Thursday, October 22, 2009

Six Words to Immortality

Go to this place right now. You'll thank me later.

For those of you still with us, who need more coaxing before leaving the safety and comfort of the Clockwork Blog, let me tell you what you'll find there. Wired Online Magazine took an inspiration from Hemingway's shortest story -- "For sale: baby shoes. Never worn." -- to invite 33 other known luminaries in our current literary firmament to do likewise and write their perfect six-word story.

The results are at least interesting, mostly good, and in some cases both wonderful and diabolical. My favorites are the contributions from Joss Whedon, Alan Moore, Eileen Gunn, and Orson Scott Card.

But best of all is that most of them are indeed complete short stories. When Matt and I did our hundred-word stories, to introduce the new Jack of Fables funnybook series, I thought that was a nearly impossible exercise in concision. What a luxury of abundance we had!

A six word story allows no room at all to waste one. Every word must carry more weight than Atlas in all of his tribulations could never have imagined. How cool is that?

Most of us here at the Clockwork Blog are crushed under deadlines and then taking off to San Jose next week for the World Fantasy Con. But once we return, each of us, along with a carefully selected list of invited authors, are going to present our best take on the six word story right here. It's too glorious (and painful) an idea to pass up.

In the meantime go see what 33 other writers came up with.

Which are your favorites?


  1. That was seven words Mister Sturges.

  2. Damn you Willingham! I'm outta here.

  3. I played a bit with the six-word stories last night, before going to bed. I decided I can't be as clever as Whedon or Card, so I'd do something that only seems clever, but isn't. A bit of stagecraft to hide the fact that there's not too much there. I'm going to do a six-word story for each genre. For a list of the genre's I'm using, see the Great Fables Crossover.

  4. How's this?

    "Just close your eyes and drive."

  5. Dan you continue to be The Man. By the way, I was in Israel last week and told on stage the fun adventure we had getting through customs on that Toronto trip way back when. For those of you playing at home, Dan is the funniest guy I know, so I was so worried about keeping him controlled, going through security and customs and such, so that he wouldn't blurt out something that got us both strip-searched and anally probed, that I failed to watch my own occasionally snarky tongue. Hilarity ensued.

  6. Could you imagine you and I in Tel Aviv, my adopted homeland? Oy Vey!! The stories!!

  7. Oh, and I told the, "I didn't know I had to get snipped again when I agreed to convert," story many times too. Brought the house down. I did the funny voices and everything.

  8. By the way, Dan, I will be going back to Tel Aviv again -- probably many times. I thought my trip to Israel was a once in a lifetime thing, but the place won me over many times over. You should come next time so I can test how well they really like me. If you can't get me banned from the country, then i know I'm golden.

  9. Eleven great cantatas. Fourteen empty cathedrals.