Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Hemingway's Six-Word Story

Students,
It looks like my home Internet isn't going to be fixed by tonight. It means that it might take some time for your comments to make it to my blog. Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for understanding!
I just wanted to share a snippet that speaks volumes about Ernest Hemingway's genius. I stumbled upon this enchanting fact when looking at the students' blog of my friend Teacher Dude.

Photo by Stupid Dancer

Ernest Hemingway was once prodded to compose a complete story in six words. His answer was "For sale: baby shoes, never used." Some people say it was to settle a bar bet. Others say it was a personal challenge directed at other famous authors.
Can you come up with a six-word story of your own?

A Few Noteworthy Links:

Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 Tips for Writing Well
Six-Word Stories in Photography

19 comments:

Readers said...

Everything is simple in our lives!
It's my six-word storty!:)

so-summer said...

Anna Vladimirovna! I have not come up with a six-word story, but I would like to say something about that 5 rules. Unfortunately, the 4th, the most useful is often forgotten by writers. So probably Hemingway's key to success, as well as an iceburg-theory, is his positive approach to life. He managed to depict the most cruel, disgusting things in such a way that they are... beautiful. Just as an example - a massacre in Africa in "The short Happy Life of Francis Macomber". I could hardly read it, but at the same time I admired the power of animals and could not help reading farther. And the title of the story itself - "a happy life". Indeed, the main character must have been happy only for a short while of his last hunt, and that was what the author called "life". Probably, it is what is real life...

Olga

Ksyuta said...

Good evening, Anna Vladimirovna!
I have made up a six-word story. Here it is :"Beware:take notes before telling lies."
Oksana.

ewe said...

Hello, Anna Vladimirovna!
Yesterday I was trying to compose a six-word story. It wasn't very successful because frases I got, they seems more like fragments or a chain of weakly combined words (слабосвязанных слов)...
Still they are
"Spring: sky, rain, umbrella - and tears" and "Warm coffee, envelope - clicking door-lock".
I would call them not stories but fragmentary emotions or moment impressions.

anna_filatova said...

Olga K, Olga, Oksana, Lena,
thank you so much for thinking about the stories. I have been racking my mind for a week, but I've been unable to come up with a story that would open up a whole new realm in six words. That's why I do believe that you have really nice suggestions!

However, a literary critic would define our 6-word stories as a slogan or an ironic maxim (Olga), an aphorism or a joke (Oksana), or very beautiful and haiku-like poems (Lena). (By the way, Lena, your "phrases" are endowed with a lot of meaning, refinement, and depth...)

Shall we keep trying? :)

PS Do you know what haiku is?

KOALa-bear said...

Mine is this one: Rest in peace, my beloved son.

ewe said...

Hello, Anna Vladimirovna!
Thank you)
hm, if I not mistaken, haiku is a Japaneese form of verse.

anna_filatova said...

To KOALA-bear:

Anya, awesome!!!

dedi-KATE-d said...

Anna Vladimirovna, thank you for so gripping a task you've given us! I realy plunged into trying to compose my own six-word story, and spent the whole yesterday evening, enjoying the process. Even now I catch myself at thinking about it. Eventually, I've come up with three of them. But I'm afraid that I occasionally substituted quantity for quality)
Anyway, they are:

Love letter: neatly sealed, left unsent.

Torn faded letter, saying: "Forgive me"

Dog, lying by an overgrown grave.

anna_filatova said...

Katya,
what an outburst of imagination and creativity! Wonderful!!! Congratulations!

Do you by any chance feel like drawing pictures to your stories? Would you feel comfortable uploading your paintings as you have promised? We are looking forward to seeing your paintings/drawings.

anna_filatova said...

Students,
Now we've got 9 stories. Sasha has sent me hers via email: "Romantic Spring: He, She and their Love".

What is your favorite out of these 9? Which one conveys the most sense and sets our imagination free?

PS Hope more stories will be submitted.

so-summer said...

Hello, Anna Vladimirovna!v I have finally made up a six-word story (amazing how long one can think about a sentence of just 6 words): sun is sprinkling on broken glass.
Olga

anna_filatova said...

Olga, very beautiful!!!

Students, I think we can publish our own collection of 10 short stories. But it's sort of low-budget right now...

How about pictures? What pictures would your stories go with?..

If you don't have a proper picture/drawing/painting of your own, choose one at http://flickr.com/ Don't forget to provide a link to its author, though!!!

dedi-KATE-d said...

Hello, Anna Vladimirovna! Thank you for complimenting my six-word stories!

Well, as for drawing pictures to them... I think that won't work) I haven't had practice for so long a time, that probably I won't be able to draw a mere house or dog)) But I'll try to find proper photos or pictures in the web...

ewe said...

Hello, Anna Vladimirovna!
I've posted some pics to stories on my blog (meanwhile, for one 6-word story about spring, but I'm going to find more to another story or may be make my own photo)
You can visit it :)

anna_filatova said...

Lena, thanks! You've forgotten to give us a link to your blog. For those interested in what pictures Lena has found to illustrate her 6-word poem-story, here is her blog URL: http://emphaticewe.blogspot.com/

Lena, are you interested in photography? It would be great if you posted your own photos, too.

Red Squirrel said...

Ahem... the importance of doing things in time. But still, here's something I came up with:

-I love you.
[user signed off]

-Hi, wanna talk?
[user is away]

I don't know how clear this is for people with no web messenger background, but users of AIM will get the message. If not, what I meant was loneliness in the WWW, which (the web) is supposed to bring people together.

anna_filatova said...

Masha,
it's a fantastic one! Congratulations!!! How long did it take you to come up with that?

Red Squirrel said...

Anna Vladimirovna,
Not too long at all. "At one sitting", as Poe would put it. Not that I'm that good, but Net-communication is something I know firsthand, so that sprung to mind as one of the few subjects I could plausibly write a short story on.
By the way, there is a scene similar to my first "story" in our Student Theater's show "Aeroport". A guy confesses his love to a girl whom he can't see, oblivious of the fact she's answering a phone call. So, when he's done and is waiting for her response, she goes, "What did you say?"