Treasure These Few Words*

One of the trends that I’ve noticed in the last few years (or perhaps it’s just me) is that stories seem to be getting longer. I could give you dozens of examples of crime fiction novels that are longer than 400 pages, and you could give me even more I’m sure. But the truth is that crime stories don’t have to be long.

Don’t believe me? Here are just a few examples I tossed together of murder stories told in exactly 50 words. Fellow blogger and crime fiction writer Rob Kitchin has called these Dribbles, and I like the term.



She locked the door and took her son’s hand. ‘Ready?’
She smiled although it made her facial bruises hurt. Thank God that was over!
‘Let’s go,’ she said
Hopefully the new owners wouldn’t pull up the basement floor. At least she’d remembered to use plenty of lime and bleach.




Joe mopped his face. ‘One week, that’s all. Just one more week?’
‘You said you’d be out this weekend,’ Alex glared. ‘I don’t want no junkies in my house!’
‘But I’ve nowhere else to go.’
‘Not my problem. You have three days – Ow! What the hell?!’
Needles make great weapons.




‘I’m serious, Ted! Laura dented your car. I saw her do it.’
‘You’re sure?’ he asked.
‘I know what I saw,’ I said. ‘You can’t live on this block and not know what goes on.’
‘That bitch! I’ll kill her!’ Ted said.
That’ll teach Laura to complain about my dog.




‘Dennis won’t be home for hours, love. Come back to bed.’
Scott didn’t have to be asked twice; Alicia was hotter than hot.
That’s why he didn’t notice the knife until it was too late.
‘Come on out, Dennis!’ she called when it was over. ‘His wallet’s on the dresser.’




Carl shook his head in disbelief. ‘It’s all gone? You bastard! You stole my money! I’m getting the law.’
Sam pleaded. ‘No! The deal went bad is all. No need for the suits. This is just between friends, right?’
Bam! ‘Right,” Carl said. ‘No need at all for the law.’



‘Congratulations on your promotion, Allie!’ Kyra said.
‘Thanks. I feel bad for you, though. You’d have gotten it if it weren’t for me.’
‘Don’t worry about it. Let’s just get some coffee, OK?’
‘Sure, that’d be great.’
Allie died a short time later. Cyanide can be a helpful career booster.



See? Crime stories don’t have to be long. Now it’s your turn! Care to try your hand at some Dribbles? I’d love to read and share them. Please email them to me (margotkinberg(at)gmail(dot)com) and I’ll post them all in about two weeks. C’mon, give it a try! Ya know ya want to!


*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from the Beatles’ P.S.  I Love You.


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18 responses to “Treasure These Few Words*

  1. those a sweet!
    I wonder if I could do that. 😀

  2. Terrific dribbles, Ms. Kinberg, particularly the Dennis-Alicia-Scott dribble. I’m in on the dribble contest two weeks hence; thanks for the opportunity. And, I agree, Rob Kitchin does some mean dribbles.

    • Prashant – Thank you 🙂 – I’m so glad you liked these. I have to admit I had fun doing them. It’s also great to hear you’ll be sending me some of your own work – I look forward to it!

  3. Skywatcher

    ‘We found clues to the murder’ said Sgt Daley ‘but we’re still looking. I need a smoke. Could you please…?’
    Raikes proffered him a cigarette and matchbook,
    “There was a matchbook match . This sort of cigarette was there. Oh, the strangler was a left-hander , like you. Care to talk ?”

    (Sorry for sending it like this, but problems with the e-mail. Is this okay?)

    • Skywatcher – This is absolutely great!! 🙂 -Thanks so much for sending it. I love it. I’ll be sure to include it with the others I get. Sorry to hear you had trouble with the email.

  4. Awesome. Every single one is a classic! And no, nothing need be long- 50 words is more than enough if the wielder of the pen is a Master like you.

    • Natasha – *blush* Thank you! hat’s so very kind of you! 🙂 – It means a lot, especially coming from someone like you who writes micro-fiction as well as you do. I hope you’ll try your hand at a few Dribbles of your own…

  5. I’m not a dribbler. I’m having trouble even telling a story in 3,000 words. The ones you posted are pretty good though.

  6. Patti Abbott

    Longer is not always better as this points out so nicely. Most short stories online are read better at under 3000 words. I have never met a story longer than that which couldn’t use some cutting. And I include my own.

    • Patti – Thank you 🙂 – That means a lot coming from a talented short-story-smith like yourself. And I couldn’t agree more about well-written short stories. Part of their ‘punch’ comes from brevity and it takes skill to use brevity. And even novel-length stories don’t have to be 400 pages or more to be good.

  7. Great stories Margot. Brevity rules!

  8. Pingback: I’m Streetwise, I Can Improvise* | Confessions of a Mystery Novelist…

  9. Pingback: You Really Made My Day With the Little Things You Say* | Confessions of a Mystery Novelist…

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