Write a short story in just ONE sentence. You may use as many commas, dashes, ellipses (…), and semi-colons as you like, but only one period.
Your story may be a very short sentence or a very long one, or somewhere in between. Check out the guidelines below for more ideas.
Here’s an example by Ernest Hemingway:
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
And a very different sort of “sentence” by Betsy Kemper:
THIS IS HOW I REMEMBER IT
Watching Joey pop the red berries into his mouth like Ju-Ju Bees and Mags only licking them at first, then chewing, so both of their smiles look bloody and I laugh though I don’t even eat one… then suddenly our moms are all around us (although mine doesn’t panic until she looks at the others, then screams along with them things likeGod dammit did you eat these? and shakes me so my “No,” sounds like “oh-oh-oh”) and then we’re being yanked toward the house, me for once not resisting as my mother scoops me into her arms, and inside the moms shove the medicine, thick and purple, down our throats in the bathroom; Joey in the toilet, Mags in the sink, me staring at the hair in the tub drain as my mom pushes my head down, and there is red vomit everywhere, splashing on the mirror and powder-blue rugs, everywhere except the tub where mine is coming out yellow, the color of corn muffins from lunch, not a speck of red, I told you, I want to scream, and then it is over and I turn to my mother for a touch or a stroke on the head like the other moms (but she has moved to the doorway and lights a cigarette, pushes hair out of her eyes) and there is only her smeared lips saying, this will teach you anyway.
Take a look at the following suggestions when responding to this prompt. After the Challenge we’ll feature an entry that thoughtfully considers these guidelines.
- If your sentence is a long one, do you utilize other punctuation to keep the rhythm and momentum alive?
- Do you utilize the power of suggestion? Because your story is only one sentence long, think about how you can suggest certain elements to your reader, without saying them directly. Hemingway, for example, conveys quite a lot about the lives of the baby-shoes’ previous owners, though he tells us all this in just six words.