Six Word Novels

As the legend goes, Ernest Hemingway sat with William Faulkner and about twenty other people at the Algonquin Round Table. They discussed their different writing styles. Hemingway thought Faulkner used too many words, and Faulkner criticized Hemingway for using not enough words.

In his defense, Hemingway asserted that he could write a fully developed novel in just six words. Faulkner seemed almost offended in his denial. Hemingway bet ten bucks, as did Faulkner, and soon, everyone at the table had wagered, all against Hemingway.

Papa took a piece of paper and scribbled his text. He slid the paper across the table to Faulkner. He read the words and shoved the money over to Hemingway. Everyone asked Faulkner to read it. He picked up the paper, and said, “Baby shoes for sale. Never used.”

Now there are websites that invite people to write their own six word novel. There are many entries, most rather silly, others depressingly confessional, but none of these are actual novels. And so I thought, some one should try this with real novels. Someone soon became me and my novel.

I have a recently finished novel called PRINCE. If I could reduce it to six words, it might read, “Father and son love same woman.” My current nanoscript, SEDITION may be, “Criminal pardoned, must watch friends executed.” Well, I find it interesting, and trying this exercise was quite fun. So what about other stories?

Maybe your stories ideas come one at a time with quite a bit of time in between, or you already have a bucketful of novel seeds. I am of the latter. These are other novel ideas I have expressed in six words.

HEIRLOOM: Save him, then he’ll kill me.

DROVER: Newborn baby travels inside a shoebox.

VALOUR: Enemies are in both war trenches.

THUNDERBOLT: Many women come after lightning strike.

BOSS: Shipping magnate and Mafioso lock horns.

AVIATION: Eager pilot has nowhere to fly.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me your novel is six words in the Comment section. I can’t wait to see some your six word stories.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Six Word Novels

  1. Hamlet (This one was hard) Grief’s madness: Family’s treachery, rage, revenge. (fun though!)

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