Number One Writer Tip: Read More.

These brief but potent stories were “inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s famous challenge and first 6 word story,

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

To write one of these short stories there are two guiding rules.

  1. Have tension. Because of the brief nature of the story, there needs to be a tension in the story, but no resolution. As you saw in Hemingway’s example, the tension is between the first half of the sentence ‘For sale: baby shoes’ and the second half ‘never worn. With no tension, no conflict, there is no story.
  2. Rely on punctuation. While you don’t have to follow this rule, it does take you to new places. It also allows you as a writer to practice your craft in its smallest form. Not sure how to use a colon? Write a 6 word story. Never tried em dashes? Write a 6 word story. You’re not committing to a long form but keep interested in the challenge of creating a story with tension. Plus, this is a word challenge, not a character challenge. If you want that, write a tweet.

But what is the point of writing such a short story?

These stories not only let you hone your craft as a writer, they also can be used as content for tweets and other social media posts. They also teach you to instill a story in as small of a piece as possible, a great skill for querying and pitching where you have a lot smaller of space to tell your concept.

I challenge you to write a 6 word story about your current or last manuscript, tweet it and tag me @stammcanada.

More examples:

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