Micro-fiction

Posted by Chrissey - 12th March 2012

I hope you all enjoyed the Ink Babe’s interview! One of the fiction formats they are including in their anthology is micro-fiction; short prose pieces with a story structure.

For those who haven’t come across micro-fiction before, here’s a bit about the format.

 

What makes micro-fiction different to flash fiction?

In some cases the terms micro-fiction and flash fiction are used interchangeably, but more often than not, micro-fiction is the extreme end of the flash fiction scale.

Flash fiction is commonly agreed to include anything under 1000 words in length; something shorter than the traditional short story that a reader can get through in a single five to ten minute sitting. Micro-fiction tries to create stories in just fifty or a hundred words.

Exact length limits to micro-fiction are a fuzzy concept. Some sites suggest anything up to 400 to 500 words is micro-fiction. Other’s say it must be less than 200, others less than 100.

Another term you may come across is “hyper-fiction.” This is sometimes used to refer to stories told in, for example, 140 characters (the length of a twitter message). But, it is also a term for fiction which uses hypertext links as a way of interacting with the reader; hypertext fiction, which can cause confusion.

 

What makes Micro-fiction different to Poetry?

Micro-fiction is prose. It does not have a verse structure, or rhythm of language like a poem, but it does have to obey all the grammatical rules of prose. Sentences must all be complete, speech must be properly punctuated with speech marks and so on.

Micro-fiction is also fiction. Where a poem can get away with painting a picture or describing a place, person or event, a fiction piece needs a plot. Therefore, even micro-fiction should tell a story with a beginning, a middle and an end.

 

What’s the point?

For readers, micro-fiction is an opportunity for a brief, intense encounter.

Some writers use it as an exercise to practice writing concisely or to capture a fleeting bit of inspiration that perhaps doesn’t lend itself to a longer piece of work.

One form of micro-fiction which is quite popular is the 50 word story which must be exactly fifty words in length. No more, no less. Tim Sevenhuysen is one pioneer of the format and runs FiftyWordStories.com, which features his stories and those by guest writers.

You might think that there’s no market for something so short, but there lots of micro-fiction anthologies out there. For example, Micro-fiction; an anthology of really short stories – Jerome Stern (ed). And, as the Ink Babes demonstrate, there is a place for micro-fiction alongside longer works in compilations with mixed formats.

There are also a lot of micro-fiction contests out there including small contests and give aways run by bloggers, so it’s a fun way to be creative, practice writing skills, discover new writers and network.

Want to read more about writing micro-fiction? Check out The Essentials of Microfiction by Camille Renshaw

 

Micro-fiction on The Great Escape.

This week we have a collection of 50 word stories by Chrissey Harrison for readers to enjoy.

If you’d like to see your micro-fiction on our site, send us a story under 100 words in length for a chance to be featured in our next micro-fiction collection.

Some of your submissions may also be offered the chance to appear in our first print anthology. See our submissions page for further details.