6-word stories

My baby girl is home from college for Christmas break. Our typical mother-daughter bonding involves the family room, laptops, web-surfing, and utter silence. Today, though, she broke the chain by sharing some 6-word stories that she’d found online.

  • I left. Dog panicked. Furniture shopping.
  • Our bedroom. Two voices. I knock.
  • Rain. Two strangers. One umbrella. Love.
  • Nothing to declare. Much to remember.
  • He hides knife, then rings doorbell.
  • Late. Speeding. Pulled over. Really late.

It’s amazing how much emotion these tiny stories can invoke, how well the mind can fill in the blanks. They can be sweet, scary, sad, funny, and poignant–all from six words.

As authors, we often find ourselves trying to distill our books into a sentence or two. Whether it’s for a tagline, a pitch to an editor, or a high concept that centers us as we draft, we can all use the ability to capture a story’s essence into a short phrase. I’d love to say that I’m good at it, but I’m not. So I asked my daughter if she could help me describe some of my YA novels as 6-word stories.  Here’s what she came up with:

  • Two lovers. Two centuries. Too much.
  • She struggles. He arrives. Wish granted.
  • She’s white. He’s Asian. Cue conflict.

whisper falls cover


Can you capture your work-in-progress in 6 words?
Want to practice by describing a popular novel  in a half-dozen words? (“Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion. Oh my!”)

Leave a tiny-tale in the comments for us to enjoy or guess!


Elizabeth Langston writes YA magical realism romance– time-travel (Whisper Falls) and genies (I Wish). Writing as Julia Day, Elizabeth’s newest release is a modern Pride&Prejudice, The Possibility of Somewhere . Elizabeth is enjoying her Christmas break, loves having her baby girl home for the holidays, and will also love it when DD2 returns to college.

11 responses to “6-word stories”

  1. What a great post, Elizabeth. I love the examples of the six word stories and you really got me thinking about my own stories and how I would describe them in six words.
    I do not have a talent to write short, so this was not easy for me, but here you go.

    Obsessed By Darkness; Psychopath stalks campus. Marshal finds romance.

    Perfect; Valor. Disaster. Venture. Unexpected Love.

    Great exercise to get your creative side working! Thanks.


  2. Rita Henuber says:

    O. I love these. I have 2. No titles.
    On the edge of the end.
    Friends. Sweet love forever and always.


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    • Elizabeth Langston says:

      Oooh, “edge of the end” is provocative. Makes me want to know what is going on… and makes me want to write my own.

      And the question in my mind about the second is… is that friends to lovers? or friends who aren’t interesting in messing up a good thing?


    • Oh, I love on The edge of the end. Very cool.


  3. Seana Kelly says:

    I love these! I’ll play, too. My two works in progress.

    Werewolf teases vampire. Vampire is smitten.
    He’s powerful. She’s hesitant. Gentle nudging.


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    • Elizabeth Langston says:

      You’ve done what I love about this. Raised the question that leaves me curious. Like “who’s nudging whom?”


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  4. I’m amazed at wordsmiths who can wrangle six words into a story. Kudos to your daughter! I’m one of those writerly souls who needs about 90,000 words to get the job done. This is a fantastic exercise at distilling story, so here’s a feeble attempt at my WIP:

    THE LOST YEAR: Woman has baby. Doesn’t remember. WTF?


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  5. Addison Fox says:

    I love this post!!!! And am off to think about my six words!!! 🙂



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