The Human Comedy
Six-Word Storiesby Sherman Alexie
My ex-wife. My brother. They eloped.
I proposed. She declined. And laughed.
First sex. I came. She didn’t.
Palin wins! By one vote! Whose?
In a correspondence with our editors, Alexie shared some illuminating thoughts about the six-word story form, and we would like to share his inspiration with you:
These six-worders are a cool hybrid. They work in a strict three-act structure, like screenplays. They are often in iambic pentameter, simply because of the word requirements and the absence of adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions, so they’re poetry. They also rely heavily on that strategic pause between the second and third act. That pause comes from poetry and from stand-up comedy.