ITP – Collective Storytelling – Hint Fiction

Week 1: The Story

Rounding a Corner

All things considered, this was progress. A loss was still a loss. But everyone in the stands could tell. At last, their team had fight.

I chose to go with the Hint Fiction format for my Collective Storytelling assignment. This limited me to 25 words or less. Given the other options of a 6-word, 55-word or 400-word story, this format just seemed like the best one to me. The 400-word story examples were too much like normal conversation, without the hook that left me wanting to read more. The 6-word examples really didn’t seem like valid stories, just calculated words. The 55-word stories, neither here nor there.

25 words is a nice length. You need to be concise enough to draw people in quickly, to paint a compelling (but potentially incomplete) picture. Calling it Hint Fiction seems perfect. It leaves readers to their own devices, speculating on how the lingering threads of the story could and should be resolved.

This format seems to be like a good elevator pitch. The comparison to business may seem crass, but it plays on the same human emotion. You need a good enough idea that you can create immediate interest from people who hear these all the time. It has to be something very approachable, something that most people can relate to quickly. The pitch needs to conclude with you referencing but not addressing another idea, showing that you have thought about the next step but are holding back your comments.

I liked the examples from NPR link for this format. It was nice to write fiction, unlike the autobiographical 400-word stories. Perhaps that is simply because I read more nonfiction these days than anything else.

This is my first attempt at writing a 25-word story. I was amazed by how many earlier versions of it were 26 words. Getting the ending one word shorter was the biggest challenge. A few rewrites always seemed a bit off or ended me back at 26 words. The shortest I got it was 24 words, but that seemed off too. The final solution had me turning my last sentence into two. I think it works.