Micro-stories or Micro-fiction

Last updated on 1 month ago
Mythbhavd
Mythbhavd Posted 1 month ago
Let me give you some background. Two years ago, I went through ACPE training to become a certified clinical chaplain and this year I'm pursing a 2nd residency researching spiritual care within the palliative care setting. In clinical chaplaincy, we walk with patients and families in a clinical setting through a variety of life and death situations. One of those areas in which we function is the group setting in behavioral/mental health facilities.

When leading a spirituality group in this setting, I've found it helpful to bring a very short story to present to the group. We read the story and then begin to discuss different things. Some Examples:
* With which character do you identify?
* What are the emotions you see expressed ?
* How do you think the story could apply to you?
* How did the story make you feel?
* In what ways do you see the characters connecting to themselves (or others or God)

As time in the group is usually limited, I try to go for a story that is around 200-300 words max. With that in mind, I recently started searching for micro-stories and I've found some good ones. Some, I've found on The Den. What interested me in our search was that there are some that are extremely short. For example, there is the 6 word story that is often attributed to Hemingway. It reads:
"For sale: Baby Shoes. Never Worn."
Another is by Joyce Carol Oates entitled "Widow's First Year." It says simply:
"I kept myself alive."

When I write anything other than poetry, I find that I tend to write longer stories. I'm curious, what experience do you have with writing short fiction and, especially, micro-fiction?
Matt Coiner
Administrator, husband, dad, avid reader, sometimes writer

"The secret to writing is to write the first draft from your heart and the second from your head." - William Forrester in Finding Forrester
Routh
Routh Posted 1 month ago
I don't have any experience writing micro fiction, I always find a story needs to be at least a chapter for me to consider it a story; perhaps I'm just a bit narrow minded in this regard.

These examples certainly hint at a story, and prompt thinking, but that itself to me is prose of a sort I suppose? The example from Oates almost strikes me as poetry/prose rather than a story of sorts. Make this the opening to a chapter, or put it in the backdrop of a pixel RPG and it enhances or enriches the story.

I'd honestly need a bit more time to think about this. The more I do the grayer this becomes for me.
Chris Routh
Founder of The Den of Amateur Writing

"Don't try to be a great man; just be a man and let history make its own judgments." - Riker, Star Trek The Next Generation
Mythbhavd
Mythbhavd Posted 1 month ago
I'd agree that Oates' story falls more under the heading of prose. I think the purpose of micro-stories is to create a story in the mind of the reader. In the way that I'm using them in a clinical setting is to start a conversation. So, some of the stories are more like parables or moral stories, some are just short thoughtful moments, and some are designed to give you a view of a character or two within a story and see what people think.

In some instances, though, there is an entire story wrapped up in a statement. The story doesn't need to be elaborated. I think we often do this in our day to day lives.
"How are you doing?"
"It has been a day."
There is an entire story wrapped up in that statement. We don't see it, but the speaker knows all of the story. It's an interesting idea.
Matt Coiner
Administrator, husband, dad, avid reader, sometimes writer

"The secret to writing is to write the first draft from your heart and the second from your head." - William Forrester in Finding Forrester
You can view all discussion threads in this forum.
You cannot start a new discussion thread in this forum.
You cannot reply in this discussion thread.
You cannot start on a poll in this forum.
You cannot upload attachments in this forum.
You cannot download attachments in this forum.