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: <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/02/26/earlyshow/leisure/books/main3876944.shtml> or http://tinyurl.com/2psdnc (there are some interesting contributions in the comments section at the bottom), and an excerpt from a book about them: <http://browseinside.harpercollins.com/index.aspx?isbn13=9780061374050> or http://tinyurl.com/9trtqg . 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.
* I changed Tracy’s phrase to include you, the readers of this blog.