Writing a 100-word story may seem easy but journalist and author Paul Connolly knows it's not.
The Melbourne-based Connolly, who grew up in Wollongong and once worked for the Illawarra Mercury, is the writer behind the popular Good Weekend magazine's Kitchen Sink Drama series.
The short pieces capture the small moments of daily life so well that many readers see themselves in the tales.
Connolly has just released a book of 150 of the little stories - including one or two previously unseen efforts.
He said the concept came to him as a way to dip his toe in the world of fiction writing. While now the pieces don't strictly conform to the 100-word limit, they had to when he started out.
And that caused him no end of problems.
"When I was doing it as the exercise for myself I was really stressed and it was exactly 100 words every single time," Connolly said.
"I'd be sitting there for half an hour, or even come back the next day, thinking 'this is 107 words and I've got to get these seven words out of there'. It was kind of weird when I think about about how obsessed I was to getting it to 100.
"It's usually going from a higher number and trying to get it down to 100 [that's harder].
"What's weird if you can't sit down and write a story in a traditional sense with the beginning, middle and end. And you can't write 300 words and whittle it down to 100 because it's nigh-impossible and the risk is you end up with something that reads more like bullet points than has a flow to it."
But now the 100 words comes so much easier - and he finds he's already done the editing in his head before the story hits the page.
While his family and friends liked them it wasn't until a few pieces appeared in the Good Weekend that he discovered their broader appeal when readers began writing letters to him.
"I think they see themselves - they see their lives reflected to some degree," he said.
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