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6 word stories

It’s all Tracy Barrett’s fault. :-)  She posted this seemingly innocent request on the MidSouth SCBWI group:

We all know that less is more, that brevity is the soul of wit, that we should murder our darlings–in short, shorter is better, right? I’d like to issue a challenge to <readers of this blog>* to come up with a complete story in six words, based on the famous challenge supposedly given to Hemingway to do just that. He came up with "For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn."

Here’s an article about six-word memoirs: <> or (there are some interesting contributions in the comments section at the bottom), and an excerpt from a book about them: <> or .  I’m not limiting this challenge to memoirs–just a complete story in six words, memoir or otherwise. Interested?

I’ve watched as hundereds of 6-word stories have flooded the list. Every time I describe this project people insist upon writing more stories. Even after the conversation has moved on, suddenly random 6-word stories appear – sometimes scribbled on napkins, notebook covers, and even newspaper margins. It seems that writing a story in just 6 words is compelling. You may want to try it out with your students. I suggest you practice here by sharing your stories. 

Here are some stories from Mr. C:
Pioneering adventure. Mishaps aplenty. Limping home.
Despair over divorce. Years later, happiness.
Darker angels followed. Police, judge, warden.
Fly distracts maintenance engineer, hundreds lost.

Other examples (not from Mr. C):
Snow storm. No heat. New pregnancy.
Story ends. Deep sigh. Vivid dreams.
Blog appears. No comments. Author cries. 

Where are your stories? While you’re thinking, here are some strange links:
Wired’s stories
Six Word Stories dot Net
Dan Pink’s Six Word Inaugural collection
Flickr’s six-word project

* I changed Tracy’s phrase to include you, the readers of this blog.

Note: The MidSouth list ( is actually a discussion forum for members of SCBWI-Midsouth (Kentucky and Tennessee) and others interested in writing and/or illustrating for children. Others are welcome but they must remember that the main purpose of the list is to allow efficient communication between the Midsouth Regional Advisor and members.  Postings must be relevant to the topic of children’s book and magazine publishing and must demonstrate respect for all other members and their opinions. 


  1. readlistendream says:

    Ok…I’ve spent way too much time this weekend on this!

    Dog barks, man awakens, escapes fire.

  2. Just watching what’s happening in my house: dog barks, cat runs, lamp falls. or… son arrives, inhales food, falls asleep.