I am a great believer in the virtues of conciseness. I love 50 and 100 word stories, so much so that I’ve dedicated a section of this website to the 100 word variety (which incidentally are called Drabbles). The question is, how short can you make a story? For example, is it possible to have one with only six words? Well, while they’re maybe not stories as such, it is possible to evoke a whole array of thoughts with only six words… and some very famous writers have done it. Here are a few examples:
For sale: baby shoes, never worn. Ernest Hemingway
Longed for him. Got him. Sh*t. Margaret Atwood
The baby’s blood type? Human, mostly. Orson Scott Card
Kirby had never eaten toes before. Kevin Smith
Steve ignores editor’s word limit and… Steven Meretzky
Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time Alan Moore
Every one of them makes you think… you make up the background story in your head. I think it’s magical. But could the ordinary man or woman in the street do it? Of course they could. I started a post on an arts & crafts forum and invited folk there to post their attempts.
Here are a few brilliant examples:
Joined a handicraft forum… made friends. Ken (You’d expect me to include one of my own, wouldn’t you?).
I came, I saw, I conquered. Julius Caesar (Submitted by Maria – and to be fair Julius actually said ‘Veni, vidi, vici.’ which would have been disqualified for over-brevity.)
Heart available again: one broken owner. Kaska
All of these were super, but the best of all, in my opinion, was from BJT whose story followed on from Ernest Hemingway’s ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’…
For sale: baby – already have several.
I tried the same thing on the KindleUsersForum and again I was amazed by the variety and inventiveness of the entries. Here are some which caught my eye:
Were-hamster goes on small rampage. Lexi Revellian
Died of hay fever. No flowers. B J Burton
Footprints pointed away from abandoned crutches. Jennie Lee
Why kiss my neck? Ouch. Oh. Amanda Leigh Cowley (do you believe in vampires?)
Personally, I find anything can inspire a six-worder. For example , on hearing that Tesco in the UK had issued a third profit warning for the year, my mind constructed this:
First prophet warning… Abraham is coming. (You need to know your bible, to understand this!)
Finally, one which fits with the theme of my Fantasy books.
Magic? Me, a pig? Ha. Oink!
Can anyone do better?
Loved everyone of these (minus the bible one. I did not understand that.)
Here is my own attempt:
Used skins for sale. Human only.
What a fantastic six-word début… you are a natural.