Extra Credit: Microfiction Revision

For this Microfiction writing option, the idea is to take a 100-word story you have already written (here's the Microfiction writing option), and then polish your 100-word story up to make it even better! 

Since 100-word stories are so short, the revising process is much more focused than for longer stories. For this Microfiction Revision post, you can include both versions of the story: start by pasting in your existing story, and then copy it again and start editing. That way people can see the "before" and "after" versions, and they can comment specifically on your revision process.

Below are some specific suggestions on how to go about editing microfiction:

1. MAKE ROOM. The best way to start is to remove all the words you can. Some tips:
* use contractions: this is the easiest way to make room! 
* look for every passive verb and see if you can change to active
* look for every use of the word "to be" and see if you can rephrase (this will help you weed out phrases like "There was..." etc.)
* look at every conjunction (and, but, or, that, which, etc.) and see if you can remove or rephrase
* inspect every adverb: do you really need it?
* replace wordy phrases (e.g. replace "be able to" with "can" etc.; more wordy phrases)
* replace indirect speech (he said that... she thought that...) with direct speech
* when you have direct speech, see if you can remove dialogue tags (he said, she said, etc.) or replace the tags with action beats (more on tags and beats)

When you are done, do another word count to see how much room you have created to play with.

2. CHECK PARAGRAPHS. Before you start adding new material, go through and make sure you have good paragraph breaks. It may seem a little strange, but one-sentence paragraphs are very common in microfiction. Try to use the paragraph breaks to provide a kind of nonverbal punctuation to pace the story and build/resolve tension. You might play with the punctuation too, using creative punctuation like dashes — and ellipses ... etc.

3. ZOOM IN. Now that you have your paragraphs, figure out which paragraph needs work. Add a really vivid detail, or add a few words of direct speech, or maybe a sound effect. Replace abstract or generic words with something more vivid and specific. Over time, you will discover some strategies and storytelling tricks that work well for you.

4. ARTFUL REPETITION. Is there a key word or phrase that you can repeat in the story for effect? Sometimes just a tiny bit of repetition can make a big impression on your reader, providing a memorable takeaway that encapsulates the story in just a word or phrase.

5. THE TITLE. The title does not get included in your word count, and it can be a powerful part of the story. Use the title to set the mood and guide your reader in the right direction... or you can use the title for ironic misdirection if you want to try that strategy instead.

And... repeat as needed! You can edit the story down again, carve out a little more room, elaborate, edit down, etc. until the story feels nicely polished.


Blog Post. For your blog post, use "Microfiction, Week ##" for the post labels (based on whatever week it is), and include "Week ## Microfiction Revision" somewhere in the blog post title. Your post should contain the "before" and "after" versions of your story, along with a note with your thoughts about the revision process. Include bibliography as needed (that would be the same from your original post), and you can use the same image as before, or maybe a different one this time.

I'll assume that you want comments back, but if for some reason you do NOT want me to put your story in the randomizer for comments, just send me a quick email to let me know.

Here's the Declaration you will complete:

TITLE: I used the word "Microfiction Revision" in the blog post title.
LABELS: I used the label "Microfiction" plus the week's label.
(Microfiction, Week ## separated by a comma)
NOTE: I included a note about the revision process.
LENGTH. The "before" and "after" versions of the story are 100 words long.
IMAGE. I included at least one image with image information (caption and link).
BIBLIOGRAPHY. I included bibliography for any story sources I used (if any; there may or may not be bibliography needed).


~ ~ ~

Here's the anthology students made last Fall:




1 comment:

Due to a recent spam outbreak, I've had to switch to moderated comments for now.