One of my favorite stories is only fifty-three words long.
Bedtime Story by Jeff Whitmore:
“Careful honey, it’s loaded,” he said, re-entering the bedroom.
Her back rested against the headboard. “This for your wife?”
“No. Too chancy. I’m hiring a professional.”
“How about me?”
He smirked. “Cute. But who’d be dumb enough to hire a lady hit man?”
She wet her lips, sighting along the barrel.
This story has everything; suspense, betrayal, revenge and even murder. All in fifty-three words! Think that’s impressive?
Legend has it that novelist Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
It’s crazy to think about the power captured in a single word, and crazier still, to think how that power can be augmented simply by adding one or two more words.
In this same spirit, online publication Smith Magazine presented this challenge to its readers with a slight twist. The composition must be a memoir. The website exploded with submissions from well-known and not-so-well-known writers.
The use of tools like Twitter has raised awareness to this gem of a technique. The short (or in this case extremely short) story can be a good way to practice brevity and accuracy in your writing. To make every word count.
So with this in mind, I’d like to extend to you the Nooks & Cranberries Short & Sweet Challenge. Tell us a story, it can be a memoir, a mystery, a thriller….anything. We’ll start with a six word challenge and see where it goes. Com’on now, show us what you’ve got and make it Short & Sweet.