Books

How to write a short story in less than one minute

One of the most glamorous moments in the career of a professional writer is when you’re given the opportunity to work for no pay. This is second only to when you’re given the chance to work for exposure, also known as no pay. From time to time, professional writers like to cast off the shackles of glamor and slum a bit in online writing forums, where they amuse themselves by trying to extract secret tricks from each other that will help them find unglamorous writing work compensated with dirty, tacky cash.

glamorous life of writer

It was on the most glamorous of these online forums, the dreaded freelance writers subreddit, that one anonymous professional writer recently disclosed his One Weird Trick for ensuring a steady paycheck: “type really fast.”

At first, this seemed like a witty little wisecrack designed to crack his fellow wordsmiths right up. Upon further questioning, however, it became dismayingly clear that he was dead serious. It also became clear he was a full-time astroturfer, the most glamorous of all professional writers. These plucky souls are the ones who fill social media feeds, article comments sections, and email junk folders with fake posts supporting the latest craptacular movie that’s bombing at the box office, that political candidate your alcoholic uncle likes to yell about at the Thanksgiving table, weird pseudoscientific products you can buy RIGHT NOW for three easy credit card payments of $29.99, and so many inexplicably popular video games. He was probably astroturfing the freelance writers subreddit itself, in fact.

Still, I figured it would be very glamorous to use his secret professional writing technique to advance my own career. And so can you! Assuming he was telling the truth about being able to “type really fast,” we’re looking at a speed of 50 to 80 words per minute. If you can hack that rate, you can write a short story in one minute or less, enter it in the 53-Word Story Contest put on by Prime Number Magazine, and obtain remuneration in the amount of zero dollars. Is zero a prime number? Maybe yes, maybe no, but it’s certainly glamorous!

Right now, this very minute, I’m going to try my hand at writing a 53-word piece of fiction in under sixty seconds. I’m too glamorous lazy to come up with a brand new plot or characters on the fly, so I’m going to condense my new book, False Memoir: Based on an Untrue Story, into a micro-story.

Sixty seconds…and…go!

False Memoir
By Katherine Luck

Reporter Jack O’Lies became notorious for his articles about an unidentified murderer who eventually murdered his wife. Now another killer is taking victims, and Jack’s in danger.

To save himself, Jack must share his darkest secrets with someone—and he chooses fellow journalist Katherine Luck. It might be the worst mistake he’s ever made.

You can get the other 65,100 words right here.

If you can’t astroturf your own blog, what can you astroturf?

false memoir katherine luck

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