Answers #2 – 50-Word Stories

Jeremy Quinn asked me the following question:

Why did you originally start doing 50-word stories?

I feel like I’ve probably related the history of my relationship with 50-word stories before, but maybe not on my blog, so here goes.

I wrote my first 50-word stories in high school. I think it was in Grade 12, but it may have been earlier. I honestly can’t remember how I first became aware of the concept. It may have been an assignment or class exercise.

All I remember for sure is that I posted a few to my blog, back when I was using a completely different URL, built every page from scratch in Microsoft Frontpage, and had zero audience whatsoever.

Most of the content on that old website didn’t get translated over through the next few iterations of my blog, but in mid-2008 a handful of 50-word stories remained, buried in the archives.

Around the beginning of 2009, a bunch of people on the Loading Ready Run forums decided that they were going to take part in a year-long photography challenge, where they had to take and post a new photo every day of the year. Not being a photographer myself, I realized 50-word stories would be an interesting writing equivalent of that project, so I bought the FiftyWordStories.com domain name, set up a WordPress install, and seeded it with those old 50s I still had kicking around.

On February 22, 2009, I started off on that journey, and now I’m four-and-a-half months through the third year of running the site. (Of course, I only write four stories per week myself, now, instead of seven, but the overall quality has definitely kept improving!)

FiftyWordStories.com has been a really fun project over the last few years. It’s especially cool to hear from people who have been inspired to try out microfiction for themselves, including a couple of creative writing classes and high school English classes. Plus I’ve been able to release two books so far, which has been a ton of fun, as well.

If you haven’t checked the site out before, go explore! There are almost 800 stories on the site (over 550 of which I’ve written myself), so there’s a pretty massive backlog to go through. Enjoy!


Have a question of your own that you’d like to see me answer? Leave a comment or get in touch with me on Twitter.

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