Sunday, January 18, 2009

Six-word Stories

I'm fascinated with the book Six-Word Memoirs on Love & Heartbreak, a compilation of famous and obscure authors' six-word stories. I think part of my fascination is simply at the brevity. The first complete story (novel, not short story) that I wrote took 1,309 pages. That's a lot of words! My second story is roughly 72,000. This last was almost 120,000 words. All to tell a single story. And yet, here these people have created whole stories in just six simple words. Which is the second part about these "stories" that fascinates me: that a mere six words is all it takes for my mind to conjure the whole of a life/story.

For instance, my favorites of the few I've seen: "I loved the idea of you." and "It's worth it, despite your mother." Succinct. To the point. Yet, I see the whole world, the whole story. Even a bit of irony in the first, humor in the second. Of course, what I picture and what you picture when reading those six words might be two totally different things, but that's also part of the beauty of a six-word story.

The idea of a six-word story wouldn't get out of my head the past few days, so I've decided to create a few six-word stories to try to sum up Conventional Demon. None tell the whole story, not as I feel they should (because I know, honestly, my story can't be told in six words), but I liked writing them. I also found that, put together, they almost told the story like a query letter. (Would a literary agent notice if every sentence in the query was six words in length?)

Here they are, in a vaguely particular order:
  • Clean souls are only one requirement.
  • Evil hasn't met its match in Madison.
  • Imps, demons, and magic, oh my.
  • Self-note: Demons think you're tasty.
  • Madison Fox: breakfast for local demon.
  • It's time to fight or die.
  • Defend souls, convince evil you're scarier.
  • Some things are harder in person.
  • Confused but confident, Madison faces evil.
  • A job, a destiny, a disaster.
  • Enforcing good with a small stick.
  • Evil lurks, happy at Madison's incompetence.
  • Facing her fears, find her destiny.
  • Soul-searching in black and white.
Tomorrow: NON blog interviews Peter V. Brett. It is a fascinating, inspiring read. Checking back weekly for new interviews.

Okay, I'll stop now; I promise.


Jennifer Coleman said...

I'm one of the many published in the book; glad you like it! You can read more than six words by me at! Cheers!

Rebecca Chastain said...


Congrats on getting published. :) I was looking on your site, and I, too, plan to have some sort of Inauguration Party, but I hadn't thought of making Obama's favorite foods. What a good idea!

Lex said...

wow, it's amazing how six words can say so much.

it sorta reminds me of haiku writing ^_^.

Rebecca Chastain said...


I always sucked at haikus. It was that whole brevity thing, I guess. I just don't think that way (as you can tell from some of those sad little 6-word "stories" I created. I agree, though, that it's amazing how much 6 words can say.
...And how quickly one can fall into the habit of using only six words per sentence. :)