Original short literary fiction, including satire, remains one of the writing genres I keep in my literary toolkit.
While these brief fictional forms are interesting in themselves, they also provide a useful basis for longer more complex stories. Each pithy piece can serve as a brief outline that one could fill out with further details that would result in a full-fledged short story.
Although each "story" is quite short, it can pack the punch of unexpected drama or hilarity. And as one composes them, one finds that even each sentence must remain fairly brief, an exercise that encourages the employment of just the right word in the right place. Thus, the exercise of composing these brief narratives could serve as a useful practice for poets, who must ever be on the lookout to put just the right word in just with right place.
Hope you enjoy these pieces! And maybe you will like to try composing your own 5-sentence stories. It's fun! And the endeavor offers a useful exercise for writing workshops.
40 5-Sentence Stories
1 Battered and Jailed
- A battered woman, Lee Smith, gave birth to a boy.
- She dug a deep hole in the yard and buried the infant.
- Lee feared the baby would beat her too as his father had done.
- Pigs dug up the baby's body.
- Lee gladly went to prison to escape from her husband's battering.
2 Beth's Songs
- Beth's love of music motivated her to write many songs for piano and guitar.
- Beth recorded her songs on several CDs.
- Beth's brother sent two of Beth's CDs full of songs to a famous singer.
- The singer recorded two of Beth's songs.
- Beth's songwriting career was launched.
3 Lucy's Dream
- Lucy had no money to buy her dream dress displayed in Myrtle's Boutique
- Lucy decided to steal the dress.
- Myrtle caught Lucy before she could leave the store.
- Myrtle insisted Lucy work for her to earn the dress.
- Years later, Myrtle died leaving to Lucy the boutique and her dream job.
4 The Rock
- Jack carried the rock up to his room.
- Edgar walked past Jack's house.
- Jack dropped the rock on Edgar's head.
- Jack called an ambulance.
- Jack and Edgar became friends in the hospital.
5 The Blue Marble
- Jan had three marbles.
- She gave a green one to Susie.
- Elsie wanted the blue one.
- Jan gave LuAnn the blue one.
- Elsie didn't like LuAnn after that.
6 Dead Man Waiting
- Old man Foster waited by the mailbox.
- The mailman was late.
- Old man Foster grew worried for his mailman friend.
- John the mailman had hit a deer on his way to work.
- Old man Foster finally gave up, went home, and died.
- The house looks empty to Lefty and Spotty.
- Lefty runs around back leaving Spotty in front.
- Lefty lets out a yell to signal time to break in.
- Bang, the woman of the house pops Lefty.
- Bang the other woman of the house pops Spotty.
8 Yellow Bikes
- The twins rode their yellow bikes up to Diehard's Lake.
- Johnny asked Mrs Diehard about the turtle hear the lake.
- Dohnny asked Mr Diehard if he could ride his bike around the lake.
- Mr and Mrs Diehard hated kids.
- The yellow bikes were found in the lake 50 years later.
9 Edna's Last Swim
- We took our lunch buckets down to the river around noon.
- Edna said she could swim ten miles without stopping.
- Martha said she didn't believe Edna.
- Edna jumped up, pulled off her shoes, and jumped into the river.
- Six o'clock news said Edna's body was found at the river's bend.
10 Harry Got a Gun
- Harry bought a squirt gun at Janner's Dime Store.
- His mother told Harry to leave the toy home, not to take it to school.
- Harry stuck the toy in his pocket and headed off to school.
- His teacher called Harry's mother around noon.
- Harry had tried to hold up the main office using the toy gun.
11 Just Give Me My Keys
- I left my car keys in the pocket of my coat that was hanging on my chair in the library.
- The librarian asked me to help her shelf some books in the back room.
- When I went for my keys after work, they and my coast were missing.
- Janice Seams walked by wearing my coat.
- I told her she had a nice coat but I really needed my car keys.
12 Apples & Oranges & a Peach
- Lizzy brought three apples to school to share with friends..
- Peggy brought three oranges and a peach.
- Sue-Ellen wanted the peach but not the apples or oranges.
- Peggy wanted to keep the peach.
- Danny made off with all the fruit including the peach.
13 Jack Goes Hijacking
- The bus was late, over forty minutes late.
- Waiting for her brother, Andrea became worried, fearing an accident.
- Finally, an announcement came over the public address system.
- The bus has been hijacked to Miami, Florida.
- Her brother, Jack, had always wanted to go to Miami, Florida.
14 The Saga of Ruther and April
- Joe asked April to the fall dance in the small town of Zanesville.
- April wanted to go to the dance with Ruther but said yes to Joe.
- Scarlet asked Ruther to the dance but he said no.
- Joe decided he'd rather go with Pearl.
- April and Ruther married in the spring and lived happily ever after.
15 The Tea Party
- Annette planned a tea party for her friends, Gloria and Bella.
- Bella loved tea parties, but Gloria—no so much.
- The tea was brewed, the crumpets hot on the table waiting for the guests.
- Bella arrived first bringing a bouquet of dandelions.
- Gloria arrived 10 minutes later with a bee in her bonnet.
16 Just Hand Me the Beer
- Alex told Marcell that he was going to dinner with Porter.
- When Porter never showed, Alex ambled over to the pub.
- Maxine saw Porter and decided to rib him about being stood up.
- Marcell entered the pub, saw Alex, and gasped in surprise.
- Alex was cool, he just told Maxine to give him a beer.
17 Across the State Line
- Scott was jailed across the stateline for lifting a TV from Walmart.
- Ann decided to go bail him out.
- Sue told Ann to let him rot in jail.
- On the way home, Scott lifts a coffee maker from a diner.
- Both Annie and Scott are arrested just across the state line.
18 The People's Pub
- Dana waited for her cousin to bring the lawn mower.
- She waited and waited, wondering where he was.
- Finally, she called Al's house.
- Al's wife, Nudge, said Al had left five hours ago.
- Al sat drowning his sorrows at the People's Pub.
- Elsie had nightmares about her kids drowning her in the bathtub.
- She told Andy about her terrible dreams.
- Andy said he thought that could happen, knowing her kids..
- Elsie needed to stop her kids from killing her.
- Elsie told the cops she thought she shot four burglars, breaking in.
20 Blissful Ignorance
- Bruce told Amanda to stop writing about him on Facebook.
- Amanda wrote even more furiously.
- Bruce blocked Amanda, who then wrote even more furiously.
- Now Bruce could not see what Amanda was writing.
- Bruce always believed ignorance is bliss.
21 Here's My Point
- Wren fell hard for Garth, a student in her creative writing workshop.
- They began to meet and celebrate their passion.
- Wren reminded budding psychologist Garth of his own mother.
- Garth suggested Wren wanted to bed her own son, as he did his mother.
- Wren slapped Garth's smug face before stabbing him with a ballpoint.
22 That Sinking Feeling
- The water looked so inviting so Jake jumped in.
- Lisa was walking by the lake with her newborn infant.
- Jake saw Lisa and beckoned her to join him.
- Lisa propped the baby up on some rocks and jumped in.
- Lisa couldn't swim, so Jake had a baby to raise.
23 Love Story: Gia and Tilly
- Gia and Tilly became lovers.
- Gia told Tilly she was not really a lesbian.
- Tilly just poo-pooed that notion.
- Gia stressed out looking for a way to make Tilly believe her.
- Then Tilly was killed and Gia didn't have to look for a way.
24 The Sleeping Vandal
- The stop sign near Clay's home had been vandalized many times.
- Clay decided to find out who was doing the vandalizing.
- He set up a camera to capture the culprits.
- After 3 weeks, Clay retrieved his camera.
- Shocked, Clay learned he had started sleepwalking again.
25 From Selma to Selma
- Curt worked for Lu's grandfather in a deli in Selma, Indiana.
- Lu thought Curt was dreamy.
- Curt asked Lu to be his steady girl.
- Grandfather thought Curt was a bozo and fired him.
- Lu and Curt got married and moved to Selma, Alabama.
26 Getting a Little Forgetful
- The unsigned card arrived two days after Syd's birthday.
- It was a lovely, personal card.
- But it gave no indication which person had sent it.
- Syd asked relatives and friends about the card.
- Four weeks later, Syd's mother remembered sending the card.
27 Picnic in the Country
- I'll bring the lemonade and Jane can bring the cake.
- Where should we have it this year?
- Same as last year, at Nora's country house.
- But Nora sold that house.
- Yes, but I bought it!
28 Ice Chunks in the Poems
- Holly wanted so much to become a famous poet.
- At college she became friends with Matt and Dee.
- Dee was jealous that Matt liked Holly's poems too much.
- Holly had no interest in Matt, Dee, or their poems.
- After graduation, Dee left Matt for a novelist.
29 The Raising Pane
- Nannette did not understand English well.
- She hired Dave to help her with her English lessons.
- Dave asked Nan for a raise to keep tutoring her.
- Nan put up the window.
- Dave jumped out and never returned.
30 You Don't Know Me, But . . .
- Josie baked six pies for the reunion banquet.
- Albert brought his fiddle to play for dancing.
- Susette danced and ate pie and talked to everyone.
- Arnie finally admitted he did not know Susette.
- Susette finally admitted she was a reunion crasher.
31 See You in the Movies
- Duke wanted to play football on his birthday.
- Ellen wanted Duke to go to a movie with her.
- Ellen told Duke he could play football after the movie.
- Duke told Ellen they could see the move after football.
- They decided to go see a movie about football.
32 Can You Hear Me Now?
- Juice played piano for her church choir.
- Evan wanted her to play the organ instead of piano.
- Juice practiced the organ but didn't enjoy it as much.
- Juice had Tom move the organ to the basement.
- Evan insisted Juice play the organ anyway.
33 A Little Thirsty
- Ava finished her prayers and scrambled into bed.
- Dane drank a large glass of water before bed.
- Ava had a nightmare and yelled out for Dane.
- Dane came running with a bucket of water.
- Ava said her prayers again while Dane drank the water.
34 Arrested Ancestry
- Lady Wickshire sipped her tea, waiting for another fake niece to visit.
- The Lady had learned how to handle those fake relatives, however.
- Lady's butler ushered the girl into the lady's parlor.
- The niece bubbled with excitement to meet her aunt.
- The girl did not expect the sheriff to be waiting for her.
35 The Wedding Hammer
- Dolly baked a cake, big and pink, for Alice's wedding.
- Alice wanted a coconut cake though.
- Dolly became angry and smashed the cake with a hammer.
- Alice said she was glad to have the big, pink cake hammered.
- Dolly then baked a coconut cake with a hammer in it.
36 Betsy Made Me Do It
- Dina stole $10 from her mom's bag and bought Betsy, an $8 doll.
- Dina's mom went to pay for a $5 jug of milk but had no cash.
- Dina watched as her mom wrote a check for the milk.
- Mom then noticed that Dina's face had turned beet red.
- Dina tells her mom that Betsy made her do it.
37 From Sole to Crown
- Tom bought a new pair of boots and set them by the backdoor.
- Janie walked in eating a chocolate ice cream cone.
- Mom yells out, telling Janie not to be eating before dinner.
- Janie drops the cone into one of Tom's new boots.
- Tom pours the melted ice cream on Janie's head.
38 Quiet after the Storm
- Jeff flew into a rage finding his paper clips scattered on the floor.
- Suze screamed at Jeff to shut up and just pick up the damn clips.
- Jeff flew into another rage at Suze's command.
- Suze whispered in Jeff's ear a string of commands.
- Jeff stormed out never to be seen again while Suze enjoyed the quiet.
39 She Said, He Said, Etc.
- She said she had the measles.
- He said he did not believe her.
- She kissed him on the forehead.
- He said that was yucky.
- She said he was right.
40 Carla Vesuvius
- Carla worked hard to become a femme fatale.
- She exercised to enlarge her breasts and shrink her waist.
- Then Carla discovered her inner Carl.
- As she became he, Carl disdained Carla's former obsessions.
- In his nightmares, Carl still wonders if someday Carla will erupt again.
© 2018 Linda Sue Grimes
Linda Sue Grimes (author) from U.S.A. on April 06, 2018:
Oh, I see. I haven't experienced that movie, but the little stories did seem to add to the "Lee Smith" saga. Actually, I have a full-fledge short story titled "Joyce Ann," on which that little piece was based. I placed it on HubPages a while back but the language is too strong for this site. If you'd like to read it, it's here: https://medium.com/@mayasheddtemple/joyce-ann-3e08...
Thanks for your responses, Mike. Enjoy hearing from you. Have a great weekend!
Michael Collins aka Lakemoron from The Village of Lakemore, Summit County, Ohio on April 04, 2018:
Sorry about that. I was thinking about a movie from the 1970's called "It's Alive" were a couple's new born baby turns out to be a monster that starts to kill people.
Linda Sue Grimes (author) from U.S.A. on April 04, 2018:
Michael, your first story,"Mother’s Remorse," is wonderful and works well. I'm not quite understanding the second "Pig’s Blood." Is that buried baby resurrected, able to kill pigs, and then go visit his mother in prison? If so, I guess it works on some fantasy-horror level. You have talent for storytelling, no doubt about it. Have a great day!
Linda Sue Grimes (author) from U.S.A. on April 04, 2018:
Thanks for the response, Frank. Yes, I have also formed them into simple paragraphs, which may be better than numbering them. But I think numbing works also because of the emphasis on brevity.
The practice of trying to express a story with such a small quantity of words and sentences can be a very useful writing exercise.
Michael Collins aka Lakemoron from The Village of Lakemore, Summit County, Ohio on April 03, 2018:
Interesting idea. Here are just a few quick ones I wrote. This would be interesting as a freeform discussion so others could post stories with or without connections to each other.
1. Lee Smith cowered in the back of her cell.
2. Battered and bruised from her second day in Prison.
3. Her fellow inmates learned what she did.
4. Mother’s all.
5. Prison can’t save an unrepentant soul.
1. The body of the pigs lay in pieces.
2. Bloody prints too small to be real.
3. Somethings can’t be buried.
4. The small figure made its way to the prison.
5. Not all reunions are happy.
Frank Atanacio from Shelton on April 03, 2018:
I've never seen flash-fiction broken down like this.. this was amazing and useful.. I think I learned flash-fiction from Chris Mills.. but it was never broken down to a simplistic form.... I love it