The more words a writer uses, the easier it is to fully express and explain an idea. Flash fiction always fascinated me with its fully condensed pile of a story where a writer uses the least amount of words to paint a picture. It’s not easy to whittle down a loved collection of writing to the heart of the piece, and to figure out how to fully explain something with the smallest amount of space provided, but it’s a challenge that I find fun (most of the time) and others may as well.
The first I ever learned of the different short writing methods was in the form of a six-word story “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Its title and content are one-in-the-same, and the author is thought to be writer, Ernest Hemingway, although it’s never been solidly proven. Hemingway is greatly known for his minimalist writings and heavy use of dialogue. The short line tells so much with little words, which seems like an easy task, but it is not. Written decades ago, one may wonder why the baby shoes were never used. Did something happen to the baby? To the pregnancy? It’s big story with little words.
After some fiddling around in a notebook, I wrote a few six-word stories I’d like to share:
- Free Puppy Chow, purchased last week.
- Ferrari parts for sale. -F.Bueller
- Eggs for free. White leghorn included.
- Selling raw ice cubes. Bring glass.
- Refrigerate them or they will hatch.
- Tissues in pockets. She is ashes.
- The last doctor’s appointment you’ll need.
- Grandma asked me who I was.
- Come eat pie. I reheated it.
- Wedding rings look better on fingers.
- Missing bloody knife. Return to basement.
- Urn space for rent. Not full.
- Selling wedding dress. Worn five times
- No more date nights for her
- She did not shoot him yet.
Smaller groups of thoughts and words in forms like micro fiction, short-shorts, flash fiction, and six-word stories, entice the imagination of readers and give a story life that can be interpreted in various ways depending on who is reading. Instead of offering every detail with no question to an audience, condensing the piece allows a reader to be part of the story almost as if they are working on a puzzle. Writing short fiction pieces can be frustrating, but with a little practice, it is fun, and I recommend it to any writer to loosen the creative juices, and to practice the importance of the individual word, and not to always create a pile of obvious explanations. There is color in blank spaces, and detail in the imagination.