Daily Lit is one of my favorite sites. Sign up for a free subscription — and DL will send bite-sized installments of literature to your email, RSS, or mobile phone.

But now the folks at Daily Lit have challenged their readers to also become writers by crafting “mini-sagas” — short stories that are exactly 50 words long. Exactly. No more, no less. (For more on mini-sagas, see pages 119-120 of AWNM.)

Here’s my 50-word tale:

When I was shot, fear seized me at first. No surprise that. But once I realized I wasn’t going to die – despite the thermonuclear pain and widening puddle of weirdly warm blood – my mind recalibrated. And one thought, comforting yet disturbing, leapt into my head: I need to Tweet this.

Take the challenge yourself here.

8 Responses to “Are you ready for the 50-word challenge?”

  1. Doug Johnson says:

    Hi Daniel,

    Not sure if this is a “saga” but here goes:

    Finding Time

    Each time I pass the picture I take a few seconds to straighten it. On its single nail, heavy tread makes it tilt. I always have the extra seconds to make it straight, but I never have the precious minute needed to get the second nail to straighten it permanently.

    I wrote this in response to an earlier “50 word” challenge here: http://www.changethis.com/49.03.MiniSagas

    All the best,


  2. Aaron Street says:


    This new Twitter-mocking cartoon video on Current TV is eerily reminiscent of your story:


  3. Dan Pink Dan Pink says:

    @aaron — funny. i actually watched that clip this morning — even, er, tweeted it.

  4. Phyllis says:

    I had a similar assignment from a friend earlier this month. She wanted to encourage my writing skills and asked me to write a 12-sentence story from my childhood with a beginning, middle, and end. Here it is:

    The Birthday Surprise

    I was nine. With my birthday money in hand, I walked the mile down Lake Street from Colfax Avenue to the Woolworth’s dime store on Nicollet Avenue. I knew exactly how I would spend the money. On the last trip that I made with my friends I had seen pink and yellow Easter bunnies, but this time I was walking alone. After making my purchase, I happily exited the store and turned left – the wrong direction. As I traveled further away from home, I could tell that something was wrong but I did not know how to fix it. I turned onto a cross street. When I saw the railroad track, I knew I was going the wrong way so I backtracked to Lake Street. Thoroughly frightened, I kept walking the wrong way down Lake Street. When I got to Sears (2 miles from home), a kind lady waiting for the bus saw my tearful state and asked me if I was lost. “ Ye-eh-ehs, I can’t find Colfax,” I sobbed. Being redirected, I immediately brightened, and jauntily walked the two miles home, knowing that I had just experienced an adventure and had a new story to tell.

  5. Candice says:

    What if 50 words coincided with poetry month? Inside each word is a feeling, a tone, perhaps a pink one, for Pink readers to read:

    Inside my head is spread
    a poem when its month has come.
    Who says you can’t have both
    cake and eat it and then some?

  6. Alex says:

    Hi Dan,
    Your 50-word story made me laugh out loud, probably because I’ve had the strange desire to Tweet things that probably shouldn’t be Tweeted.

    You’ve also inspired me to pen (er, type) my own 50-word tale, posted on my blog and the Daily Lit site, too:

    Heavy gray rain fell that February Sunday. There she sat quietly sipping chamomile, reading, cheeks flushed, wearing a petit dejeuner t-shirt. He ducked in out of the damp, spotted her — could not turn away, yet could not walk over. Love. The next day, a Missed Connections posting. She replied.

    (On a sidenote, if you remember me, I interviewed you at Cisco’s Partner Velocity event recently in Miami. I’ll email you a link if you haven’t seen it yet.)

  7. Zammy says:

    Ya what she said but i think what she tryed to say is, make something funny for a poem or dont make any at all! Well just chill with the nerd tweet thing it was kinda dum!? But what ever thats just two people opinion. You still have like hundereds of poeple that still like you.Hope that makes you fell better. And P.S. dont send that crap email or you will be getting a mean one back bye!:)

  8. anon says:

    The long-haired monster was gaining on me. As it leapt onto me, I screamed until I could no more. I thought it would start ripping open my flesh. The cuts would be an ocean deep. My mum told me to calm down as she brushed the spider off my leg.

Leave a Reply