Wednesday, July 18, 2007
“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
It might be apocryphal, but Ernest Hemingway supposedly said this six-word story was the best story he had ever written.
My husband is teaching writing again this coming semester, and may use the six-word story as an exercise for his students. It is a great way to distill a story to its essence.
We actually use this with the kids as a traveling game in the car. You can make up your own six-word stories, or you can try to fit classics into the six-word paradigm.
For example, my son made up this original one:
“Boy jumps, flies, superhero is born.”
And my husband distilled Star Wars (the original movie, now subtitled A New Hope) into these six words:
“Restless farmboy escapes skyward, saves rebellion.”
I looked around and found two magazine articles that featured six-word stories by interesting contemporary writers. The Wired article focuses more on sci-fi writers, and the Guardian article has a British bent, and both are worth checking out.
Here are a few of my favorites:
“It can't be. I'm a virgin." - Kate Atkinson
Dad called: DNA back: he isn't. - Helen Fielding
Armageddon imminent. Make list. Tick most. - Ian Rankin
"The Earth? We ate it yesterday." - Yann Martel
Longed for him. Got him. Shit. - Margaret Atwood
Starlet sex scandal. Giant squid involved. - Margaret Atwood
It’s behind you! Hurry before it - Rockne S. O’Bannon
Try it--it's fun! Comment and let me know what you come up with.