant of)

Genre: Horror, action: pogoing, word: ferocious

Genre: crime, action: skiing, word: squelching (or squelch etc)

Genre: High Fantasy, action: swimming, word: ponderous

You can also try writing 250 word microfiction too but I really recommend the 100 word challenge. If you write any, feel free to share them, and I'll post about you on my Twitter page. Good luck!

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