“Baby shoes for sale, never worn.”
These six words do tell a sad and compelling story, so I’d say he won the bet.
Sometime later, other authors gave the exercise a try, including Margaret Atwood, who came up with this gem:
“Longed for him. Got him. Shit.”
I’ve been somewhat obsessed with flash fiction – the shorter the better – and by the writers who create it. Although it doesn’t capture the depth and feeling of the authors above, here is my first feeble attempt at the six-word story challenge:
“Tempting fate, she opened the door.”
I realize it leaves too much to the imagination. The stories from Hemingway and Atwood tell a complete story, and that is what I aim to achieve. My words would make a better teaser as the last sentence to a chapter in a mystery novel.
When my son saw my notepad of scribbled six-word story attempts, I explained what I was doing and he wanted in on the action. He wrote the nine-word story below:
“Science! No longer see the world through my eyes.”
I also explained that learning the art of flash fiction — or in this case micro fiction — makes you a better writer because it teaches you how to remove the unnecessary clutter. I’ll leave you with a couple more of the better of my many less than stellar attempts, and a promise that I will stick with it until I get it right:
“Bereavement. Pills. She’d join him today.”
“Rough sea. Capsized boat. Weatherman right.”