During the MWW conference, a 40-word opening line/short story contest was hosted. I didn’t enter, because I was thinking about other things and was convinced I had no ideas. True to form, after the deadline expired, my brain came up with an idea. Of course I couldn’t enter the story, but I sat down and wrote it anyway. It took me about ten minutes, and I love it. Thanks for not doing that earlier, brain.
I thought I’d put the story up for you here, just so it can be shared. It’s less than 40 words, actually, and here are a few things that struck me as I was writing it:
- I was being much more intentional with my words, layers, and subtext than I usually am when I write. I’m definitely going to start aiming for this level of intention in my novels.
- Fitting in character development in something this short is hard, but not impossible. A few specific details can do it.
- The power of showing instead of telling is a really cool thing.
So here’s my tiny little untitled story:
The Cheerios sogged while he waited for an answer.
“Pick one,” they’d said. “Dad or Mom.”
“I’m nine,” he’d said. “You pick.” They’d made him together; they could divide him together.