Tag Archives: microfiction

The Incredible Shrinking Story

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that I’m involved in a writing challenge at Carrot Ranch Literary Community. Part I was to write a 297-word story about a mudslide. Part II was to edit it down to two 99-word versions, each with its own POV. Part III (this week’s challenge) is to choose one of the two 99-word versions, reduce it to 59 words, and include a “nugget” from the other version.

But my two Part II versions were virtually identical — except for the pronouns! There wasn’t a unique nugget to be found! The lesson I learned from attempting Part III is that two different POVs are going to react differently to the same situation on an emotional, sensual, and rational level. When I wrote the two versions, it would have been more interesting to get inside of each “mindset” to truly experience the POV.

And now, a confession. In order to complete the Part III challenge, I cheated, going back to my 257-word Part I version, stealing a nugget, and hauling it into Part III. I think cheating is allowed here. If not, my next installment will be sent from the principal’s office.

Part III Version, 59 words (nugget in bold):

Two-fifteen. Four nights of mudslide dreams since becoming Jake’s live-in. A warning? Jake slept. Rising, I phone-googled “mudslide dream.” Jake, awake, kissed my neck. Startled, I dropped my buzzing phone, which Jake retrieved. It said, “SLIMDUDE.” “Who?” “My husband.” “Husband?!” I pondered my ex’s prison nickname. He’d always haunt my dreams, scrambling the MUDSLIDE my life had just become.

My life had just become” was the nugget I selected from Part I, because prior to the dreaded phone call, Rachel’s life was hanging on by a thread. It is now going downhill fast. This nugget of insight from the omniscient third person POV is now being keenly felt by the first person POV of Rachel.

Thank you, Charli (at Carrot Ranch) for the lesson!

Stay tuned for Part IV, in which the story will be reduced to just NINE WORDS!

 

 

 

The Mudslide Continues

If you read my recent post, Mudslide, you’ll know that it was only Part I of a literary challenge at Carrot Ranch Literary Community. Part II of the challenge is to reduce our original 297-word flash fiction story to 99 words. Not only that, but we have to write two versions, one in the original POV (point of view) and the other in a different POV.

I’d never done anything like this before. Cutting out 2/3 of my words taught me an important lesson: I use a lot of unnecessary words! Wait, let me rephrase that: I waste words!

But the even more important thing I learned was that POV matters, and of the following two versions, I have a favorite. Which do you prefer?

Third Person POV, 99 words:

Rachel sat upright. It was 2:15. She’d had that mudslide dream four consecutive nights since living with Jake.

She touched him; he slept. All she could do was consider her dream. Was it a warning? She rose and Googled “mudslide dream” with her phone.

Jake, up now, kissed her neck. Startled, she dropped the phone. Jake grabbed it; it buzzed. The caller’s ID: “SLIMDUDE.”

“Who’s ‘Slim Dude’?” he asked.

“My husband,” Rachel answered.

“Husband?!” Jake sputtered.

No reply. Rachel pondered that prison nickname, his tattoo. He‘d never stop calling.

He’d always haunt her dreams, scrambling up her MUDSLIDE life.


First Person POV: 99 words:

I sat upright. It was 2:15. I’d had that mudslide dream four consecutive nights since living with Jake.

I touched him; he slept. All I could do was consider my dream. Was it a warning? I rose and Googled “mudslide dream” with my phone.

Jake, up now, kissed my neck. Startled, I dropped the phone. Jake grabbed it; it buzzed. The caller’s ID: “SLIMDUDE.”

“Who’s ‘Slim Dude’?” he asked.

“My husband,” I answered.

“Husband?!” Jake sputtered.

I couldn’t respond. I pondered that prison nickname, his tattoo. He‘d never stop calling.

He’d always haunt my dreams, scrambling my MUDSLIDE life.


In my opinion, first person makes the story much more immediate and threatening. Jake startles me, I drop the phone, I’m terrified of SLIMDUDE haunting me forever. Yeah. Looking forward to the next challenge. Or should I simply say: Excited!