Monday, May 23, 2005


When I lived in San Francisco, I took a writing class at the Harvey Milk Institute, and it was the one and only time I ever actually produced anything. The class was on the short-short story. Having a deadline really helped me to get to it and write something, because I knew I had to have a story to deliver to each class.

Well now, I'm the beyotch in charge on this webpage, folks, and if you found your way here, then you will do what I say. You're reading my words here for free all the time, well, now you've got homework. Don't worry. I will do it, too. Actually this is an attempt to get myself to write something, too.

I'm giving myself and all of you an assignment. I love the concept of the short-short story. 250 words or less, a few more if you really need to get something told, but for the most part, get a full complete story told in as few words as possible. The other thing I enjoy in writing exercises is to add in completely random rules that make you think creatively and force you to choose every single word thoughtfully.

I'm getting there, I'm getting there.

All right, I want my trusty readers who need inspiration and a deadline to write a short-short story. [The rights manager in me has to stipulate:] You will maintain full copyright and ownership of the work you submit to me, but by sending it to me, you give me permission to post it to this blog (including standard site-archiving) only. My plan, depending on how many of you make submissions, is to post the best one. If I only get two or three, most likely I may post a few. And of course, I will post my own.

Now let's get down to it. I want you to write a short-short story. About anything. Ah, not so fast. I want your work to be exactly, no more no less, 100 words long. To the word. Ah, that's too easy. Get close, throw in a contraction here, edit there, and you did it. I think we need to add in something more. OK, I want you to write a 100-word-long short-short story, and... you can't use the same word twice. If you give your piece a title, the title does not count toward word-count, but it does count against the only using each word once rule. Yeah, your writing may get a little bit esoteric or poetic, but heck, that's where the fun lies, coming up with different ways of saying something. Only one 'I,' only one 'the,' only one 'of,' only one 'one.'

Your deadline is... OK, I'll give you a week. And.. that gives you the entire Memorial Day Weekend (in the U.S., at least). Tuesday morning, May 31, 9am. Send your 100-word short-short story to me at If I post your story, [and you want to give me a physical address], I will send you a free book on writing.

This is homework, people. Get to it!

1 comment:

lisa said...

Well, I have sent you my 100-word, no repeat story. This exercise was just what the Lisa brain needed. Thanks!
I've also invited my readers to join in. I already know they're a creative bunch, so am really hoping for some participation.
Cool idea. Good Bob Podrasky!