A frisson

I’ve been feeling a bit creatively sluggish recently and in need of a new challenge to give me a bit of a kick up the bum. Luckily at exactly the right moment Nicola at Nikki Young Writes drew my attention to a creative writing exercise called “Ten to One”. The idea is to write a piece of micro fiction only fifty-five words long with a first sentence of ten words, a second of nine, a third of eight… and so on down to a final, one word sentence.

It was tricky but here’s what I wrote (NB I decided that hyphenated words count as separate words!):

Their eyes met the moment he walked into the room.
It was a seminar on eighteenth-century Russian architecture.
His striking architecture was far more stimulating though.
Her dropped pen rolled towards his feet.
Passing it back, their hands brushed.
Time stopped for an instant.
And then she remembered.
Affairs with students?
Not allowed.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it at all as I normally like to have room to be more expressive. It was quite a satisfying challenge to overcome and one I recommend as it really makes you think about the impact of your words. It’s interesting to see how you can tell a story in so few! Why not have a go yourself? Feel free to tweet me if you do, I’d love to read some!

Prose for Thought

Nikki Young Writes

24 thoughts on “A frisson

  1. teacuptoria

    Well Maddy! That’s’ left me a bit hot under the collar before work. Such passion in such few words and I love the idea of micro fiction…I might give it a try. Brilliant!

  2. Nicola Young

    This is fab, Maddie. A clever twist at the end too. I’m so impressed you’ve captured all that emotion and feeling in so few words. Clever stuff. Thanks for sharing on #FridayFiction.

  3. Emily Organ

    Very clever, I’m impressed with how well you and Nicola have done this challenge as it looks pretty tricky to me. I’m tempted to have a go now. I like the story you tell here too.

  4. Sophie Lovett

    I love it! I’m really enjoying reading these different examples of the form. It completely works for you in building up that sexual tension, with the final word of resignation being particularly effective x

  5. J.C. Wolfe

    Ooh, I love what you did with this exercise! In your case, the shrinking sentences really build up the sexual tension in the story. The last word was spot on. Nicely done! Glad you enjoyed trying out this exercise! :)

  6. Louise

    What a fun challenge and I loved your story and how the structure really added to the impact of it. Amazing how so few words can be so powerful sometimes.


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