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One of the lesser known tasks of an exhibit writer is to pack an entire story into a single short label. Veteran exhibition writers are always telling neophytes to keep it brief but pack a punch.

Power pithiness takes practice (did I mention museum folks like alliteration?), but most of us aren’t going to write a training exhibit. Instead try writing 55 word stories.

The basic premise of 55-word fiction is to tell a story in 55 words or less. Seems easy, until you remember you need an introduction, a conflict, and a resolution. Did I mention it should also be satisfying to read?

For example, try these:

The Mystery
“You needn’t look so smug, Watson.”
“Sorry, Holmes. It’s just that I believe you’re finally stumped. You’ll never unravel this crime.”
Holmes stood up and gestured emphatically with the stem of his pipe.
“I’m afraid you’re wrong. I do know who killed Mrs. Worthington.”
“Incredible! No witnesses! No clues! Who did it?”
“I did, Watson.”
 
A Pilgrim’s Tale
He entered sheepishly and knelt at his wife’s bedside.
“Priscilla, dearest, she meant nothing to me! Can you ever forgive me?”
She was flushed. “Yes, John. Love is forgiveness.”
“Angel!” He kissed her forehead, grabbed his musket, and left, slamming the front door.
Priscilla leaned over the bed’s edge to peer beneath.

“Miles,” she beckoned.

To learn more about 55 word stories, check out this explanation. If you’d like to read some more check out The World’s Shortest Stories.

Have fun!

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