I wrote my first mini-saga in 2002 called ‘The Trap’, based on the strange adventures of a very British, wealthy, middle-aged, upper class woman character I had imagined, named Vanna Trespy. In my mind, Vanna was an extremely intriguing character, and I ended up writing ten mini-sagas featuring her and her rather senile (or was he just pretending!?) husband, Humphrey.
The following five years saw me write a ton of these 50-word short stories about many different subjects featuring many different characters; some could easily be understood, some were strange, and some were, well, very strange. You see, I particularly enjoyed writing mini-sagas that would challenge the reader somehow; to give them something to think about; to hint at something just ‘off the screen’.
The famous British science fiction author, Brian W. Aldiss, was the one who introduced me to the mini-saga (as it was his invention). We corresponded via letter a number of times between 2002 and 2004, and he was always a genuine gentleman who took time to help me improve my short story writing skills.
After I got saved in 2007, I stopped writing mini-sagas for a long time, swapping them instead for the study of God’s word, and the pursuit of ways in which I could reach the lost with the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. My life had changed, and I became completely focused on the Lord and my service for Him – nothing else mattered.
Over the years, He has taken me in a number of amazing directions as I served Him the best way I knew how; from running regular Bible studies (for adults and children) and weekly church services, to writing lots of tracts, developing websites and online learning, and even teaching computers in a Christian school. I share this for no personal glory at all, but to show how God can always use whatever talents and skills He’s given you for His glory, and to use you in whatever capacity to get the message out to even but one person. But during these last few years, I began to wonder if I could also use that passion for writing mini-sagas as yet another way to reach the lost? I decided to give it a go.
The first thing I did was to dig up my old correspondence with Brian to find his home address, as I felt a huge ‘push’ from the Lord to write him another letter; this time, sharing the wonderful news about what had happened to me in 2007, and to let him know how he too could get right with the Lord with the urgent need to accept His free gift of salvation.
I found his Oxford home address, and prayed that he still lived there as I penned my final letter to him. I posted the letter, and heard nothing back, wondering if it had been successfully delivered or not. A few months after I had sent my handwritten letter thanking him for his friendship and guidance during the turn of the century, and giving him the gospel message of how he could be guaranteed a place in Heaven, Brian died.
It was at that moment that I ‘felt’ a peace and calm about the whole situation, and a real hope that he had indeed read my letter just in time before his departure to his eternal destination, especially as I saw that the place he died was indeed his Oxford address.
Since then, I have continued to write mini-sagas with more of a Christian theme to them now. I hope to perhaps release them in a free book format to share with others, and maybe, just maybe, a soul might want to know more about this Jesus I talk about, or even get saved at that very moment. Only the Lord knows. All we can do is to be busy for Him using whatever skills and talents (no matter how small or simple we may think they are) He has gifted us with in this life for His service and glory.
If you want to give mini-sagas a go yourself, then here are the guidelines – a ‘mini-saga’ is a story confined to the cage of 50 words precisely; no more, no less – and that excludes the title. For writers (established and beginners), mini-sagaing is an excellent exercise for sharpening writing and editing skills.
They force the writer to expand their vocabulary and substitute lengthy paragraphs with single word alternatives. And for readers, mini-sagas are extremely fun and enjoyable to read, and can also be very educational, and, as I am discovering, can be a great witnessing tool.
Perhaps write a Christian mini-saga in a greeting card to someone (which could be more interesting and effective than a simple ‘Happy Birthday’), or write and then voice record your own Christian mini-saga collection to gift on a CD to friends and family, or publish an eBook of mini-sagas based on a Christian theme like forgiveness, love, compassion, end times, etc., or write a tract based on a couple of mini-sagas about someone’s need for the Saviour as another way to get people to read them – there’s so many ways you could use them.
If you think of any, do please let me know – I’d love to hear them. Below are some of the mini-sagas I’ve written, as an example. The Lord bless you as you seek to witness to the lost, in 50 words.
In Christian love,
‘The Trap’ (my first mini-saga)
The open top Rolls made it difficult to light the cigarette. Vanna Trespy wore her scarf and sunglasses to mask her guilt. Middle lane sanctuary; her escape from the stratagem. Daylight would soon turn to darkness for Humphrey Trespy. She reached the junction pushing hard on the brakes. Nothing happened.
‘Hypochondriac’ (a funny personal take on my own constant health worrying)
Maxwell waited for the illness as usual. He was an expert at feeding fear. Coughing followed dull aches followed stabbing pains. His dizzy thoughts made him vomit. The headache, sore throats, stomach cramps, even palpitations… arhh man! “You’re in perfect shape”, the doctor said. Maxwell couldn’t fathom. He felt sick.
‘Last Gaze’ (about the horrible bloody sport of fox hunting)
Her eyes focused on the surrounding figures. Distant sounds grew louder; the end was near. The figures moved closer obeying their master’s instruction. She was afraid, not for herself, but for her children; she wouldn’t see them again. The hounds charged and the trees once again heard the fox’s cry.
‘The Plot’ – Part 1 (my first Christian mini-sagas about a unsaved man buying his graveyard plot – 4 parts)
“Matthew, I’ve booked my ‘final hotel’ and it’s under a tree! That’s that horrible job out of the way. £800 it cost me in the end. Bargain!” “I’m pleased for you, Jack, but where are you planning on going? What’s your destination? Has someone else paid that for you yet?”
‘The Plot’ – Part 2
“What? I intend to pay for everything myself, my friend. I have been successful in everything I’ve done in life. No need to stop now, Matthew. I am heading ‘up north'” “So you’re planning on getting to your destination through your own efforts?” “Exactly. I’m one of the good guys!”
‘The Plot’ – Part 3
“Good? What do you mean by that?” “Well, I haven’t hurt anyone or robbed a bank! I’m a good person.” “Have you ever lied? What about the £800 bargain?!” “Alright, alright, so I ‘exaggerated’ a little to close the deal! But that doesn’t make me a bad person, does it?”
‘The Plot’ – Part 4
“In the eyes of the One you will meet, yes it does. One lie makes a liar. One thing stolen makes a thief. Neither of these will ‘go north'” “Well, I’m ‘doomed’ then I guess!?” “No! There is a way there; the ONLY way.” “Tell me.” “John 14:6. Romans 10:9”