For a while now I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a short story. I used to write a lot of them when I was younger. In fact, until the age of 12 or so, I used to do a lot of different things. And then I discovered computers.
It’s taken until now, the ripe old age of 24, to rediscover my love of writing. I guess, until now, computers served a different purpose. I took them apart, and put them back together again. Programmed them, and played games with them. The only time I’ve really written on them, in a serious capacity, was for coursework at university… and that was hardly creative writing.
It’s not like I was completely devoid of fancy phrases for those 12 years or so. I’m a huge fan of oratory — delivering speeches and finely-honed arguments are both a lot of fun for me — so I’ve always been playing with words, fiddling with their placement in sentences and working them over and over until it sounded just right.
The problem with words though is that once they’re placed down there, on paper or out in the public domain, they’re done. They’re final! I’m sure you’ve all re-read something you’ve written a day later and noticed a few ways to improve it. I fear that if I was to ever write a story again I’d constantly be revising it.
I imagine that’s the job of most editors though, to prise the manuscript from the author’s umbilical, vice-like grip. To tell him gently that it’s ‘time to let go now’.
Without an editor, I find myself wondering if I could ever publish something I’ve written. I guess if it’s on my blog I can always go back and play with it, and force people to re-read it if I make a change.
In a roundabout way then, this is actually my way of telling the world that I’ve started writing a short story. It probably won’t be amazing, but I will share it with you when I’m done.
What I can share with you now is the way in which I came up with its premise: I wrote a 6-word story. Hemmingway once wrote a very short story — 6 words, in fact! — that read: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Many other authors have tried to achieve the same kind of mystery and involvement in just 6 words. Obviously, as almost every other author pales in comparison to Hemmingway, most failed. But the idea is sound: write a story in just 6 words.
I thought I would do the same, but as an introduction to a longer (and short!) story. In a rare example of me being inclusive, I’m going to suggest that all of you try to write a story in 6 words and either leave it as a comment, or in your own blog. (And tell me, so I can go read them!)
My story? It follows:
Lightning struck; his plea went unheard.