Six Word Short Stories

Hemingway, in his infinite and very impressed with himself wisdom, bragged that he could write a short story in six words, which he successfully did:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

One of Hemingway's theories about literature was that writing should be like a giant iceberg. The words, like the tip of the iceberg pushing through the sleeve of the sea, should hint at the depth below the surface, but not fully explain it. Unlike the lookouts on the Titanic, we should read (see the tip of the iceberg) and penetrate the surface on our own, guess at the depth of the meaning below the surface. In the case presented above, this is a tiny sliver of ice peeking over the surface of water that hides a hulking beast of an iceberg, but, maybe because it's Hemingway, it seems to work.

Other favorites from the Wired site:

Margaret Atwood: Longed for him. Got him. Shit.

William Shatner: Failed SAT. Lost Scholarship. Invented rocket.

The trick, I gather, is to pique the mind and create a little world in six words. The point is not to write a marketing line, newspaper heading, or opening line to a play. See the wired article if you want examples of all the above. It's a great little brainteaser, so I tried a few of my own.

1. Broke eggs. Door slammed. All over.

2. Wife: Who! Husband: Your best friend.

3. Dead old woman; girl watches, regretful.


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