100 Word Stories; Skill- 5 not 50

9 Nov

5 Words Not 50

Skill: Five Words, Not Fifty-  Whenever possible, try to express your ideas in as few words as possible.

Somewhere along the way, we have been taught that complicated, wordy writing equals good writing.  Nothing could be further from the truth. The whole point of writing is to communicate ideas.  Cloaking simple ideas in complicated wording defeats this purpose.  I believe it was Bruce Lee who said “Simplicity is the height of sophistication.”  In martial arts, as in many arts, the most effective manuevers are usually the most basic.

Review this web page on writing sleek sentences.

In your notebook, rewrite the following overly-complicated sentences:

1. We are no longer able to reconcile; therefore, attorneys will be used to effect the dissolution of our marriage.

2. The weather had adverse impacts on our boat resulting in the necessity to rescue us from the water.

3. The leak in the bottom of the boat was due to poor maintenance on the part of the crew.

Creative Sentence Fragments

Skill: Creative Sentence Fragments- a purposefully incomplete sentence for dramatic effect.
We’ve all been taught that we must make sure we follow grammatical rules, but sometimes breaking the rules can have a powerful effect.

When to use sentence fragments:

  • To create a pause for the reader. We naturally pause at the end of a sentence.  Use fragmented sentences to slow the reader down.
  • To emphasize a thought.
  • To mimic how we speak in conversation
  • Remove action and create stillness

Here’s a handout we used in class creative fragments

Do not use sentence fragments in your formal writing.  Academic essays, tests, etc. are not time to creatively break the rules.  Often these types of writing assignments are trying to make sure you understand the conventions of English language.  And even in your creative writing, when sentence fragments are more acceptable, don’t over do it!

Helpful resources: Here and here

Writing Piece: 100 Word Stories

Our next writing piece, the first one of the second quarter, is the 100 word story. It is due Friday, November 13th. Here are the guidelines and some examples:

Write a story that is exactly 100 words (not 99, not 101… only 100). Your story must contain at least 2 skills.

Additionally, it must do one of the following:

-Take place entirely in a character’s head

-Focus on one tiny detail.

-Be made of mostly 3 word sentences.


Thomas Vasak

Harold waited, pistol ready and pointed at the closed door. He wasn’t going to take his chances. When the door opened, whoever stepped through was going to be greeted with a bullet. The knob turned and the door creaked open. He fired, too high, over the small girl’s head.

“Daddy?” she said, calmly.

He lowered the gun, closed his eyes, and fired again. Her body hit the floor with a thud. He’d rebury her in the small grave by the woods; just like he’d done with her mother last time. And the time before that. And the time before that.

Su White

She set out. Sun was shining. How, she wondered. It seemed wrong. House was clean. It wastidy. Done and dusted. So she thought. Socks were sorted. Rubber plants watered. Waste bins emptied. Beds were made. Floors were shiny. Blood was mopped. Broken pieces culled. Chipped dishes washed. Scrubbed hands dried. Wild hair straightened. Lips were pouted. Face made up. Lies were written. Dreams were punctured. Life had altered. Eyes stared off. No tears cried. She locked up. Phone was muted. Dog was kissed. She waved goodbye. She now remembers. How this started. Those three words… had changed her life.

Nicolas Brooks

There’s so many things you’ll never know about the man standing there with his thumb in the air as you go driving past. You’ll never know that the flicker from his outstretched hand is the wedding ring he’s been wearing again for the last five days, since the phone call he made from a rural service station somewhere south of the border, a call that crossed two states and countless memories to reach a woman in Brisbane who’d once worn the ring’s other. You’ll never know that what he’s asking you for is not a lift, but a second chance.

Liz Gallagher / Ice Cream

The whole shop is pink, except where its white. The crowd of smoothie- drinking girls at the window table could be laughing at anything. One waves. She tells herself they’re in a good mood because it’s a sunny Saturday and everyone feels light. She orders. A single scoop chocolate cone. Avoids looking at the scooper guy, who was in her gym class last year. He has seen her in shorts. She pays. Alone at a table, bravely, she anticipates her first taste of summer. Hears one more laugh. Knows this time; they’re laughing at her. She walks, gaze on the door, to the trash can. Tosses in her unlicked cone. Feels gray.

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