Fun for Nerds: Hint Fiction

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This morning in my news feeds, something caught my eye and I just had to bookmark it for later because it would not leave my mind all day long. In one of my feeds, there was a link to something called Hint Fiction, which proclaimed the most amazing feat I have ever heard of.

Hint Fiction is a book of stories that are all told in twenty-five words. I guess you could call this micro-micro-fiction. To be able to tell a story in twenty-five words is, I think, a definite skill.  To be able to have an impact with just twenty-five words, to connect with your audience somehow in, virtually, the blink of an eye, must take discipline and a whole lot of practice.

This is a really intriguing idea to me. Of course my first thought is: how on earth do you fit all that a story needs and necessitates into twenty-five words? Look at it this way, I wrote about 50,000 words last year for National Novel Writing Month and my story is still not finished. At 50,000 words there is more in that story for me to tell. So, how can it be done in twenty-five? One hundred words? I can see that, I’ve even done that before. But a quarter of that amount? I just don’t understand…

If you’re interested in Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer, (or fewer?! How could you do it even less than 25 words?!), you can find it at Amazon. I may have to buy it simply out of curiosity. Contributing authors include prestigious names such as Joyce Carol Oates, Ha Jin, Peter Straub, and James Frey, as well as emerging writers too.

— Jet Fuel Editor, Mary Egan

3 thoughts on “Fun for Nerds: Hint Fiction

  1. Lucas October 29, 2010 / 10:03 am

    The closest thing I’ve done that compares to something like this is flash fiction, which has a sliding limit of 300-1,000 words. I love writing flash fiction stories because it becomes a challenge of taking the length of an anecdote and turning it into a bit more than a cheeky little thing that happened. Most of the ones I write are about banal little every day activates that if written about in anything as long as a novel would get lost in the sea of everything else, it really allows me to give significance to all the little joys in my life. I have heard of hint fiction before though, and in fact I remember a hint fiction story I was once told! I think it’s wonderful how I can still remember it all these years later. “The king fell in through the doorway slapping the ground with his belly; drunk again.” Also this reminds me of how you can basically reduce any plot into a single sentence, for instance Homer’s The Odyssey: “A man experiences trouble on his way home.” I think little stories like these are great because they can fit easily enough in your head for you to think about whenever, and due to their minimalistic qualities they will cause you to elaborate and ask questions. What did the king look like? Why was he drunk? Where does he rule? Works of hint fiction could work as great writing prompts.

    • Editor October 29, 2010 / 2:16 pm

      That’s a great point — these short, short stories allow us to explore more about what they might mean, they leave more room for analysis and even can be a jumping off point for stories of our own to elaborate on those few words.

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