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.

  • Nentuaby

    There is of course the famous “World’s Shortest Horror Story”:
    The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock at the door.

    Though, on further reflection, it might also be a promising porno setup.

  • Matthew

    A sultry bead of oil slid down her breast-modules. Lust-Mode! On her purchase day!


  • elliot

    A final tear dripped down her neon-blushed cheek. A virus. On our wedding day. [cyberpunk]

  • mrdelayer

    I would have gone with…

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

  • Ubnin

    Yea and did the tears come unto her eyes; and she wept. Woe! To the Israelites!


  • Ubnin

    She cried. She died. In the rain.


  • msg23

    There’s some excellent sci-fi to be found here:

  • Ubnin

    What tear is this upon my cheek? Alas!/To think of all the treasures I have lost!


  • tedknaz

    A fuzzy tear landed on her speeder vest. Ewoks! On our wedding day! [Star Wars]
    A final tear slid down her Poker face. Lady Gaga! On our wedding day! [Bad Music]
    A final tear slid down our face. Cancer! On our Siamese Birthday! [Bizarre Lives]

  • Ubnin

    Water beading may occur on the face. This is normal. Blot dry and continue with step five (5).

    [instructional manual]

  • tedknaz

    A final raindrop dripped down her check. Rain! On our Wedding Day! [Isn’t It Ironic, Don’t You Think]

  • Adam

    A final tear dripped down Picard’s dying cheek. Pokemonitis! On Pikachu’s wedding day! [slashfic]

  • tedknaz

    A furry tear dripped down her Speeder Vest. Ewoks! On our Wedding Day! [Star Wars]

  • Elsa

    Her final tear floated into the void of space. Airlock malfunction! On our wedding day! [Space]

  • Cory

    A grateful tear slid down her cheek. A misfire! At the Ford theater!
    [alternative history]

  • Duke

    A solitary tear rolled down her golden breastplate, like the dusk of Sisyphus. A Curse from Zeus! Upon Her wedding day!
    [Homerian Epic]

  • John

    A tear, one tear only, a sad token of the broken heart beating within her breast, slid with an agonizing lack of celerity across the smooth, pale skin of her flawless face.


  • Grant

    A final tear dripped down her cheek. Suicide! On our wedding day! [Feminist]

    Seriously, every feminist book I have read, the woman commits suicide.

  • Topherclay

    If tears fall down your face, overcome it and go to your happy place. To your wedding day! [Self-help]

  • Croove55

    An ultimate tear of radiance dripped down her battlecorset. Shadow beasts! On our wedding day! [MMO Fiction]

  • Yeah No

    Do you cry through the wedding? If so, go back to p. 138.
    Or do you fight the ninjas on unicycles? If so, skip ahead to p. 206

    [choose your own adventure]

  • gormster

    Yeah No wins the internet.

  • Anonymous

    “A final shard dropped from the smashed remains of his scouter. Over 9000! On our invasion day!” [Shonen anime]

  • solitary lugubriousaline down/waterfall, foul, ‘pon the countess’ countenance, count on itragedy, ¡¡¡cancer!!!! to dew (or dewed) wednesday’s wedding so!

    [Joyce-inspired postmodernist]

  • BobbyJudo

    A final tear dripped down her bronzed Egyptian cheek. The world’s first documented case of cancer! On our wedding day! Around 1500 BC!

    (historical fiction)

  • robot makes music

    a first tear dripped down her cheek. Cancer! On the day she was born. (Oprah Twitfiction of the Month Club)

  • robot makes music

    A final tear dripped down her painted cheek. Rape! In a foreign country. (Lifetime Movie)

  • HunterJE

    A final tear dripped down her cheek, and then turned into a swarm of butterflies. [Absurdism (or magic realism, if she’s “ethnic”)]
    A final tear dripped up her forehead. Cancer! On our wedding day! [Sloth/bat/possum romance]

  • Doctor

    Yes it is a teardrop yes on my cheek yes and the cancer yes it was cancer yes on the day the priest asked yes and I said Yes

    James Joyce

  • Herodian

    A final tear dripped down her cheek. Barbarians! On the day of my triumph! (Roman autobiography)

  • HunterJE

    A tear ran down my great-great-great grandmother’s cheek. Paradox! On our wedding day! [Time travel]

  • Another Kevin

    A tear trickled down from her dying eye to her fine bridal garments.

    Alas for the fate that compels weddings to end in despair!

    Virgil (I don’t think I can manage to get either the grammar or the scansion right in Latin.)

  • Broofa

    A tear, glinting red as the sun on the canyon walls, slid down Hayduke’s cheek. Bulldozers! On Earth Day! [Ecoterrorism, ala Edward Abbey]

  • Another

    Go cry noob! Get canser! on yr brithday!!!1!

    [Xbox Live]

  • msyarn

    OMG r u crying?!1
    yes i hav cancer
    that sux-u dieing?
    ya on my weding day 2 :(

    [text dialogue]

  • Louis

    “A tear dripped down her cheek. Papparazzi! On her wedding day”

    (celebrity biography)

  • Román Gorojovsky Sánchez

    “A final tear dripped down his lifelong favourite team’s uniform. Cancer! When he was about to win the game in the last minute! And on his wedding day too!” [Sports]

    “A final tear dripped down his lifelong favourite team’s colours painted on his cheek. Cancer! When his team was about to win the championship for the first time ever! And on his wedding day too!” [Sports, from the supporter’s POV ]

  • Louis

    “A final tear dripped down his cheek. Proletarian uprising! And on his wedding day!”

    -Russian political novel

  • grub

    “A final tear dripped down her dying cheek as she read her horoscope. Cancer! Today is a good time for either death or for a wedding day! Pisces! Today is a good time to sexually harrass your dry cleaner! ” [Astrology]

  • Alyssa

    A mascara-laden tear dripped down her Sephora-blushed cheeks, streaking them with a mortifying trail of black. A fashion faux-pas! In her Vera Wang wedding gown!

    [chick lit]

    And when the sun sets over Jersey and I look out over all that raw land rolling out over to the sea and the pretty girls in Iowa in the land where they let the children cry, I think of my girl, and the single tear on her cheek, I even think of her dying, I think of our wedding day!

    [beat generation]

  • Ben

    “A final excited germ embraced her oligarch. DADA! On our swiss trampling!” [Dada]

    “A final vomit drop dripped down her drunken cheek. Alcohol! On her divorce day!” [Charles Bukowski]

  • Tamary

    A tear goes drip
    A tear goes drop.
    This wedding day
    Will be a flop.
    She’s looking ill
    So fetch the doc.
    And get a refund on that rock.
    [Dr. Seuss]

  • ThatGuy

    Impossible! And yet, somehow, the prognosis came, as they considered the ash dampened by a last tear shed before her collapse on their wedding day. The vampire had died from cancer!
    (Trashy vampire novel)

  • robzor

    a final tear dripped down his level 36 dwarf hunters armor. the horde! while he was roaming the woods gathering herbs!

  • robzor

    i forgot to state my genre. it was world of warcraft

  • Dan

    A tear rolled down the dame’s cheek like a thunderhead. I reached for the snub-nosed .38 in the desk drawer. Betrayal! On the case’s first day! [noir]

  • Edgewise

    A greasy tear rolled down her grotesquely distended cheek. Morbid obesity! On our wedding day!
    [motivational biography… or inflation erotica, your pick]

  • Scott

    A final tear dripped down her dying cheek. Murdered! On our wedding day!

    (Murder mystery).

  • Scott

    The ancient stars in alignment! Tears of blood! Anagh fgathin! Madness ascendant! Cthulhu rises! On my wedding day!

    (Lovecraftian horror)

  • Wry Mouth

    A final tear is composed largely of a saline solution with trace elements of manganese and lithium. Within the solution, cells may obtain sufficient nutrients.

    (high school biology text)