Writing Six Word Stories


          Can an entire story be told in six words? Sometimes. Perhaps the most famous six word story is by Earnest Hemingway:

          "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

          Wow. Not another word needed to tell that story and stir up the reader's imagination and emotions.  It looks easy to do, at first.  As I began to write, I realized that when you don't have the luxury of excess words, you really have to stretch your "communication muscle".  A wonderful challenge. Here's my attempts:
  1. Nobody stopped it, so everyone suffered.
  2. Beautiful wedding followed by ugly divorce.
  3. Bride at altar; groom at bar.
  4. Brothers by blood; cousins by lie.
          So, does your mind fill up with images of different scenarios based on each short sentence? For example: Story 1 could be about global warming, an international disease outbreak, or people waging war without being stopped.  A lot of possibilities.  Story 2 is pretty self-explanatory.  Couple meet, fall in love, get married, fight, grow apart, and divorce. It gets ugly. The End.  With Story 3, you get that a couple fell in love, he proposed marriage to her, she accepted, but in the end, he got cold feet.  Story 4 tells of a family secret involving an affair between its members, or maybe someone took in a child to raise because a family member was an unfit parent.  Do you want to know more?  That's the sign of a well-written story.

          As you see, six words can really pack a punch when they need to do so. 



  1. Story 1; I knew immediately what that was about. Well done. It's copy for an ad.
    And 4 really made me curious. Very interesting challenge.
    Hemingway's words made me so sad. I would never want to read more of that.

  2. Now that is really a challenge. I'll have to give it some thought. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Good points. I'm considering this a challenge now. :)

  4. This is a great exercise. I'll have to employ the next time I'm stuck for words.

  5. How about, "He never tried. He never succeeded." or "I'm so full, but there's pudding."