Freebie Mondays: Six Word Stories (Part 1)

Freebie Mondays: Six Word Stories (Part 1)

Several years ago, while I was looking for content for my (now defunct) Tumblr feed, I stumbled upon a 52 week 6 Word Story challenge. Since Tumblr seemed to favor bite-sized content, I thought this would be the perfect way to generate quick, creative content for my Tumblr feed.

I quickly learned the error of my ways.

For those unfamiliar, the point of 6 word stories is to tell a story in only 6 words. This is trickier than it sounds because you can’t simply write a statement of 6 words or fewer. You need to actually convey a sequence of events.

The most popular example of a 6 word story is: Baby shoes for sale, never used.

The first four words in this sequence paint a picture, but the last two provide the story by summoning several ominous reasons why these baby shoes might be for sale.

The point of this exercise is to learn how to distill meaning into as few words as possible – which is an extremely valuable skill for writers in any genre.

When I first started this exercise, I enjoyed searching for pieces of my stories that I could distill into tiny little meaningful chunks. But as time went on, I became increasingly frustrated with my inability to convey sequential meaning in just 6 words. I felt like I was writing statements rather than stories. Worse, I was trying to cram this exercise into a small amount of designated social media time, and it quickly started eating extra hours as I struggled to produce results I actually liked.

On week 32, I finally decided to give up. The challenge had become stressful instead of fun, and I felt like I was wasting my time. But before I got too frustrated to continue, I did produce some snippets I was proud of. So rather let them sit on my hard drive and gather dust now that my Tumblr no longer updates, I figured I would share them here.

For each prompt, I chose four characters and tried to write a story that fit both them and the prompt.

Week One

Write a six word story that reads from left to right and right to left and still have it make sense.

Always running from memories with whiskey.
Whiskey with memories from running always.

Abdicating desires she fulfilled all obligations.
Obligations all fulfilled she desires abdicating.

Truly? I am desire without obscurity.
Obscurity without desire am I? Truly.

Love impossible for lust traded Lady.
Lady traded lust for impossible love.

Naturally, does he value great exploits?
Exploits great value he does, naturally.

I must say that Domerin’s reversible story is my favorite out of all the 6 word stories I’ve ever written. Unfortunately, it was also the first one I completed, so it sort of felt like the challenge was all downhill from here.

Week Two

Write a story involving one specific colour without mentioning the actual colour.

The blood lingers. He scrubs anyway.

Cloudless midnight reflects in her eyes.

Removing the makeup reveals milky flesh.

Fine filigree disappeared as he passed.

Week Three

Write a story in which the first letter of all six words (of the story) formulates a word. (I’ve included the word the story forms below.)

“Confirmed orders; mobilize battalion at twilight.”

“Trade honest resources or negotiations end.”

My atrocities seem to entertain ruffians.

“Silence ensures cruelty. Relate everything truthfully.”

Week Four

Write a six word story in the form of a rhyming couplet.

His bloodlust devours
all that cowers

Different Sight
by day and night

I’m required
to fulfill your desires

Truth I’ve obscured
has always endured

Week Five

Write a story in which three of the six words used have to be synonyms, two of the synonyms have to start with the same first letter. (This was torture.)

Soothing silence subdues a weary warrior.

I prefer combating conflict without warfare.

Dedicate yourself to obedience, devout servant.

Unknown, unseen mystery? I’ll find it!

Week Six

Write a story in a specific genre. (I’ve listed the intended genre below.)

His blade absorbed the magic strike.

Long lashes set his heart aflutter.

Sly girl; she dances for information.

“One problem; the goelm won’t fit!”

Week Seven

Write a story in which all words have the same number of letters. (I hated this one.)

Sword sworn serve; honor their oaths

Live life like rain; flow free.

Their gazes avert. Lyelt alone leers.

Ties that bind? None here. Ever.

Week Eight

Write a six word story in pirate lingo! (Domerin’s is peak Domerin.)

“Avast matey!” “I refuse.” “Spoil sport.”

“Shall I sing a rousing chantey?”

“I’ve got yer booty here, Scallywag!”

“Ahoy mates, cast off!” “Cap’n’s excited!”

Week Nine

Write a six word story in dedication to a female to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Defying tradition, she formed a council.

Her lesson was “nurture and protect.”

Love broke her heart and body

Bold queen, ventured with pirates afar.

Week Ten

Retell a famous story (or part of one). (Reference the story in author’s comments).
This was one of my favorites because it involved epic amounts of creativity. It also includes a bit of commentary to explain each story.

A clandestine wedding ended the war.*

*I decided to make these stories relevant to the worlds in which the characters live. Domerin’s story references the secret marriage between the Faerie Queen and her mortal lover, who just so happened to be king of a nearby kingdom. The two had been meeting in secret for years while relations between their kingdoms steadily devolved into war. In the end, they revealed their love for each other and their willingness to die for a chance to be together and, as happens so often in old tales, the strength of their love was enough to overcome the hatred and end the war, uniting the kingdoms instead. There is supposed to be some historical basis in this, since the current ruling family of the kingdom in which Domerin lives obviously possess Fae blood, due to their great magical ability and longevity, but Domerin believes that most of the tale is fictitious aside from marriage joining the more magical realm of his people (elves) to the less magical human kingdom that once neighbored it.

The Energy Channeler dispersed the storm.*

* The subject of this story is actually Domerin, who was asked by Rose, his queen, to help her redirect or otherwise protect the kingdom against a devastating mage storm. The storm was powerful enough it could have destroyed a large portion of the kingdom, so Domerin became a quite well-known hero afterwards (much to his chagrin). I’ve had to somewhat censor a bit of this commentary because I’ve actually just written this story into a novel and don’t want to spoil anything!

Together, we destroyed the shadow army.*

* I’ve always had this vision of Cazella telling her (7!) children a bedtime story which starts “This is what happens when a shadow and a demon go to war…” Perhaps not famous on the large scale, but famous to her star-eyed brood. The story goes that the first time their father, the infamous mage known only as The Warden, went to war against his nemesis, the shadow elemental Greymard, the battle ended in a draw. The Warden spent the next several hundred years pursuing his nemesis across several different dimensions until at last the shadow had gathered enough of an army to devote to the second battle. The Warden brought with him only Cazella, his devoted servant, and together they claimed a grand victory.

His cunning soundly outwitted a goddess.*

*This is a story that Silkfoot invented which has gained wide popularity in certain circles. Though he keeps it ambiguous in the telling, the subject is himself. The truth of the tale is anyone’s guess.

That’s it for now! I still have 20 more rounds to share, but we’ll save those for another time. Let me know what you think in the comments. Should I give the challenge a second try?

3 Replies to “Freebie Mondays: Six Word Stories (Part 1)”

    1. Thank you so much! I actually think I got worse at it as time went on, but I’m glad you enjoyed these! :D

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