AG: Six Little Words
Last night I snuggled down in my easy chair and opened the latest issue of Wired. This issue of the technology magazine included a section of short, short, I-mean-really short stories penned by some well-known authors. These tales are so compact they contain six and only six words.
Imagine that, a story with only six words. At first, I thought it was impossible but as I read these tidbit of fiction I became a believer. Here are a few examples form the article.
From Orson Scott Card came this little narrative: “The baby’s blood type? Mostly human.” Wow, that conjures up a few images.
From the comic book genius Stan Lee (giver of Spiderman, the Hulk, and X-Men): “Automobile warranty expires. So does engine.” I assume he was having a bad week.
Ben Bova the science fiction writer entered this: “To save humankind he died again.” I wonder who the “he” is he has in mind.
In the face of such creativity, I felt challenged to try my hand at it. “Ingested the nightly news. Indigestion. Sleep.”
Something more spiritual: “Three crosses; two thieves; one sacrifice.”
How about, “Recovered self—God’s Lost and Found.” Hmm, sounds like a book title.
All of this reminds me of the power of words. As someone who routinely produces book length work, I tend to think in tens-of-thousands of words. In school, I complained about the unfair burden of producing a five-page paper. Now, I throw that much away.
Short phrases have always made a difference. Think about, “I do” or “It’s a boy.” Sometimes the context gives the words meaning. Imagine a husband and wife lying in bed and almost asleep. “Do you smell smoke?” means something ominous. (Hey, there’s another one, “Bed. Drifting. ‘Do you smell smoke?’”) Maybe that’s why many novelist enjoy the occasional sentence fragment.
Okay, your turn. Can you write a six-word story? Choose from any genre: horror, sci fi, romance, suspense, chick lit, whatever. I look forward to reading them.
Alton Gansky creates novels with many words from his home in California. Visit his web site at www.altongansky.com.