Prompt Time February 3rd
Most of my short stories–the ones that have been actual stories, not just free writes for fun–clock in somewhere between 6, 000 words and 10, 000 words. This year one of my goals has been to try to write shorter short fiction. This is mostly for selfish reasons, namely that there are a lot more markets for stories of under 3, 000 words than there are for stories in the range I usually work in.
Anyway. The motives aren’t the important part. What is important is the theory I’m using to write these shorter stories. The short stories I’ve written all encompassed multiple days. In fact, it was crucial to their plot that they encompass multiple days. One story I’ve been shopping around forever–another rejection today, but it’ll be back on the market in another two–is about the three trials a girl must overcome to become priestess. Of course, each of these trials takes up a day, and another day is taken up earlier on by a cleansing ritual. That story simply wouldn’t fit into 3, 000 words.
So, in order to write shorter fiction, I decided I needed to make the stories shorter. I needed to focus on one individual moment, maybe a whole day, instead of multiple days. I have a list of prompts written out specifically for the Write One Submit One challenge I’m doing over at the Absolute Write Water Cooler (someday they’ll get their own post, but for now I’m too lazy to even find the link), each one focusing on an individual moment. Today’s prompt–as well as many of the other prompts you will see this year–is one of those.
To honour the idea of writing short fiction, I am capping this at 1, 000 words. Of course, it’s totally arbitrary and it’s really up to you what you do with it, but I really suggest sticking with the limit. Can you write a complete story–it only has to be a moment, but there has to be a coherent beginning, middle and end–in less than 1, 000 words? Well, it’s about time you found out.
Today’s prompt is:
A man comes home from a long day of work to find that his wife has only set out dinner for one person… and that she wants a divorce.