Sunday, May 22, 2011

55 Word Challenge

55 Word Challenge
by Lisa McCourt Hollar
Have you ever tried to write a story in 55 words or less?  This kind of writing is a form of microfiction and is, in my opinion, quite a challenge.  I have attempted 55 word fiction a few times in my life.  It is a challenge to put all the elements that a story requires into such a small format. It is however fun!

So I am issuing a challenge this Sunday morning. Write a 55 word story and post it in the comment section below. I am hoping to run this every week as a Sunday Shorts competition. I cannot afford to give an award, but I will give the winner one of my e-books, winners choice.
I will pick the winner this week. If anyone is interested in guest judging in the next contest let me know!

Below are examples of 55 word fiction I have written in the past. I hope you enjoy them and add your own to the comment section below.


Eyes gleaming, Bob told the telemarketer just what he thought of her, throwing in a few choice names for good measure. Later that night Bob’s phone rang busy, the cord tied around his neck.
The lesson learned? Be careful what you say to a telemarketer. If she has your phone number, she has your address.


Tommy’s New Toy

Spiraling upward, towards the sun, the swallow rejoiced in the beautiful spring day. Diving towards his nest, he playfully teased his mate. Spreading his wings, he glides above the earth singing songs of love. It is wonderful to be alive.

The calm of the morning was shattered by the sound of Tommy’s new b.b. gun.


The Cliff

Sabrina hung to the edge of the cliff, fingers aching. She tried clawing her way to the precipice from which she’d toppled, but the jagged overhang dug into her fingers. She was sure she would lose her grip, falling to the terrain below.

“For the last time, go to bed!”

Closing her book, Sabrina sighed.



The zombie held up his hands, warding off the diving vultures. The scavengers were not accustomed to their prey walking around; usually the dead just lay, waiting to be consumed. Rotting meat was rotting meat however and vultures weren’t known for being picky. Soon it became fashionable for the living to keep vultures as pets. 

Copyright © 2011 Lisa McCourt Hollar. All rights reserved


  1. Love the idea! I have never written anything that short before. Lol. I'll be back later with an entry! Why not let the winner guest judge next week?


  2. This was super hard! Here's my best effort:

    The Ghost

    The hairs on the back of John’s neck stood up. Psychic, he knew how his body reacted before he saw a ghost.

    He glanced around the room. Someone near the casket noticed him.

    “John?” she said, fainting. Was that his sister? John stared in confusion. Speechless, he glanced in the coffin. His body lay inside.


  3. I like that idea! So the winner can be next weeks judge!

  4. Casualties of War

    There was a muffled crump followed by a tremendous gout of flame and a deafening roar. Dave’s mind screamed out IED even as the frame of the HMMWV disintegrated sending hot, jagged shards of metal through him. So much for 17 days and a wake up to home he thought as Death took him.

  5. Zombie Kids At Play
    Armand Rosamilia

    Ruth stared at the bite mark.
    “I’m sorry mommy. I just wanted to play with the little boy.”
    “Don’t worry, honey.” Ruth put a hand on her daughter’s warm head.
    “He was nice until he bit me.”
    She would turn into one of them soon.
    Ruth lifted her daughter’s pillow, cried, and covered her face.

    *That was awesome! What a tough prompt... I'll have to try this every week with you...*

  6. A Scratch at the Window (51 words)
    by L.M. Stull

    A scratch at the window. I stumbled out of bed. The alarm clock read 3:26AM. A flicker of light danced in the distance. A shadow blurred past. Breath against the window. A hand around my throat. I awoke. A nightmare? The clock read 3:26AM. There was a scratch at the window.

  7. Lisa: I especially enjoyed your first two.
    Armand: Fancy meeting you hear, good work!

    Oh yeah the prompt um let's see:

    Wakefield Mahon

    She only screamed until he situated the pillow properly. After that, she only struggled for a moment. He would never have to listen to her whine or complain again. It was over.

    Janice bellowed, "John, stop your lazy daydreaming and finish mowing the damned yard!"

    John cowered to the sound of her voice, "Yes Dear!"

  8. Forgotten
    by Elise VanCise

    The old shed stood amongst the wild growth. The paint worn, siding rusted with time telling the world it has been forgotten. What secrets are inside these simple four walls? Old tools, holiday decorations, toys now outgrown or boxes of memories. Or perhaps secrets better left forgotten.

  9. Threshold

    A castle rested upon the sand and an old man stared at it. His finger quivered as it waited, as the sun passed and the tide swung about.

    He poked the sand, and the castle collapsed.

    Far away, in a land he had known, a tower crumbled. The lord and lady died in the rubble.

  10. The Letter
    by Andy Mascola

    I found the letter in her glove compartment. It confirmed everything I'd already suspected. I crossed my arms and waited. She got in, smiled and started the car. I grinned exposing my teeth. Then her eyes fell to the envelope in my lap. Before she could open her mouth to scream, my hand covered it.

  11. (55 words, not including title)

    The Rape of the Lock

    He held it in his palm. It was his—this prize. A tiny, unique, hand-wrought Scandinavian metal that made him sweat. The curving shackle begged to be released from the recesses of the mechanism. Inside the was a clot of rusted resistance, but that didn't matter. He thrust the key inside, forcing the tumblers to obey.

  12. Okay I guess two submissions is cheating. I just wanted to Lighten the mood.

    Waiting for her Date
    by Wakefield Mahon

    "Why was he always late? And after he made this big deal about how I should get dressed up tonight!" Kara got up and bumped into a violin player. "Sorry" She turned into the maitre d holding a bottle of champagne. Flustered, she sat back down.
    James knelt by Kara's chair "Will you marry me?"

  13. Something much lighter (55 words exactly, not counting title:


    Jerry gave the ice cream cone, a swirl of white vanilla, a quick lick as he walked from the counter.

    “Daddy, I thought you bought that for me!” said the little girl’s voice. She tugged on his sleeve, impatient for the treat.

    His wife hid her face, giggling.

    “Taxes,” he said, and handed the cone over.

  14. No Other Choice
    by Janelle Jensen

    He stared at the body lying before him. Her dead eyes stared accusingly. He dropped to his knees and plunged in. Hot blood wept over his hands and forearms, drenching the ground below. His hands closed around something solid, and he desperately withdrew his prize. Soaked in viscous fluid and shivering, the tiny calf bawled.

  15. There were so many great entries this week! I wish I had thought of this sooner,because I had over 130 view on this page alone yesterday. And so many excelent stories. Picking one has been difficult. So I am choosing two...which is still difficult, but stories with a twist always catch my fancy.

    The winners of the first #55WordChallenge are Spot, (Stacey Turner)with her entry, The Ghost and Janelle Jensen with her entry, No Other Choice. Stacey and Janelle, please let me know which of my e-books you would like to have.

    Both are eligible to be judges in next weeks contest. Notify me if you are not interested, but if you are, I will discuss with you how we will decide the winner between 2 judges.

    Thank you ev everyone and I am really looking forward to next weeks contest!

  16. This was an awesome idea! The entries were so good - I have no idea how you managed to choose even two!

    I hope I remember it next week!

  17. Yippee! Thanks Jezri! I haven't bought "Carnival" yet so I would really like that one. I would love to co-judge next week!



    From the bowels of the earth they slithered, profane indictments from forked tongues filled the air.

    They're outside, waiting. Everyone else fled except me. They're dead now. Jenny too. I know this.

    Her bouquet rests in my lap. I'm still wearing my bow tie and tails.

    At least I won't have to pay the caterers.

  19. Thank you Joseph! It is a wee bit late for this weeks contest, but check back on Sunday for the next one!

  20. Two excellent choices. Congrats ladies!