Part of this experiment allows me to ask, “What exactly makes a short story?”
The briefest definition I like is “a conflict.” But how short can it be? Hemingway has been attributed with crafting (possibly incorrectly) a six-word story:
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
The piece suggests conflict and evokes emotion. It’s a slice of life, for sure, but maybe that’s all it needs if the words stir you. Similarly, when it comes to poetry, my former writing professor Aram Saroyan wrote the controversial, NEA-winning, one-word poem:
I’m going to end this author’s note now since it’s already longer than today’s offering. But what do you think? When it comes to fiction, how short is long enough?
Stats: 33 words. Estimated reading time: 10 seconds.
Wedding bells and doves readied their ascent. At the altar, the priest smirked as he neglected to ask whether she took this man to be her husband, knowing she didn’t have a choice.