The 81-word challenge.

Today I was browsing through the Kindle Store looking for some free books to read when I came across one entitled The Very Best 81 Words So Far: Selected stories from 81words.net. I was curious enough to download it and found myself enjoying the stories contained within. Just as the title suggests, each story has exactly 81 words as part of an ongoing challenge to write an effective story despite the limited word count. I didn’t even think it was possible to write a good story in just 81 words, but the authors of the stories featured in the book have succeeded in crafting stories that take less than a minute to read but still pack a mean punch with unexpected plot twists and surprise endings.

When I finished reading the book, I was so inspired that I signed up for an account at 81words and plan on submitting some of my own stories there. I believe that I too can create my own 81-word masterpieces and am certainly going to give it a try.

UPDATE: Well, that didn’t take long. I just submitted my first 81-word story and will see how well it ranks with the readers. I reprint the story here.

“What’s going on?” I asked as I entered the bedroom to see my roommate frantically typing at the computer.
“I’m trying to submit a story to 81words, but I can’t type that fast!”
“What do you mean?”
“I can’t type at 81 words a minute!”
“No, no, your story only needs to have 81 words, regardless of how fast you type.”
After an awkward silence, he sighed in relief and slowly sat back in his chair.
“Okay,” he said. “That’s doable.”

More 81-word creations to come.

UPDATE: This book is no longer free and now costs 99 cents to download, which is still a bargain considering the literary inspiration it contains. I’m surprised they didn’t change the price tag to 81 cents.

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