This story’s just six words long

Ernest Hemingway, it is said, once came up with a short story — a good one, yet — that ran all of six words: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” As nanofiction goes, if it’s not the standard-bearer, it’s pretty darn close: how much of a tale can you tell in half a dozen words? There’s “In the beginning was the Word,” same length, but not what I think of as fiction.

Caterina Fake is collecting samples from her readers. Here are some I particularly liked:

Lucky, yes, but my twin wasn’t.

She loved again. I never did.

Today, I threw her toothbrush away.

They do seem to be somewhat sad, don’t they?

(The best short story I ever wrote took a whole 804 words.)


  1. Greg Hlatky »

    1 October 2006 · 8:19 pm

    The winner for a short story combining religion, sex, royalty and mystery: “My God!” the Queen exclaimed. “I’m pregnant! Who could have done it?”

  2. McGehee »

    1 October 2006 · 9:33 pm

    “Help me, Johnny!”

    “Sorry, wrong number.”

  3. Mister Snitch! »

    1 October 2006 · 10:19 pm

    “The best short story I ever wrote took a whole 804 words.”

    And no link to it?

    Yes, those stories are wonderfully evocative (they’d HAVE to be, wouldn’t they?) and melancholy.

  4. Mister Snitch! »

    1 October 2006 · 10:31 pm

    She has a fine blog. I added my 6 words.

  5. unimpressed »

    1 October 2006 · 11:34 pm

    Shortest sex manual: In. Out. Repeat.

  6. Francis W. Porretto »

    2 October 2006 · 3:55 am

    Here is my favorite nano-story, written by a friend, Gary Cadwallader:

    Title: SPLAT!


    Sorry, Tinkerbelle.


    I really love its slow, careful development of the conflicts and dramatic interplay among the characters, don’t you?

  7. Yippee-Ki-Yay! »

    2 October 2006 · 6:49 pm

    Comment Fiction

    Partly due to this at Dustbury, I found myself remembering this comment I posted at Protein Wisdom a year and a half ago (this is the URL to the PW post).

    My comment at Dustbury was a paraphrase, of sorts, of the comment fiction at PW.

  8. The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns »

    3 October 2006 · 12:03 pm

    I’m Liking This Bit Of Fun Stuff

    I was at Yippee-Ki-Yay’s place (the sicko likes Mondays for some reason, by the way) when I came across a post that links to Dustbury who links to Lol. Anyhow, the posts are regarding Ernest Hemingway’s micro-short story that…

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