I started writing “One Word” almost two years ago. The idea came to me while I was riding the MetroNorth train from New York City to New Haven. I was reading Trigger Warning, a collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman. I marveled at how Gaiman’s writing seemed so simple, but yet still evocative. I realized that a great writer could create with fewer words more compelling characters and stories than a lesser talented writer with any amount of words. A great writer doesn’t need a thousand words to paint a picture; they just need enough words to trigger your imagination enough to fill in all of the unwritten ones.
Then the thought came to me, how few words would the best writer in the world need?
With that thought and with the inspiration of Gaiman’s stories, some of which were horror and others fantasy, a story started to form. While pondering my story, I noticed a stunning older woman leave the train. The idea of her was the last piece I needed to create Morgan, the older woman in this story and its key piece. It took me the next two days to formulate the rest of the story contained in the PDF below. In the time since, I’ve worked on it here and there, looking to make the story more evocative and to do it in as few words as I could. In the end, it took me about 3600 words. It’s not as good as what Morgan does in the story, but I like it.
I hope that you do as well.