Editors Blog

The Shortest Short Story Contest (Free w/Prizes)

Over the coming month thousands of writers (including you, perhaps?) will take a stab at knocking out 50,000 words in just 30 days for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). But before the marathon hits, we wanted to do a short race—a super short race—and give you an opportunity to write The Shortest Short Story you can write. In fact, we’ll give away a prize to the best one. Here’s how it works:

Write a story in 132 characters (or fewer) and post to Twitter with the hashtag #SSStory (the hashtag is where those final 8 characters go) so we can track it.


Write a story in 140 characters and post it to this blog (bonus of posting to the blog is you get an extra 8 characters! — But I will count to make sure you stay within the character count).

Post your Shortest Short Story by 10/31/12 at noon Eastern time to be eligible for a prize. The Writer’s Digest editors will then read them all and pick our favorite, naming it The Shortest Short Story Winner of 2012! And the winner will get a free copy of Novel Writing, our 128-page guide on writing a novel. Check it out here.

ALSO AS A BONUS: If more than 300 people participate (either on Twitter with the hashtag #SSStory or by commenting on this blog or by tweeting the tweet below), I will unlock an Easter Egg download for everyone to enjoy.

Enter @WritersDigest Shortest Short Story Contest Today – http://bit.ly/Tq5lhl (It’s free & there are prizes!) #SSStory


P.S. – NaNoWriMo Help Is Here!

In honor of NaNoWriMo (and in celebration of the completion of our first ever Shortest Short Story Contest), I’m going to be offering free content every weekday in November to help all NaNoWriMo participants (and, really, anyone who is working on a novel) to make progress on their work. Each week will cover a different theme which include:

Nov 1-2: Creativity / Idea Generation
Nov 5-9: Story Structure / Plotting
Nov 12-16: Character
Nov 19-23: Inspiration
Nov: 26-30: Endings / Revision

So check back daily starting November 1! We’ll be giving away a lot of good stuff, so don’t miss it.


Follow me on Twitter: @BrianKlems
Enjoy funny parenting blogs? Then you’ll love: The Life Of Dad
Sign up for my free weekly eNewsletter: WD Newsletter

You might also like:

237 thoughts on “The Shortest Short Story Contest (Free w/Prizes)

  1. midnight writer

    Ira knew it was irrational as he stood his hand pressed against hers, the window between them. His wife always accused him of being a realist; he winced at the irony.

  2. midnight writer

    He let loose his pain, the words boxing her ears. He now knew about the affair so something would change. In the silence, she ached for the moment that had passed by them.

  3. Cathy

    Dan married Ann. Then he met Pam. He couldn’t marry Pam. He built a shrine in his mind. Pam married Bob. Bob beat Pam. Dan killed Bob. Now Dan lives large in Panama.

  4. rose012082

    Tammy gazed in the wolf’s eyes not feeling fear but something familiar. He looked back at her longing for the day he can tell her the truth about her best friend, the wolf.

  5. mscelice

    He falls asleep; my stolen dna on him. I nudge him but he never moves, so I do. One of us will die tonight, but it’s not me. This gun was full of bullets, and now, so is he.

  6. KarenInSacramento

    We walk through the rustle of fiery leaves by Linden Pond, past that iron bench where we met. We were so young then, so sure our futures would be amazing. Janice still dreamed of painting every aspect of the sky, and I was halfway through a doctoral thesis of unparalleled brilliance.

    Our youth and our love made us brazen.

    Later, struggling to pay off student loans with Janice’s earnings as a graphic artist, we grew bitter and weary. The atmosphere in our apartment was cold as Siberian tundra, our conversations nothing more than cascading accusations.

    We divorced a year ago, strangers until today. Janice’s mother died; I am the passing approximation of a friend.

    We began here once, not knowing our future was merely a fable. But as I steady Janice along, I realize our story isn’t over yet.

  7. Originality

    Violins played, guests stood to honor the bride and groom. As he walked past me, the groom mouthed, “You were my first choice.”

    My entry. Hope it counts.

  8. mscelice

    He falls asleep; my stolen dna on him. I nudge him but he never moves, so I do. One of us will die now, but it’s not me. The gun’s full of bullets. Cock, aim, and now so is he.

  9. jbzeidler

    I forget why I came here. It wasn’t to see you. But since you’re here, I miss you. And I’m going to regret saying that later. I think I’ll go now. Say hi to your wife for me.

  10. nikosgrl4

    Tensely standing on the precipice, Richard looked down into the murky waters. Closing his eyes, he inhaled allowing the rush of wind to take him to his new destination.

  11. mwaddle


    Wind ripped out the oak, reveled roots, mud and human bones. She smirked, her secretes untold, her story now so old, that even when uprooted, she got away with it.

  12. Austen

    Five years ago I vowed to love him until death parts us. Four months ago he left. Three days ago I had his son. Two hours ago I saw his grave. One minute ago I knew death won’t part us.

  13. JennD_18

    His slim, green body waved in the wind. Many left for a better life. His body tore. He twirled in free air. Oranges, purples swirled around him. It’s not always greener.

  14. IULIAN

    This was mine up on Twitter:
    Go east, go west, I’m not your damn driver, he said pointing a gun at me. So, I blinked and he vanished. Being a wizard kicks ass. #SSStory

    PS: Thanks for the upcoming NaNoWriMo help, but it would’ve been even better if done during October :) :)


  15. JennD_18

    Pancakes, potatoes, and egg covered the table. The food fight didn’t spare the woman and her two daughters. But they were smiling. And they left with hands held tight.

  16. ode2joy

    I’m sitting on the side of the road,waiting and wondering how they forgot me. Is that “my car.” No, it can’t be, they are passing me by. What did I do wrong?

  17. BrynnaW

    The Pianist

    His fingers glide over the keys. His face is calm as he carefully listens to the instruments fine tune. The notes on the white paper become reality. It fills the air with a different feeling to every heart. The pace speeds up, his fingers move rapidly and yet, even more graceful. His heart combines with the tune and races along with the pace. The notes begin to playfully bounce off the paper. The fingers slow and delicately press each key. His heart is light, his fingers stop, he stands up and leaves his bench without a bow. Yet, it still lingers throughout the room, in every heart.

  18. DMelde

    He showed the truth to Domen’s eyes who with rage and hate replied ‘You Lie!’ Now Domen hunts the boy of dreams throughout the world of make-believe

  19. wordstung

    I wanted to see the world. Zero budget. Decision: Rob bank, take first flight out. Keep going. Now I am in a small room – definitely not on my bucket list. World passing by.

  20. Kate

    Red gas swirls, tremors shake the room. I’m going to die. The door bursts open.
    “Dinner’s ready. Turn off that lame lava lamp,” my mom says.

    By Kate Staron
    140 characters

  21. lovescoffee87

    I walked with the trick or treaters but no one saw me. Halloween was the only day I could assume spirit form to return to my family. I followed my son with dry spirit tears.

  22. nicolaa

    Here’s my story
    At Whatever Cost

    She grew up in a place where dreams died young. Determined to win she gave blood, but it was neither hers to give nor take.


  23. Haypher

    My wife handed me the baby & left to get the bottle. Our 5 yr old looked at me and said, “Daddy. You can’t feed the baby. Your nipples don’t have broth in them!”

  24. beavis

    Today the streets are flooded with ghosts, witches, and pirates, their bags of booty in tow, smiling. Tomorrow is another day, and frowns grow from upset bellies, the smiles have moved on to the mouths of dentists.

    1. beavis

      Too many characters, sorry, try this one instead:

      Today streets flood with witches and pirates, bags of booty in tow, smiling. Tomorrow frowns grow from upset bellies, the smiles have moved to the mouths of dentists.

  25. KellieLThurman@gmail.com

    Drunk, I stumbled into the wrong bathroom. I could tell it was the men’s room as soon as my shoes stuck to the linoleum, and the smell of Roadhouse piss slammed into my nose, as I slammed into the wall.
    “For a good time call …”
    flashed before my eyes, as I went reeling around inside the forbidden.
    Realizing my mistake, I turned to leave. Through where I had been, I could see the soft glow of neon lights above the bar beckoning me,
    “come back out, have another …”
    but my spine turned soft, head fell back, and I saw the ceiling spinning around. My foot slid on a puddle of beer (I hoped it was a puddle of beer) and I fell.
    I had stumbled off that forever rolling wagon.
    And my tired, know better heart…stumbled inside me.

  26. lecadeau

    A prayer on his lips and rage in his veins fueled his descent towards the tower. The screams behind him, now almost cheers, as he prepared for his meeting with paradise.

  27. Angela Bonnaire

    “Left alone, sitting inside this deep, dark ditch; wondering how will I get out of here? The last thing I remember is Marty pulling into my house, bringing me a bag of golden crisp cereal,” Anna spoke quietly, looking around, trying to crawl her way through the dark, wet ground. “Oh no,” She whispered. “Someone’s coming,” Anna laid low with sweat dripping from her face. “I hear footsteps… There coming closer. I smell the scent of burning wood; it’s getting hotter,” she whispered. As the sound of chiseling leaves became closer, Anna started to sweat more. (Coughing, coughing) she looked up and screamed loudly. Falling to the ground she began to pray, “Father god, please deliver me… deliver me, deliver me,” she repeated over and over again. All of sudden she found herself in the middle of her bed laughing.

  28. lecadeau

    “He’s the best thing we ever did.” she sighed to her husband. It felt wrong leaving their son alone in his dorm room. Just as alone as she was…heading home with a stranger.

  29. donunes

    He was underneath, thinking he should use magic to discover the reason of his marriage’s end. He went to Google. There he got the answer: Never is suddenly

  30. naureen

    Day After
    The un-slept half of the bed- un-creased, cold- will be easier to tidy. She thought. When life enters a pause mode mode…it has to be lived moment by moment, in the making of the bed and the tea.

  31. Pedalpusher

    Stella rolled wildly across the hotel bed to answer the phone. “I’ve been waiting for your call,” she said.

    “You have?” said her husband, Jeb.

  32. Masha93

    I was alone.
    He slipped thru a door.
    I followed.
    He ran down dim halls.
    Where was he?
    I lost sight of him.
    Was I trapped?
    I tried to pull free.
    Spiderwebs held me.
    He laughed.

  33. Myra

    Whoosh across the roof. Wings. Massive. Puppy scurries, panicked by midnight flight.
    Whoosh; more massive wings. Pinions clash. Puppy quivers at chimney. Jump!
    “Pup! You are dusted in soot. Blood!”
    Above, lifeless talons; raptor down.
    Eagle soars. Refuge found.

  34. SimoneRobinson

    Amber liquid burns my throat, wind kissing my hair. He turns to me, at the edge. He’s still breathing, “Maybe, it’s just like flying.” I drop my glass.

  35. TheOneMillian

    He had awakened in a different time to the same day, or worse to the same he he had been before his he now. Frightened, he left himself so a better he could be himself better.

  36. Yvonne Vallee

    I cried as I held you for the first time.

    There was no going back; I didn’t want to. Our eyes met and I realized your life was in my novice grasp.

    And my heart was in yours.

  37. chrystya777

    A storm is coming, debris washes ashore, trampling the lives of those that survive. Shadowy figures stumble upon the beach, heading towards the masses, smelling life. Surprise surrounds the town as they realize what is about to unfold. We hear the screams and the biting, carnage on every corner transpires. Those not dying, flee, escape quickly and destroy what is in front, what they behold, told to trample all that stands in front of them, to burn anything that does not move. Alternately, fear ignites action among the hordes, all within sight, stumbling, but not falling, they are seeking refuge, but falling short, not able to keep life as it was, they look ahead, sadly. Escaping is foremost on their mind, ignoring the screams, death calls, they are running haphazardly, time grows short, future unknown.

  38. Frelisa


    Put The Money In The Bag And Stay Calm.

    After reading the deposit slip, the shaken teller grabbed the brown sack from the robber. Then she shoved two bundles of money into it. She kept the image of the white wigged male with rouge and thick red lipstick in her mind. His orange colored dress forced her eyes to blink. The thief pulled the bag towards him. He hurried towards the door.

    “He robbed me,” the teller yelled.

    The security guard socked the robber in the face, snapping his wig off. Before the robber fled, he blasted two bullets into the guard. Customers dropped to the floor.

  39. avfang

    I can feel myself drowning in an unfathomable sensation as I, leaning over the balcony, watched her fall contently to her death, her kiss still lingering on my lips.

  40. ap63

    Red said he didn’t want my mule. Mule wouldn’t ford the river. He bought a bay horse. Horse lost his footing in the current and Red hit his head. I still have my mule.

  41. debraerfert


    Something’s wrong. Stop! Another click. I can’t breathe. Help me! I’m not dead. I can’t be. Please . . .

    “Doctor! Turn the respirator back on. Sarah’s crying!”

  42. sean miron

    He walks up the boarding ramp to the ship, both dressed and ready for departure.

    His heart is hanging heavily, knowing she’s finally in there somewhere.

    His feet are far away, walking on water to the past.

    A muddled mind haunts him, still human; with feet steady to the beat of the waves lapping up the dock, he smiled; the last man on Earth, stepping off of the shore to an Arc; across depths of deceit, dark with the memory of lost love.

    Crossing the threshold he sees her floating down the stairwell to meet him, a ghost.

    They embrace, willing the years away; squeezing away the last salty tears.

    They kiss silently, the energy between them speaking a language of its own.

    The gate draws behind them as the boat sinks to the ocean floor, finally seizing their souls.

  43. titamibo

    Hot pink bounces hip to hip, shameless but for a passing boy. Old, blurry eyes shadowing her young curves go unnoticed. Out of the game, he sets fire to the stands.

  44. ryter222

    They buried his highly-insured fingers yesterday. Cold ivory ached for his touch. Bare mahogany missed his martini water stain. McLean was right. Music can die indeed.

  45. rustydude

    Boots on wood, squeak in door
    Clasped buckle, chaps on floor
    Kind woman, cold air
    Lurking shadow, up the stair
    Rifles fired, smoke blurred
    Still standing, love spurred

  46. sara

    “Ran away with the circus?” Gus puffed his cigar.
    “What else can I do? I gotta face of an angel, and the body of-”
    “A horse.” Gus patted her rump. She swished her tail.

    by Sara Jacobelli
    135 characters

  47. DanieleB

    “105 birthdays. I wonder if I’ll have another?”
    “I guess that’s up to you and God.”
    She pretends not to understand. She’s not ready yet. I am.

  48. headrotguitar

    Spent too many nights here, anyway. Mind that train goin’ by, drown ‘til I can’t no more. That’s how it happened; I never heard her comin’.

  49. angipanties

    I am the other woman, but I know he loves me. He is making his decision today. He said he would call so why do I keep looking out the window? The phone is ringing. Yes, it’s me!

  50. Mizzpr53

    The birds paused their singing, the rivers ceased to flow, the Earth tilted and then collapsed, trapping us in infinite sorrow and we could not breathe and…

  51. bjfrye88

    The desk shudders beneath me, its legs groaning a mahogany plea. Stop. Don’t break me. I want to cry the same but he warned before: this is the price. His pleasure for my A.

  52. ddtw224

    “Think I’ll die?” Pa said.
    I pressed my hand on the wound. He smiled.
    “Ironic, huh?” he said.
    The gun was mine.
    “I love you.”

  53. abishop83

    She covered me with a warm blanket and kissed me on the lips. I was happy that it was only a nightmare and the love of my life was still here with me and eager to become my wife.

  54. Lisa

    I walked on the sand with my head down, carefully stepping through the path of the thick sea grape hedge toward the beach. It was so hard not to look up as I heard the sound of the waves crashing on the shoreline, but this is a tradition that Nonna started with me as a little girl.
    When I finally look up I see the most glorious image — the sea. The water is emerald green against the powdery white sand and I can’t wait to stick my feet in.
    As I wipe the tears off my cheeks I whisper into the salty sea breeze, “one day, when he is caught and I no longer have to run . . . this will be home.”

  55. yrobles

    What I thought was only a dream, was now my truth. The only life I knew was someone else’s fantasy. I live in someone’s dream. They wake up, but I live on.

  56. viii-ii-xciv

    Whilst contemplating his decision, mentally taking note of each individual he had come in contact with, his mind relapsed, to a person that continued to sit idly in the back of his head. He had made his decision, and now the attempt at pursuing such a person would be rather difficult…yet he didn’t mind. Had they rejected him, he would dismiss the request entirely and slither away into hiding where he sought comfort.

    With a note prepared, discreetly handwritten and folded neatly, patiently sitting in his denim pocket, he would start on the trail that would eventually lead him to his designation.

  57. MNappi

    My mind danced like a pagan under a full moon to the music of her words. Leaping over the edge I fell hard into her almond eyes, captured by her warm free spirit.

  58. m@rina

    -“Are you waiting for me?”, I asked my 5 o’clock appointment.
    – I don’t know. Am I?
    30 years, 2 children and 5 grandchildren later, it turns out he was waiting for me.

  59. rawserocks

    He said”Tell me you’l consider me for next life,I’l die now.Say you’l accept me,I’l arise even from grave.”
    He’s dead & spirit now.

  60. Heart2Heart

    Without hesitation she defined success as being born in love, living each day simply loving others, dying having been loved by others, and returning to God who has loved you always.

  61. idealist432

    Her son cried, “He said I caused the hurricane!” The mother responded, “The cosmos is not howling because of your love. Lack of compassion has made it come undone.”

  62. Olaburg

    A gunshot. A tear. Blood. Dragged by the feet, thrown in a box, in a hole. The last shovel blade of dirt. Moonlight winks out. Frantic clawing. Faraway sirens. Am I saved?

  63. photoquilter

    “What’s this?” asked Mom. “You never said we couldn’t make S’mores! “cried the kids. Mom sighed and added to the ever-growing list “no campfires allowed indoors.”

  64. midnight writer

    She squinted to identify what pierced her heel. Her laugh, alien since her diagnosis, returned. She called out to the unwanted dog whose tooth it was, “I’m alive!”

  65. zxt

    I have known true love, experienced it once, continuously. True love comes from the nudge of a wet nose, the warmth of a rough pink tongue, or the swish of a floppy tail.

  66. suesekar

    They each grabbed a spoon, hoping to find the coin in Aunt Sadie’s cake. They didn’t know this time she had added a special ingredient and they would all end up dead.

  67. DStrout

    One winter, Pig made fun of Sheep’s coat.Sheep felt different and cried.The next day was Christmas.Sheep felt warm.Pig was dinner.You are what you are for a reason.

  68. kovacsc2

    Shattered glass hit the floor as he slammed the door. I flung the diamond on my finger into the sparkling chaos. One I love you, surrounded by a thousand good byes.

  69. Carole Caprice

    30 years went full circle. He said the music had a new sheen, though it was there the whole time – its only need was to be heard by an ear that could already see its glare.

  70. Carole Caprice

    Short? Who U callin short?! U sayin I’m short on cash – I shortchanged ya – I got a short temper? & who R these 140 characters? A 4 ft. basketball player? a short-order cook?

  71. JWLaviguer

    We carried that flag into every battle, and we had all made it out. The rest are gone now, leaving me to protect it. They’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands.

  72. daniellejet

    How did I get here? I don’t belong. I’m not this bad, I want to live. Wait, she’s frustrated like me. He’s grieving a loss like me. They understand me. I’ll be home soon.

  73. amarocco


    Frankly, I don’t like you. I really never have. The ring was beautiful. Sadly, it was not alluring or convincing enough for me to share your “once upon a time”.

  74. lbh100

    He covered my eyes with a worn bandana before he killed me, but I recognized the roughness of his hands, my husband’s factory calloused hands, wrapped around my neck.