“A prompt I was given once that spawned one of the most intense stories I’ve ever written is one where you limit a story to exactly 200 words, but you’re only allowed to use 50 different words within those 200. It’s challenging, but it can make for some amazingly creative uses of language. You’re allowed to change verb tenses within those 50 words, and pluralizing a word counts still as one word, but other than that, it’s 50 words and that’s it. So it’s a great exercise in how to effectively use repetition.”
Editor, The Other Stories
ilanamasad.com | slightlyignorant.com | slightlyignorant.tumblr.com | @ilanaslightly
50 word suggestion—Take a book you’re reading. Turn to page 50. Take the first 50 discrete words in the paragraph as your word bank.
Ilana Masad is a flash fiction writer as well as the founder of The Other Stories (www.theotherstories.org) podcast which features lots of flash fiction. She has been a juror for Mash Stories whose focus is exclusively on flash fiction.