Micro Fiction Contest: You Shouldn’t Have Waited This Long

“You shouldn’t have waited this long… idiot”


Discussion questions: Using fifty words or fewer, write a short story or scene that includes the line “You shouldn’t have waited this long.” Write or past your story (or stories — enter as many times as you wish!) into the comments.


(To skip my narration and get straight to the contest details, scroll down to the next heading.)

We’ve taken an intense inward look at our writing the past few weeks on this blog. We talked about the ways our internal critics derail us; we shared the best passage we’ve written (so far) in 2020; and last week we had a wonderfully frank discussion about whether or not we’re hitting our 2020 reading & writing goals.

One of my personal 2020 goals was to visit a dentist. It’s been… a while. A long while. Long enough that the dentist said yesterday, into my mouth, “You shouldn’t have waited this long.”

“Ummm, obviously,” I replied. “But there’s been this virus? Also, you just gave me the keyphrase for my next Micro Fiction Contest.”

The dentist said, “OK, but did you ever choose a winner for your previous contest, ‘Take Your Accordion and Buzz Off‘?”

“Well, no…” I said. “But I’ll include that information in this week’s email message. If you don’t already subscribe, Doctor, you may do so on the right sidebar, under ‘Join Our Mailing List.’ And yes, there really is a free gift!”

Then the dentist asked the following question:


What Is This Contest and How Do I Enter?

In fifty (50) words or fewer (including the six built into the line itself), write a story or scene — or even a moment from your own life; these don’t have to be fiction — that includes the line “You shouldn’t have waited this long.

Enter as many times as you wish.

Write or paste your story/stories in the comments section below.

Submit your entries by the end of Sunday, July 19. I’ll announce the winner in the comments and in the following weekend’s email message (which, if you don’t already receive, you can sign up for in the right sidebar).

My favorite story (stories?) will earn its writer his/her choice of book from the WBN library.


You’ll Choose a Winner Based on What, Exactly?

The usual metrics: style, concision (obviously), humor. Whimsy (mine).

And I’ll take into account the number of thumbs-up each story receives. So if you really enjoy someone else’s piece, be a sport and give it an upvote.

Good luck!


WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is fiction editor at the Texas Observer and co-host of the Yak Babies podcast, and has written about books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.

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