Welcome to 81words

How short is a story?

The challenge is to write a complete story in exactly 81 words.
You can see how other people have done and rank their stories. Can you do better?

Why 81? It’s just long enough to allow for a story to develop but short enough to mean every single word needs thoughtful weighing. Mostly though it’s just a nice number, ask a mathematician.

Scroll down to read stories, or register / log in to vote and submit your own stories.

Slant Rhymes

I had meant to fix the bookshelf for what felt like years. It had hung above my bed on its rusted nails, and had shuddered every time I had increased its load. One night my dreams were shattered by an explosion of pain and I woke up to find my legs pinned underneath a slab of wood and a pile of hardbacks. Leaning forward from the waist, I picked up a book of poems, slumped back and began to read them.

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Slant Rhymes
  • 1.89 / 5 5
9 votes, 1.89 avg. rating (40% score)

Tipping Point

They went up the stairs.

Tripping, skipping, clipping, gripping, ripping.

They went to the bedroom.

Hipping, lipping, nipping, dipping, sipping.

They fell onto the bed.

Stripping, unzipping, dripping, equipping, whipping.

He said, ‘I thought you’d like it.’

She said, ‘No, I don’t’.

Their world began tipping.



They left the bedroom.

Snipping, yipping, quipping, chipping, blipping.

Down the stairs.

And their story came full circle, ending the same way it began.

Tripping, skipping, clipping, gripping, ripping.

Back onto the street.

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