Six word novels

8:23 am General

I happened on a Wired article about the 6 word novel this morning, in a link from a newsletter I’m subscribed to.

Like Haiku and other very formulaic structures, the six word novel gives the author enormous freedom while constraining them in a fish-bowl.

My favourite examples:

  • “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” – Ernest Hemmingway.
  • “Longed for him. Got him. Shit.” – Margaret Atwood
  • “With bloody hands, I say good-bye.” – Frank Miller

Reading these, and seeing the second-place finisher of the competition in this newsletter (which was my favourite): “My secret discovered. Plane ticket purchased.” made me want to give it a try.

After some work, here’s my best effort.

As the noose tightened, she remembered.

A bit macabre, nonetheless I’m pretty happy with the images it brings forward, and the questions it leaves unanswered.

Anyone else care to try?

20 Responses

  1. julo Says:

    This sentence came to me just before I realized it was not from me: “Living is easy with eyes closed”.

  2. Kae Verens Says:

    my attempt:
    “wrong wire, man”, said St Peter.

    Interesting. I guess the point is to use 6 words to try to imply a history that the read can then work out retroactively.

  3. julo Says:

    In the same vain, there is “Oups I did it again”.

  4. Jon Says:

    Ever read any Amy Hempel? Chuck Palahniuk describes her thus: “When you study minimalism in Tom Spanbauer’s workshop, the first story you read is Amy Hempel’s “The Harvest”. Next you read Mark Richard’s story “Strays”. After that, you’re ruined. If you love books, if you love to read, this is a line you may not want to cross. I’m not kidding. You go beyond this point, and almost every book you’ll ever read will suck. All those thick, third-person, plot-driven books torn from the pages of today’s news, well, after Amy Hempel, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money.”. That always struck me as one of the most glowing reviews I’ve ever read.

  5. Mike Says:

    “The planet wept, yet another meme.”

  6. Søren Juul Says:

    <html> <head> </head> <body> </body> </html>

  7. Jos Says:

    Silicon life prevails. No more consciousness.

  8. julo Says:

    Once read it can’t be unread.

  9. Chris S. Says:

    Six word stories make me pause.

  10. Ben Asselstine Says:

    Discovering himself clothed, he felt relief.

  11. Juanjo Says:

    “I remembered, then they killed him.”

    Kind of tragic, I know. But with only six words that’s all I can tell you.

  12. Paul B. Says:

    Blue sky. A single raindrop. Reminder.

  13. Dan Says:

    Judge dismisses Hemingway lawsuit: “fair use”.

  14. Matteo Says:

    Crossed seas for you. Too bad.

  15. Larry Says:

    Love, cling, lose, sorrow, hope, love

  16. Max Says:

    Not exactly difficult; throw words together.
    Laying on tingling hook, glowing softly.
    On broken Plane, taking off anyway.
    Bought spider plant, who says “hello”.
    Science, cutting space and grinding time.

  17. Yuval Levy Says:

    Amazon Kindle: 1984 replays in 2009.

  18. Andy Fitz Says:

    Against all reason, Andy continues writing

  19. Stephanie Galbraith Says:

    Deception. Sheets stained. Respect gone again.

  20. Sarah Says:

    i said i do forever…maybe.