Writing 101, Day Five: 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.

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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.

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    1. they said it would happen later…they don’t want us getting completely attached to that one post, they probably have their reasons


      1. Writing is a process; it’s also not always an organized one. We might work on an idea one day, and then work on something else the next. Posts that might require more thought take time to “simmer” — it’s great to let pieces/bigger ideas sit, like your “serial killer” series.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. You just made my day… sorry, a night actually 🙂 where is the link to your blog on your website, by the way ?:) I’ll go have a look at your post…


      2. Thanks, Swav. First, I thought I did it right, then I thought I did it wrong. Now, I know that it’s really neither right nor wrong. Hey, maybe I’m ahead of the game! Ha!


    1. As promised yesterday, we’ll definitely return to your serial post later on this month. Of course, you can work on any post you feel like in the meantime, switch back and forth between multiple posts, or whatever combination works for you and your schedule.


      1. Thanks for clearing that up! I have no problem with a little variety! At least I have more time to improve or expand on my ideas.


    1. It’s all in the interpretation. 🙂

      It affects you deeply,

      This could mean anything — you could be happy, sad, angry or feel any other strong emotion.


  1. I don’t know why people think this one is a downer. It can be an uplifting letter that affects you. Just because it says your deeply affected doesn’t mean it has to be in a bad way. :3


      1. And It’s okay gtylermills, sometimes you have to write the way you need to write. Why some of mine end up in poems. Poems=win, Prose=fail. Unless it’s short prose like today. XD


    1. I’m kind of disappointed in the amount of joking going on about this assignment. I’m having a difficult time because I LOVE to write. It seems almost impossible, but I’m going to try. I just wanted to add that yours was nicely done, and I appreciate that you actually took it seriously.


      1. Thanks. Appreciate that. Wanted to convey a bit of mystery here too; no-one actually knows what the letter said, just that I probably shouldn’t have….!


  2. Oh my! This is a challenging one, but exciting. I’m a woman of many words. But I’ll keep it under my usual 500+. 😉


    1. You can approach it in different ways: write what the letter said, tell the story from an outsider/stranger’s POV watching it happen, imagine the original story within the letter, whatever… These prompts are springboards to get you inspired and write.