10 cent stories, typewritten while you wait
September 15, 2015 12:45 AM   Subscribe

A nice article. This dude did it before, and he ended up getting turned into a "fucking hipster" meme for his trouble. I have a feeling this sort of thing goes back a long ways. It sounds like something beat poets did, or something broke writers did in Paris in the twenties. Artists have been singing for their suppers as long as there have been artists, songs to sing and suppers.

I can maybe imagine doing this using the "donate what you can" model, but 10 cents a story sounds like setting a needlessly low ceiling on your earnings. Treat it like a musician with a cup out and earn whatever you can earn. Don't confine yourself to a setup where at the end of the day you're lucky if you're walking away with $1.50!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:56 AM on September 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

How many words do you get for your 10 cents?
posted by Segundus at 2:50 AM on September 15, 2015

A few years back I received a personal letter in the mail with a cryptic return address and a poem that had elements unmistakably about me. I'm not involved in a poetry community and the one or two poets I've know were not at all possibilities and it did not match any family quirks at all. I was quite spooked until I remembered stopping briefly at a booth at an arts fair and answering a few questions for an art project.
posted by sammyo at 3:37 AM on September 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is me! If any mefites want a story, leave me a prompt. If you PM me your address I'll mail it to you! I also tried something new with the prompts I got from the comments on the toast article: a video
I typically write between 2 and 3 paragraphs for a story. My sign says ten cents and I don't make people pay at all if they don't have money, but people generally pay me what they want. I get plenty of dimes, but someone once gave me 40 bucks for a story. If you want to see more of the stories, I started uploading a bunch of them to twitter (along with HONY-style photos of me and the person and a blurb about the story they asked for) @10centstories or #10centstories. I'm still trying to figure out the best method to share them.
posted by Archibald Edmund Binns at 4:58 AM on September 15, 2015 [13 favorites]

@Archibald Edmund Binns I love both the idea and the execution.

I've been making up stories for my 4 year-old based on his "prompts" for 3 years, now. I will give you a very typical and oft-repeated one: "the boy who went across the hall".
posted by SNACKeR at 5:34 AM on September 15, 2015

I love stories written for a particular person.

Last year, I had a friend's birthday coming up and for reasons I can't really explain, I wrote her a story -- a letter, really -- but did so from a fabricated persona. The gift itself was a hand-written three page letter and a photograph of the supposed letter-writer.

Since my friend would recognize my handwriting, I hired someone -- a stranger at a pen and stationery shop -- to write out the letter that I'd written.

Then, at the friend's birthday dinner, I gave her the letter and said it was from someone she didn't know but that I'd been instructed to give it to her. She asked me to read it for the dinner party, which I did, and doing so I became so overwhelmed that I started weeping in front of everyone.

I thought it would be genuinely obvious that the whole thing was a fake but everyone at the table believed it. When the birthday girl got home, she started googling trying to find out more about this mysterious man and after multiple days of her telling me that she couldn't find anything about him and that she wanted me to tell her how she could get in touch with him to thank him, I had to confess the ruse. She was at first furious, but then baffled by why I'd done it, and then thankful that I'd taken the time to create such a bizarre gift.

Stories written for specific people are awesome.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 7:55 AM on September 15, 2015

For all you Angelenos, the Melrose Poetry Bureau (SLFB) does something very similar.
posted by that silly white dress at 8:42 AM on September 15, 2015

I also tried something new with the prompts I got from the comments on the toast article: a video

I really digged that and could totally see myself spending a night watching like 30 of them in a row until my brain explodes with short stories.

The only thing missing was the typing sounds.
posted by mayonnaises at 9:42 AM on September 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

One day a guy was walking down the street. In front of him there was a hole. He didn't see it, he wasn't paying attention! He fell in! It was pretty deep and he landed badly and hurt his foot. He couldn't get out it was too deep and he couldn't put weight on his foot so he couldn't climb. Sucks!
posted by Meatbomb at 10:00 AM on September 15, 2015

posted by From Bklyn at 1:36 PM on September 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Meatbomb: he should push the dog out using his umbrella and then pull himself up by the leash.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:47 PM on September 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

he should push the dog out using his umbrella and then pull himself up by the leash.

context on one of the great stories of our age.

But yes, microfiction! The world needs more stories, all the time, about everything. Now that I know this is possible I'm actually kind of mad that it's not common. There is a superior parallel universe where, say, every coffee shop in the land has a resident writer/poet who'll put something on your cup for a surcharge and creative writing is the most practical of all degrees.
posted by sandswipe at 10:36 PM on September 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

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