Hemingway’s (?) Six-word Novel

Feb 2014 026

I just sent off the second of my two agent-requested submissions. So, I thought I would knock off and muse a little on novels. Since my recently completed novel is 93,000 words, and I am wallowing in the calm after-effects of submitting my work, I thought I’d muse on Hemingway’s six-word novel. At least this novel is attributed to Hemingway, but not substantiated. Here it is:
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
One sentence can be powerful. Six words can tell a story. It can be packed with emotion, make you sad, or make you smile. Warm your heart, or start you thinking.
You can use a six-word power sentence within you novel. It can make a strong statement in the right place. The hook—the first sentence of a novel is one. The cliffhanger—the last sentence of a chapter is another. Or it can have a line of its own in the middle of a chapter—making a transition, showing an epiphany, or provoking thought. A power sentence can be used as a weapon, an apology, a profession of love, even a death knoll.
But in this case, the six words tell the whole story: For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
Here’s a few of my six-word novels:

He insisted. One for the road.
She accepted the leash and wept.
The knife was bloody. One fingerprint.
The ashes are buried. Now she’s free.
Haunted house for sale. Owner motivated.

Send me your six-word novel. I know many of you are great writers. Six little words.


About Gerri

I'm in my second career. Besides raising my beautiful family, worked as RN. Now I'm a novelist. Have completed five novels and working on my sixth. Way more fun than nursing! Happy hubby and neurotic cat hang out with me.

Posted on February 10, 2014, in On Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Rainbow Falls search party goes home.
    The jewels were buried with Rasputin.
    He landed, injured, on frozen tundra.
    She realized she had no brakes.
    He had sold the treasure map.
    The drill was loud and terrifying.
    It was such a little lie.

  2. He defended our freedom. Viewing tomorrow.

    Sent from my iPad

  3. Riveted, I watched and said nothing.

  4. The toy mouse waits for her.

    Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S™II Skyrocket™ an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone.Cape Cod Magic wrote:

  5. These seem more like headlines than complete novels, but I’ll play.

    He struck my bare bottom hard.
    You’ve got one more chance, kid.
    What can I do to help?
    Didn’t you hear the phone ring?

    I could go on and on. Good exercise, Geri.

  6. What a great exercise in word placement. A good test for capturing the essence of your novel. Good luck on your submissions.

    Grand Canyon crash exposes Rare Breed.

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