2020’s Best of Very Short Story 365 – Part 1
Updated: Feb 5
This post was originally published on my old blog in June 2020 and has been republished here for posterity.
One of my favorite writing exercises I participate in every day is something called Very Short Story 365 (#vss365) on Twitter. (Okay, I don't participate every day. Sometimes I'm lazy or uninspired or simply just forget. But I try to participate every day.)
The premise is simple: Every day, there is a new prompt word, and you have to compose a story in one tweet...so, basically, 280 characters or fewer.
It's surprisingly more challenging than it sounds, and it's great for not only getting your creativity charged up but also training you to express as much as possible in a concise format.
At the end of 2019, I collected some of my favorite installments of Very Short Story 365 to share here on my blog, and I planned to do the same thing this year, only on a more frequent basis. However, here we are, halfway through 2020 (I can't believe it), and I haven't shared any to my blog yet.
So...these are some of my favorites since January. Be sure to let me know which ones you like best so I can write more in that style or in keeping with those themes.
And, of course, keep an eye out for another batch of favorite very short stories coming later this year.
Note: The word in boldface is that day's prompt word.
If she’d learned one thing from babysitting gigs all summer, it was that every parent seemed to think their child was an angel.
She always had to resist the urge to remind them that so was Lucifer.
Stacey rolled her eyes. “Omigod, her orenda was off. Just her prana was sooo weird. I think she’s bipolar or manic.”
Like most white girls, Stacey was a master of appropriating concepts of energy and freely diagnosing psychological conditions she didn’t understand.
“We use radio waves to communicate across space, but why not time?” Dr. Hackler said. “What if we could communicate with the past over the radio?”
“Oh, great,” I said. “We could tune in to the 1940s and tell them what a shitshow the new millennium is.”
A lionheaded humanoid, dressed in leather and gilded armor, rode on the back of an albino pachyderm. The rider drew his sword and pointed at us. “Intruders! Seize them! Seize them!”
That was when we knew we had landed ourselves in a strange and dangerous place...
It’s such a ridiculous story that the stork drops babies off on their parents’ doorstep when everyone knows babies grow in a cabbage patch.
Their attempt at a family vacation resulted in the kind of chaos that made Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf look like an episode of 7th Heaven. And to think that they paid money for this!
It was a typical summer thunderstorm. We had a brief power outage that led to a seance and we accidentally summoned a demogorgon, but besides that, it was uneventful. Now the lights are back on and we’re trying to figure out how to get the demon to go back to hell.
The little pawn shop help every oddity imaginable. But it was the painting that caught his eye at once. In it was...him. Dressed in 18th-century attire and standing in a room he’d never seen before, yet unmistakably him. And the look on his face was one of terror.
It seemed nothing could enliven his screenplay, a psycho-biddy thriller about an aging belle holding tyrannical reign over her decrepit Southern estate. Was there nothing left to be done with the genre, or was he not as creative as he thought? He hated either thought.
The creature grabbed a scrap of cloth to dab its lips. Humans were messy. If Earth was to be conquered, the inhabitants would need to serve a better purpose than feed, but they were too stubborn for anything else. And their atmosphere was so polluted! It wasn’t worth it.
Knitting scarves and mittens for the homeless every winter had not prepared her to spend all spring stitching masks for health care workers. Life, however, is less about how prepared a person is and more about how they rise to the occasion.
On an archeological dig, he uncovered a small golden statue of a two-headed god, a tiny ruby set in each of its four eyes.
That was when his bad luck started.
He’d never been superstitious, but something told him he needed to return the statue to where he’d found it.
As the realtor explained, a house with a little damage but a strong foundation was far better than a house that looked pretty but stood no chance against a bad storm.
Oh, that was true about so much more than just houses and real estate!
Three bottles sit before you. Drinking one will make all go back to normal. Another will keep everything as it is, but you'll have no memory of how things were. Another will have no effect other than getting you drunk. You don't know which is which. Choose wisely.
Like other women, she would never actually be inured to the monthly agony of menstruation, but she thought it insensitive to complain if she was dating a werewolf.
Fortunately their cycles were synced at this point, so they just gave each other space at those times.
There was an old woman, cloaked all in black, selling bracelets at a weatherbeaten stand by the side of the road as we drove through empty farm country.
I always believe in supporting entrepreneurs, but this seemed like a good way to get cursed.
The kids found the key nestled among the benthos at the bottom of the lake, and all of them knew at once it must have been to the locked room in the basement of the old vacation house.
Little did they consider that there’s good reason some things are thrown away...