‘Starlet sex scandal. Giant squid involved.’- a Daily Mail headline, maybe? No, it’s actually a very, very short story indeed, penned by Canadian novelist and poet Margaret Atwood in response to the ‘Hemingway Challenge’. Nicknamed for the author who once claimed that his best work was the succinct ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn’, this short, sharp format has produced some diverse and brilliant pieces both online and in print.
The website www.sixwordstoryeveryday.blogspot.com is one of my favourite responses to the challenge, combining graphic design and illustration with the few words allowed, and now containing a story for every day of 2010. Their newer site, www.sixwordstoryeveryday.com furthers the project, including appropriated lines from sources such as Shakespeare and The Police alongside writers’ original stories and a huge variety of illustrations and typefaces.
Or, like Joss Whedon, you could just go for the murder mystery. ‘Gown removed carelessly. Head less so.’