The six-word story, just like other forms of short story, is designed so that the reader can witness the formation of a complete narrative in just a few moments. Writing six-word stories is one of the best exercises for those who want to learn storytelling.
What is a six-word story?
A six-word story is a complete narrative that is included in six words. In fact, this type of story is a very short narrative that has all the emotional backgrounds of a long story: it can be humorous, dramatic, disturbing, scary, romantic or any other context.
Unlike longer stories, six-word stories do not have a definite beginning and end, they must have a subject and a verb, and they inform the reader of what has happened.
A few examples of a six-word story
The most famous six-word story is attributed to the story of Ernest Hemingway: “For sale: baby shoes, not covered.” Of course, there is really no evidence that this story was written by Ernest Hemingway.
In the example above, we saw a disturbing narrative in just six words. Let’s look at 3 other famous examples:
- Thirteenth birthday. I cried and laughed.
- I was not conscious. I poured two cups.
- Google: How to inflate a lifeboat?
How to write a compelling six-word story?
Six interesting words can be used to write compelling and engaging stories. If you practice writing these stories and become a master, you can create fascinating narratives that belong to you. In fact, practicing six-word storytelling gives you the knowledge and background to start writing longer stories.
Here are five tips for writing a compelling six-word story.
1. Try to structure your story
This type of short story should have a conflict or at least be told in a way that astonishes and engages the reader. The presence of the subject and the verb is also necessary in this type of story, because the subject and the verb move your narrative. Finally, the narrative must create a question in the mind and solve the question itself.
Take Hemingway’s famous story, for example:
For sale: baby shoes, not worn.
If we look for the above in this story, we come to this conclusion:
- Actor: baby shoes;
- Verb: not covered [است];
- Question: Why is it not covered?
- Answer: The baby may not have been born or died at the time of birth;
- Conflict: Trying to find the connection between baby shoes that have never been worn and selling them.
۲. Shorten the story line
The most important thing in writing a six-word short story is to have a story idea, remove extra words from it, and keep only the words that give the reader the most information about the whole narrative.
For example, consider this story:
Google: How to inflate a lifeboat?
Makes the story of these scenes:
- Someone has a storm in the middle of the sea. The ship is sinking and one does not know how to use the lifeboat. So, try to get help from Google to get the answer.
- Someone may want to go on a voyage and want to anticipate everything and find a solution for them. So before the trip, he also checks this case.
Using only six words, these narratives have been fabricated and all extras have been removed.
3. Encourage the reader to guess the unspoken
With just six words, a powerful narrative can be created that evokes emotion. Use these six words in a way that encourages the reader to think about what your story has to say. In fact, the main part of your story is the part you did not talk about.
Use six words to play with the reader’s imagination and draw him into a narrative that has not been told. Finally, the reader is confronted with a complete story that takes shape in an instant; For example:
I was not conscious. I poured two cups.
In this six-word story, we see a picture of a lone person who confesses that he has accidentally spilled two cups of tea, coffee or any other drink. It seems that before this, he always poured drinks for two people: one for himself and one for the person who was lost or left.
This narrative forms the six words of a complete story in our minds: a narrative of an acquaintance, the long life of two people together, and finally, separation (temporary or permanent).
4. Be careful in choosing words
The difficulty with a six-word story is that you only have six places to fill. You do not have much space for additional explanations to completely immerse the reader in the story. You must use these six words in the best way to create the most conflict in the mind of the audience.
Try to use appropriate phrases and delete extra letters as much as you can. The use of punctuation marks helps to better express the meaning; For example:
Thirteenth birth; I cried and laughed.
This story could have been written like this: On my thirteenth birthday, I both cried and laughed; But see how cleverly the author has removed all the extra words and the message of the story remains as clear and complete.
5. Write your own story
The best source of inspiration for writing a six-word short story is your own life. Try to recall bittersweet memories, pure and unrepeatable experiences that are worth defining. Describe those memories in six words; For example:
They were vaccinated; The child was hot.
This example can illustrate the experience of many who mourned in pandemics like Corona. This story shows the image of Noshdaro after Sohrab’s death in a modern world.
Where did the six-word story begin?
The six-word storytelling style was developed in November 2006 by Smith Magazine, an American online fiction magazine. The owners of the magazine were Larry Smith and Tim Barco. They were inspired by Ernest Hemingway to create six-word stories.
Hemingway is said to have been challenged by a writer of his time to write the shortest story of his life. He also wrote the famous story “For Sale: Baby Shoes, Not Covered”.
In November 2006, inspired by this story, Larry and Tim decided to invite readers of the magazine to a six-word story contest. In 2007, Larry Smith wrote a book of stories that people submitted to his magazine, entitled Six-Word Memoirs.
Using a six-word story on social media
Since hexagonal stories are short and the audience enjoys reading them, their publication on social networks has always been welcomed by the audience; Because the nature of social networks is also based on speed and pleasure, that is, in social networks, the audience wants to warm up and have fun in the fastest time with the little time they have.
Currently, many channels on social networks are holding six-word storytelling competitions, and people are very welcome to these competitions.
The last word
The six-word story is a complete narrative of an adventure. If you want to enter the world of storytelling, starting from this point will be very helpful. Try writing your own six-word stories and posting them on social media to get feedback from your audience. In this case, you will better understand the strengths and weaknesses of your work. If you like, write a six-word story below this article!