What is a Six Word Story?
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By SixWordStories   |   
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This blog hopes to address the issue of the definition of a Six Word Story. With thanks  to Bakape, deviantshrimp, Exillior, Iluvocnj2006, MaddyJordan, neurotype, SilverInkblot, StellaSalvata, betwixtthepages, Zophirus, we have managed to conduct a sort of mini-guide on what a six word story should and should not do. We would greatly appreciate your own thoughts and opinions, so if you do have any at all, please do not hesitate to say so in a reply to this blog!


A Six Word Story Should:

:bulletblue: Tell a Story

The story does not necessarily need to have a beginning, middle and end. There should be a storyline/plot element in the story which allows freedom of imagination. Time is a vital element in a story. Stories do not need to make sense, although there should be an understanding as to what the writer is trying to portray.
Tells a Story
Sniper sights, sniper sneezes, sniper shot. by spotted-horse
"Come." "Over my dead body." "Doable." by ViaReweaving

Does NOT Tells a Story
A broken heart will always heal. by MagicalJoey
Broken means it can be fixed. by SilverInkblot

:bulletblue: Include a Verb

As stated by Zophirus: The verb indicates action. With no action, there is no story, only statement.

The story CAN be told without a verb if the description makes it evident that some action is about to occur or has occurred. Another way of portraying action implicitly is in dialogue.
Include a Verb
Jumped from building. Fell on balcony. by mathhenr
Harold died one minute too late. by Umbrascitor

Does NOT Include a Verb (still tells a story)
Beautiful girl. Handsome boy. Early graves. by SilverInkblot
one letter, twenty pills, good.....night... by ninjakat7

:bulletblue: Involve Progression or Change

As stated by neurotype: either this change, or its consequences, should be expressed in a way that gives the reader an implied beginning (and, potentially, an end).
Involve Progression or Change
Yesterday I created fire. Today, ashes. by Umbrascitor

Does NOT Involve Progression or Change
The stars shine down upon me by damina
Everything always stays exactly the same. by AtrumMiles

:bulletblue: Evoke Emotions or Feelings

This mostly applies to conceptual six word stories describing a setting or mood, for example. As these are simpler to create, stories with this concept should be evocative, generally by drawing upon a familiar image. neurotype

SilverInkblot also states that these are tiny snippets; they can pack quite a punch, with the advice that If you're having trouble, concentrate on an emotion and figure out what elicits that emotion in you; then try to filter that down to six words.
Evoke Emotions or Feelings
Heaven is happier with you there. by numbuh9494
Broken wings twitch. Struggle, gasp... silence. by Umbrascitor

Does NOT Evoke Emotions or Feelings
We met, then had tea afterwards. by zephleit
And then the world ended forever. by Itti

:bulletblue: Provide a Structure

Stories should introduce a platform on which the reader builds a plot with characters and conflicts. The six words alone can rarely provide a plot, characters, and conflict with any degree of eloquency. StellaSalvata

This does not mean that the story itself needs a plot with characters, but that it should provide a structure for the audience.
Provide a Structure
"Books as a murder weapon? Possible." by TaurusJ
Keys, through fingers, unlock his heart. by Ceol-dKnight
I kept her veil. A souvenir. by Itti

Does NOT Provide a Structure
Witty sayings do not prove anything by ViaReweaving
He hated life so he jumped. by MagicalJoey

:bulletblue: Engage the Audience

The audience should want to know what has happened, what is happening or what will be happening next. Allowing the audience to imagine the scene will achieve this.
Engage the Audience
Unable to see daylight, we imagine. by Itti
Your headstone mocks me every day. by SilverInkblot

Does NOT Engage the Audience
On Saturday, I had some tea. by Dark-McCloudy
My paper boat, painstakingly folded, sank. by Umbrascitor

A Six Word Story Should Not

:bulletred: Be quotes/heavy referencing/content of movies, books, cliches, etc. It should not be 'clever' phrases/generic statements/sayings about life, the universe, and other things besides.

"But life will always go on" is not a story. It might be the final line of a book you're working on, but it doesn't tell us what your book is about. It could be the ending to any book. SilverInkblot

:bulletred: Be generic and unoriginal. To be specific may be a good thing here. As stated by SilverInkblot: Concrete stories of day to day life can be just as impressive as grand sweeping statements.

:bulletred: Involve a few words and a few symbols tossed in too.

:bulletred: Do or be the opposite of what is mentioned above.



Thank you! Hopefully you are a little wiser as to what a Six Word Story entails. If there are any issues or you disagree with the above, please say! :love:
Comments242
anonymous's avatar
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meljoy68's avatar
meljoy68Hobbyist General Artist
So I know if the submission isn't quite what you're looking for a notification will be sent (I've received one).  So does it stand to reason that all is well if no notification is sent?  Because after reading the guidelines, I worry the prompt stories I've just sent may not be spot on with what is acceptable..
3wyl's avatar
3wylHobbyist General Artist
You'll have to be patient and give us a few days to approve your piece, but if there is no notification at the end of the week, then things should be fine.. but then, your piece should also be accepted in a week's time.
meljoy68's avatar
meljoy68Hobbyist General Artist
Perfect, that is what I was curious about!  I fully expect it to take a little while.  :)  Thank you!
3wyl's avatar
3wylHobbyist General Artist
:hug:
Time-Signature's avatar
Time-SignatureStudent General Artist
So many rules for six words...looks difficult...
3wyl's avatar
3wylHobbyist General Artist
Not really rules, just guidelines. Basically, it's just a story in six words. :nod:
Time-Signature's avatar
Time-SignatureStudent General Artist

Ah, I see~

Thank you!

SpiderwebWisher's avatar
At first, I thought I already understood it. So I wrote the stories without reading this, and they turned out pretty well still (still following the rules). And then I finally come to my senses and I check this out, and I realize how hard it is to write a story. Yet, so easy.
3wyl's avatar
3wylHobbyist General Artist
Indeed! It is almost a paradox. :nod:
SpiderwebWisher's avatar
There! That's what it is! :D
3wyl's avatar
3wylHobbyist General Artist
:la:
The-Lost-Hope's avatar
The-Lost-HopeStudent General Artist
Thanks for the carefully thought out examples and tips. I bet the one I submitted is going to be turned down now that I've read this...
3wyl's avatar
3wylHobbyist General Artist
We will see! If there are any problems, we will let you know within a week and will give you the opportunity to change it. :)
The-Lost-Hope's avatar
The-Lost-HopeStudent General Artist
I doubt I'd change it because its my first one and I like all the formatting. But thanks :)
3wyl's avatar
3wylHobbyist General Artist
That's fair enough! You may not have to. :D
The-Lost-Hope's avatar
The-Lost-HopeStudent General Artist
Okay. :)
JackDenim17's avatar
JackDenim17Hobbyist Writer
Useful ^^
3wyl's avatar
3wylHobbyist General Artist
:hug:
lacesnflowers's avatar
lacesnflowersHobbyist Writer
Oh, wow. So many rules... I'll try to apply to them... But this was very helpful.
3wyl's avatar
3wylHobbyist General Artist
Those are mostly guidelines. :nod:

:hug:
PizzaPotatoNBacon's avatar
PizzaPotatoNBaconStudent General Artist
All my previous six word stories (actually I think I only made 1 or 2) don't pass this criteria. :noes:

I'll take this to heart! :love:
3wyl's avatar
3wylHobbyist General Artist
:hug:
anonymous's avatar
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