Genre microfiction

I was talking with a friend about a Twitter-based fiction contest that he’d seen, and he mentioned that this contest had stipulated genre requirements. So, of course, the conversation turned to how short a story could possibly be and still have some recognizable genre. I postulated that it wouldn’t take much at all:

“A final tear dripped down her dying cheek. Cancer! On our wedding day!” [Drama/romance]

“A final tear dripped down her dying cheek. Tuberculosis! On our wedding day!” [Period romance]

“A final tear dripped down her dying cheek. Nanobots! On our wedding day!” [Sci-fi]

“A final acidic tear dripped down her dying, scaly cheek. Dragon cancer! On our wedding day!” [Fantasy]

“A sultry bead of sweat dripped down her heaving bosom. Lust! On our wedding day!” [Erotica]

“A bloody tear dripped down her already-rotting cheek. Zombies! On our wedding day!” [Horror]

“A final tear dripped down her bullet-riddled cheek. Mobsters! On our court date!” [Crime]

“A final tear dripped down her dying cheek. Cancer! On our gay wedding day!” [Gay/lesbian]

“A final tear dripped down her goggles to her sprocket-laden corset. Brass poisoning! On our wedding day!” [Steampunk]

In fact, I bet between all of us we could write microfiction in every conceivable genre. Leave a comment and let’s prove it.

  • three08

    A single tear of gratitude fell – strippers! Kegs of cheap domestic beer! Jägermeister shots! At his bachelor party!

  • Ziegejunge

    Once upon a wedding dreary, there she wandered, tried and teary,
    Over many a cyst and sarcoma deep within her dying core —

  • Beans

    “I’m gonna make ‘im an offer he can’t refuse. It’s the day of my daughter’s wedding.”

  • Sams

    A final drop of blood dripped down hid dying cheek. He was leaving that afternoon for his wedding day! Cancer is hell.

    [All’s Quiet On The Western Front]

  • robzor

    a final tear rolled down her cheek when she discovered she had cancer on her wedding day(citation needed)


  • Madeline Bassett

    A final tear rolled down her cheek; she looked like a spaniel that has just been told its dinner will be late.
    “It’s a rummy thing, Jeeves,” I said. “Who’d have thunk it! Cancer, on our wedding day!”
    “Well, sir, I did take the liberty of looking into Miss Foster’s medical records. It seemed unlikely that you would have to follow through on your arrangements.”
    “Oh? Fancy that. Very good, Jeeves!”


  • AJ

    The Husband:
    “A final tear dripped down her dying cheek. Cancer! On our wedding day!”

    The Physician:
    “I cried – I had so nearly saved the patient, only to lose her in the end. All my staff were heroes today.”

    The wife (speaking through a medium)
    “That tear was not mine, but his! Death held no terror, compared to living with him… ”

    The cancer (who later adopts an orphan [?]) :
    “HAHAHAHAHA!! How pathetic they are! But I can’t take the credit – it was the Doctor’s fault she died!”

    [Akira Kurosawa]

  • Faid

    I fed the river with a tear, as on its banks I sat and wept. A ‘cease and desist’ order by Borges! On the day my fey beloved I am to wed!

    [Paulo Coelho]

  • Tamary

    When you said your fiancee was drop-dead gorgeous . . .
    . . . I didn’t realize you meant it literally! Condolences.

    [horrible greeting card from the “Sympathy-Humorous” section]

  • Kansas

    Re-write this passage, correcting errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation:

    Dripping down her cheek, I observed a tear. Its her weeding day, she has Cancer. [standardized test study guide]

  • King AdBeck

    “An easily-avoided tear dripped down her disappointed cheek. Erectile dysfunction! On our honeymoon!”

    [Pharmaceutical brochure / late-night infomercial]

  • Eyes Glued Shut

    A fumscullious tear ran down her scrumdiddlyumptous cheek. A cell gone scuzzled off its wump! On our wedding day!

    (Roald Dahl)

    At Hauskuldstede, in Laxriverdale, dwelt a man named Hauskuld, who was Dalakoll’s son, and his mother’s name was Thorgerda, who had a brother named Hrut, dwelling at Hrutstede. Hauskuld had a daughter to be married to Farfrig, son of Vjaskeld and Brumhilda. Hauskuld said to Hrut, “Is she not fair?” Hrut answered, “Fair indeed, but whence in our family came the cancerous growths, I know not.” And Hauskuld was wroth, as tears did slide down the maiden’s cheek.

    (Norse saga)

  • Dangerous Dan, The World’s Deadliest Man

    A final tear slid down the senator’s cheek. Anthrax/VX poison gas/nuclear attack! On Inauguration Day!

    [Tom Clancy]

  • Blooms

    On my wedding day I will cry because:
    [ ] I’m so happy!
    [ ] The groom is somehow wearing that horrible old tie that really doesn’t work with my dress even though I bought him a nice new one weeks ago.
    [ ] I’m getting married, duh!
    [ ] I’m dying from cancer.

    [stupid “know yourself” quiz]

  • Too Late

    blushingbride1988: i have cancer
    gr00mtobe: orly?
    blushingbride1988: yarly no joke
    gr00mtobe: u must be jking
    blushingbride1988: no im not
    gr00mtobe: omgomgomgomg wut about our wedding
    blushingbride1988: i gess we shud cancel the dj

    [im talk]

  • David Bofinger

    By the path of the tear, Watson, we can determine the victim was unmarried when the cancer was discovered.

    [Sherlock Holmes]

    So we drip upwards, tears against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the eyes.

    [The Great Gatsby]