Freebie Mondays: Six Word Stories (Part 3)

Freebie Mondays: Six Word Stories (Part 3)

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.

As I discussed in part 1 of this post, I enjoyed the challenge of this exercise at first. But as time went on, the mental gymnastics felt less like a helpful exercise and more like a constant struggle. I constantly felt like I was writing statements rather than stories. And I didn’t really have the kind of time to devote to the exercise that it needed.

I gave up on week 32. But because I don’t really use Tumblr anymore, and because I’m actually proud of some of these things, I’ve decided to share them here. The first 10 weeks are available in the first installment. The second post covers weeks 11 – 21. Here we have 22 – 31, the last prompts I tried.

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

Week Twenty-Two

“Write a six word story that begins and ends with the same number.” (This is one of the few weeks where all four of the stories made me feel clever.)

Domerin:
Twin swords slash. Blood spatters both.

Rose:
“Three kids, two pregnancies. You?” “Triplets!”

Cazella:
Solitude means safety. She departs alone.

Silkfoot:
“6,001, 6,002…” “Good haul?” “Indeed! 6,001…”

Week Twenty-Three

“Write a six word story from the monster’s side of things.” (All of these characters have a darker side, so this one was kind of fun. But the stories do feel more like statements than sequences of events.)

Domerin:
“Strike without mercy. Give no quarter.”

Rose:
“I control them. They are mine.”

Cazella:
“Aim for what he values most.”

Silkfoot:
“Take it all. Leave no trace.”

Week Twenty-Four

“Write a six word story appropriate for a clever Facebook post or Twitter’s tweet.” (This ended up being more like ‘what is each character’s inspirational quote?’ But it felt like it suited the prompt.)

Domerin:
Talk is cheap. Actions matter more.

Rose:
Let your soul’s light shine today.

Cazella:
Be careful; keep your secrets close.

Silkfoot:
Flow with the wind. Live free.

Week Twenty-Five

“Write a six word story with the count of 30 letters overall for all words combined.” (This one felt unnecessarily tedious. Anything that involved specific word lengths felt less like a challenge and more like a pain. I also felt like I never really got out of ‘quote’ mode for these weeks. Finding something that fulfilled the word limit ended up feeling most important.)

Domerin:
When insanity claims me, strike fast!

Rose:
Let us end destruction and violence.

Cazella:
My perfect form awakens at twilight.

Silkfoot:
Doors are trite; use windows instead.

Week Twenty-Six

“Write a six word story in typography.” (I enjoyed the visual portion of this prompt. I really liked conveying extra meaning with the font and color choices. But, again, these just feel like quotes.)

Domerin:

Rose:

Cazella:

Silkfoot:

Week Twenty-Seven

“Write a six word story from the point of view of an object.” (It was relatively easy to find an important object for each of the characters. But what I wrote felt like I was playing a game of ‘what am I?’)

Domerin:
I take life to preserve life.
(Domerin’s swords)

Rose:
Wear me wisely and be remembered.
(Rose’s crown)

Cazella:
My restriction awakens your passion. Comply.
(Cazella’s collar)

Silkfoot:
Traveled the ocean following the wind.
(Silkfoot’s ship)

Week Twenty-Eight

“Write a six word story of a humorous tragedy.” (I’m actually happy with a few of these. Domerin’s is a reference to a long-running joke about how he hates the way I drink my coffee.)

Domerin:
Accidental milk splash ruined the coffee.

Rose:
Dismissed for insulting the queen, again?

Cazella:
“I love you, Thomas.” “I’m Derek.”

Silkfoot:
Bypassing their security was woefully easy.

Week Twenty-Nine

“Write a six word story of a sense (from the five senses) without mentioning the sense or the words related to it.” (I challenged myself to also choose a different sense for each character.)

Domerin:
An iron tang fills his throat.

Rose:
Secrets come to my care from afar.

Cazella:
Shadows and silence conceal the clever.

Silkfoot:
Smooth caress, gentle flick, open lock.

Week Thirty

“Write a six word story of a revenge you have always wanted.” (Here again, I enjoyed the characterization part of the challenge – picking a personal grudge for each character. But I wasn’t happy with the ‘story’ portion.)

Domerin:
My father, druk in a ditch.

Rose:
Bound eternally by your own creation.

Cazella:
The master in chains, beaten senseless.

Silkfoot:
Tell my secrets; I’ll sell yours.

Week Thirty-One

“Write a six word story in old English/Elizabethan language.” (I went whole hog with this one and used an online translator. It felt clever at the time, but I’m not sure it’s what the challenge was supposed to be.)

Domerin:
Feohtan æghwilc gefeoht hwær þú earon.
(Fight each battle where you are)

Rose:
Earnian uncer áre, acweþan ænlic eornostlice.
(Earn your honor, speak only truth)

Cazella:
áfón uncer ealdorlege elles edwenden hit.
(Accept your fate or change it)

Silkfoot:
Se byre seldhwanne slæpan for langlice.
(The wind rarely sleeps for long)

And that was the end of my foray into Six Word Stories. Most of this last set were finished and posted on Tumblr originally out of a desire to have consistent content rather than because I liked the outcome or enjoyed the challenge

I started to dread the portion of the week where I would sit down to write these stories. I put them off until the last possible moment, which added pressure on top of the stress and took all the fun out of the exercise.

Here’s the prompt that broke me: Week 32: “Write a six word story with the same word at the beginning and end. The word must have a different meaning at the beginning and end.”

I’m a huge fan of clever word play, but I decided life was too short for an exercise that caused me nothing but stress.

After this, I started writing more long-form story prompts, and I feel I’ve gotten a lot more enjoyment out of that process. There’s something to be said for brevity and trying to cram as much information as possible into just a few words. But another thing I learned to appreciate after attempting this challenge was that sometimes if you try to do too much with one or a few words, the meaning and intent gets lost.

So, would you like to try your hand at the prompt I never finished? Go ahead and drop your answers in the comment section!

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