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Microfiction Writing Tips

A tight letter limit doesn't give you a lot of space to play with characters or plot development. Try 130 Story's tips to add flesh to your tiny fiction:

Packing your Story

  • The best stories build in the mind - what can you leave out for the reader to fill in?
  • Build upon shared conventions - everyone makes assumptions when they read. A little information could give you a lot for free.
  • Names add personality - choose short, two or three letter names rather than defaulting to 'he' or 'she'.
  • Put your idea into a short-ish form and then run through each word to see what you can chop down or substitute.
  • Rhythm can help you. Add pauses for effect. Top tip: ellipsis (three dots) is one character. Copy and paste this:
  • For 130 Story, you don't need to include the prompt word, as long as its influence is clear.

Tips for inspiration

  • Think about platform / tilt / resolution dramatic structure. That is, a situation becomes unusual but is then resolved. Your microstory might just describe the tilted platform and leave the normal state and resolution to the reader's imagination.
  • Break convention - twist a stereotype, so that it tells a story from the other perspective.
  • Try an experimental format - e.g. rhyming, acrostic, haiku.
  • Think about other potential meanings of the prompt word, or common phrases that use it.
  • Can you fit multiple meanings of a prompt word into the same microstory?
  • Practise the artform! Everyone starts somewhere, and it gets easier the more you play.