Nanofiction #1

Picked up a card game recently, from the same people who brought us Fluxx (a game that kept K and I happily occupied on rainy afternoons in Cambodia) called Nanofictionary. It's a game where players compete to craft the best (short) story possible from cards that provide the setting, characters, complication and resolution. Looks to be a great game, other than it needs a panel of judges to decide the winner.

Following up on the history of the game led me to this website, and the category of fiction called nanofiction - stories under 55 words in length. Here's a description culled from the site on what the boundaries of nanofiction are:

This book, entitled The World's Shortest Stories, edited by Steve Moss, sets down the rules for 55 word stories as such: each story must contain the following four elements: 1.) a setting, 2.) one or more characters, 3.) conflict, and 4.) resolution. Plus of course, the whole thing can only be 55 words long, not counting the title, which must be no more than 7 words long.

(apparently there's a slightly more long-winded ancestor called microfiction, at 100 words)

It's been a long time since I've written anything, but something clicked when I saw the description of nanofiction. I remembered how I used to write poetry way back when. Ok, so it was bad poetry (well, what do you expect from a teenager? or a Literature undergraduate, for crying out loud?) but it was fun. Over the years, I've stopped writing altogether, except for one brief coughing fit of haikus a few years ago (must go dig those up). For the busy man, who has to juggle work and wargaming, hobbies and a household, cats and career, surely nanofiction is the way for his inner Bard to once again re-express himself, at minimal expense, barely any effort, and only a few minutes of work each day?

Also, I always needed to learn brevity. So, here's Nanofiction Number 1.

The Seventh Biscuit

After the beggar, he knew the seventh biscuit was close. He shuddered, remembering her words, and tried not to look at anything on the bus home. At his door, he stopped, a scream frozen in his throat: the hand that reached into his pocket for the keys was holding the mouldy remains of a biscuit.

(based on a real life imagined incident - really)


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