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The Micro Story Challenge

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Apr 16, 2014 5:02:45 AM

I'd like to issue a challenge to you today. I don't do this just because I enjoy causing turmoil and consternation in people's lives. I do this because if you rise to this particular challenge, I believe it will go a long way toward turning you into not just a storyteller, but a masterful storyteller.


I challenge you to write a story in the genre of your choosing and in the style of your choosing. That's it. I want you to write a story, something I assume you're adept at doing anyway since you're a writer. Just write a story. Okay, there's slightly more to the challenge. I want this to be a short story. In fact, I want it to be not just short, but a micro story - so micro that it's a single sentence.


You read that correctly. I want you to tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end in a single, yet wholly satisfying sentence. Impossible? Well, it wouldn't be a challenge if it didn't feel impossible. The four-minute mile used to be thought of as impossible, but now it's fairly standard for those who have made running their lives.


If you are able to construct an entire story in one sentence, and that one sentence is compelling and absent of any structural phenomenon in order to cram in details, you will have stripped away what holds most writers back: a lack of knowing what their books are truly about. Your book is not about every element and every word that you stuff between the front and back cover. It's not nearly that complicated. It's so simple, in fact, that you could tell your story in a single sentence.


Let the challenge begin.


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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13,008 Views Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, storytelling, micro_story

May 20, 2014 9:36 AM FineArtVideo    says:

OK, Richard. I have risen to your challenge. The book is based on my real life story but is not yet published. Here's my sentence.


I met my first love aboard a cruise ship, lost contact with her, then thirty years later gave up nearly everything I aquired in life to be with her again.


The tag line for this story is, "What would you sacrifice for a second chance at first love?"


The story is "The Fourth Wish". You can preview the real life version at Our love is my inspiration to write love stories, and the words that come to me in order to do so are Divine gifts from God. My love stories can be found on Amazon by searching Rick Bennette.

May 20, 2014 10:16 AM Loggerhead    says:

My Micro Story: Michael had a mystical experience as a child, became a successful business and family man, but never gave up searching for his spiritual friend with whom he was pleasantly reunited after dying of old age.


I have a novel and short story available on Amazon if anyone is interested.

May 20, 2014 10:46 AM bradhenge    says:

Micro story, how about a micro thriller!

The closer he drew, the more it became apparent, they’d been at it again, the local neighbourhood kids, scamps every last one of them, each had dumped a bag of soil at the base of his roses, he couldn’t help thinking, the plot thickens.

May 20, 2014 11:02 AM buybook    says:

Here is my micro story:

"An angel asked God, 'Lord, why do believers hate/fight/kill non-believers and vice versa? God could not answer the question immediately, he thought for few days and discovered that, 'He was the reason for tha hatred among believers and non believers, since He was continuously forgiving the sins of believers, (be it murder, be it cheating, be it adultery), non-believers were jealous of believers, on the other hand believers feel superior than non-believers as they were not afraid of commiting sins.', So God decided to start forgiving sins of non-believers as well, since He understood, 'Not believing Him is just one more harmless sin, which He can afford to forgive'. Following God's decision, peace got reestablished in earth.


Source: My ebook titled, "Will My Prince Ever Come?: Dating Stories, Tips And Advice"

May 20, 2014 11:24 AM Petya    says:

Hi Richard,

I truly love the challenge. Here is my attempt to take it up:

The realization that happiness is a state of mind dawned on me, along with the struggle, when my life indifferently imposed upon me its happiest, and most devastating moment of my disabled child's birth.

May 20, 2014 12:13 PM LegendaryLordVega    says:

Okay, here I go! I'm gonna give this my best shot and there's no way I'm gonna lose!


"After dreaming a timeless dream for almost an eternity, I awakened from my slumber and began my quest for answers; and now I'm one step closer to solving the final piece of this riddle".


This is basically the theme of my novel, Dragon Zone, the Code Of Heart and Hate.

May 20, 2014 12:35 PM PlainJane    says:

First time posting.


I found our tangled healthcare system more daunting than my disease, which is funny, because most people think breast cancer is such a shock!


"Tales of a Remarkable Breast: One Patient's Googly-Eyed View of Healthcare"

May 20, 2014 12:53 PM Cruzinspeed75    says:

I accept:



She looked down, away from his stare but when he bowed and dropped a pink rose on her left foot she smiled and died.

May 20, 2014 1:24 PM Ohhyesican    says:

Hi, Richard Riley!  Here ya go....


"The Big Voice whose statements never failed to accurately predict impending scenarios in the lives of little Flora's family and friends, as well as the Little Voice whose statements always shed light on situations that confused her, had both begun speaking to her during her very early childhood as she'd play outside in the early morning sunlight and through repeating the words she heard, that little girl came to understand that those who did not hear either the Big Voice or the Little Voice would not believe anything she claimed to have learned which is why she became content with silently knowing of things that are, things that will be, and also became content being an observer who quides me safely along my life's path because I choose to listen what she, the child I used to be, comes to know as I play in my gardens in the early morning sunlight.

May 20, 2014 1:19 PM B.M.H.    says:

How's this?


  • After all the years lost to madness since he'd buried her, he held her tight to his heavy chest one last time and embraced oblivion to the smell of her hair and the sting of her kiss.


If you like it, please let me know at Thanks!

May 20, 2014 1:28 PM Ohhyesican    says in response to B.M.H.:


May 20, 2014 2:20 PM Ohhyesican    says in response to Ohhyesican:

Oops... I meant "Hi, Richard Ridley"

May 20, 2014 6:18 PM catconnector    says:

I cried as he was lowered into the warm ground, for the things that could never be and would never be again, and I prayed that the children would be wiser in choosing the paths of their lives.

May 20, 2014 6:23 PM NickyJett    says:

" Ingenue looks for love in h*ll and finds it."


~"Sleeping with a D-Man"

May 20, 2014 6:44 PM Titleking    says:

Here is my submission that includes sex, politics, religion and mystery:


If what you are saying is true, that the impotent senator's wife is pregnant, then, by God, who did it?

May 20, 2014 8:02 PM DDCross    says:

Awoke, still in bed, sound pulsed through the room, and the ceiling bent, warped, twisted, and fell as I rolled to the floor slid through it into another dimension where the lighting bent, curved, and exploded into confetti—finally I looked out through the eyes of another person.

May 20, 2014 8:31 PM foxNsox    says:

'Mother always wore sharp-edged pink stilettos,' he said, handing the detective a bloodied dagger and the pink shoes of his fifth victim.

May 20, 2014 9:12 PM Naners78    says:

After 18 years, he looked at his uncle through his naïve eyes wondering if he could ever trust any of his elders and whether he would ever have the courage to call his uncle “Dad”.

May 21, 2014 1:30 AM Diether    says:

Working for six straight days had seemed a good idea at the time, but as he looked around the empty garden he realised that if he’d rested earlier he’d have taken the time to rethink the talking snake.

May 21, 2014 1:30 AM EAllenP    says: may not have wanted to cause turmoil and consternation but that is what you have wrought. asked for it.



A small muted gathering stood witness as the names, first and last, of his recent living traveling companions were read aloud, slow, solemn and precise, so as to give the dead and eaten a posthumous semblance of dignity, while the rope, a rough hewn yet sturdy cord, irritates his neck such that he sways back and forth on the gallows scaffold, shifting from one bare foot to the other rhythmically, until inevitably, the speaker finishes reciting his crimes and the floor beneath his now rigid body drops as designed; that sound he hears, then another, his last, amplified thunderously by the immediate pressure of the closing noose, is the final gasp for air from his shattered and broken neck, mercifully never feeling legs twitching spastically below as if still trying, beyond hope or reason, to ever again find purchase.

May 21, 2014 1:34 AM Diether    says:

Throughout his life he’d written his own story, but now, at the end, he couldn’t think of a twist.

May 21, 2014 2:08 AM Diether    says:

In a world of blurred and crossed lines, he'd been ruthless and rationalised via cliché - the ends justified the means - but now the wronged had adopted that mindset and brought it to his door.

May 21, 2014 4:19 AM NieveAnderson    says:

Hi Richard,

Here's my effort:  "Claudia froze as she recognized the climbing instructor perched on a ledge feeding down the rope, and as she recalled the brutal date rape years before, she clambered up to him, grinned a thanks and watched satisfactorily as his surprised body fell backwards down towards the cuckoo clock village far below."


I have written an ebook Crossing Evil - so far nobody's "got it".  I have just joined CreateSpace today so hope to get into the blogs and comments.  Thank you!

May 21, 2014 4:23 AM ohare    says:

Hi Richard

you said to keep it short, so how's this:


The wise man said to the troubled boy, "don't worry, it's okay to play" and the boy grew up to be a wise man.

May 21, 2014 6:52 AM Alexx250    says:

Hey Richard,

I am a german author, but I also want to take the challenge ! So, here i go:


»Alone she was sitting in the dark watching the black sky, while the stars where her only entourage, glowing and glimmering thousands of life spans away, but when she tried to get up and touch them, she failed.«


Hope you like it!

Regards Alexx

May 21, 2014 7:42 AM Yellowhedgehog    says:

She thought Divorce had been a bad enough experience with  its pain,  humiliation and shattered illusions but now, as the doctor waved her to a seat and shuffled papers  nervously , she knew there was an even greater challenge ahead.

May 21, 2014 7:44 AM Yellowhedgehog    says in response to NieveAnderson:

But "satisfactory" is wrong.  maybe "with satisfaction" ...

May 21, 2014 7:49 AM Yellowhedgehog    says in response to PlainJane:

I can identify with this (as you can see in my response to the challenge).

May 21, 2014 8:04 AM PlainJane    says in response to Yellowhedgehog:

Indeed!  I hope that you've turned a good corner. I was a 'not so patient' patient, and found writing to be cathartic. My tale is sassy and informative...sort of like Erma Bombeck meets Ralph Nader, before either became proficient.  Best to you, and thanks.

May 21, 2014 8:35 AM B.M.H.    says in response to foxNsox:

Well done!  You successfully conveyed a lot of information through the audience's assumptions and mental associations. ^_^

May 21, 2014 8:36 AM B.M.H.    says in response to Diether:

Haha! Success!

May 21, 2014 9:07 AM MoneySlave    says:

This morning John Doe decided it was high time to become wealthy as he picked up his latest read, Money Slaves and Cool Aid, knowing that by sundown tomorrow, with the last sentence under his belt, his only important goal will be completed.

May 21, 2014 9:09 AM    says:

"He made me feel so small, and then I saw him crossing the street; the hot rage rose up and I drove him down, crushing the life away; now all I see is bars, and the shadows of bars, stretching on forever."

May 21, 2014 11:39 AM Yellowhedgehog    says in response to MoneySlave:


But ... his only important goal would be completed ....

May 21, 2014 12:19 PM Hugoesque    says:

With nothing left but sheer will, he picked up the pen and wrote, "After all, she was still the best of it," and with that he died, having written his autobiography, the last remaining item on his bucket list.

May 21, 2014 3:35 PM NieveAnderson    says in response to Yellowhedgehog:

You are right.  "With satisfaction" would have been much better.  Thanks for the advice.  



May 22, 2014 1:05 AM Christine_Muc    says:

Hi Richard, I was lucky to get a translated version from my provider. So this is my tribute, hoping my English isn't that bad:






When I first saw the puppy’s picture on a dog-selling-site, my heart was captured immediately, and being so proud because my new companion didn’t mind being driven home for hours, I didn’t realize for days that he neither was as self-reliant as it seemed to me nor didn’t he have any bonds or relationship with humans – so I tried hard to make him notice me and maybe even love me, realizing with tears in my eyes why he had touched me so: he was as lonely as me.

May 22, 2014 1:23 AM Yellowhedgehog    says in response to Christine_Muc:

Change "nor didn't he" to " nor did he"  and "he neither was" to "he was neither ".
I love dogs so this appeals ...

May 22, 2014 2:10 AM Philogos    says in response to Yellowhedgehog:

Just ", satisfied," would be another alternative for NieveAnderson.

May 22, 2014 2:23 AM Philogos    says:

My grandfather was Sevrin Hansen Laere but the immigration clerk on Ellis Island wrote his name as Sevrin Liar, so after only two years in America he moved to South Africa as Sevrin Hansen.

May 22, 2014 11:24 PM mariagreen    says:

Her family begged her not to take the chemo after she was the first family member ever diagnosed with a cancer so agressive that it had a 0% survival rate.

May 22, 2014 11:26 PM mariagreen    says in response to Diether:

love it!

May 23, 2014 12:34 AM Christine_Muc    says in response to Christine_Muc:

Thanks for the improvement. I wanted to correct, but can't find any access to my post:-(

May 23, 2014 12:35 AM Christine_Muc    says in response to Yellowhedgehog:

Thank you, but I can't correct it, don't find any access to my post :-(

May 23, 2014 1:18 AM Yellowhedgehog    says in response to Christine_Muc:

Yes, we are allowed only 15 minutes to edit, Christine.You could write a new post with the corrections. Perhaps "Reply" to the original post with the new version ... Good luck

May 23, 2014 3:57 AM Christine_Muc    says in response to Christine_Muc:


When I first saw the puppy’s picture on a  dog-selling-site, my heart was captured immediately, and being so proud  because my new companion didn’t mind being driven home for hours, I  didn’t realize for days that he neither was as self-reliant as it seemed  to me nor did he have any bonds or relationship with humans – so I  tried hard to make him notice me and maybe even love me, realizing with  tears in my eyes why he had touched me so: he was as lonely as me.

May 23, 2014 12:02 PM Cade    says:

Hello, Richard. Here is my micro story challenge.


Still harboring a desire for family revenge, a tall blonde attorney steps off a plane in NYC thinking about the man who taught her to hate, and she wonders if he knows that she's coming for him...and when.


Search for Sydney Cade West books on Amazon.

May 23, 2014 2:33 PM Writeration    says:

An early blow to the head, that caused his right brain to assist his left brain, led to creativity in situations, writing, creation, and solution that changed the world forever.

May 23, 2014 2:49 PM commonman1    says:

A man is born, lives a meaningful life and then dies, end of story.

May 23, 2014 5:25 PM Cade    says in response to Writeration:

Oooh! I like that. Well said.

May 24, 2014 12:15 PM ShareManners    says:

"As he soul gently lifted off of her body, she realized her work has just begun."

May 25, 2014 7:03 AM SKNihm    says:

My response to the micro story challenge:


Arlington, May 25, 2014


Walking slowly up the hill on the carefully tended path in the soft spring sunlight, Rosa searches with despair among the many white stones, looking for the name of her only son, unable to ask help of the few others nearby who talk in low voices in a language she will never learn to speak.

May 25, 2014 9:03 AM friartuck    says:

OK, I'll give it a shot!


I keep smelling roses, but I don’t like roses that much, and the more I smell them the more I dislike them, even though they are pretty – at least I think they’re pretty, can’t really see them, the way they’re sitting on top of this box I’m lying in …

May 25, 2014 10:01 AM Gypc_Dave    says:

I haven't finished "Abernathy," my wingnut apocalypse non-zombie novel yet, but this should tide you over for a few more months.


As the zombies closed in, Emily realized, to her horror, that she had left her grandmother’s teakettle on the stove, with the burner at medium-high.

May 25, 2014 10:39 AM friartuck    says in response to Gypc_Dave:


Sorry -- wasn't meant as reply to Gypc Dave

May 26, 2014 12:53 AM Bell-Ringer    says:

Nice one Richard; an epic in a sentence hey?

Oh god, won't anyone believe me..? Won't anyone help me..? Don't look at the blood on my hands, I'm only the garment he wears.

May 26, 2014 1:01 AM Bell-Ringer    says:

Grandma Smokey was a most adept guardian, she stood only 5feet tall but had the girth of a 200 years old oak tree, and sported an equally thick layer of bark.

May 26, 2014 1:24 AM Bell-Ringer    says:

Hi Richard, I hope you enjoy my short tales as much as I am enjoying your challenge...

I can see her ponytail swinging between my outreaching hands like a crazy pendulum, I can hear her whimpers, her short panting breaths and smell her sweat and fear, I can feel the tight grip of my hands around her throat and the compulsion to squeeze. Oh God please wake me up, this cannot be me, I'm a priest..

May 26, 2014 1:31 AM Yellowhedgehog    says in response to Bell-Ringer:

One sentence, Bell-Ringer. Just need a tweak ....

May 26, 2014 3:24 PM GlobalGuru    says:

Thanks for the challenge... here is a spoof preview for "The Heathrow Report 2015" out this week, hopefully...


Sometime after WWII, a senior civil servant in the British Government called GOD decided he wanted to prove how much power he could exercise over the people of London, so he established an airport at a little village called HeathRow, just west London, as it was perfectly placed so that he could even feel more powerful than the Queen, because, as time went on, more and more aircraft approached low over Buckingham Palace and took off over Windsor Castle, driving Her Majesty to escape far away into Scotland every year to seek respite from the incessant noise of aircraft, even though her subjects in London could not afford to do so, which so amused GOD that he decided to expand the airport relentlessly, by building terminals one and two and three and then four, at which point there was a revolt from all the disturbed people at the public inquiry, so he just laughed even more loudly and made sure it was built, as he also did with terminal five, when there was so much opposition that the public inquiry lasted almost four years, after which, on a roll, with Heathrow Airport now called "the busiest international airport in the world" and disturbing the whole of greater London, he decided to build another runway at Heathrow, thinking that this grand plan would really rattle the whole of the southeast of England, especially as now he had changed the law, so that there was no inquiry, only a commission to decide what he wanted without the people having any voice to interfere, and his commission laughed too, about the stupidity of ordinary people to put up with increasing oppression by the government (along with draconian anti-terrorist laws and security services reading their emails and endless wars in far-away places like Iraq & Afghanistan), they laughed and laughed over their port and GOD felt so great at having such supreme power until one day, when someone set off a nuke in an aircraft over London, London evaporated so that motorway signs read "London Gone" and perfect silence reigned, apart from just a little chuckle - from another God.

May 26, 2014 7:37 PM Stonewriter    says:

Here's my contribution to the challenge:


Mac Iverson, as he watched T. J. get out of her golf cart, remembered that it was just three months ago that he was standing here at the eleventh hole when he first met Det. Sgt. T. J. James who had come to tell him that his soon to be ex-wife had been murdered and then proved that his fiancée had been the killer, but more importantly, was that for the first time in his life, he realized, he was in love.




May 29, 2014 3:47 PM seltzer    says:

"Breeze, a young woman who appeared out of nowhere and who enjoyed frole-play that implied that she had lived many times before, falls into a coma and wakes up on the shores of Troy, 3000 years before."


Anyone interest?  That's the first sentence of my description of my novel "Beware of Gods Bearing Girfts".


Richard Seltzer,

Jun 1, 2014 11:58 AM PsyFi    says:

The prisoner stares blankly, in a state of deja vu, at the jury member reading; Deally is not surprised at the sentence, knowing as he received the final verdict, he felt a bit of nostalgia that finally after three centuries, countless clones, a wake of trysts it had ended in his capture, but he had fun because he was a born killer, and he wasn't finished yet.


I took my book and retold it in one sentence. That was a great challenge. Thanks.