Still Not Short Enough

No, there really isn’t anything there.

Short fiction is, of course, not new.  Hemingway famously rose to the six word story challenge with, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”  But, in a world of Twitter, it does seem that not only is short increasingly popular but also increasingly shorter.  It used to be that no respectable short story was shorter than 2000 words, but with the advent with flash fiction, the story was to be no longer than 250 words.  250 words is not a bad length, I think.  Still room for something to be said – not just the bare bones of the story but perhaps even a sense of character.  This it seems, however, is too long for the modern attention span.  The new challenge is less than a 100 words, which hardly seems worth it.  But even this does not necessarily pass muster.  I was recently on a one-day course instructed by Prof. Malcolm Sparrow of Harvard University who was asked by client (who was paying on the order of US$20,000/day for the good professor’s services) to summarize his book on regulation in one sentence.  The esteemed PhD came up with, “Find problems; fix them.”  At which point I thought, I can do better.  I can summarize it one word, “Trite.”

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