50-word stories

Living in Stockton-on-Tees, I used to participate in Writers Block NE’s 50-word story competitions. One of my winning entries was for their October competition. Here’s what I remember of it:

A prayer for the dead. Then, honeyed cakes in hand, they would trudge up the cowpath to watch the bonfires blazing. Now, in tracksuits and cheap plastic masks, they knock on doors, but pray for no one.

Ok, so that’s only 37 words. There’s a sentence missing, but that’s what happens when you leave everything behind. Things get lost. People get lost. Dreams, too. 

I like the necessity to pare stories down. To get to the essence of things. To find the right words, the best meanings, the metaphors that fit just right. Here’s my other – as best I remember it:

Long ago, before my death – before I had lived enough to comprehend the gravity of the notion – I dreamt of becoming a tree. Then Humanity collapsed upon itself. We took our world down with us – a dead heap of scattering dust. But I held tight. Dreamed. Waited. Grew.

But these are not picture book texts. Not texts for picture books that anyone would want to publish, anyway. Time for a change and a challenge! 30 50-word stories in one month! Challenge accepted! Bring on PiBoIdMo! 


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