Six Word Stories (A Primer)


Alright, so people always ask me about these Six Word Stories. No, wait a minute. That’s a g0dd@mn lie. Nobody ever asks me about them. In fact, no one really asks me for much of anything except twenty bucks and a ride to White Castle.

So, in an uncharacteristic burst of honesty, let me rephrase that: Sometimes from the comments made in the SWS, I deduce that people want me to flesh out the tale. Now, I am happy to do that, if only to drive up the statistics on my comments. Which is apparently the t1ts for Search Engine Optimization. A blog with robust comments, many likes, and a healthy dialog is the kind of thing all those guys like Google and Bing love. And it gives me a chance to trade witty repartee with my adoring audience.

But this is why I like them…they make both the reader and the writer work. I, as the author, have to work in a hook in six short words, something to suck you in and make you care. You, as the reader, have to fill in a sh1tload of blanks to have the story make sense. Tone, backstory, content, what’s gonna happen next. And with so little details offered, the story is likely to vary considerably from reader to reader.

Done well, I am just lighting the fuse to a string of firecrackers, and each goes off in its own merry way. Done poorly, you shrug, say, “Meh…” and go over to see Nina Karadzic of In Noir Velvet and never come back again.*

There’s probably a lot of scholarly work to go with this, and the history of the Six Word Story as a prompt, but that’s just my take on it.



*You probably ought to go see her anyway. She has a lot of good SWS, plus 50 Word Stories. Tell her Finnegan sent you…

As for the history and scholarly work, you can google that yourself.


9 thoughts on “Six Word Stories (A Primer)

  1. Lol, this is funny that you posted this since I just recently tried creating a few SWS, especially after seeing your great ones, and Nina’s too. And yes, they are a lot of hard work to try and create a wee story in just six short words.

    I didn’t know when I was up late two nights with insomnia creating the few I’ve done if titles were “kosher” but I had seen that you had created some for your own SWS (the best one, in my humble opinion, was your Donner Party one – I just loved your macabre humor!) and I thought well, stories, no matter how long or short, need titles, right? But there’s a little part of me that thinks that perhaps titles are “cheating” on the six word limit. What is your take on the use of titles, cheating or not cheating?

    If you’d like to check out my two posts, and please don’t hold back on any critiques, here’s the links:

    Thanks, sweetie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jeanene, those SWS on your site are awesome! So glad you got the bug too. My advice on those is to string ’em out, when you write five or ten, schedule them to post over the next week or two. They sure can fill up blank space on your blog when life intrudes.

      As for your question of whether a title being a cheat or not, that is a tough question! I would say that it’s only cheating if you meet all three criteria:

      1) You feel bad about it
      2) You get caught
      3) You really didn’t have to use a title, but you did anyway

      But then maybe with such a loose definition of cheating, that’s why I’ve been married–and divorced–three times!


      1. Lmao, omg you are soooo funny! Good advice about stringing them out though. I’m not sure if I have the “bug” (and would anti-biotics help lol?); I just wanted to try my hand at them since I did see yours and Nina’s great ones. I’ve also played around with limericks too when I saw a few on other blogs. Just flexing some creative muscles when the muse hits lol. But many, many thanks on your critiques and suggestions, I do appreciate them a lot!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Giggle, I did! May the Fourth be with you too (well, since I’m 27 minutes into May the 5th, tis okay; it ain’t going to be Thursday until I wake up (said the night-owl lol!) Thanks for the inspirations and the kudos sweetie!

        Liked by 1 person

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