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the six word novel :: an Exercise

July 21, 2007

the six word novel ::

made famous by ernest hemingway, the object of this exercise is to encapsulate an entire story in exactly six words.

no mean feat.

below is hemingway’s famous example, a bit of writing he claimed was his best work, as well as a couple examples that followed in his footsteps ::

baby shoes, for sale; never used.

ernest hemingway

machine. unexpectedly, i’ve invented a time

alan moore

longed for him. got him. shit.

margaret atwood


as you can see, the idea is to take a small handful of words and paint a vivid picture that is a story in and of itself.

i still hold hemingway as the best, most poignant example of the form.


so i have a few writers and would-be writers that read my blog

anyone care to take up the challenge and write the six word novel?

my own example follows ::

memories stain her cheeks. lawyer smiles.


i am hoping @ the very least to see cvRick, j9, and lyricalFool give it a go :mrgreen:

22 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2007 23:50

    Eyes opened as the coffin shut

  2. The 2 Witches permalink
    July 22, 2007 11:01

    Forest reveals abandoned child. Goddess incarnate.

    Mama Kelly

  3. July 22, 2007 11:47

    Gone and never called me mother.

  4. July 22, 2007 11:54

    brahnamin writes novel, gets rich quick.

  5. July 22, 2007 11:55

    lololol J9

  6. July 22, 2007 12:16

    Glad you liked it Tina – this is just the coolest mini meme thingy. How many am I allowed to do?

  7. July 22, 2007 12:20

    Told boss truth, now looking for job!

  8. July 22, 2007 12:21

    sorry that was 7 words – so:

    Told boss truth, now job hunting!

  9. July 22, 2007 12:29

    This one is x-rated:

    Shagged old tart, hospital appointment tomorrow.

  10. July 22, 2007 13:56

    Had a dream … am I awake?

  11. July 22, 2007 14:00

    more caffeine than humanly consumable. consumed.

  12. July 22, 2007 14:00

    get rich? maybe. quick? standard publishing delays would likely make that impossible.

  13. July 22, 2007 18:11

    Oooh. Very nice.

    I shall accept it, just as soon as I have a brilliant idea.

  14. July 22, 2007 19:25

    never wait for brilliance. hunt it down and wrestle it into submission.

  15. July 22, 2007 22:19

    My sister’s murderer killed, I’m imprisoned.

  16. July 22, 2007 22:20

    Tiny story difficult, CV Rick said.

  17. July 23, 2007 00:09

    how ’bout this one ::

    my wife is expecting. i’m sterile.

  18. July 23, 2007 00:10

    ye gods i’m a sick bleeptard

  19. July 23, 2007 04:01

    Descending feathers, rising flames: awakening chick.

  20. July 23, 2007 06:44

    You lot have given some brilliant answers – I really have laughed out loud. A great mini meme thingy. 🙂


    I love chocolate. Now on diet.


    kitten not house trained, replacing carpet.

  21. July 23, 2007 11:52

    This one I like: my wife is expecting. i’m sterile.

    The true problem I see with the six word story is trying to tell it without making it sound like a newspaper headline. That’s where Hemingway’s elegant answer is supreme. To be a complete story, in 6 words, and to not sound like it’s being told by a reporter.

    Flood; truck mired. Father cries, “Go.”

  22. July 23, 2007 15:51

    on the sterility topic.

    Vasectomy failed. Bosses wife pregnant. Oops.

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