Monday, November 06, 2006

WORDS: Less Is More? I Beg to Differ.

Anyone who's read enough of my posts knows I generally subscribe to the "always leave them wanting less" school of writing. Which is why I find Wired magazine's Very Short Stories contest -- in which the editors asked dozens of well-known sci-fi, fantasy, and horror writers to contribute their own diminutive tales -- so confounding. Why write six words when you could write ever so many more?

But if you absolutely MUST curtail yourself, I guess you could do worse than my favourite submission from Margaret Atwood:
Longed for him. Got him. Shit.
I've been struggling to come up with my own six-word story, but this whole "brevity is the soul of wit" thing is eluding me. I write shitty haikus, too.

Got a mini-masterpiece? Share. Sharing is nice.


trophycase said...

The Hemingway six word story that inspired the whole thing destroyed me. (For sale: baby shoes, never worn.) After a moment I was deep in feelings of sadness and loss.

Anonymous said...

Could have, should have, didn't. Still kicking myself.


Most people regret things they did. I regret the things I didn't.

Doppelganger said...

Exactly, trophycase. The Hemingway story was devastating. By comparison, I found the contest entries fairly tepid. Clever, sure, but that's about it.

Meepers, heh. I like the "could have, should have" one.

roughmagic said...

How about: "Broke test tube. Now have tentacles."

Kathy said...

I've been wasting time on these all morning. So far, all I've got to show for my efforts: "Her thigh, his hand, her fist." Or "Won lottery. Now Jed's a millionaire."

Doppelganger said...

Yeah, I've let this occupy too big a space in my head all day, too. So far, the best I've got is:

"Somewhere, butterfly flaps wings. World ends."

But I think it's kind of derivative. I wish I hadn't read all those Wired submissions first.

Rebecca said...

Women survive deadly plauge; men didn't.


Something goes "bump." Babysitter checks kids.


Civilization collapse imminent. Restart program? {Y/n]

solaana said...

Speaking of tepid:

Shaved her toes for the wedding.


That actually was his phone number.

Chose my life over my kids'.

This is hard, but addictive.

Doppelganger said...

"Blogged at work. Spare a dime?"

Melbell237 said...

"Untied shoelace. Concrete steps. Thirteen stitches."

Anonymous said...

Please. Again. Once more. Ohh Yeah...

Cap'n Ganch said...

Pink slip. Thank God.


Checking away messages. Forgot to eat.

Diablevert said...

Hmmm, it's twice too long, I'll have to come up with something better latter, but for now:

"Reverend Mother: Eloped with Tom. Coudln't wait for paradise, trying Hawaii."

Hilda said...

Woke up. Did stuff. Went to bed. Goodnight.

CQ said...

i work all day long
no time to be creative
that's why my haiku sucks.

(yeah i know. it's 5-7-6. suck on it.)

CQ said...

Didn't get rich. Died trying. (courtesy Fitty Cent)

Doppelganger said...

Heh, CQ. How's this for 5-7-5:

i work all day long
no time to be creative
my haiku sucks balls

Not that I'm trying to quash your muse or anything. Hee!

Anonymous said...

"Dorothy, I'm leaving you." He Jumps.

Anonymous said...

Hehe, yeah I think it's great - I made a post about it on my blog yesterday as well. The 6-word story is like Bruce Lee's legendary "One-Inch Punch" because it hits so hard and fast (like Hemingway's). Here's my contribution:

He said it would last. Longer.

Juliane said...

Born poor. Worked hard. Philanthropic ending.

Juliane said...

For Dopplesis:
Got the blues? Get a rhythm.

Anonymous said...

Drained. Destroyed. Dead. All hope's gone.

anna said...

"I am what you will become."


Not really a story though, more a thought. SUCKERS.

I actually printed that out (saw it on Neil Gaiman's blog, I think) and spent a jolly afternoon sticking it in a book. (No copyright infringement! I swear!)

So anyway, I can tell you my favourites which are:
I saw, darling, but do lie.


Machine. Unexpectedly I'd invented a time


Thought I was right. I wasn't.


Dinosaurs return. Want their oil back.

(I would read that story even if it were longer.)

SEM said...

Another list of super condensed books is available at:

Anonymous said...

Stepping out of lurk mode for a moment to throw in my two cents... er, 6 words...

We met. We f*cked. Meet Junior.

I am so over teenagers, seriously.

You cheated and lied. Sod off.

Choose: drunken husband - life. Single now.

Don’t yell at me. You suck.