By Deepa Thomas
Being a Literature student, I’m expected to read A LOT of novels for my classes and I’ve found that having the attention span of a goldfish isn’t helping my mission much. And can we really be blamed? Our generation is so used to bite-sized pieces of information that when a book rants on for pages and pages about insignificant details of a miniscule character, we choke.
Stage Left. Enter Micro-fiction.
What is Micro-Fiction?
Micro-fiction, or Flash-fiction as it’s often called, is a genre of extremely concise fictional works. By ‘extremely concise’, I mean as short as 50 words (drabble) or even just 140 characters (twitterature). The first instance of micro-fiction supposedly dates back to Ernest Hemingway who penned the famous line “For sale: baby shoes, never worn” after he wagered a bet for ten dollars that he could craft an entire story in just six words. With the emergence of Terribly Tiny Tales, The Scribbled Stories and the like, micro-fiction has blossomed into a new form of creative writing.
Now, before you go wagging your finger and shaking your head at “these new generation kids nah”, be warned that writing a 140-character story is no simple feat. In fact, one of the main reasons for its escalating popularity is the multiple layers of meaning to it and the ability to hint at a larger story.
The Contemporary Pioneers
1Terribly Tiny Tales (TTT)
TTT was inspired by the brevity of Twitter, the impact of flash fiction and the social web’s opportunity to easily collaborate. Founded by Anuj Gosalia and Chintan Ruparel in 2013, TTT kicked off as a Facebook page with a team of 12 friends. It now covers all the popular social media platforms with a community of over 12 million readers along with writers from across the globe. It has also grown in terms of writing style and now has a group of Select writers who create tales which are longer than their trademark 140-character pieces.
TTT also collaborates with brands, not merely as a form of brand promotion, but as a platform to write tales based on the messages these brands want to communicate.
2The Scribbled Stories
The founder of The Scribbled Stories, Mohit Kumar, started the page with a few tales of his own in 2015 but soon accepted the 50,000 requests to be featured on the page and opened up the platform to the world. It has a following of 1.8 million on Facebook and is prevalent across other social media platforms as well. Anyone can send original content through their website in the form of microtales (23 words) or snippets/musings (40 words).
The youngest one on this list, 6wordsmith launched its Facebook page in February 2017 by paying tribute to the tale by our beloved Hemingway that started it all. With tales of just 6 words, 6wordsmith is redefining micro-fiction by going back to its roots. The true beauty of minimalism comes to play as we realize how so many tiers of meanings can be conveyed through so few words.
So, if you haven’t experienced micro-fiction yet, check out these pages and fall in love with the beauty of wordplay all over again. Like the great legend once said “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic” (Dumbledore). Also- think more, speak less; you can put minimalism to good use in more than just writing. Peace.
Image Credits: Google Images