This blog is directed to all those that write six word stories. Even if the content does not apply to everyone, it would be much appreciated by the admins of this group if you could read this blog.
It has come to our attention that a sizeable majority of you are having your six word stories declined by us pending approval during submission. If they are not declined, then they barely scrape through. Writing on behalf of the admins here in this group, we have discussions on what is acceptable and what is not, and the amount of pieces that are not acceptable has increased in the past few months.
The concept of a six word story can be difficult to understand, though writing a six word story can be even more difficult for some. As a result, we strongly suggest that everyone revisit what a story is and is not, specifically this blog in which we have underlined some features on what makes a six word story. Even if you believe yourself to be an amazing writer, please read through the blog and refresh yourselves.
Many submissions fall into the trap of being:
Statements ~ These pieces usually consist of one sentence that conveys something, but involves no progression within the piece itself. There is a hint of a plot, but usually it does not go further so that we, as readers, cannot imagine anything more than what is presented to us. Often, there is no action depicted as the piece merely expresses something and that is all.
Descriptions ~ These pieces just contain an account of the main concept or subject matter and that is all. A person, object or event may be alluded to, but, like statements, there is no progression, or anything within the story to encourage the reader to launch off a platform and imagine something more than what the piece proposes.
Fragments ~ These pieces are not complete, and thus cannot possibly be stories. The sentence cannot stand by itself, perhaps because the sentence is not complete or the piece does not contain one independent clause. Often, an element is lacking, such as a subject or verb, there is no subject-verb relationship, etc.
Poetic lines ~ These pieces often focus on the expression of emotions, thoughts and ideas. However, they often do not contain a sense of action like a story would or a concept beyond the lines themselves.
Scenes ~ These pieces usually describe the background or setting in which a story could take place but it is not a story in itself.
The descriptions of these five points are not meant to explain every type of statement, description, fragment, etc. out there, but we hope it provides a bit of insight to how we see things. We have done workshops in writing a six word story, as listed here, so you are encouraged to read through these sessions to get a clearer idea on what constitutes a six word story.
Some tips and tricks that may help:
Pieces that start with "I" immediately raise flags as statements. It would be in your best interest to include the "I" somewhere else in the piece if you really must have it in the piece at all.
Although one sentence can work well as a six word story, you could consider breaking the piece up into two or three clauses.
Try and not think of this as an exercise in poetry and develop your piece. Try and include a majority of what is listed here.
Really think about your choice of words, phrasing, and other bits that make a six word story. Make sure every single word counts, and think about whether you can rephrase something to make it sound even better.
Some may disagree with the use of a title, but if you are using a title, give a title that will give context to the piece itself. This does not mean that the piece should depend on the title for one to understand the piece, just that it provides a bit of background and context to the concept depicted.
Overall, there is a thin line between what is a story and what is not. A lot of it relies on giving impressions, which is especially evident in the Versicolor Project in which you should not use objects of the colour prompt, but rather convey the emotions, thoughts and impressions of the colour itself. In this sense, try and think less tangibly and more metaphorically and abstractly.
As a writer, one must rely on the reader to form their own perceptions about a piece. It is not simply a one-way relationship in which you, as the writer, dictate what the piece is about. You should allow the reader to form their own thoughts because the reader is just as important as the writer, if not more so.
Consider Hemingway's story, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn.". What makes this a story? Think about it, and incorporate it into your own stories.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in a reply to this blog or note us.
Thank you for reading.