What is a six-word story? How can you tell a story in so few words?
I recently accepted a challenge that required me to write a story in only six words. You read that correctly, six words max. And I wrote six of these stories.
At first, I thought it was an outrageous demand for a writing contest. How can you write a story in so few words, right? There’s no way. But there actually is a way. Below are some examples of six-word stories from authors you may know.
One of the most well-known of these short stories is believed to have been written by Ernest Hemingway:
“For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.”
It makes you think, doesn’t it? A heartbreaking story told in a few words but also related to us through the parts left out. Those missing parts, or words, are where we, the readers, pick up the story’s narrative and expand it.
What matters with this kind of story is that it prompts your readers to both think and feel something. Not only should the words evoke an emotion, but so should the stuff left out. That’s where the reader moves the story with their own interpretation. Talk about creative writing!
Six-word stories can provoke fear, joy, wonder, sadness, laughter, and more. The story’s goal is to move the reader to think and feel. Like any story of any length does. You can even write a six-word memoir. What?!
How about this story you’ll find in the Bible:
“In the beginning, there was light.”
Or this one by Margaret Atwood:
“It was dark inside the wolf.”
And one more by David Eggers:
“Found true love. Married someone else.”
An example of a humorous six-word story:
“I’m beside myself; cloning machine works.”
I think you get the point. For a more in-depth conversation about the six-word story or memoir and how to write one, visit a wonderful MasterClass article on the subject.
When writing any length of story, you want every phrase to count. With a six-word story, it’s imperative you make every word count.
Have fun with this extreme form of short creative writing! Visit Doug Weller’s website for more six-word story information and to enter his contests.
Please visit my website for links to my own published short stories and contest wins. And I invite you to join my tribe by subscribing to my once-a-month free newsletter.
Happy reading my friends!
“Know your literary tradition, savor it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshiping greatness and fetishizing masterpieces.” —Allegra Goodman