Today's Blog: Six Word Stories

Six Word Stories is a section of Smith Magazine that was inspired by Ernest Hemingway's famous six word story: "For sale: baby shoes never worn." You can now find countless intriguing six word stories online at Smith Magazine here: Students can even become members of the Smith Magazine site and post their own six word stories online.

However, as good as modern imitators are, nothing beats Hemingway's original six word story as a starting point for teaching students the art of saying a lot in a little. After some discussion about what makes his story intriguing, students can use the same 'For sale' structure. Here are two examples:

For sale: Old treasure map - unopened.

For sale: New car - some bloodstains.

For sale: Timemachine - needs some work.

Students need to work at developing an intriguing premise. They need to pick something that can be sold and describe something about it that makes people want to know more. Students should have a go coming up with as many six word 'For sale' stories as they can and then pick their best. If they're stuck for ideas - they can use the three examples above - and modify the last one, two or three words. All students can then write their best six word story on a sticky note and put it on a wall space in the classroom where students can read each other's work.

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