Tuesday, November 14, 2006

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.


At 12:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Her scent was paralyzing, her kiss freeing.

At 12:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Yes, I know it was seven words, but keep in mind I write l o n g, l o n g novels.)

At 6:55 AM, Blogger Carol Umberger said...

A medieval knight. Her quest:revenge.

At 8:13 AM, Blogger Richard L. Mabry, MD said...

"I'm sorry....The cancer has spread."

At 8:52 AM, Blogger batgirl said...

"The blogs kicked her novel aside."

At 10:33 AM, Blogger Domino said...

He proposed. No? She'd rather die.

At 10:47 AM, Blogger ~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Murders. A chase. Bad guy caught.

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Connie said...

She looked toward Heaven and cried.

At 12:01 PM, Blogger ~michelle pendergrass said...

Searching. Not one is worthy. Forgiven.

At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weeping writer: "The words are gone..."


Joyous writer: "The words are back!"


The kitten purred. Home at last.


"Daddy, why the knife?" "You'll see."

Dang, this stuff's addictive!

At 3:13 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Precious egg. Future's only hope.

woops that was only five...

High Seat falls. Beloved Voice sings.

At 7:02 PM, Blogger Abigail said...

He lost himself when he found her.

Okay, seven. :P And seven words of pure, unadulterated sap, too. *sigh*

At 9:00 PM, Blogger batgirl said...

She fell. He picked her up.

At 10:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmm. Love that pure, unadulterated sap. Something about it that takes seven words, you know? :%

At 12:02 AM, Blogger Rachelle said...

Thought about it. Couldn't do it.

p.s. Nicole--just remove the "was" from your first entry. (Can you tell I'm an editor and not a writer?)

At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(I'm an editor's nightmare!) (And I considered it, but for the greater good of the story . . . [just kidding!]) (And, no, I'm not proud of it.)

At 8:22 PM, Blogger Christina Tarabochia said...

Opened my eyes. World gone black.

At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For sale: baby shoes. Never used.


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