Microfiction on Tall And True

We Need to Talk - Hospital Room

We Need to Talk in 29 Words

  12+   The Australian Writers' Centre ran a 29 Word Story Challenge in August 2019. The rules were: The story must contain exactly 29 words, begin and end with the same word, and include the names of at least two countries. With a lucky hyphenation, my repurposed We Need to Talk was spot on 29 words.

I recently blogged about Repurposed Writing (August 2019). In the post, I explained how I'd revisited a microfiction piece I'd written for a Twitter competition run by Meanjin Quarterly in 2017: We Need to Talk (November 2017). 

The original microfiction story was 280 characters (with the Twitter hashtag #meanjin280) and 44 words long. Could I edit 15 words from it? Yes, thanks to the legitimately hyphenated "twenty-four". And I retitled it, We Never Talk.

We Never Talk

Talk, now or never. Twenty-four hours from England to Australia, to white walls, antiseptic, tubes, wires, electronic beeps and the wheezing breath of my shrunken father. We never talk.

As my editor friend might say, all writing, long-form, short stories and microfiction, can do with a good edit.

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The Writers' Centre blog (September 2019) reported receiving almost a thousand submissions for the 29 Word Story Challenge. And [proud puffing of cheeks] We Never Talk was one of their published favourites!

Do you like to dabble in or read microfiction? You may like this collection I reviewed for Writing NSW in 2017, Loopholes by Susan McCreery (Tall And True, October 2017).

© 2019 Robert Fairhead

With thanks to cor gaasbeek for the hospital room image from Pixabay.

N.B. You may also like to read my blog post on how I wrote the original microfiction piece: We Need to Talk (November 2017).


Robert is a writer and editor at Tall And True and blogs on his eponymous website, RobertFairhead.com. He also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast, featuring his short stories, blog posts and other writing from Tall And True.

Robert's book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media. In 2020, he published his début collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story. In 2021, Robert published his first twelve short stories for the Furious Fiction writing competition, Twelve Furious Months, and in 2022, his second collection of Furious Fictions, Twelve More Furious Months. And in 2023, he published an anthology of his microfiction, Tall And True Microfiction.

Besides writing, Robert's favourite pastimes include reading, watching Aussie Rules football with his son and walking his dog.

He has also enjoyed a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~ Maya Angelou

Tall And True showcases the writing — fiction, nonfiction and reviews — of a dad and dog owner, writer and podcaster, Robert Fairhead. Guest Writers are also invited to share and showcase their writing on the website.

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