Okay, I lied. This post has more than six words.
This week, I’ve been writing six-word stories for Narrative and I’ve found it challenging. How does one tell a complete story using only six words? Stories that feel whole. Where the reader has a sense of a beginning, middle, and end. It’s especially difficult for me because I really like words. Lots and lots of words. That’s why I couldn’t end this post with only six of them. I had to explain myself.
But a good six-word story shouldn’t need explanation. Here’s a popular example. And who better to have accomplished this feat than this man, arguably the world’s most economical writer. I mean, check this:
For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn. — Ernest Hemingway
The trick for me was to first try to tell a story in one sentence, disregarding word count. Then I removed, changed, and rearranged words until I was left with only six. So far, I have about a dozen six-word stories to submit to Narrative. Here’s one of my rejects:
Walked in together. Only I left.
I’ve enjoyed this challenge and it’s a good exercise for the editing process, where I follow the rule of whittling down my completed first drafts by ten percent.
Can you write a six-word story? Let me see.