Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Pellissippi HOME | Library Site A-Z

Six Word Story

What is a Six Word Story?

A six-word story is an entire story told in six words. It is a short narrative that can have all of the emotional themes of longer stories—from funny to dramatic, sad to scary. It can be poetic or straightforward.

While these quick stories don’t have the classic beginning, middle, and end of a traditional storyline, they have a subject and verb that give the reader a sense of what’s happened and a bit of conflict.

The most famous Six Word Story is usually attributed to Ernest Hemingway -- it goes something like this:

“For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never worn.”

How to Write a Six Word Story

How to Write a Six-Word Story

From MasterClass Articles

Six words can make a compelling narrative. Once you master the art of this short storytelling, try using some of your stories as writing prompts for your next, longer work. Let your creative juices flow!

  1. Have a basic story structure
    Your short story format should contain conflict—or rather, a teaser of a conflict conveyed with vivid words. It should also have a subject & verb that gives it action and movement. Finally, a six-word story should have a feeling of resolution – for better or worse.
  2. Have a small narrative arc.
    The key to writing your own six-word story is to take an original idea, filter out most of the words, and leave the most informative ones in to tell a whole story.
  3. Entice the reader to fill in the blanks
    In just six little words you can create a powerful story that evokes emotion. Part of your story will be in what’s left unsaid. Tease the audience with six words that let their mind fill in the blanks with the bigger narrative and give them a sense of a complete story.
  4. Choose your words carefully
    With only six slots to fill, you don’t have room to waste with weak word choice. Similar to writing a poem, choose words that have purpose and meaning and drive your story forward. Shorten phrases with contractions to make room for nouns and verbs. Use punctuation to join different phrases without having to use conjunctions.
  5. Write your own story
    Find inspiration in your own life and write a little memoir. Try thinking of a pivotal moment and boil it down to six words that carefully sum up your experience and convey your emotions.
  6. Submit your story
    Use the paper form provided or visit the Six Word Story Submission Form to submit your story online.