I accepted a writing prompt challenge based on the briefest short story in history: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn” by Ernest Hemingway. The prompt was to write a ghost or a love story in less than 20 words. To me, this was a very interesting experiment. It took a while, but this was what I came up with:
While clutching her husband’s framed portrait to her heart, her withered, wrinkled hand dropped the vial.
Sixteen words. Not bad.
I got that prompt from the ebook 30 Days of Inspiration: a Month’s Worth of Writing Ideas. The website offering this free ebook is Creative Writing Now (www.creative-writing-now.com). When you visit the home page, scroll down and you’ll see the free ebook offer on the right. Put your email address in the box under the ebook cover. You’ll get the ebook as well as website updates.
According to the CliffNotes.com article “In which Hemingway short story is the saying, ‘Children’s shoes for sale’?”, “the five important elements of a short story are characters, setting, plot, conflict, and theme, and these five elements are all represented here (in Hemingway’s short-short story).”