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Who are you?

Hi, I’m Brendan.

What is this?

It’s a constrained forced-writing experiment. I wanted to see if I could write 101 words, and exactly 101 words, of fiction five days a week. I started on July 18, 2003, went public on June 21, 2004, and finished on May 3, 2011. There were 2003 stories, plus a month of guest contributions at the end.


A few reasons–my failure to accomplish anything during NaNoWriMo, a book by Dan Rhodes called Anthropology, the uneven but brilliant Girls Are Pretty, and my friend Stephen’s now-defunct Daily Scribble writing journal. But mostly because I want to get better at writing, and there’s exactly one way to do that.

You used this name more than once.

That means it’s the same character, but at a different time or place. Some of the characters (particularly those in the categories) show up regularly, either because they’re involved in longer stories or because they’re useful voices. Others may only come up a couple of times and then disappear; the majority are one-shots.

For the record, yes, the names got goofier as I ran out of unused real ones.

Are you ever going to expand any of these?


This story doesn’t make any sense.

I’m sorry. This was a daily forced exercise, and not all of them were very good.

Where do you get your ideas?

I think very hard for a long time, usually on the bus.

Why “anacrusis / ommatidia?”

Anacrusis” is a real word, and also a fake word. The official explanation is that they’re 100 words long, with a 1-word upbeat just before they begin. I stole that from Will because it’s much better than the real explanation.

Ommatidia” is also a real word; suffice to say that since its inception, the I or Is in the various titles of this site have been highlighted, and it took me years to realize I was making a dreadful pun.

Can I write one of these and send it to you?

Why not start your own story blog? That’s the easy part! If you do have such a thing, and you keep it on a schedule, and you let me know about it, I’ll add it to the directory page.

Can I use this story in a compilation? On a t-shirt? In my game design? In–

While requests like this are always flattering, the fact is that you don’t even have to ask! Everything in Anacrusis is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike license, which means you can redistribute, alter, build upon, compile, print, draw inspiration from, and even sell these stories however you like. The only restrictions are that you must attribute proper credit (“[Title] by Brendan Adkins” is fine), and you must release your derivative work under the same terms. Of course, it would make me happy to know what your cool project is!

If you want to know why I think Creative Commons licensing is important, I’d be happy to discuss it with you–just let me know.

What else do you do?

I co-create a podcast called The Children’s Hour of Knowledge and I keep a journal called not falling down. I also spend too much time on Twitter.