Whether teaching literary devices or the nuances between writing for different genres, micro-fiction is the way to go. These (very) short stories are an awesome way to get students to dip their toes into the intimidating ocean that is story writing.
Though my Grade 8 students have been blogging for several months, they were certainly not experienced storytellers at the onset of our creative writing unit when it began several weeks ago. Understanding this to be my opportunity to ease them into the idea of genre, without frightening them with the looking task of having to write a longer story, we began with micro-fiction.
So, how short is “micro”? If you want to be generous, then limit your words at 300. If you want to make it more of a challenge, lower it to 100. Once students get some real practice, the true masters can tell a story in one or two sentences and those few words will have enough of the required story elements that a clear genre will shine through. This creative challenge will both energize your students when they write and delight them as they read the stories of their classmates and other authors as that they wish to share on their blogs.
Some great resources can be found on Microfiction Monday Magazine.
Not only are micro-fiction stories a fantastic way to teach about different genres in a compact way, it is also a very direct example of how students can use figurative language such as metaphor or symbolism to empower their writing.
Thus, students are driven to leave an impression on the digital page, and with Kidblog’s commenting features, students can encourage, constructively criticize, and inspire each other to write better with every attempt.
Here are examples of 2-sentence stories from four genres written in class:
Heart trembling at the sight of him, she kept on looking at the clock. Who knew that seconds could fly by faster under the gaze of such a beautiful man?
It was the fanciest dinner that he had ever attended. As he put down his fork, his guest’s dinner followed his movements: monkey brains half-eaten, eyes twitching deliciously.
Three tiny black boxes moved slowly up the grassy hill in the sunshine that crisp October morning.
“It should be raining,” she thought ironically, as she watched the caskets carrying her three children being lowered into the chill ground.
Sarah knew she shouldn’t have eaten that last wonton as she ran to the toilet. Tumble and a bursting shower of green slime – Oh, hello there!
When working with just 100 words, student must consider much more carefully what they include and how they can express themselves concisely but compellingly. This is the crux of micro-fiction.