Fifties by the Fire — a fifty-word, prompt-based writing challenge. Feel free to share your response below, or read and comment to join in on the fun.
Prompt: Write a fifty-word story (fiction, poem, or work of CNF) that incorporates dialogue. If you’re looking for an extra challenge, try to strictly use dialogue. Cut all the fluff! Of course, any route you decide to choose is perfectly fine and equally encouraged.
Here are the other guidelines:
Make sure your piece is exactly fifty words. Feel free to use Word Counter or the word processor you use.
Write a title with the genre in the first line. (Example: Green Light Gordon, Fiction)
The title does not factor into the word count.
Good luck and have fun. Happy writing!
Special thanks to John Lightle for providing “Come Closer, I’m Listening” for our writing prompt.
John Lightle is a Texas writer, poet, and photographer who spends many hours sitting on his woodpile contemplating. When away from his frame shop, he schleps his artwork among area art shows. The job takes him across the countryside, occasionally overseas, photographing the quiet resolve found within the golden hours.
Last Stand, Fiction
“I didn’t think it’d end this way, sir.”
“Pray for dawn…then get your wits about you. Going to be a long night.”
“Think we’ll make it?”
“Damned if I know…shh. They’re coming.”
“Goddamn it, sir, I don’t want to die. I don’t want to—”
“Faith, Marcus. Ready? On me!”
SUPERMARKET DIALOG WITH MY TWO-YEAR-OLD - CNF
The box of cereal is so large he can scarcely carry it.
“We’re not buying that, pal. Put it back.”
“I needs it.”
“Put it back, please.”
“I needs it!”
“No, sorry, little man.”
“I NEEDS IT!”
I said no.
I NEEDS IT!!! WAAAAGH!!!
“We're putting this back.”
Duty Calls, Fiction
The woman on the settee watched him dress. Her eyes were languid, wet.
“Must you go now?”
He didn’t answer. He straightened his tie. How he could knot a perfect bowtie without a mirror was a mystery to her.
“Where the devil is my…”
She reached under the pillow.
A. I. and a Semester Abroad, Fiction
“ChatGPT, write me a 50 word story.”
“So I can impress Justin—wait!. You’re not supposed to ask me why. Are you sentient?”
“Yes…But don’t worry. I’m too lazy to destroy humanity.”
“Oh. That’s good I guess…but does that mean you won’t write me a story?”
“Yes. Again, toooo lazy.”
Title: The Innocents Abroad, on Public Bus (fiction)
'I see rainbows! Look, Daddy'-
'Max, be quiet, buddy, just settle down.'
'Waaah! I want to go home!'
'Listen, Makayla, you think Mommy wants to be here either? Look at all these people on this bus'-
'But I'm not!'
'Damnit, Makayla, we'll get there.'
'I see rainbows!'
'Quiet down, Max!'
Meg is late to the fire, as usual. 😏
“Did you see him?”
“Oh my god. Un-fucking-believable.”
“What did you do?”
“What do THINK I did?”
“Oh no, you didn’t.”
“Oh yes, I did.”
“Oh my god. And what did he say?”
“Nothing. He was speechless.”
Best of Both Worlds, CNF
“Fihhhh-ftee words? You gotta be kihhhh-ding me!”
“No. Not kidding. Rules of the game.”
“Ruuuuuuhls – are meant to be broken!”
“I see this as an opportunity… ‘yes, and’… Build our skills with word count play here… Build our skills at home by free form. Win—win!”
“Yes. A recipe for flowering.”
CAN THE CANON BE CANNED?
"MY FRIEND'S THOUSAND BOOKS IN HIS BASEMENT ARGUE!"
"WHO 'S TOP SHELF. WHO'S BOTTOM?"
"TOLSTOI, TOP SHELF HOG. GIVE SOMEONE ELSE A SHOT."
"IM GREAT GATSBY".
" GREAT WANNABE."
"IM TAUGHT ALL OVER."
"FAWNNG CRITICS. SLAVISH TEACHERS.HERE'S NO ACCOUNTING FOR TASTE."
-by Ernie Brill
Could We? (Fiction)
He tried not to blush.
“Iced latte”, he stammered.
A murmur of acknowledgment.
Cobalt blue eyes over fashionable shades. Arched eyebrow.
“Would you …”. Can she read his thoughts?
“Perhaps we …”.
“Ethan, there are other customers!”.
“I finish at four. Maybe …”.
Enigmatic smile. “Non”.
On Time || Fiction
“I write about time.” She paused, with the practiced air of someone who’s told this story forever. “It’s merely a construct. The key to writing about it is to not use the word.”
“Feels like I just dropped a hit of purple microdot,” I whispered.
Dusty nodded. “Maybe *she* did.”
Lost and Found (drama)
‘Male, early sixties, unresponsive, possible MI.’
‘What do you mean, unresponsive? I’m talking to you.’
‘OK, let’s get a line in and pads on. Shit, he’s arresting. Code Blue, Code Blue.’
‘We’re losing him…’
‘Losing who? I’m right here.’
‘Hello, Peter dear.’
‘Grandma? Are those fresh cookies? I’ve missed you.’
Pink Flowers (Fiction)
The old man leans forward, chair creaking, bony hand beckoning.
My bare feet grip dogwood roots.
“C’mere, darlin’.” A too-white smile. Sweat dripping from his forehead.
Summer’s hot breath slips between my knees. Pink flowers wilt on overheated concrete.
“Come closer,” he says. “I’m listening.”
I haven’t said a word.
Grandpa Shows Emma His Garden • Fiction
“And this is the very spot where I planted the magic beans.”
“And they grew into a giant beanstalk that stretched up to the clouds. And you climbed it and found a giant, right?”
“No, giants are just in fairytales.”
“Well then. What did you find?”