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Micro Fiction: An Anthology of Fifty Really Short Stories
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Micro Fiction: An Anthology of Fifty Really Short Stories

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  555 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Ten years ago, Jerome Stern, director of the writing program at Florida State, initiated the World's Best Short Short Story Contest. Stories were to be about 250 words long; first prize was a check and a crate of oranges.

Two to three thousand stories began to show up annually in Tallahassee, and National Public Radio regularly broadcast the winner. But, more important, the
Paperback, 141 pages
Published August 17th 1996 by W. W. Norton
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3.74  · 
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 ·  555 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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Nov 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: short short people
Recommended to Kate by: Minneapolis Central, third floor
Shelves: short-stories
Tired of losing his wallet to pickpockets, my father, at seventy, makes a phony one. He stuffs the phony wallet with expired coupons and losing Florida Lottery tickets and a fortune cookie fortune that reads, "Life is the same old story told over and over."

In a full-length mirror, he tries the wallet in the back pocket of his pants. It hangs out fat with desire. "All oyster," he says to me, "no pearl."

We drive to the mall where he says he lost the last one. I am the wheelman, left behind in the
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people with a short attention span
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: what was the question again?
I like the idea of micro fiction. Part of me thinks it's a brilliant wheeze because I'm lazy and have a short attention span and therefore it would be something that I'd be prepared to try to write. I might actually finish a micro story before I got bored and sauntered off. On the flipside I also recognise that it's probably a lot harder to write micro fiction than it would initially appear. So, to that end I've decided to review this micro fiction using the technique of the nano review. All of ...more
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it
I thought this might be a nice book for inspiring me to write my own micro fiction, but after reading it I’m not sure it’s really for me. I’m all for minimalism in writing but nothing here left much emotional impact.
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it
i mean.. its ok to be short but still have some depth you know.. 🥀
Aug 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ADHD short-story fanatics
Micro Fiction is a collection of short stories. Specifically it's a collection of stories that are 250 words or less. If at this point you're thinking, "There couldn't possibly be any story worth reading that could fit into only 250 words," then perhaps this collection isn't for you. If at this point, you're thinking, "Only 250 words, eh? You mean I don't have to read the first, second, and tenth book in the trilogy in order to get my story fix?," then look no further. This book was specifically ...more
Aug 05, 2012 rated it liked it
A quick read of very short (250 word) stories by a variety of writers. Some were superb, others just left me baffled. I'm sure it isn't easy to tell a whole story in so few words.

They take so little time to read that you end up reading a lot of them in a sitting, and then you don't remember any of them.
Apr 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Some stories were good, some were bad. I didn't take much of it with me.
Dec 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I struggle with writing short stories (though, one could argue, that if I actually maintained some kind of almost daily writing practice I could feel more comfortable with the form). I have always found it so much easier (and wholly satisfying) to write short snapshots. I was therefore really excited when I found this collection of "really short stories" at a used book sale. I guess as with any collection of writing by a variety of writers, some of these stories were punches in the gut and some. ...more
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: i would not recommend this 2 my roommate
Recommended to Zan by: former roommate's unread syllabus
confession: i've been cheating

context: i am 5 books behind schedule, according to goodreads' 2015 reading challenge. the metric tracks how many books you shoulda completed to keep pace with this year's goal, and, more specifically, how hilariously overconfident the particular user was feeling re: misanthropy and general book reading ability circa early jan. (this works out well for me because my annual new year's resolution is to reject humanity and hide in the comfort of cold, sterile words).
Jimmy Clifford
I enjoyed reading this book because it was a good quick read. It was full of many short stories. I recommend this book to someone who is interested in short facts and stories or someone who is looking for a short book. Some of the stories within this book were boring but others were exciting.
Ursula Villarreal-Moura
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: flash
This is solid collection containing too many terrific stories to list individually. The stronger stories seared themselves into my memory for days while the weaker ones were a jumble of ill-fitting sentences. I definitely plan to revisit this anthology as there's much to learn within its pages.

Memorable/Exquisite Stories:

--This is How I Remember It by Betsy Kemper

--Carpathia by Jesse Lee Kercheval

--Confirmation Names by Mariette Lippo

--A Gentleman's C by Padgett Powell

--The New Year by Pamela P
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Micro-fiction has always signified the ability to distill understanding and emotion, and how we communicate those things, down to as little language as possible. It's an exercise many writers indulge in--stories under 500 words, and in this case 250 words (a single printed page)--but to see it taken seriously and done exceptionally well, as more than just an exercise, is eye-opening. This collection accounts for a number of exceptional short shorts, employing a variety of narrative strategies. T ...more
Justin Ahlquist
Apr 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book because the book didn't consist of a story that drags on for 200 or more pages and the stories in it are thought provoking and suspenseful. My favorite short story within the novel was "Daydream" by Roberta Allen because again i relate directly to the plot of the story, and i love the idea of family bonding because not enough of it happens anymore. I reccomend this book to anyone who enjoys short stories that leave you thinking and almost always end on a cliff hanger where yo ...more
Cyndie Todd
Oct 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: short attention spans
I don't know if this book is still in print or not, but it's a great little book to keep around, either in a guest room, in the bathroom, or just handy for a quick story. The stories are extremely short - none taking up more than two pages of an undersized book - yet they really pack a lot of meaning "between the lines." High appeal for the 140 character writer.
May 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
There are a few really great stories in here, but most of them are so-so.
Corey Wozniak
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
It was okay.

Lots of crap stories that didn't make any sense. Others were genuinely amusing or even surprising. I'll be using this title in my HS writing workshop to teach fiction writing.
james wells
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is specifically about "Mockinbird" by Laurie Berry, not the book itself.

The only reason this story did not get 1 star is because no children were murdered during the reading of the tale. This story is awful. 15 more words could make this story great, but this guy who won a sack of oranges decided that 15 more words was just too much work. Only reason I suffered through this is because it was part of a book on writing. I am seriously questioning the wisdom of including this story in "Writing
Emily Dybdahl
So I'm not really sure how I feel about "short short stories". To me, the traditional short story is the perfect length where you get an entire scene, well-developed, and that's it. Then your imagination fills in the rest and it's great. This collection of micro-fiction felt like glancing through a window into about 30 seconds worth of scene, then fast-walking to the next window, for 50 windows in 25 minutes. That's a lot of scenes and while it's interesting, you don't get much as far as informa ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I learned about this book from a teacher on Twitter. The concept of flash fiction is not new to me, but I was eager to read more. This is a rather old book at this point, but there are still some solid stories in it. I found myself just reading a handful and putting the book down. I did not read it in one sitting, although that would have been easy to do.

Kennedy in the Barrio
Diverging Paths and All That
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it
This was required reading for a writing course, and became a valued resource to look at how writers craft words, and create worlds in less than 300 words. Some were silly, and a few were odd. "Grief" remains one of my favorites.
May 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Sometimes I really enjoy microfiction, and sometimes it tries to hard. This collection was not my favorite.
Rosemary Royston
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding collection of micro fiction. Will be re-reading.
Gabrielle Carolina
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read for class.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it
A quick collection of micro fiction. I am prepping a micro fiction unit for next year :) it’s also good inspiration for writing.
For readers like me who prefer longer stories and novels, this one can feel a little difficult to latch onto. The "stories" are made up of not so much narratives as brief moments (which of course have tiny little stories of their own). Ironically, despite their brevity they really require quite a bit more attention than the huge panorama of a novel, where you can miss some pieces while still comprehending the whole. These require significantly more effort to appreciate, and they tend to run toge ...more
Tenley Nadine
Apr 07, 2016 rated it liked it
This was basically my first experience reading micro fiction, and I have to say while I enjoyed it, some of the stories left me wanting. Don't get me wrong, many of them were beautifully crafted, almost poetic in their form. But others of them were a little dry and mundane - I almost felt they could be better stories in a longer format.

Essentially I learned that micro fiction is an art form that takes practice and precision to nail. Not every story works in the genre, but if you find one that d
Gabe Prepetit
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Before reading this book I didn't really know what a micro fiction was, judging by its name I assumed it would be a short fiction story. This book did have short stories, 2 pages at most and surprisingly the authors were able to put a whole lot of context into 2 pages. Even though half of the stories ended in cliffhangers and left me wishing it had 2 extra pages to find out what happened. Micro fictions are fun to read because they're not time consuming at all and if you don't entirely like the ...more
Sep 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Despite the shared last name, there's no relation with the editor.

This book is the best bathroom book ever, but I don't mean that in any belittling way at all. Something like 60 short stories, all under 250 words. Word count restriction fostered beautifully precise language, and amazingly complex stories/settings can be created in sparse (verbal) brush strokes. You can be transported and back in 2 minutes.
Nov 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, collection
All of the stories in this collection are 300-words or less, which makes this a great resource for teachers of creative writing. As with most anthologies, I loved some stories more than others. Many of them were overly abstract for my taste. But the book is well worth the small investment it requires (in terms of both time and coin).
Jan 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book! Every time I read a book like this, there are lots of flash/micro fiction stories that I saw in prose poems anthologies, which is fine by me. Prose poems/micro fiction, call it whatever you want, I really like the form, either way.

I have read a bunch of these before, but it was still nice reading them again.
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Jerome Stern (1938 (?) - 1996) was the head of the Creative Writing program at Florida State University and taught writing workshops and classes on popular culture.

While at FSU he created the "World's Best Short Short Story Contest" and edited the book Micro Fiction: An Anthology of Fifty Really Short Stories. His other books include Making Shapely Fiction (1990), Florida Dreams (1993), and Radios