“A ratio of failures is built into the process of writing. The wastebasket has evolved for a reason.”~ Margaret Atwood

You’ve heard of ipod nano, well there also exists nano stories.  Small compact stories that in few words can be considered complete with a beginning, a middle and an end. 

Recently I came across a form of story telling I had never heard about, via a publication called Per Contra  They are looking for submissions for Fifty-fiver stories.  The guidelines are exact.  You write a story using only fifty-five words.  If that’s not enough of a challenge, in a fifty-fiver, the first sentence has to be ten words, the second sentence nine, the third sentence eight then seven… down to one.   

I love challenges, especially ones that make me work on grammar and story structure and I also like to take breaks from long, long stories that some days I wonder if I will ever finish.  So I wrote a fifty-fiver and I made myself submit it. Submitting was the real challenge, the writing was fun.  But, submitting is when you set yourself up for someone saying, thanks but no thanks.  

A few weeks after submitting, I got a very nice, thanks but no thanks letter by email saying they we are sorry they couldn’t use my nano story (no elaboration as to why, because it’s a form letter) but they looked forward to reading more of my work.

Now that I know my fifty-fiver is not going to be published, I can claim sole rights and post it on my blog, knowing my friends won’t reject it. 🙂

Are any of you interested in the challenge of writing a fifty-fiver?  I’d love it, if you would post your fifty-five words in the comment space or better yet, submit your work to Per Contra.

Come on try it!  I did.  I guarantee, no rejections.


                                   No More

My mama didn’t need any more babies, papa disagreed.

He wasn’t around much to notice he had nine.

My sister, Maria remembers mama saying, “No More.”

They say I burnt my mama’s insides.

Her hot blood followed me out.

Her screams, my cry meshed.

Now we are ten.

Maria holds us.

Papa drinks.



Filed under Everyday Inspiration, Quote Inspired Writing

4 responses to ““A ratio of failures is built into the process of writing. The wastebasket has evolved for a reason.”~ Margaret Atwood

  1. If they turned this down, there must have been one awesome story that made it — or maybe they just don’t like blood… ’cause you sure told a story. Congrats, Chris, it really looks like it would be one of the harder challenges.

  2. Rainee

    Hey Chris,

    Your story is very good but so sad…Sometimes we gotta belt out a country western style sad one, eh?
    I am smiling so please don’t take me too seriously, my dear talented friend.
    Your story is so vivid! I wonder what could have won? Don’t you get to see the winners story? Who are the judges anyway?
    I will bow out of this challenge – after seeing yours! Thanks for sharing…

  3. Uncle Bill

    I found this Fifty fiver very provocative. I had a number of reactions which I won’t articulate here as some of your readers might take offense. I think the publishers may have made a mistake by not giving it space but then they may have had a similar reaction.

  4. I love the reactions to ‘No More’, thanks all for responding. Hmm Uncle Bill send me an email, I’m curious what reactions you had. And, Marcia I’m so glad you’ve picked up the challenge. Good luck with your submission to Per Contra. Fifty-fivers are fun to write.

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