Dabbling With 25 Word Stories

I vividly recall those competitions where you could win a prize if you sang the praises of a particular product in 25 words or less. As a teenager, I occasionally submitted, but no prizes ever eventuated.  My twenty five words apparently missed the mark. None the less, it was the challenge that drove my efforts.

Maybe this is why I love the 25 word story and its inherent challenge. It was through fellow blogger, Kevin Hodgson that I became aware of this new writing opportunity. It came to light through my involvement with Twitter.

The 25 word story asks the writer to construct a story using Twitter as the platform. The limit of 25 words is the first challenge. The next challenge is stay to within Twitter’s 140 character limit at the same time. Within the 140 characters you need to allow for the hash tag, #25wordstory.

Once I began composing these short, short stories, it became an addictive force. I find myself rehearsing just as I do with other writing outlets. It requires a deal of revision and editing to create a story that fits the given parameters. The challenge helps to drive the writing. It’s a constructive way to use a social medium.

I see this working particularly well with adolescent writers. It presents sufficient challenge within a manageable time frame. The structure is supportive of the inexperienced writer. It reminds me of the comprehension strategy- ‘Gist’ where the reader must provide a summary of a text within the 26 word framework.

Kevin Hodgson wrote this 25 word story, which is one of my favourites:

‘The writer bent words, snapped phrases over his knee, wrestled with elusive ideas. Finally, the character arrived.’

I have dabbled with this myself. Here are 3 examples:

‘Early each day she stood on the scales and they misread her real body mass. Sadly, she failed to see the error of her weighs.’

‘The page lay white and bright before him. With pen in hand he faced down the blank sheet and began to doodle with rare intent.’

‘A rock singer, he dreamed of a hit. Even as he walked the street, he dreamed. Then fate intervened. His head hit the lamp post.’

I commend the 25 word story to you as an additional outlet for you and the writers in your care. I believe it provides a great mix of challenges. -Challenges which remain achievable for developing writers. With a little effort, it’s doable. From experience I know, how hard it is to stop at one. However, unlike chocolate, it does not involve a sense of guilt. Thanks again Kevin.


  1. #25wordstory Oh, so I know the rest of the story! The writer arrives, records, counts, character limit reached, revises, recounts-a story told.

    Would this count as a 25 word story?

  2. I like this idea. I like how it forces you to revise. I will have to try this with my students. Thanks!


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