Thursday, July 16, 2009

Six-Word Stories

I am probably the last to know, but on the off chance that you might not have heard about it, here is the origin of the notion of the six-word story.

It began when Ernest Hemingway made a bet. He bet that he could construct a complete story in six words.

He won the bet with this: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Surely, this occupies the summit of high concept storytelling.

As it happens, Smith magazine has a website and books where everyone can contribute their own six-word stories. Smith, however, modernizes the project and calls them six-word memoirs. Link here.

I have only read a couple of pages worth of these stories, but the more I do the more I am impressed with Hemingway's genius.

I think that everyone who wants to write a screenplay, for example, should first be required to write a complete story in six words. And that means a story that engages you emotionally, that creates dramatic tension and suspense, and the allows you to use a single visual image as a gateway to many more.

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