In Praise of Micro-Fiction

Ideas for fiction can come from almost anywhere and at anytime. I’ve had characters and plot points that rattled around in my head for months or years before I ever tried to make something of them. But the advent of widespread flash and micro-fiction has resulted in more opportunities to make something of an idea quickly – sometimes on the spot – without the need for a lot of character or storyline development, let alone research.

One of my recent D.A. Donaldson micros, Translation, came to me in the middle of the night. On this occasion I promptly rolled out of bed and stumbled into my “office” to jot the whole thing down on a piece of scrap, and with only a little editing the next day, it was ready to go.

And that’s the beauty of micro / flash fiction. As a writer you can get your “fix” and make use of ideas quickly, while they’re still fresh, instead of adding them to an accumulating pile of ideas that may or may not one day coalesce into a longer short-story or novel. You might even find an outlet to publish your mini-masterpieces. And if you don’t, well, that’s what blogs are for!

The truth is that although I have several novels in progress with anywhere from 1,000 to 20,000 words down on paper, I enjoy writing and reading short fiction so much more. I have been prompted to laugh or shed a tear by beautifully written 100-word compositions, and isn’t that the point of any creative endeavor – to evoke an emotional response from the audience?

So with life so busy these days, I am sincerely thankful for the opportunity to read and write short-short fiction and have it recognized as a legitimate story form. Whoever it was that started this trend, know that I (and many other would-be authors) appreciate you! Well done.

~ Don                                                  my 2:00 a.m. scribble  scribble note


  1. It’s taken me a long time but I’ve found a tiny spiral-bound notebook with good-quality paper for middle-of-the-night-in-the-dark notes. I’m considering buying a space pen that will write upside down. At 3am, my “brilliant ideas” are so good that I will easily remember then the next day, if i don’t write them down. Yeah, right.

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