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Old 11-14-2006, 07:35 PM
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Default Six word stories

Something I probably don't do enough on this site is bring in my area(s) of expertise. Zeke's always making math jokes. Kira was always making chemistry jokes. Derek... uh... makes horrible puns. Anyway, I'll be graduating with a double major in psychology and creative writing in December, and I think I've made precisely one joke pertaining to either (see Court Martial).

Anyway, I thought I'd share something nifty that was brought up in my creative writing class today. My professor handed us copies of an article she printed off of Wired Magazine's website.

Here is a link.

Instead of the normally esoteric, little-known and ultimately irrelevant texts I'm used to reading in creative writing class, I was astonished to see just how many names I recognized on this list. Big names in science fiction.

I was also very impressed by how pretty much every piece from a name I recognized was just so damned infused with that author's voice. I mean that in the literary meaning of the term "voice"; Miller's piece reeks of Miller, Atwood's is undeniably hers, etc. etc. It wouldn't be too hard to call to mind authors had names not been listed.

Anyway, I don't intend to ignite a literary discussion on voice, or on how short a story can be and still be called a story, or anything like that (I've spent an hour and a half doing just that already today). But I did think the article was worth posting here and certainly of interest to somebody besides myself.

Edit: The online exclusive stories are significantly crappier as a whole, and somewhat repetitive/obnoxious. In my estimation.
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Old 11-14-2006, 08:41 PM
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Okay, first of all those were good. Second of all, I'd define a story as anything with a plot, so those count.

Never really thought of stories as "reeking" with an author's voice before. Maybe "screaming," but not reeking.

So Zeke would be "Life too long. Funnier if shorter."?

Pride and Prejudice: Everyone's snooty. Better off paired off.
Treasure Island: Kid found map. Island very dangerous.
Sense and Sensibility: Everyone's snooty. Better off--um, nevermind.
Much Ado About Nothing: Kids easily duped. Snipers better mated.
Romeo and Juliet: Feuds are stupid. So are kids.
Hamlet: People talk too much before dying.
Robin Hood: Stealing, giving, and arrows are fun.
A Midsummer Night's Dream: Kids easily duped. Snipers better--uh, yeah...
A Christmas Carol: Scrooge boring. Ghosts scary. Giving good.

And TV Shows!

Cheers: Barflies fun. Barmaids like being harpies.
Friends: Friends good. Quips better. Coffee best.
Home Improvement: Power bad. Hugs good. Wilson omniscient.
Star Trek: Boldly going fun. Everything has morals.
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Old 11-14-2006, 11:42 PM
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I realize this is a parody website, and I realize that contraction is part of the master plan here, but the topic at hand concerns neither.

The rest of this board is pretty much devoted to discussion of parody and other such silliness. This is the forum where actual discussion of source material occurs.

We have (short but not shortened) stories here from notable sci fi authors here. These are isolated stories. Not six word summaries of pop culture staples.

So all things considered, I'd rather this discussion (if it warrants discussion in the first place) focus on the material and the form -- not to degenerate into our tried and true fallback of derivative contractions. Thanks.
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Old 11-14-2006, 11:44 PM
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Some fun ones there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ijdgaf View Post
Edit: The online exclusive stories are significantly crappier as a whole, and somewhat repetitive/obnoxious. In my estimation.
Thus why they failed to make the cut, no doubt. Still, not a complete waste, either. For example:

Quote:
WORLD'S END. Sic transit gloria Monday.
- Gregory Benford
Could be read more than one way (even if you didn't know anything about the 1980 NYC Transit strike.)

Quote:
Dorothy: "F*** it, I'll stay here."
- Steven Meretzky
Pretty much says it.

(asterisks mine)
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Old 11-14-2006, 11:52 PM
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Um, is there actually a claim that these six-word stories come from the actual authors? Original, not rehash?

My intent is to amuse. If there is lack of amusement, then I failed.
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Old 11-15-2006, 12:01 AM
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Oh, there were some good ones in the rejects. But the ratio of crap to good was significantly higher.

Quote:
Mozilla devastates Redmond, Google’s nuke implicated.
Is genius though.

Nate, these are pieces written by the authors listed under each. The intro says as much. That tends to be what an italicized name with a dash in front under any given quote/excerpt/letter/piece indicates anyway.

I know what your intent was. But it has nothing to do with the thread. And give it at least a few more posts before we introduce some crazy irrelevant tangent that all the threads around here somehow end up with.

Or better yet, start a "six word derivative contractions" thread in misc.
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Old 11-15-2006, 01:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ijdgaf View Post
Something I probably don't do enough on this site is bring in my area(s) of expertise. Zeke's always making math jokes. Kira was always making chemistry jokes. Derek... uh... makes horrible puns. Anyway, I'll be graduating with a double major in psychology and creative writing in December, and I think I've made precisely one joke pertaining to either (see Court Martial).

Anyway, I thought I'd share something nifty that was brought up in my creative writing class today. My professor handed us copies of an article she printed off of Wired Magazine's website.

Here is a link.

Instead of the normally esoteric, little-known and ultimately irrelevant texts I'm used to reading in creative writing class, I was astonished to see just how many names I recognized on this list. Big names in science fiction.

I was also very impressed by how pretty much every piece from a name I recognized was just so damned infused with that author's voice. I mean that in the literary meaning of the term "voice"; Miller's piece reeks of Miller, Atwood's is undeniably hers, etc. etc. It wouldn't be too hard to call to mind authors had names not been listed.

Anyway, I don't intend to ignite a literary discussion on voice, or on how short a story can be and still be called a story, or anything like that (I've spent an hour and a half doing just that already today). But I did think the article was worth posting here and certainly of interest to somebody besides myself.

Edit: The online exclusive stories are significantly crappier as a whole, and somewhat repetitive/obnoxious. In my estimation.
Interesting...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Infinite Improbability View Post
Okay, first of all those were good. Second of all, I'd define a story as anything with a plot, so those count.

Never really thought of stories as "reeking" with an author's voice before. Maybe "screaming," but not reeking.

So Zeke would be "Life too long. Funnier if shorter."?

Pride and Prejudice: Everyone's snooty. Better off paired off.
Treasure Island: Kid found map. Island very dangerous.
Sense and Sensibility: Everyone's snooty. Better off--um, nevermind.
Much Ado About Nothing: Kids easily duped. Snipers better mated.
Romeo and Juliet: Feuds are stupid. So are kids.
Hamlet: People talk too much before dying.
Robin Hood: Stealing, giving, and arrows are fun.
A Midsummer Night's Dream: Kids easily duped. Snipers better--uh, yeah...
A Christmas Carol: Scrooge boring. Ghosts scary. Giving good.

And TV Shows!

Cheers: Barflies fun. Barmaids like being harpies.
Friends: Friends good. Quips better. Coffee best.
Home Improvement: Power bad. Hugs good. Wilson omniscient.
Star Trek: Boldly going fun. Everything has morals.
hehehehehehehehehehe
hehehehehe

hehe

Quote:
Originally Posted by ijdgaf View Post
I realize this is a parody website, and I realize that contraction is part of the master plan here, but the topic at hand concerns neither.

The rest of this board is pretty much devoted to discussion of parody and other such silliness. This is the forum where actual discussion of source material occurs.

We have (short but not shortened) stories here from notable sci fi authors here. These are isolated stories. Not six word summaries of pop culture staples.

So all things considered, I'd rather this discussion (if it warrants discussion in the first place) focus on the material and the form -- not to degenerate into our tried and true fallback of derivative contractions. Thanks.
pfft. Wheres the fun? Wheres the love?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Infinite Improbability View Post
Um, is there actually a claim that these six-word stories come from the actual authors? Original, not rehash?

My intent is to amuse. If there is lack of amusement, then I failed.
I like the funny.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ijdgaf View Post
Oh, there were some good ones in the rejects. But the ratio of crap to good was significantly higher.

Is genius though.

Nate, these are pieces written by the authors listed under each. The intro says as much. That tends to be what an italicized name with a dash in front under any given quote/excerpt/letter/piece indicates anyway.

I know what your intent was. But it has nothing to do with the thread. And give it at least a few more posts before we introduce some crazy irrelevant tangent that all the threads around here somehow end up with.

Or better yet, start a "six word derivative contractions" thread in misc.
(A grumble that's best left till another time.)
But hey. Human spirit. I'm sure you'll scrap onwards somehow.
I've gotta say sometime I find it...exasperating....that topics sometimes of off in a strange direction. And most the time I've no idea whats being spoken of.
But thats the nature of the beast!

Dawn of the Dead:
Nice mall. Brains... Bang! Brains... Bang!

Halo:
DEATH TO HUMANS! (Chief) Not Today!

The Avengers:
Diabolical! We're needed... Steed! Smash! Bolly?
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Old 11-15-2006, 01:43 AM
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Old 11-15-2006, 02:17 AM
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Can anyone tell me why such a mixed bag of authors would all latch onto the same idea?

You gotta admit, though that there are a lot of classic books that you could use identical six-word condensations for.

My favorite of my sixword.net entries is Hamlet. Reminds me of Dave Barry's description of opera.
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Old 11-15-2006, 02:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Infinite Improbability View Post
Can anyone tell me why such a mixed bag of authors would all latch onto the same idea?
Because they were asked?
Quote:
Issue 14.11 - November 2006

Contributors

To produce our special collection of 6-word sci-fi stories, we enlisted some of our favorite writers and graphic designers.
Page 1 of 1
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Old 11-15-2006, 03:08 AM
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Why six words? Why not five? Or Ten?
And are they supposed to just be original stories or...something linked with themselves?
It is an funny idea though. How much (Or simple) something can boil down to. How someones style can be in just a few words. Or even a TV show/Book/Song/Opera/anything can be in a few words.
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Old 11-15-2006, 03:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burt View Post
Why six words? Why not five? Or Ten?
That was in the article. Hemmingway wrote a six word story and called it his best work. Thus the Wired staff decided to see how other authors would craft a six-word story.

Quote:
And are they supposed to just be original stories or...something linked with themselves?
They all seem quite original and not necessarily connected to themselves. Shatner's doesn't seem to be a reference to himself or any of his characters. Whedon's has the sort of funny-horror tack that he's known for, but it doesn't relate to any of his created works in any way I can see. I get the impression the staff sent something along the lines of the first two paragraphs to a number of notables and asked them to write their own. No context, no "try to relate to yourself or what you're known for," just write a six word story.

Quote:
It is an funny idea though. How much (Or simple) something can boil down to. How someones style can be in just a few words. Or even a TV show/Book/Song/Opera/anything can be in a few words.
I agree with you and IJD both that it's impressive how much of a writer's voice comes through in just six words. And it's also interesting how often the six words end up being used humorously. They say brevity is the soul of wit, and certainly in fiver-writing as well as other humor, you're normally much more effective at being funny if you keep your jokes brief. But it seems to work the other way too. If you only have a few words to work with, more often than not what you write will end up being humorous. I guess that's due to the fact that other types of story need more build up. You can't get much plot or character development in six words.

IJD, have you heard of 55 Fiction? It's the same concept except you get 55 words to do it in. They have annual contests and select winners in various categories. I once saw a book with a compilation of previous winners and found it an interesting read.

And just for fun, I'm going to try writing a few six word stories.

"Don't eat my frog!" I screamed.

Here's one that hopefully has some character development:

Peter fell, but got back up.

And here's one that hopefully has some plot:

Bomb in tower. 5 minute timer.
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Old 11-15-2006, 04:32 AM
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I have heard of similar projects before, but not that one in particular. There are a few compilations out there specifically dedicated to short-form fiction. Flash Fiction publishes a new anthology every few years or so, and has a 250-500 word requirement. MicroFiction was a project by an FSU professor (winner for each year got a crate of oranges) to create stories in 150 words or less. The guy died about ten years ago, and I don't think his mantle has been taken up. The class I'm in is specifically dedicated to these extremely short stories, but today was the first time we'd looked at anything... quite so short. Thanks for the link though, I actually have a few pieces that could probably go for that.

To those here who still don't really get it, Derek pretty much nailed it. These are intended as stories. Not sequels, not parodies, not homages -- stories. They were created to stand on their own and not tied to anything in particular, save for an obvious tribute to Hemmingway's template of sorts. I posted it here because I was pretty amazed by the list of names they managed to gather.

By the by, plot isn't really considered the defining factor in what makes a story a story. From what I've gathered from various contemporary musings on the subject, the key component is change. Whether character change, situational change, ideological change... if change hasn't occurred, it's not a story. Of course, there are many who wouldn't consider these pieces stories. But pushing the boundaries is part of what marks the post-modern era.
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Old 11-15-2006, 10:51 AM
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This is a really cool discovery, IJD, thanks. For some reason it reminds me of the clarihew, in which you give a pithy biography in the space of a brief quatrain. I only ever remember the famous one about Davy, but the Wikipedia article has dozens more. (Off topic I know, sorry IJD.)

The next layer of coolness would be to tell six-word stories that are also palindromes. (I can think of two palindrome stories that are seven words, but not six.)

I think that it's reasonable to say that a story is something that evokes an event -- something that happened (fictional or not). Otherwise it's a description or an idea, but not a story.
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Old 11-15-2006, 08:52 PM
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Off topic is fine, Scooter. I just didn't want this to turn into another excercise in parody that was neither original or forum appropriate.

Those Clerihews are pretty danged funny. Perhaps it has a bit to do with my inability to read them in any accent other than a British one.

Also, ha! Go Jung!
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Old 11-15-2006, 09:13 PM
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Odd name, Clerihew. Sounds kinda like a snooty person sneezing.

Oh, and thanks for the title, Z. Almost makes me want to change my avatar every day just to drive you over the edge. I'm not going to, though. I just changed to the Power of Cheese Radd to tie it in with a thread that appeared to have died awhile ago. I have any number of Trek avatars, but I'm juvenile enough to want an animated one here.

Only palindrome I know off the top of my head is "A man, a plan, a canal, Panama." It's shocking how much tripe like that we learned in high school, right?
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Old 11-15-2006, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ijdgaf View Post
Also, ha! Go Jung!
Heh, yeah. Liked the ones for Popper and Clive, as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Infinite Improbability View Post
Odd name, Clerihew. Sounds kinda like a snooty person sneezing.
For Heaven's sake, don't anyone tell him about Mondegreens...

...oh, nuts...
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Old 11-16-2006, 02:26 AM
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Had to verify, but yeah I already knew about mondegreens. Still prefer snowclones, though.
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