Friday, March 7, 2014

Snap Stories

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

A friend of mine is getting into Snap Stories.

"What the heck is that?" I asked.

A short story based on a snapshot, and less than a page long.  Maybe 250-500 words.

Well, I've always struggled to write LONG so a snap story should be easy, right?


I tried to write one and found I wanted to add a LOT more detail. I wanted more rich description. I wanted character motivation.  Maybe I'm just destined to write stories that are 2,000-80,000 words in length.

Would you like to read these kinds of stories as a freebie on a website or blog?

Here's a photo I took  What do you think the story should be about? 


Melissa said...

Corrine stopped suddenly.

"Hey! Why did you stop?!" Her friend, Maisie, walking along the path behind her started to complain since she nearly had walked right into Corrine’s back.

Corrine didn't know why the trashcan scared her. It wasn't just because it didn't belong here. You hike enough you see odd things along the paths. But it made her nervous just the same.

Growing concerned over her continued silence Maisie moved to the side as best she could on the narrow trail.

Startled at first but never one to really be silent long, Maisie asked, “What is that doing here?”

Knowing the question was mostly rhetorical Corrine shrugged. “Should we open it? Move it off the path?” She turned so they could both stand together. “It’s sort of blocking the way.”

“Yeah, but there’s not really anywhere to move it to either,” Maisie pointed out. “The path isn’t wide enough. Besides, I’m not sure I want to touch it.”

“Me neither, but I don’t think we should leave it there either.”

Both women stared at the otherwise innocuous seeming container. It was a standard Rubbermaid trashcan with a lid, nothing remarkable about it other than its strange location.

They both were so lost in trying to think of their best plan when a bird twittered near them they both jumped a little sending it off in flight.

“Oh for Pete’s sake,” Maisie cried and then nearly stomping to the can she yanked the lid off and peered in.

“Well?” Corrine asked, equal parts curious and fearful.

Maisie looked up. “Nothing. It’s completely empty.”

“Really?!” Corrine moved closer to look in herself. “Let’s just slide it the side as best we can. That should open up enough room for people to get past if anyone else comes along the trail.”

After doing so the two friends continued along their weekend hike laughing at themselves for the silliness of being afraid of the can and for the unusualness of it being there in the first place.

Mark Baker said...

When the detective arrived at the scene, the beat cop was standing near a garbage can holding his nose.

"What's this all about?" the detective said.

The cop never unplugged his nose. "The neighbor called in a horrible smell. I came to check it out and found that." He motioned over his shoulder at the garbage can.

The detective strode over to the can and lifted the lid. Inside was a rapidly decomposing body of a man. Suddenly, the detective was very grateful to be stuffy from a bad cold.

The cop was still facing away. "He's been identified as the owner of the house. Obviously, he was stabbed with pruning sheers."

The detective turned and strode away. "Then arrest the gardener."

The cop stared after him. "Why?"

The detective grinned. "The pruning was stopped half way through and yet there are no leaves on the ground. Everything is under the victim in that can. Meanwhile, the sheers aren't at the scene. Clearly, the gardener stopped what he was doing on his own terms."

The cop was so amazed he unplugged his nose. For a second before the smell overcame him again.

Aurian said...

Nope, I don't like these sort of snippets at all. For me a book I enjoy can't be long enough, and will always end too soon.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful. But I must confess, I was expecting a dismembered body or two.

: )

Anonymous said...


Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

I love this idea! I'm horribly unimaginative when it comes to writing something short, but I truly love reading Snap Stories. It would be great fun to use this idea as part of a writing workshop, I think the audience would be intrigued. It reminds me of a popular psych test. You show the client a series of photos and ask him/her "what's happening in this picture?" The answers can be quite revealing. Sometimes you can go a step further and ask, "And how does the story end?" I spent a year doing psych testing in a major hospital and this was one of the tests we used. Certain themes would emerge in picture after picture.

Diane said...

A lot of Money found in the trash, Just thrown in. I really like reading a long story. Sometimes I hate to see the book end and I almost never read a short story.

Nancy said...

I think it would be fun to write flashfiction, but I doubt if I would visit a web site to read more. Maybe.

Carrie P said...

I tried, really tried hard, to write a 200 word story. I saw the picture, and started writing, 1,000 words later I still wasn't finished with the story, and I decided to check the word count, can't be that many I thought to myself, yep at 1,000 words I was out of the running. I finished the story, nothing I would do for publication, but it was fun and got the creative juices running, maybe I'll use it in an other story sometime, but no short fiction contests are in my future. :0

Unknown said...

haha well, I would have gone there but was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep it short enough if I did!

Grandma Cootie said...

I usually can't even write a short comment. No way I could write a Snap Story.

I always think I like short stories until I start reading, and then I realize the longer the better.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

I like longer stories and novels. I read for mood and character and suspense. Having said that, it seems a shame to waste such a nice container on anything less that the corpse of the day.

With apologies to snap writers and corpses everywhere.



Anonymous said...

LOL -- I bought it to put compost in, but it didn't work very well. So I bought a composter. That didn't work very well, either. This year, I'm tossing my kitchen scraps (veggie only) in a compost pile in an unused corner. The simple things work the best.

Melody said...

I think the story should be about who or what is in the can.