Micro-fiction For The Win | StoryADay 2024 Day 25


day 25 cover

The Prompt

Write a story in fewer than 250 words. Somewhere in the story use the phrase “the moment everything changed”

Things To Consider

A story in 250 words? Really?


But you’re going to have to leave a lot out, imply a lot, and trust the reader to fill in the gaps.

When we get down to this kind of word limit it is important to think about the essential elements of a story.

If you are trying to write a story and not just an aphorism or meditation, there are some elements you’ll need:

• A character (or two)

• A situation that conflicts with their wants or needs in some way

• An action that they take or plan to take

• A sense, for the reader, of consequences, and how that will change the reader.

I know, it’s unsubtle of me to ask you to include “the moment everything changed” in the prose, but it’s a great reminder, as you’re shaping the story, that readers like it when something changes in a story, whether it’s the character’s state or simply their understand of the character/situation.

Further Reading

If you’re not familiar with micro fiction, it can be helpful to read a few examples. (Just don’t use up all your writing time, reading!)

Microfiction Monday Magazine

O Magazine’s Microfiction feature

Vestal Review: the longest-running Flash Fiction publication on the planet:

Leave a comment and let us know how it went!

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36 thoughts on “Micro-fiction For The Win | StoryADay 2024 Day 25”

  1. I found that this was a useful exercise. I had written a version of the story which was about 1000 words, then I went back and pulled out the important kernels of the story – the direct discussion which led to a change of thinking of the second character. I subtracted the words which were not useful and I think the result was stronger than the original story.

  2. This is a continuation of an earlier story, which I left off with a coin flip to decide whether a dying little girl’s parents were going to go the traditional route to try for a heart transplant, or go to a tropical island where they might get one in a non-traditional setting.

    I left the coin in the air then… now, in 101 words, we find out what happens next.


    I watch the coin. Hold my breath.

    I want to change my call. I want to cancel this stupid agreement.

    That’s not going to happen. He knows me too well. He catches the coin, closes his eyes, places it on his wrist without looking at it, and opens his hand to reveal it to me.

    For a second or two, I don’t look. But he really does know me, and he waits me out.

    I look.

    That’s the moment everything changes.

    “Tails….” I breathe.

    We’re going to that tropical island, and I’m sure our baby girl is going to die there.

  3. It came in at 246 words.

    Nia glanced at the stick in her hands and finally opened her eyes. This was the moment everything changed. The pregnancy test was positive, and she had no idea what to do now. George was dead set against children. In fact, he had her sign a prenuptial agreement before they got engaged, spelling out who would get what in case of a divorce, and he added a special clause to say that he didn’t want children and pregnancy would be grounds for divorce.

    She was becoming more desperate as she kept glancing at the stick. She felt her breakfast getting ready to come up. She threw up after every meal now. She had to be pregnant. What else could it be?

    Nia glanced at the second test in the package and decided to try it. She had nothing to lose, and perhaps there had been a mistake with the first test. She proceeded to do the second test, and unfortunately, it also said she was pregnant. She heard George enter the house and call out for her. What was she going to do?

    He entered the room and glanced at Nia’s tears. “What’s up?” he asked her. All she could do was cry. He noticed the stick in her hands. “You’re pregnant,” he asked. She shook her head yes.

    She was surprised when he took her into his arms and said, “I was beginning to wonder. Don’t worry. I realized I wanted a child after all.”


    1. Wonderful story, Teresa. A winner all the way through, from the first sentence to the last. I like the twist so very much in the last paragraph, especially as my mind was telling me that Nia was going to be kicked out. But my heart knew all along that George couldn’t be such a brute.
      Lovely ending, very good language, great story.
      Thanks for sharing. God bless.

    2. Most excellent story, Teresa. I was worried along with her until the end. Then a flood of relief!

      A thought about shaking and nodding heads. I’m from a generation/demographic where people nod their heads to mean yes and shake their heads to mean no. While people can shake many body parts, few parts can be nodded. beside the head So you could consider shortening the pivotal sentence when asked directly if she’s pregnant from “She shook her head yes.” to “She nodded.” and gain 3 words for other emotion descriptions.

      Or not, of course. It’s beauteous as it stands. Great job!

      1. I rather like the phrasing, “She shook her head yes.” My cultural assumption is the same as David’s, that shaking your head usually means no, but in this case confirming something she thinks spells disaster with a head shake gives it more punch for me.

    3. Teresa,

      Very well done, the description, flow everything was superb, it could’ve gone anywhere, but went to a nice place. Do check that first sentence, it may need to be flipped.


    4. Teresa, I liked how you had me convinced George was going to tell her to abort the kid or he was leaving. The way you had him put the NO CHILDREN EVER clause in the prenup had me utterly convinced. It was sweet to find out he loved her so much he was willing to put up with having a kid for her. In case he made up that part about changing his mind about wanting a kid, I hope he keeps it to himself.

    5. File this one under “things you could have told me yesterday”! I love the way you racheted up the tension all the way through.

      That last line is like a huge exhale. Now Nia can decide how SHE feels about being pregnant.

      But, really, George – if you were wondering, you might have made this whole thing easier by just telling her you changed your mind!

  4. I wound up with a 109 word duet (tri-et? The third MC chimes in for the last stanza.) poem summarizing the entirety of my 100k romance fantasy work-in-editing. It’s not good, because I am Very Bad at poetry, but it’s interesting to me to see the themes distilled to that level. I’m thinking I’m going to write another one about the work-in-outlining.

    The words “the moment everything changed” got used as the opener to each stanza. Without them, the poem would be under 100 words. 🙂

  5. I set out to write a < 250 word story, worked out the implied backstory, action, and implied outcome in my head, started to write, and it turned out to be one of those super-short, < 50 word stories that I've never been able to create. Here it is, all 43 words of it:


    My mother died shortly before the moment everything changed. That’s because everything changed after her will was read, and I was finally able to take revenge on my dirty, lousy, stinking, sadistic brothers, who got absolutely nothing, and absolutely got everything they deserved.

  6. I used the same characters as yesterday, fleshed out the beginning of their story a little more. It was 255 words at first, but I got it down to 249.

  7. Manoj, Arnab, are they the same person?

    ‘engaged once, met frequently’ jumped off the page.

    1. Woo hoo, just realised this took an idea of my backlog as well, so I did Day 23 Prompt, 25 (today’s Prompt) and a backlog prompt – three for one and just 264 words.

      1. Andrew, I’m not big on this kind of story usually but this time I was because of several things: the description was so well done and clear, the idea it could only be a skull, then it wasn’t “only” that, and the best part, the way it ends. That left me with wanting to find out what happens next.

    2. The illustration from Prompt 23 makes it even creepier. Great work, Andrew even if it is 14 words over.

  8. An argument. We would talk this out later and things would be fine. We had just returned from a vacation in Europe, something we’d always wanted to do. I had anyway. We had just sold a large property and used a small amount of the proceeds for the trip. We also agreed to use some of the money to update the house which I had been wanting to happen for 20 years.
    He took off for two weeks and nobody knew where he was, or that’s what they said. Then while I was out one day he showed up at our house and chased the workers who were laying wood floors out. The work stayed half done. I had the locks changed which made him mad enough to call me and when I said I needed the money for the remodel he said the money was gone. He wouldn’t say where it went.
    Later, cleaning out his things, I’d never seen so many worthless lottery tickets. But there was also a large collection of coins. He would be mad if I sold those. Of course I did. Those and his antique slot machine collection. This was the moment everything changed. I was able to finish the house remodel.
    I need to remember to put a limit on my word count; this was a good reminder.

    1. I loved this story, Valerie. Possibly, your best piece this May. I like the deft touches everywhere thereby making the story such a good read. Whatever had to be said, within the scope of such a story, the strained relationship between the narrator and the ‘he’, was said very masterfully. But what was implied, not stated openly about them, is what makes the story such a beauty.
      I loved the last part about the lottery tickets and antique slot machine collection that let us, readers, know how he might have wasted the money. Unless, of course, he was simply telling lies.
      Thanks for sharing your story.
      Stay blessed.

      1. Rathin, thank you so much. What you said is all very helpful, and that you think this is the best one I’ve written this May. I did intend for the lottery tickets to show he probably blew the money on gambling. And the shot machines were a symbol too. I’m going to jot down everything you said here because this story was so easy to write and I wrote it so fast without even much thinking, that I wasn’t even paying attention to being subtle, I just knew I had to use very few words to tell the story. Thanks a million.

    2. that was interesting. I liked it, very different way of telling the story. and I imagine the slot machine and coins would cover all expenses and more.

      what was the word count?

      1. Thank you Andrew! I wish you had expanded on what you meant by “Very different way of telling the story.” I’m glad you liked the way I wrote it. Maybe selling the coins and slot machines did pay for the remodel for her. The word count is 210. Originally it was about 300 words. I thought if I cut out some words it would damage it but I found to my surprise it became better. I hadn’t realized some of it at 300 was redundant.

      2. Andrew, thank you, I didn’t even realize I wrote the story in a different way than the usual story until both you and Rathin mentioned it. Now that I see that worked for people reading it, I’ll see if I can repeat that form in other stories. I’m so glad you gave me a clue as to what I did here. Yes, probably a slot machine and rare coin collection could pay off a home remodel, couldn’t they! The word count was 210, down from 300. When I saw I’d exceeded the 250 limit I was dismayed but then when I had to cut words I noticed I’d even had redundancies in the story I wouldn’t have noticed without the word cutting rule for this story. So cutting words really helped. I appreciate your help by reviewing my story!

      3. Oh sorry, I answered your review of my story twice, Andrew! I thought the first reply didn’t go through.

  9. (I wanted to write a story exactly 250 words long, excluding the title. I’m happy to have done it.)
    Life Always Pays Back
    Nita never spoke anything good about her parents to anyone. When her mother’d berate her for all the things she shouldn’t have done – her father, an effiminate spectator, stood by and kept quite!
    “All these late night parties, drinking sprees, monkeying with the boys – will change.Take it from me you’ll mend your ways in due course…” she uttered between clenched teeth, rubbing the blood off with the ball of her palm.
    In a fit of anger, Nita had flung the steel laddle from the kitchen cabinet at her mother. Luckily, Sneha’d removed her head just in time to escape from being hit in the right eye. It’d struck her around the mouth instead.

    Nita, not surprisingly either, ran away from home to marry her Prince Charming, Manoj, against her parents’ wish.
    During their honeymoon in Manali, a mountainous city known for its scenic beauty, Nita got the shock of her life on finding out that the Receptionist a strikingly attractive lady and Manoj, were childhood friends, engaged once, met frequently.
    “You assh—-, two-faced pimp,” Nita, having lost her cool, started calling him names back in their hotel room. “You must have picked it up from your fuc—g parents.”
    Arnab, a hairy, heavy-set man, lifted her up by the throat against the wall before smacking her hard across the face. He coulda killed her that night.
    That’s the moment everything changed. Nina, still shaking in her roots, called up her Mom’s words.
    That’s when a life of unbearable torture began!
    The end

    1. Manoj, Arnab, are they the same person?

      ‘engaged once, met frequently’ jumped off the page.

    2. Sorry, for pointing out my mistake, Andrew. Initially, I named the lover, Arnab, but then towards the end, just before posting, I thought, Arnab was too good a name for such a monster. So, I decided to call him Manoj instead. I forgot to change it to Manoj in the excitement of sharing!
      Oh, I get it now. “engaged once, met frequently afterwards’ or something similar would have been better. I would try to rectify the mistakes in the second draft.
      Thanks for caring to comment and point out the glaring mistakes. God bless you, Andrew.

      1. Rathin, don’t get me wrong, just reading and enjoying your stories I feel compelled to comment.

        Keep up the good work, only six days to go.

        1. Dear, dear Andrew,
          I am not sure, English is not my mother tongue after all, if the second “d” in dear should have been capital as well.
          The reason I used “dear” twice (a first in my life) is to show you how much I value your opinions.
          By the grace of The Almighty, I have been writing for long, still taking part in lots of writing contests and but for the mistakes I make at times, like the one I made in my previous letter to you (Sorry, for pointing out the mistakes – when what I meant was : Sorry about the mistakes), I am happy with the way things have turned out so far.
          I know, you are a good human. Never tire of correcting me, mate. I’d appreciate it.
          I have already noted the mistakes pointed out by you. I thought of writing to Julie, requesting her to change Arnab into Manoj in the last paragraph. I couldn’t thinking it totally unfair as she is a busy woman.
          God bless you, Andrew. Unfortunately, I can’t go through your blogs as there is something wrong with my WordPress account. Stay happy, dear friend and keep making a huge difference.

      2. Oh, and on the met frequently. I liked the statement as it left it open to the reader to interpret if He and the receptionist also met during the honeymoon.

    3. Rathin, I was confused by the exact same things as Andrew, so I’m glad he got you to explain them. Once corrected, I could concentrate on your story a lot easier. I really liked the plot and how you spun Nita’s war with her mother to be followed by Nita’s war with the hairy, heavy set man (love that description). Somebody had better watch out. You’re able to write complex stories in few words as well as many words and both word counts are working for you. Congrats.
      And yes, Dear, dear is correct as you wrote Andrew.

      1. Dear Valerie,
        I wanted to use “Dear” to the power cube in the salutation part. Couldn’t on my mobile.
        It is one of the finest letters I have received in a long while. So, let me thank you for the compliment and the encouragement you always seem able to garner for the other writers.
        Keep up the good habit, dear, for in the world we live in today, there are very people with the ability to encourage others.
        Just 6 more days of StoryADay left. There is no way I can thank Julie enough. I have friends like you all because of the platform being provided by her. I am also getting to be a better writer!
        Thank you again. Stay safe in Arizona and keep making a difference. God bless.

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