Very short stories

Yesterday I came across an idea of writing very short stories in just six words. Here are some examples from Wired Magazine written by sci-fi, fantasy, and horror writers:

Dinosaurs return. Want their oil back.
– David Brin

Lost, then found. Too bad.
– Graeme Gibson

Lie detector eyeglasses perfected: Civilization collapses.
– Richard Powers

– Harry Harrison

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
– Ernest Hemmingway

The last one was written by Hemmingway in the 1920s after his colleagues bet him that he couldn’t write a complete story in just six words. They paid up. Hemingway is said to have considered it his best work. So this certainly isn’t a new idea. There are many more on Six Word Stories.

On discovering this, I started wondering whether such stories could be written in languages other than English. I thought it might be easier in some languages than in others. So can you come up with any six word stories in any language or combination of languages? If it’s not possible in six words, maybe ten words would work better.

This entry was posted in English, Language.

7 Responses to Very short stories

  1. Eee says:

    People have investigated the “Baby Shoes” story and the conclusion is that Hemingway probably didn’t write it:

  2. Lev says:

    It might be easier in a language that has compound words, e.g.:
    Französischlehrer gibt Französischlernerin einen französischen Kuss.

  3. andreb says:

    Better yet, in a polysynthetic language. Lol.

  4. Magnus says:

    Here’s one in Welsh:

    Amser cysgu wedi cyrraedd… Nos da!

  5. Simon says:

    Another one in Welsh:

    Breuddwydion. Ymdrechion. Llwyddiant. Cyfoeth. Enwogrwydd. Unigrwydd.

    Dreams. Struggles. Success. Riches. Fame. Loneliness.

  6. Zeppelin says:

    Ufoentdeckung unterminiert Weltverständnis — Nihilismus erfasst Kleinstadt.

  7. Rauli says:

    Guatemalan writer Augusto Monterroso wrote this (seven words):
    Cuando despertó, el dinosaurio todavía estaba allí.
    (When [s]he awoke, the dinosaur was still there.)

    The Japanese haiku are a good example of creating a whole story with few words. My favourite, by Matsuo Bashou, is this:
    Furuike ya, kawazu tobikomu, mizu no oto.
    (Old pond, frog leaps in, sound of water.)

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