Six-Word Stories for Hemingway’s Birthday

Posted by on Jul 21, 2014 in Uncategorized | 10 comments

Legend has it that one afternoon while lunching with friends at a New York café, Ernest Hemingway was bet he couldn’t write a novel in under 6 words.

As each of his writer friends entered the pot, Hemingway took a sip of his drink, replied, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn,” and collected his winnings.

Though some attribute the story’s creation to a bar bet, others refer to a magazine challenge, and still others claim the story is older than Hemingway himself.

In the introduction to A Moveable Feast, Hemingway writes, “If the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction. But there is always the chance that such a book of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact.” Whether this story is myth or fact (or a little bit of both), it is a testament to Hemingway’s renown as an irresistibly concise writer that the story is so closely linked with his legend.

So in honor of Ernest Hemingway’s 115 birthday, we challenge you to send us your six-word stories. You can tweet them to @Sprylit or post them below in the comments.

Mark-Anthony Lewis

Mark-Anthony Lewis enjoys reading stories as much as telling them. He also likes Awful Awfuls and pumpkin whoopee pies. You might like his blog. Check it out.


  1. Smart enough.
    Married liar.
    Wiser now.

  2. First date, oysterfest. Correction: last date.

  3. one stroke
    hard on
    little death

    2.migraine comes
    darkness soothes
    pillow head

    3.last call
    barfly kiss
    pretty hangover

    4.happy husband
    bends over
    cleavage greeting

  4. Blind boy finds violin in attic.

  5. I once dreamed of being famous.

  6. For sale. French ticklers. Never worn.

  7. The Queen ushered in…the knight.

  8. Cake, candles, wishes for a rewind.

  9. I climbed a mountain, then another.

  10. I am Dali’s illegitimate child.

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