Take 6 Words

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium
Taking a 6 word story and using it to inspire flash fiction and poetry.

Submitted: May 15, 2017

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Submitted: May 15, 2017

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Take 6 Words.

 

I have just finished reading an e-book called ‘Writing Success: Poetry, Flash Fiction and Short Story Exercises’ written by Sue Johnson. One of the exercises really appealed to me, especially as it was something I’d never before considered doing.

 

6 word stories had always seemed a bit pointless to me. I mean how much can you really say in just those few words. In this book, Sue Johnson talks of how to use them as a spring-board to longer pieces; as a way of prompting ideas. After all, imagination has to be put in to play to make a story from the information those six words provide.

 

Some of you might be familiar with the fact that I love working from prompts so I thought, ‘Why not give it a go!’ This morning I thought up a six word story which goes as follows:

 

We all looked up. And smiled.

 

So now I’m going to try to make something bigger from it. In fact, I’m going to attempt to write both a short story and a poem.

 

First off, the first word, ‘We’, tells you that there is more than one character involved. It could be a family, a group of friends, the inhabitants of a town; however many individuals you like so long as it’s more than one.

 

Next is ‘all looked’, so collectively the groups attention is attracted to something visual. Or are they instructed to look up? Is there a noise coming from above? Or a light?

 

The fourth word tells us that whatever is causing interest is coming from above. Where are your characters? Are they inside a building, out on the street? Is it light or dark? These are just some of the things you could think about.

 

Finally, ‘And smiled.’ That shows that whatever was seen was in some way pleasing, pleasant. Think how different it would be if the words said, ‘And screamed’, or ‘And fled’ . There are so many different possibilities that would all lead to totally different stories.

 

Okay, so my basic plot is to have four students going to a hillside. There had been a report on the Internet of some kind of unusual phenomena about to take place but this was brushed off by the majority of readers as fake news.

 

Seeing Is Believing

 

Ralph reached down and helped Kate to climb up the last steep part of the hill. Stewart and Jane followed.

 

Wow!” Kate had never been up to the top of the hill before and she was astonished by the view. She could literally see for miles, way past the town where they all lived.

 

Impressive, isn’t it.” Ralph rested his arm around her shoulders.

 

Oh yes! Even if nothing happens it will have been worth the effort. For me anyway. How often have you all been coming up here?”

 

Since we were so high,” Jane said, indicating about half her height. “It’s always been a favourite family walk around these parts. You missed out because you just moved here.”

 

Yeah, Newbie. But don’t worry. We’ll introduce you to all the local attractions.” Stewart smirked and Jane laughed!

 

That is if you’ve got half a day to spare.”

 

Ralph took his phone from his pocket, checked the time. “We’ve got about 5 minutes, according to the estimations. They could be out though, so best keep our eyes peeled.”

 

Yeah, anyone see anything unusual, just shout.” Stewart turned to Ralph. “Should we all look in different directions or what?”

 

Ralph shrugged. “Whatever.....” He turned to Kate and whispered, “I just hope I’m right about it not being a hoax otherwise those two will never let me hear the end of it.”

 

Nobody said a word as they all stood, scanning the skies, looking for something, anything that was different to usual. Time passed but there were no shouts of, ‘Look’.

 

Ralph reluctantly took his phone from his pocket once more. “Twenty five minutes late. So I guess I have to say sorry to you guys and admit I was a fool to be......”

 

Wait......Look! Right above us now! It’s amazing!”

 

Stewart, Jane and Ralph all followed Kate’s pointing finger, to look right above their heads. And there they were, the twin comets, passing each other and travelling in opposite directions.

 

Make a wish!” Jane said. “Quickly! One is lucky, so I guess two should definitely make them come true!”

 

Afterwards, when the last sign of the comets had disappeared, the four friends made their way back down the hill. Ralph was so relieved that he had, for once been proved to be right.

 

Thanks, Ralph,” Kate squeezed his hand. “I’d never have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.”

 

Just out of interest......What did you wish for, Kate?”

 

You’ll never know,” Kate teased. “Wishes have to be kept secret if they have any chance of becoming true!”

 

(430 words).

 

So those 6 words have now turned in to a flash fiction story of sorts. How about a poem?

 

Star Gazing.

 

The light was fading as we made our way

To the top of that steep hill.

We did not know what we might see

But still we felt a thrill.

Are we going to be rewarded

For making this long climb?

Or will there be nothing here

And we’ve all just wasted time?

On the verge of giving up

One of us cries out,

The spectacle we’ve come to see

Occurring now, without a doubt.

A comet flaring from the west

Another from the east

A vision from up in space

Provides a visual feast.

They pass by each other

In a trail of yellow light,

An orbital phenomena

That fills us with delight.

The sky once more has turned to black

But we’ll always remember

The fantastic sight that we have seen

This night here in September.

 

(140 words).

 

And there we have it. A six word story turned into a flash fiction and poem. So they are not masterpieces but that’s okay. They are exactly as I’ve sat and typed them for the purpose of this exercise.

 

Have a go! Use this or any other 6 word story and see where it takes you. I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

Come along and join the Imaginarium House if you like. Anyone is welcome. Post your own six word sentence and I guarantee to give it a go. You will also find one-word prompts and picture prompts too, and I’m always open to suggestions for other challenges or topics to discuss!

 

 

Writing Success: Poetry, Flash Fiction And Short Story Exercises’ by Sue Johnson is available on Amazon, and can be read free on Kindle Unlimited.


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