Unconditional (MicroFlash)

writer, poet, narrator, artist

Unconditional (MicroFlash)

Bri leaned against the tree–its shade a relief from sunlight.

After the violence his father inflicted on her, would she ever love this child?

Sudden, tingling warmth flowed from under her fingers where they rested on her abdomen. It was too soon for kicking. But he was there.

Her son.


Original image, courtesy of Davey Heuser via Unsplash.com



Well, I wrote another one. A fifty word story, that is. This one didn’t come quite as easily as the previous two. It took me about 6 rounds of editing to prune it down to its current form.

My friends and I have taken to live-editing these stories. We look at them together, comment, tweak, and look for solutions–contemplating the placement of every word with the precision of a surgeon.

A newer version is shared, and we do it all over again, offering alternatives and possible solutions to remove or add that one word that stands between the writer and that elusive word count of exactly fifty.

We encourage each other, root for each other and share in both the birthing pangs and the joy of each and every creation.

They’re a great exercise for any writer. When each and every word is precious, a bite out of your budget, precision suddenly becomes important, and a word will be substituted time and time again, until the writer finds exactly the right nuance he needs to convey his story in the space of a single breath.

Only today, my friend Anike remarked on how a single word can matter so much–change so much, when you only have so few of them to spare. But really, it doesn’t matter how large your allotted budget is. A single word can always make that difference. We just don’t pay as much attention to it.

I guess it’s the difference between a set of fine marten-hair brushes and palette knives, and a paint roller. When we want to cover a large surface, we tend to prefer the paint roller but in doing so, we lose some of that precision.

That’s why I keep writing these, despite having very limited writing time. They help me keep my precision skills on point, both in writing them myself and in helping to edit those of my friends.

As an extra benefit, my fifty word stories have begun to help me explore the characters of my works in progress. This time, I got better acquainted with Bri, the protagonist of a fantasy novel I’m working on–as yet untitled, but referred to as The Brennpunkt Project.

I strongly begin to suspect the entire story will not fit into one book, but let’s get to the end of the current book before dreaming of the next, shall we?

Huge thanks are owed to R. Jean Bell, Anike Kirsten, @alheath and AJ Savage for helping me polish this miniature story into its current, tight form. It was great fun, as always.



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4 Responses

  1. It’s such a strong moment you chose and it turned out beautifully. Loved the first version but this one is so much more powerful. Really captures the emotion, which is such an important part of Bri’s story.

  2. R. Jean Bell says:

    This story is so beautiful and, like you, I enjoy the challenge of the editing process. I feel more alive and in tune when we do these. I think it really adds to my skills when I go back to a file and do a more “normal” edit, be it for myself or someone else.

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