About FT500

FewerThan500.com is an online literary journal dedicated to the form of short, short fiction and creative non-fiction. Today’s readers are “on the go,” but still love well-written prose, with fascinating characters and a twisting plot. We are dedicated to well-written stories that are fewer than 500 words, making them easily readable in today’s digital era.


(l to r) H. Adam Ruffalo, Frank Rutledge, Ritta M. Basu, Kevin Moriarity – Photo by Beautiful People Portraiture by Kelly Lenza

Meet Our Staff:

Ritta M. Basu, Editor and Publisher

After 12 years as a newspaper reporter, editor and several years more publishing press releases and alumni magazines in university PR shops, Ritta was looking for an outlet for more creative written expression. Flash fiction quickly became a way to combine her love of concise, clear writing, with inventive expression. An inherent love for fellowship with other writers and reader led her to create the FewerThan500 space for publishing her own work as well as the work of other writers willing to put their fingers to a keyboard and create engaging short fiction, essays and creative non-fiction. Her current day-job as a project manager for an academic publishing house resulted in a brief hiatus from the site, until fellow editors Kevin Moriarity and Frank Rutledge helped to rejuvenate Ritta’s interest in providing space for publishing well-written short stories by people who love to write.

Editorial Interests

When asked to describe the stories she is most interested in publishing, Ritta’s response is:

 “I am drawn to inspired, soulful writing; stories that are sensual and visceral, with carefully selected words that add meaning and value to the telling of a story. Subtle, simple stories that are thought-provoking and imaginative in their spin are my favorites.

The FewerThan500 editors have a “majority rules” publication policy, and I’m more likely to vote in favor of a story that shows evidence that the writer has given thought to both the writing and editing process. While I will consider good writing of any kind, I have most interest in stories based in realism. Fantasy and science fiction are less likely to appeal to me. Poetic prose that is not overwritten captures my attention, as does a hard-nosed psychological drama with a worthy twist.

All that said, I am committed to providing a space for writers who wish to write and share their work. I am more often willing to work with a writer to develop a story that shows promise than I am to reject it outright. I firmly believe that behind every good writer is an engaged editor, and I enjoy the editing process as much as I do writing.”

Read Ritta’s stories: Patrimony,  Among Friends, Something’s Burning, A Graceful Departure

Kevin Moriarity, Managing Editor

I spent a couple of decades working in the software business. A good part of that time was spent writing software manuals and business procedures. That got a bit dull, so I decided to give fiction a try. Take a look at some of my work on this site and www.kevinmoriarity.com. I began working as an editor at FewerThan500 in 2014; I lead the Fox Valley Writers Group in the western suburbs of Chicago and also co-founded Waterline Writers – a community of writers and writing enthusiasts in Batavia, Illinois.

Here’s what I look for in submissions:

  • If I saw a lot of spelling, grammar or punctuation errors I would have a hard time with that submission, but if the story is really good I’d be OK with cleaning it up and running with it.
  • The story should be about someone.
  • Something should happen to the character: emotional, physical, or psychological.
  • I like a realistic story with an edge, real people in tough predicaments.
  • Show me. Think cinematically. Paint a picture through action and dialog. Don’t just report.
  • If there is a twist at the end, it should flow from the story, not be a completely weird, right-angle twist just for shock, humor, or cuteness. Misdirection is OK – try and point me in one direction, subtly, and then give me an unexpected ending.
  • I would like to see noir flash – I love noir.
  • Second person point of view is not likely to get my approval. I have yet to read a second person story I’ve liked – ever.
  • A story this short does not need a beginning, middle and end. A vignette with an emotional impact works in this format.

Read Kevin’s stories: Leaving Home, Freshly Squeezed Justice, The Last Time I Saw Janis, Smokin’ With the Cabbie

Frank Rutledge, Associate Editor

Frank Rutledge, with his tattered square of joy polishes up whimsy, shines up delight; daily wandering this world with pen and paper to uncover where poetry resides. He is the summer month’s host of Fourth Thursday Harmonious Howl Open Mic at Graham’s 318. He facilitates the Batavia Library Writer’s Workshop. He practices both poetry and short fiction which at times converge as prose poems. He has been published in Arts Beat, Downtown Auroran and Foxtales 1, 2 & 3. He co-founded the Saturday morning, Early Risers Writers, an author’s salon. He volunteers with Waterline Writers and fewerthan500.com, a flash fiction e-zine.

Read Frank’s stories: The Street, A Ritual of Haunted Weather, Dark Bedroom With Mirror

H. Adam Ruffalo, Associate Editor

H. Adam Ruffalo has always had a story or two buried deep, deep within her. She finally decided to ignore her inner and outer critics and try her hand at fiction writing. After trying on her own, she decided writing isn’t as solitary a hobby as she thought, and she joined The Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. She is also a member of The Fox Valley Writers Group. Being around creative people encourages her to unleash the author in her. She prefers to write flash fiction but, deep, deep down, she knows there is a novel waiting to be born.

What piques her interest:

  • Limited to less than 500 words means you need to grab my attention ASAP.
  • I have certain genres that I prefer to read, but you could sway me to love another genre with your short story.
  • Show don’t tell.
  • I love characters with whom I can make an emotional connection, even if that emotion is anger.
  • I can handle misspellings and incorrect grammar, but please don’t make me read dialogue that hasn’t been punctuated or divided into paragraphs!

Read her story: Just Beyond the Edge of the Woods



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