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flash fiction

May 9 2012

Three Minute Fiction

by Jesse M

All Things Considered, the award winning news program on National Public Radio, is currently in the midst of judging a fiction writing contest. The contest has a simple premise: Listeners send in original short stories that can be read in three minutes or less. The contest has been ongoing through multiple rounds since 2009, with each round featuring a different prompt or requirement.

For Round 8, judge Luis Alberto Urrea asked participants to send in original fiction that begins with this sentence: “She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally decided to walk through the door.”

Over 6,000 entries were received this round and the judges are still sifting through them all, with standouts being highlighted weekly.

To read through the stories yourself, visit npr.org/threeminutefiction. And if you’re curious as to what a winning submission looks like, check out round seven’s winner, Little Hossein, and the runner-up, Sleep Lessons.


Jul 10 2009

Six Word Stories

by Jesse M

hemingway-picErnest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899—July 2, 1961) is a Pulitzer and Nobel prize winning author considered by many to be one of the most influential American writers of the 20th century. While it would be entirely appropriate to devote an entire blog post to a discussion of his life and works, that is not my intention*. Rather, I am more interested in a form of writing that Hemingway is alleged to have invented single-handedly, on a bet; the six word story.

This is the story he composed.

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

The ultimate in minimalist writing, all the more powerful for its brevity, it has inspired scores of imitators, both amateurs and professional authors (including such luminaries as Magaret Atwood, Jeffery Eugenides, Charles Stross, and Orson Scott Card, among others) alike, whose efforts are collected on the excellent website Six Word Stories.

Here are a couple of my favorites:
Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time
Alan Moore

Leia: “Baby’s yours.” Luke: “Bad news…”
Steven Meretzky

This form of writing is known as flash fiction, which is commonly defined as any piece of work 1000 words or less, making any six word story an extreme example of the category.

Compose your own and post it in the comments!

*For those interested in further learning, I recommend taking a look at Timeless Hemingway. The website features a wealth of information about the author, including book resources, biographical information, photos, and a quote finder. And of course, we have an impressive collection of works by and about Hemingway here in DCPL.