Sunday, 18 January 2009


I tend to subscribe to Keats' advice that if poetry doesn't come like leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all. And for now I extend this to flash fiction, which I find more closely related to a poem than the short story. I do, though, enjoy reading it when done well, the effect that can be achieved in such few words. Hemmingway once said his best work was this six-word story: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." Brilliant.

A few years ago the Guardian invited other authors to pastiche this extreme brevity. Here are some of my favourites; the only rule: six words.

Dad called: DNA back: he isn't. Helen Fielding

Juicy offer. Must decline. Still paralysed. Richard Ford

Evil isn't necessarily unkind. Gran next. DBC Pierre

It was a dark, stormy...aaaaargggh! John Lanchester

Catherine had treasonable sex. Heads rolled. Helen Simpson

Womb. Bloom. Groom. Gloom. Rheum. Tomb. Blake Morrison

Armageddon imminent. Make list. Tick most. Ian Rankin

Had a go myself, though see above mitigation: Trust your instinct. Unless serial killer.

Anyone do better...?



"Certainly," said the inn-keeper.

(Sorry, couldn't think of two more words.)

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Riptide: No swimming. Reading is safer.

Norm Jenson said...

I win, is likely not true.

Adnan said...

"Pay taxes," Harold said to G.Reaper.

ice blue said...

Phone rings, connects - yelled obscenities, disconnects.

Merc said...

Fire. Cries. Must go home, but …