About magnificent1rascal


My user name is a joke, but most everything else except my age is true. And who decided it was proper to ask a lady her age? Sheesh! ;-)

Maggie Rascal
Relationship Status:
On the ragged edge of disaster, Washington, United States
Local Time:
27 Jul 2021 02:56
Many and varied
Favorite Books:
To Kill a Mockingbird, Lonesome Dove, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Lord of the Flies, The Other...
Favorite Authors:
John Steinbeck, Larry McMurtry, Tom Wolfe...
Favorite Movies:
The African Queen, Casablanca, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Rear Window, North by Northwest, High Noon, Annie Hall, Being There...
Favourite TV Shows:
The Sopranos, The Twilight Zone, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Hill Street Blues...
Favorite Music:
West Coast jazz -- Stan Getz, Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond...


Date Joined:
12 Oct 2010
Last Visit:
27 Jul 2021
Page Viewed:
14,694 times
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Latest Forum Posts More forum posts »

Topic: Writing short stuff (Micro and Flash)
Posted: 17 Jun 2021 15:10

Several years ago, I wrote a long guide to very short fiction, and am posting a copy here. The original thread is “Micro Fiction Explained” in the Resources for Writers forum.

Micro fiction — complete stories of 20-100 words — is gaining popularity as a writing category. Many people assume writing fewer words is easier than writing a traditional short story or flash fiction piece, but in fact mastering micro fiction is a difficult task. Even though the number of words is tightly limited, the writer must convey the five main elements that make up a story: theme, setting, plot, character and conflict. Although some of the details may have to be inferred rather than being stated outright, all of these elements must be present in some form.

- THEME is the central idea of a piece of fiction. What message are you trying to convey? This doesn't need to be stated in the story, but the micro fiction writer should have a specific, narrowly focused idea in mind while writing.

- SETTING is not just the physical location where the story takes place, but also the mood surrounding the action. In micro fiction, the writer does not have the luxury of waxing eloquent about the setting; when every word counts, many have to do double duty. Descriptions of setting need to be slipped in while advancing the plot.

- PLOT is what happens in a story. Typically, the plot of a story consists of five stages: introduction, rising action, climax, falling action and denouement or resolution. By its very nature, micro fiction requires a simple, straightforward plot.

- CHARACTER means both the individuals portrayed in a story and their characteristics. Every story needs a protagonist, the central character, and most have an antagonist, someone working against the protagonist. Don't undertake a story with multiple characters as a micro fiction piece. One or two will usually suffice.

- CONFLICT is not just fighting or butting heads, although those are examples of it, but rather anything that alters the course of the action in a story. Conflict is what drives plot.

Is it possible to fit all of those elements into a story of 100 words or less? Absolutely. I'm going to dissect my own micro fiction piece, It's Over , as an example of how it can be done.

"Honey, I'm ho-ome," Matt warbled as he entered the kitchen and tossed his keys into a bowl on the table. Loosening his tie, he made for the bedroom, where he expected to find his wife changing from her work clothes.
This establishes the setting of the piece and introduces the characters. The physical location is a couple's home, and the mood is light and cheery at the beginning. The characters are Matt, the protagonist, and his wife. We know that the couple has a dual income. Matt is in a position that requires him to wear a tie to work. His wife may be a businessperson, or her work may call for a uniform. Matt warbling his greeting implies a happy marriage.

Instead he met her in the dining room, glaring at him from behind a laptop computer through eyes red from crying. She knew. To deny or rationalize the affair would insult her intelligence and make matters worse.

"It's over, I promise," he said simply.
Rising action and conflict take place in the middle of the story. The mood also shifts dramatically, leading to the piece's climax:

"Oh? So are we."
After the climactic line, the reader must fill in the falling action. But what was said and done, and whether the couple was angry, subdued or tearful matters little, for it led to the same outcome.

The next evening, Matt swiped a card to unlock his door.
The denouement is that Matt has left their home, at least temporarily, and is staying in a hotel.

It's Over began life as a six-word story: "It's over." "Oh? So are we." However, it soon became apparent that the piece would benefit from a little fleshing out. While it didn't quite work as a six-word story, it is well-suited to longer micro fiction.

In summary, use the following guidelines when writing micro fiction:

• Stay within 100 words. Use the site character / word counter to check the length of your submission. http://www.storiesspace.com/resources/count-characters.aspx

• Keep it simple. Aim for a basic plot and few characters.

• After the writing is finished, diagram the piece as I've done above. Ask yourself if the story includes all the elements of a short story, and be truthful in your answer.

• Revise, revise, revise. It's not easy to fit a story into such a small space. Lines you love may have to be trimmed or excised.

Topic: storytwigs micro competition - June 30 deadline
Posted: 15 Jun 2021 01:06


This month’s prompt: STAMP

This is a fun, relaxed, free competition for extremely short pieces of prose (storytwigs). Entries should be 100 words or fewer, and the prizes range from $10 to $100 dollars. The prompt for this month’s competition is STAMP. You can support the competition by contributing to the prize pool here.

1st Place: $100
2nd Place: $25
3rd Place: $20
4th Place: $15
5th Place: $10

All winning storytwigs will also be published on our website.

Rules and Guidelines:

This competition is free to enter. Entries will be judged based on criteria listed below. (Visit site to see judging criteria)

Submit your storytwig via the form below (on website) by 11:59pm Eastern time on June 30th, 2021.

Up to three entries allowed per person.

Only open to citizens/residents of United States or Canada

Entries must be 100 words or fewer

You must be 18 years or older to enter

Entries must be original works by the entrants, and entrants must have the rights to the content they are submitting.

Entries must be text-only—images, websites, audio pieces, videos, etc. will not be allowed for this particular competition.

Entries must not contain any hate-speech or explicit content. Think G, PG, or PG-13 rating.

By submitting an entry, participants grant us the right to display their entries on storytwigs.com and on their promotional materials (with credit to the author).

All decisions made by the judges regarding the winners are final

See full details here: https://www.storytwigs.com/competition

Topic: Calls for flash submissions
Posted: 14 Jun 2021 19:46

Calls for submissions by 28 Flash Fiction Markets That Pay. Copied from the free, online newsletter of Authors Publish magazine -- highly recommended

Oh, there are some good ones this week! Thanks for sharing, Bill.

Topic: Famous poems rewritten as limericks
Posted: 14 Jun 2021 16:32

laughing9 laughing9 laughing9


Topic: Editors Pick and Recommended Read Announcements!
Posted: 08 Jan 2021 09:10

We’ve added several new EPs and RRs from our recent Cheers to 10 Years celebration. Check them out here:

• Editors’ Picks
• Recommended Reads

Topic: Literary Inspiration Challenge
Posted: 02 Jan 2021 01:51

Works from 1925, including “The Great Gatsby,” “Mrs. Dalloway” and others, just entered public domain. Learn more at Public Domain Day 2021 .

Topic: New forum added!
Posted: 21 Dec 2020 14:11

Check out “2020: Looking Back, Looking Ahead” here:


Topic: Inspirations, the Stories Space Coffee House
Posted: 04 Dec 2020 22:53

Hello Robert, and welcome to Inspirations, the most happening coffee shop on Stories Space. Of course, this is also the only coffee shop around here but no doubt a Starbucks will soon be opening nearby.

If you are a writer, think about accepting the new 'Challenge' over on the 'Prompts and Challenges' forum. And come back soon.

Later, Inspirators glasses8

Not inspired to do it, sorry. I’m not impressed with the way this site is treating its writers at present angry7

I’m sorry, Helen. I’ve sent you a PM.

Topic: Challenges, New & Old
Posted: 29 Nov 2020 10:47

A new challenge sounds fun!

I’m so far behind on awarding challenge badges that I actually considered posting a “Sort Out the Challenge Champ Badges” challenge. geek

Challenge Champ badges are awarded manually, not by the system, and because challenges have no deadline, each has to be audited to make sure everyone who has earned a badge receives it. That’s why we ask for challenges to require unique tags or other identifying information.

I’ll award the Cheers to 10 Words challenge badges tomorrow, and try to get caught up with the others this week.

Topic: Announcing our CHEERS TO 10 YEARS winners
Posted: 23 Nov 2020 13:53

First place in all four categories (we’re treating cumulative score the same as the three contests) will receive $50; second place is $30; and third place, $20. I’ll be in touch with the prize winners to get contact info.

The winning entry in each contest will receive an EP, and other EPs and RRs will be given as determined by a panel of moderators and judges.

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Story Competitions

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I Wish You Well

“You think it’s okay?” Abigail asked tentatively. Emma held up the phone and began to read aloud. “‘Dearest Troy’ – Dearest was a nice touch – ‘I’m so happy for you getting your dream job! That’s quite an achievement – you should have a big celebration. The thing is, Troy... I don’t want to hold you back. You need to be free, and deserve someone just as supportive of your aspirations as...

Added 14 Oct 2020 | Category Micro Fiction | Votes 6 | Avg Score 5 | Views 641 | 6 Comments

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Added 07 Oct 2018 | Category Songs | Votes 12 | Avg Score 5 | Views 950 | 10 Comments

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Added 13 Sep 2018 | Category General | Votes 12 | Avg Score 5 | Views 773 | 7 Comments

Recommended Read Writer's Block

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Added 12 Sep 2018 | Category General | Votes 11 | Avg Score 5 | Views 899 | 6 Comments

Recommended Read Colorado Calls, Jersey Rejoices

Note: This compilation occurred to me more than a year ago. In fact, the reason I logged on to Facebook on March 14, 2017, was to reach out to Alan and propose that we combine our efforts, merging his Colorado Calling and my Jersey Rejoicing into one poem. Instead, I learned that morning of Alan's passing a few days earlier. It threw me for a loop, and the idea got pushed to the back of...

Added 17 Mar 2018 | Category Poetry | Votes 7 | Avg Score 5 | Views 905 | 6 Comments

MORE Alternatives to NaNoWriMo: Super Procrastinator Edition

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Added 30 Nov 2017 | Category Musings | Votes 2 | Avg Score 5 | Views 1,173 | 2 Comments

For a Friend I'll Never Meet

You always did like surprise endings, A twist no one could see coming, And that last one of yours was a doozy. Days later, we're still reeling, Not from the shock, which dissipates, But from a grief that lingers. You probably never knew The regard people held you in, For it seemed to sneak up As we chatted and laughed About topics big and small. Our esteem grew Alongside your virtual...

Added 17 Mar 2017 | Category Poetry | Votes 20 | Avg Score 5 | Views 1,317 | 10 Comments

It's Gonna Be Great

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eBooks Published

Writer's Block: A Short Tale of Seaside Serendipity (Short Tales Book 1)
Writer's Block: A Short Tale of Seaside Serendipity (Short Tales Book 1)

When a noted writer hits the wall with her current project, she heads to the beach to concentrate on her work, but instead finds a charming distraction. This award-winning short story (approximately 4,500 words) has been called “magnificently well-crafted,” “clever,”...

Lost and Found: A Short Tale of Dogged Determination (Short Tales Book 2)
Lost and Found: A Short Tale of Dogged Determination (Short Tales Book 2)

A timely tale of just 2,300 words, “Lost and Found” is the second story in the Short Tales series, an affectionate look at a few of the pitfalls and mishaps faced by a couple navigating a new romance. Jane and Martin both have past histories: love, loss and unforeseen changes, but...

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Friends Comments More Comments »

6 days ago
24 May 2021 14:19
24 May 2021 08:54
Have a wonderful birthday, Maggie. :)
24 May 2021 06:11
Happy Birthday from the team at Stories Space.
24 May 2021 00:20
Thank you for your friendship - now I can give you a happy birthday greeting -
27 May 2020 18:04
Have a great birthday, Maggie.
24 May 2020 14:47
Happy Birthday from the team at Stories Space.
24 May 2020 00:20
06 Dec 2019 13:45
17 Aug 2019 23:04
12 Aug 2019 13:47
03 Jul 2019 04:30
26 Jun 2019 20:04
09 Jun 2019 02:35
31 May 2019 23:15

Aww I missed your birthday [bh] sorry! HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!! 🎂🎁🎈🎉

27 May 2019 03:18
Belated happy happy birthday

25 May 2019 02:01
I hope you are having a fantastic birthday.
24 May 2019 17:05
Hi, Maggie. Happy Birthday.
24 May 2019 08:04
Happy Birthday from the team at Stories Space.
24 May 2019 00:30
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