A couple of years ago I had a brief affair with micro-fiction of the tiniest kind, thanks to a now-dormant website called Six Word Stories. There’s a popular myth (and by all accounts it is a myth) that Ernest Hemingway kicked the whole thing off by composing the following miniature masterpiece:
For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.
Whether Hemingway wrote it or not, it is rather haunting, don’t you think? When I stumbled across both it and the above-mentioned website, I couldn’t resist having a go myself. I had a feeling it was going to be hard, but I hadn’t anticipated just how hard.
Give it a try yourself and you’ll see what I mean. Oh, it’s easy enough to sketch a scene in six words. If you’re clever you can spit out a gag or say something cute. But tell a story? That’s something else altogether.
Here are a few of my attempts. Some are okay, others not so much. Could any of them legitimately be described as a story? I don’t know. Why don’t you tell me? And, while you’re at it, let’s see if you can do any better.
- Bridal veil lifts. It isn’t her.
- Lightning strikes graveyard. Defibrillation occurs. Run!
- Everyone exhales simultaneously. Hurricane breaks records.
- Assassin takes aim. Target shoots back.
- Seeker fails. Hider starves to death.
- White flag needs laundering. Bullets fly.
- Stake mistake. The fangs are plastic.