Monday, October 08, 2012

Six Words of Fleeting Fame

Fleeting magazine (Now Fleeting Books, see note below), publisher of made-ya-think fiction, poetry, and "X Questions for ____" interviews with Interesting People, ran a Hemingway-inspired six-word short story contest this summer.

Almost 5,000 entries poured in. On a whim, I sent in what is essentially the six-word pitch for a short story I was thinking of tinkering with but didn't have the time to really flesh out because client work kept calling my name while stamping its feet. I hate when it does that.

Well -- cool beans! -- my entry is one of eight that got shortlisted. (Which makes me think maybe I shouldn't expand the piece into a short story at all. Sometimes less is more...

Conversely, perhaps this means I should delve into the idea deeper and see how rich the story ore is.

Odd, how I never do this kind of vascillating with client projects. Maybe it's that dratted foot stamping that keeps my focus sure.)

The shortlist entries are worth a read. They're all quite individual. Some rely on witty banter. Some on nuance. Some on subtext. Active verbs do their thang. Linking, passive verbs are nowhere to be seen. (Huh. Irony. ::wink, wink; nudge, nudge::) It's fascinating how, when offered unlimited words from which to choose, with a mandate only to reduce word count, each author's unique voice shines through in just six strokes.

I wonder if there is a tipping point where voice would be lost. Five words? Three words? Two? I suspect if one had to tell a "story" in just one word, the word chosen would speak volumes -- if only about the one who chose it.

Congratulations to my fellow finalists. It is an honor to be in your company.

Have a six-word story? Share it below!

*** Update: Imagine my surprise after writing & posting this to receive a note from the lovely contest Grand Poobahs informing me that I had won! I was sitting in Panera, sipping an overly-acidic cup of coffee & chowing down on a chocolate babka when I read the e-mail. "Holy Cow!" I said aloud, though I was alone. Other patrons immediately gave me a wider berth. Anyway, it's always nice to hear one has won something. Here's the official version of the story from Fleeting.  A.H.  

****Update, October, 2013: Fleeting Magazine is officially now "Fleeting Books," a literary consultancy. See Editorial Assistant Charlotte Seymour's comment below. Here's wishing them all the best!


Laura Besley said...


Ami Hendrickson said...

Thank you! I wrote up the post before I was notified of the final results. I thought all the finalists were interesting. Cool pics they chose to illustrate some, as well!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Ami. Thought your story was great. Helen Matthews

Ami Hendrickson said...

Thanks so much for the kind words. Cheers!

Charlotte Seymour said...

Dear Amy,

I am writing on behalf of Fleeting to let you know of some exciting new changes that have taken place. I was delighted to see that you mentioned Fleeting Magazine on your blog, as this is a tremendous boost to our profile, and I hope all is going well with your writing.

We recently relaunched as Fleeting Books, a London-based literary consultancy, with a panel of authors offering a range of editorial services. Although the name Fleeting Magazine is no longer in use, we continue to publish short fiction and interviews on our website, which I hope you will enjoy.

In order to ensure that budding authors know where to find us, I am trying to see that all online listings for Fleeting are up-to-date. I was therefore wondering if you would be willing to change any references on your website from Fleeting Magazine to say Fleeting Books. This would much appreciated, and help avoid future confusion.

Many thanks in advance for your assistance, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Charlotte Seymour
Editorial Assistant

Fleeting Books | @ThisIsFleeting