From Gotham Writers' Workshop:
Hint Fiction (n): a story of 25 words or fewer that suggests a larger, more complex story.
For this contest, Gotham welcomes the expertise of Robert Swartwood, editor of Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories of 25 Words or Fewer (to be published in November by W.W. Norton). Mr. Swartwood will select the winner from the finalists in this competition. And, to help you get started, he provides the following advice:
Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s six-word story—"For sale: baby shoes, never worn"—Hint Fiction is not a first sentence, a random thought, or even a sentence or two plucked from a much larger work. Instead Hint Fiction should stand by itself as a complete story, yet also hint at a larger chain of events.
A title is important in Hint Fiction. While the word limit of a story is 25 words, it does not include the title. The title should add another layer of complexity to the story, helping to give the reader a better idea of what is taking place.
Ultimately, Hint Fiction is an exercise in brevity, with the writer trying to affect the reader in as few words as possible.
Here are two examples authored by Mr. Swartwood:
Corrections & Clarifications
It was Fredrick Miller, not his murdered son Matthew, who was executed Monday night at Henshaw Prison.
10 Items or Less
She saw his picture in the paper and remembered waiting on him two days before: the lighter fluid, her quip about barbequing, his vacuous gaze.
Submit your unpublished 25 word story to our competition and you could win:
10-week writing workshop
One-year subscription to The Writer
Publication of your winning entry in Gotham's Winter 2011 course catalog
The top five finalists will each receive a copy of Swartwood's Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer and a copy of Gotham's Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide.
For more information, click here.