2021 Writing Exercise Series #187 Micro 101 Episode 14

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

Micro 101 Episode 14

For today's writing exercise you will write a few micro-poems or micro-fictions. These will be either poems under 20 lines or stories under 200 words.

For inspiration go read some micro or hint fiction in this Buzzfeed article, at Microfiction MondayAlbaMolecule50 Word Stories and Nanoism. Or also this Barnstorm blog post "How Microfiction Could Transform Social Media".

Read the full prompt twice before you start writing, because you're looking to keep it minimal, so have ideas. If your first draft is longer don't fret. Hone it down. And the piece will be what it is. I've started out with a goal of 100 words but hit on something and had to cull the end result from 1350 to 1200 for a contest because I loved the result. So each story will be its own beast, but we're ideally aiming for 20 lines or 100-200 words with these.

Micro Exercise 1: Sandwich 1. Tell the story of a sandwich interrupted. Whether this is the eating of the sandwich, or the preparation (or it's prepared and never consumed). Give us the important details of why the sandwich isn't eaten. Is it for a pregnant woman who goes into labor? Does the consumer have a heart attack? Is it not what the person ordered? If it's a mundane reason for not being eaten, give the piece a little gravitas by bringing circumstance to the preparer/eater of the sandwich who is interrupted.
Micro Exercise 2: Sandwich 2. Write a short piece in which a person on 'standing room only' rush hour public transportation is confronted by their fellow humans in a very very close proximity. Try not to punch down, nor romanticize poverty, but give us good details, at least two smells and two textures.
Micro Exercise 3: The Drug Deal. Write a micro piece in which someone buys a pill (prescription or not) from a friend of theirs, in which the seller is very jokey and the purchaser is embarrassed. Don't make it a punchline what the pill is.
Micro Exercise 4: A Bike RideWrite a micro piece in which a narrator goes for a bike ride and the scenery is interspersed with a memory of something which just happened earlier in the day which the bike rider is ashamed of. Include two road/trail signs which later turn out to be either foreboding or have something to do with the rider's regret in some way.
Micro Exercise 5: Sandwich 3. Write a piece in which a someone goes to absurd lengths to get a specific sandwich. Be sure to describe the sandwich and why it's so important.
Micro Exercise 6: A Bike Ride 2. Write a micro piece in which two people go for a very long bike ride and as they get more and more tired their surroundings get more and more surreal. At the end either go full on magical realism or return us to the concrete world that had been slipping away with one good, gritty detail to end on.


If you'd like some background music to write to, try: Inspiring Music for Creatives - Rainy Day Piano.