Saturday, November 7, 2015

Six-Word Story Challenge

According to legend, Ernest Hemingway once accepted a challenge to tell a story using just six words. He wrote: "For sale: baby shoes. Never worn." 

For the next GurneyJourney challenge, I invite you to invent a six word story and combine it with a drawing or painting. 

Chance meeting. Awkward silence. The weather.
In just six carefully-chosen words, you can introduce characters and add the hint of backstory, foreshadowing, surprise, mystery, revelation, or resolution. The illustration can give context to your story or expand it in a new direction. You'll know if it works if fireworks go off in your head.

Here are a few more six-word stories that Jeanette and I came up with:

He dug until he fell through.
"Let's see what we ran over."
"Why are they selling my stuff?"
"Oops. It was a bearing wall."
"One gallon and a can, please."

1. Free to enter. Deadline is midnight, December 31.
2. The story must be original and the words must be hand-lettered within the image.
3. The image may be created with any handmade medium, such as pencil, pen, marker, watercolor, oil or gouache.
4. The image can be created either from observation or imagination.
5. You can collaborate with a writer, but enter it under one of your names.
6. Upload your entry to this special Facebook event page. If you don't have a Facebook account, ask a friend to use theirs.
7. If you want, you can also also upload to Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #sixwordstorychallenge
8. You can write your story in a language other than English, but please give the best translation you can (the translation doesn't have to be exactly six words).
9. Submit only one example. If you have submitted one and then come up with a better one later, delete all but your best.
10. I'll pick my five favorites. Each of the five winners gets a free video download, a Department of Art patch, and the work posted on GurneyJourney.
There's a book of examples called Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure
There's also a website 
The urban legend of the Hemingway story.


Dave said...

This is driving me crazy! Ever since I read this blog I've been composing 6 word stories. I have two pages full and have thought of an illustration for each one. It's like one of those songs that get stuck in your head.

Krystal said...

This is a brillant idea !

Awana73 said...

Great idea! I think I'll try!

Monika Baum said...

What a fantastic idea!!!

Rich said...

"A picture says more than a thousand words"

that's eight words already...

gotta rein it back to six:-)

KM Ryan said...

Some of my ideas are pretty good, some are really terrible. But I've been thinking about this challenge all day. I haven't entered any of the other challenges, although I've tried the art. I think this may be the challenge I actually enter. Thank you for posing such fun/creative/thought-provoking ideas. The next 7 1/2 weeks will give me plenty of practice time to get the right feel for my words, my illustration. I can't wait to see what others are doing! I love viewing each and every entry. It's like walking through a world-wide art gallery.

mdmattin said...

I just noticed that some comments and "likes" have randomly disappeared from the Facebook page. It doesn't appear to be linked to individual accounts or any other discernible pattern - my entry and some others lost all comments and likes, and some, but not all, of my comments and likes are gone.
Do you know why that happened?
Matthew Mattingly ("cesddrupal" on FB)

James Gurney said...

MDMattin, That's strange! I have no idea what's going on with that. I have personally avoided "liking" or commenting on any of the entries because I want to wait until the entry deadline has come. I have noticed that the entries are shuffled in order each time I look at them, and they're not necessarily in chronological order. I have no idea why some comments are missing, unless there's some way the commentator perhaps has controls for removing them. Anyway, I won't be influenced by the number of "likes" so I'm glad you mentioned it.

mdmattin said...

OK, I found part of the answer - I wasn't logged in, and logging in made the comments and likes reappear. I still don't understand why that would affect some comments and not others, though.
Thanks for checking on my problem, and for putting up this challenge which has elicited so many intriguing entries.