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Micro-Stories: What are They, Really?

Lately, micro-fiction has become more popular — of course, like anything else, it can be an art form. I decided to embark on a monthly quest to do two-sentence stories, but first, let’s ponder micro-fiction in general.

Sometimes, what is labeled as “micro-fiction” is more of a quote or a statement than an actual story.

Examples: Micro-Stories or Not?

Take the following examples, which are based on the same idea.

“The key to happiness lies in your own hands.” This is more of a motivational quote or statement. It’s basically stating a belief or a fact.

However, is this a micro-story? Micro-stories obviously go by different standards than regular stories, which by definition, generally have a beginning, middle and end —even if those are all just inferred.

With a micro-story, a lot of it is inferred, since the story is so incredibly short. A micro-story then should at least suggest a beginning and end — or a middle, if the micro-tale happens to begin more at the start or wrap-up.

A very simple way of turning this into a micro-story would be to turn it into dialog:

The wise owl uttered his words slowly: “The key to happiness lies in your own hands.” The owlets’ eyes got even wider, as they listened eagerly.

Or alternatively:

He knew the keys to happiness were in his own hands — but in all those years, he had not unlocked the right door.

In the above example, there is a lot inferred about the character’s past. He had not found happiness, obviously. Had he tried different doors? Did the keys “seem” to fit, but he found he was wrong about what he ultimately found? Would he eventually the right door to open?

The last two examples fall into the micro-fiction category easily, as they include characters and/or suggest a story timeline of some sort.

That brings up the phenomenon of the really short stories that are popping up these days: the two-sentence tales. Looks like it’s time to try some…coming soon!

Related to “Micro.”

 

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