Sunday, June 21, 2015

Writing prompt: A Short Story Definition

Samuel: "You know, I tried reading the dictionary straight through once, but I just couldn't get a handle on the plot."
Daniel: "Of course you couldn't. A dictionary isn't a novel; it's a collection of short stories."

English: Dictionary indents. Fran├žais : Marque...
So many stories, so little time. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I wish I could say the above fictional encounter was my own original work, but it's a paraphrasing of something I read recently in a book. I think I saw it in Steven Pressfield's The War of Art, but, alas, print books don't have search features, so I am unable to give proper credit where it is due right now.

At any rate, the idea stuck with me. I'm sure the author intended the dictionary-as-short-story-collection idea to be purely metaphorical, but after a while, I started thinking, why not try it for real?

So here is your writing prompt for the week, an exercise in brevity and concision:


Make up a word and write its dictionary definition, including how the fictional word came into being. The object of this exercise is for the definition to contain an entire story.

You'll get a bit more space than the old For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn, but that's the frame of mind you'll need to get into to complete this.

If you think you've got something good, please share below!