Writing 101: Be Brief

You discover a letter on a path that affects you deeply. Today, write about this encounter. And your twist? Be as succinct as possible.

Welcome to Blogging U! This course isn't currently active, but you can learn more about what we offer and register for upcoming courses on the BU home page.

You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.

Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.

None of us will ever know the whole story in other words. We can only collect a bag full of shards that each seem perfect.

— From 100 Word Story‘s About page

Brevity is the goal of this task, although “brief” can mean five words or five-hundred words. You might write a fifty-word story, as writer Vincent Mars publishes on his blog, Boy in the Hat. Or you might tell your tale in precisely one-hundred words, like the folks at 100 Word Story — an approach that forces you to question every word.

For writers who tend to write more, a longer word count may be considered concise, too. At Brevity, writers publish nonfiction of seven-hundred-fifty words or less: there is space to develop a piece, yet a focus on succinctness.

For inspiration, browse two fifty-word stories — on the silence between a husband and wife, or a story on time and a missed connection — or these one-hundred words by H. Edwards to see how others write clever concise tales.

Need a helping hand? Head to The Commons.

Show Comments


Close Comments

Join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


  1. Oops, I thought we were going to do part 2 of our “loss” assignment for this next time. Hmm. I guess I need to fit two more posts in to complete that one and do this one as well, huh?


    1. No, you don’t need to worry about fitting in 2 more posts, they had said that they would let us know at a later date when part 2 and 3 are due. That we won’t have to squeeze it in.


      1. Thanks for the encouragement! I wish you the best of luck on your writing journey, and I will follow your progress. I also recently found myself dissatisfied enough with my career to walk away from it.


  2. It was a love poem to a lost love that ripped my heart out. It was penciled with humble regret on the back of a paper bag and signed by Homeless Hattie. I wanted to give it back but I didn’t know where she lived.


  3. I’m hoping this doesn’t require you to be part of a class to participate, this was a great writing challenge. Here is mine, 50 words exactly.

    I reached out and snatched the folded paper from the sidewalk. It read “Please send help. I’ve been kidnapped. His name is Mister Carmichael. He works at my school.”

    I glanced at the locked door behind me before shoving the crumpled note in my pocket. Time to go to school.