This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Beautiful Challenge Of Short, Short Stories

Tell a story in exactly 78 words read the contest rules.

As a writer, I loved the challenge. I spend the majority of time hacking through a forest of words—the aftermath of an overwritten first draft. Everything takes multiple drafts. My brain battles with itself, the characters, the story, the whole idea I wanted to convey. I'm constantly asking myself questions:

Is this necessary? Is there another way to show this? Does killing this line make the scene more powerful?

I have to be brutal. My writing is not as concise as say, Sofia Coppola, but I’m getting better. Sometimes having constraints [whether it’s word count, budget, locations, shooting days, etc] forces you to be more creative. I loved the variety of Paris Je T’aime (2006), with its ensemble cast and eclectic group of international directors. Each of the eighteen directors had the assignment to shoot a film in a particular neighborhood of Paris. The catch was: They only got five minutes of screen-time. None of the participating directors said it was easy either, but all of them embraced the challenge.

I didn't win the contest, but no matter. As far as 78-word stories? Here are two I wrote:


Dad’s weekend. She couldn’t keep this ruse for long.

“Why so silent?” he asked.

She shrugged.

“School okay?”

The girl rolled her eyes.

“Your mom says you’ve been sneaking out. Better not be.”

“I’m not sleaking out.”

“Why are you lisping?” he demanded to know.

She stuck out her tongue. They both opened their mouths. Yelling, loud and clear.

That piercing would go! She stormed off. The door slammed. Dad had won the fight, but lost the girl.


She smelled like Chanel. He tasted like salt. Intertwined under a comforter with daisies on it. Rays of morning light through the window. The rise and fall. One kiss had led them here. To happiness and daisies and morning light. Making love in a cheap motel.

“We can’t do this anymore,” she says.

“Sure we can. If we’re careful.”

She looks into his eyes and speaks two words:

“He knows.”

Someone pounds on the door. Room #203. Caught.

© 2011 by KLiedle

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