Hint Fiction

Robert Swartwood invented “hint fiction” and determined the rules governing it. Hint fiction is a story of 25 words or fewer that entertains, provokes thought and invokes an emotional response. He edited the anthology, Hint Fiction – An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer. In the introduction he tells of getting a 17 word story published by elimae. He outlines the hierarchy of fiction:

“…novel, novella, novelette, short story, sudden fiction, flash fiction, micro fiction, drabble, dribble…Only two types have clear word distinctions; a drabble is a story of exactly one hundred words; a dribble, of fifty words.” —Robert Swartwood

Swartwood reminds us that it was Ernest Hemingway who challenged other writers to cut the fat from their stories with his six word story:

“For sale: baby shoes, never used.” —Ernest Hemingway

The challenge was accepted by some writers. That original six word story has made them think about cutting the bloat from their writing. ‘Less is more’  is now the motto of a large school of writers. (I’m sure they also write longer fiction, as well.) The internet has allowed very short fiction to flourish.

Six Word Stories says, “Brevity is virtue.”

Swartwood admits that very short stories have their detractors. However, he has received great response to his calls for hint fiction. He also makes a strong argument about how memorable Hemingway’s original six word story has been. Another famous short story he points to is Knock by Frederic Brown:

“The last man on Earth sat in a room. There was a knock on the door…” —Frederic Brown

Here is my attempt at hint fiction:

Stan’s First Day as Vice President

Stan leers at Veronica’s butt through the glass wall of his office, as she stands at the podium greeting customers, just where he assigned her.

There are many sites dedicated to short and very short fiction. Take a look at Every Day Fiction. Flash Fiction Chronicles has an extensive list of flash fiction markets. Have some fun with short fiction. BTW I might post a few more very short stories later.

6 responses

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