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Super Flash Fiction

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In the 1920s, some friends of Ernest Hemingway’s bet him he couldn’t write a complete story in just six words. This was his response:

“For sale: baby shoes, never used.”

Ouch.

You don’t exactly get a beginning, middle, and end, but you’ve got the essence of a powerful emotional situation boiled down to an irreducible kernel.

It’s an interesting exercise to try—to suggest the essence of a story with exactly half a dozen words, no more, no less. (Those of you feeling a slight sense of déjà vu at the moment may recall I did a similar post back in 2010 on the use of six words for writing memoirs: http://www.rubyslipperedsisterhood.com/a-life-in-six-words/. This is very similar, just a fiction version.)

There’s even a website devoted to this ultra-mini-fiction art form: http://www.sixwordstories.net/

Here are a few samples from that website:

Submitted by “Janet”:  “Inside cupboard, naked goosebumps—husband home.”

From “Alexia”: “One candle, unattended. Only ashes remain.”

From “imarcesible”: “Family pictures with dad cut out.”

From “Ricky”: “Texted. Texted again. No reply. Texting….”

From “Peter H”: “Two returned. One carried the other.”

FYI: for the truly concise amongst us, there’s even a five-word story genre.

Here’s my challenge for you today: write a six-word story of your own!!

Don’t think too long, just give us six words suggestive of an interesting situation. It’ll definitely fit in the comment box, and you can tell all your friends, “I wrote a brand new story today!”

75 Responses to “Super Flash Fiction”

  1. Elisa Beatty says:

    I’m going to start us out by setting the bar really, really low. Ready?

    “Meteor struck earth. Mammals won big.”

  2. Love this!!!! Okay, this is the first thing that came to mind:
    “Picked up book. Lost a day.”

  3. Jeannie Langston says:

    How bout this? “One big push. Silence. Loud wailing.”

  4. Nika J says:

    One more chapter. Forgot about dinner.

  5. Tia Ramirez says:

    “Neurotic female store manager seeks man”.

  6. Angela CA says:

    “Sunshine pierced window; imitated a cat.”

  7. Jos says:

    Faking patience until calm is found.

  8. SHERI MOORE says:

    Looking over shoulder, one big bang.

  9. Terrie says:

    For sale: scrap lace, wedding rings

  10. Aimee says:

    Can’t sleep. Dogs are up already!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      LOL…for me it was our kitten. She’s hit that rubber-band stage, zapping and zinging around the room and attacking our hair. She even clawed me in the lip this morning. But she’s so adorable, it’s hard to mind.

  11. Lauri N. says:

    Peaceful now that ex long gone.

  12. Tamara Hogan says:

    A very boring love scene: “Show me yours, then see mine.”

  13. Jenn! says:

    Hope lost. Bloody wrist. Sleep now.

  14. Kate Parker says:

    Snap. Crackle. Hiding. Holding breath.

    Okay, so dead bodies or the possibility of same appear in all my fiction, even 5 word fiction. I’m a spare writer.

  15. Rita Henuber says:

    Love. Betrayal. Heartbreak. Tears. The end.

  16. Fog swallowed all but one girl

  17. Loved, lost. Learned to love again.

  18. He touched her chilled hand. “Good-bye.”

  19. Stacey says:

    Parachute, open door, green light…Geronimo!!!

  20. Maggie Kelley says:

    Sunshine. Glove raised. Waiting…waiting…caught.

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      LOL…you can tell I’m a Regency writer, not a sports person. I was imagining a lady’s glove raised in the sunshine, and trying to figure out what she could catch in it.

      Eventually, the real meaning dawned on me. Yes, that’s an excellent story!

      • Maggie Kelley says:

        LOL. Well…she could be catching gold coins…think of the ending to Sense and Sensibilty…interpretation is what makes the shorts so much fun…but yes, I was thinking baseball…is it a little boy? A AAA hopeful? an old timer? …not sure.

        Thanks for the good time today!

  21. Reunion. Desolate cabin. Only one returns.

  22. Nicole Laverdure says:

    Wake-up, coffee, reading, happy, smile, dream!

  23. June Love says:

    Wow! We have some awesome lines here. Okay…I’ll take the plunge.

    The door opened. She cried.

  24. Anita Hayes says:

    Very good all. Loved reading these. OK this is what popped into my head…it will be your laugh for the day.
    Hot breath, wet tongue, damn dog.

  25. Cyndi Chie says:

    Two souls joined. Life forever changed.

  26. Rita Henuber says:

    I think we need a like button for our comments. There are some pretty fine six worders here.

  27. Charli West says:

    “Wait! he cried. “Never!” Hope fled.

  28. Jeannie Langston says:

    Lies Spoken, Hearts Broken, Hatred Awoken.

  29. Addison Fox says:

    This is too much fun, Elisa!!!

    Unfortunately, with the crazy day it’s been, this is all I can come up with…..

    “Dog tired. Can’t muster enough energy.”

    :-)

    Will try to be more clever tomorrow.

    The Hemingway one gets me every time. It’s so poignant and takes you somewhere immediately.

    Addison

  30. Time to sleep. More work tomorrow.

  31. These are great! I agree with needing a like button. My brain is mush after revisions, but here’s my try:

    White silk blouse. Drowning in red.

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