Write a one sentence story and win publication in the next Fast Forward Press anthology

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Fast Forward Press' release party for its new flash fiction anthology is coming up tonight at the Mercury Cafe, and you could be featured in the next book. To the reader who writes the best one sentence story in the comments section below, Fast Forward Press will offer publication in their next anthology. The runner up will receive a copy of the new book, The Incredible Shrinking Story. To inspire your flash fiction, we talked with Fast Forward editor Leah Rogin-Roper about her favorite one sentence stories.

"For sale: baby shoes, never worn." by Ernest Hemingway

Leah Rogin-Roper: "The story was that Hemingway was drunk at a bar, as usual, and somebody asked him what the shortest amount of space he could tell a story was, and so he said 'I can tell a story in six words' and they kind of dared him to. He may have been joking, but at some point he said his greatest work was that six-word story. I've taught it to kids, and they brainstorm different things it could mean. What most adults will says is, 'oh something terrible happened to the baby.' But the kids came up with all these great interpretations, like maybe there's a shoe smuggling ring out of Mexico, or maybe the mom's a shopaholic and she bought way too many pairs of shoes. I love that. It kind of illustrates Hemingway's iceberg principle, where most of it's buried underneath the words, so you can excavate it with a little bit of work."

"Seven cock-rings later, she kissed me." by Michael Flatt (from The Incredible Shrinking Story)

"A few years ago we had a six-word story contest at a lot of our readings, so we had this contest and this guy submitted this story, which our editor used as a model for a while, but it was anonymous. The person wasn't there and it won our contest that evening. My co-editor Kona ran into this guy randomly, I think she was doing some sort of flash fiction talk somewhere, and she brought that story in as an example and he said "Hey, I wrote that!" It's got this whole story to it. You have to kind of wonder how there could be seven cock-rings and what happened in order to make that need to come before getting kissed. "

"I still make coffee for two."
by Zak Nelson (from Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six Word Memoirs)

"I think one of the things that makes it so powerful is the word 'still.' That's one of the things I've had classes talk about quite a bit is any other word there and it would be an entirely different story. So if it said 'I make coffee for two now,' suddenly it's a different story altogether. I think it does a really good job of showing how in this compressed form every word has to be the right word."

"The worst thing about secret girlfriends is that when they get hit by cars you're not supposed to cry." from onesentence.org

"I don't have an author for this one. It's from onesentence.org and they take the authors out deliberately because people rank the stories and that's how they move up the list. I like the idea of secrets and confession in writing and so it's got that element to it. It's got this whole sort of spiral of a story that goes with it as well."

"She tries to get things out of men that she can't get because she's not 15% prettier." by Richard Brautigan (from Romel Drives on Deep Into Egypt)

"People started writing flash fiction before they were calling it flash fiction and I really think Brautigan is one of the grandfathers of flash fiction even though I don't think that term was ever used while he was alive. I really like that one. It's such a simple story, but I think it helps you get the character. I think this is another one that works really well on implication. When I read that story it gives me a really clear picture of a person."

Inspired? Now it's your turn. Leave your one sentence story in the comment section below, and be sure to provide your e-mail address in the e-mail field when you leave a comment so we can get in touch with you if you're a winner. You have until September 30 to submit your story, and we'll announce the winners soon after. Get writing!

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27 comments
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Sneshek
Sneshek

Her lips smell of lemonade, flavored by her Blistex chapstick and the memory of our first summer night on our first screen porch, and their taste is sweet and smooth upon my lips as I kiss her one last time before pushing the body out into the water.

Skyraftwanderer
Skyraftwanderer

The nickel mingled with the dimes, the skeleton danced, and that was that.

Erin Virgil
Erin Virgil

With one last, mighty thud of the garden shovel, I made sure my Siamese twin would not cause any more trouble.

Gollygirl9
Gollygirl9

And ever after that, that window stayed closed--I made sure of it.

Thedreadpoetryan
Thedreadpoetryan

Leaving the priest's chambers, he decided that God could not be real

Thedreadpoetryan
Thedreadpoetryan

It wasn't until she pulled out her homework that he realized this wasn't a date.

Missy Widener
Missy Widener

that faded, yellow towel hangs unevenly in its place even though he's gone, and no one can ever use it again.

Isaac McGaha Miller
Isaac McGaha Miller

Her hair falls around her like water, dripping, uncontrollable, stretching its conduits and tributaries in the autumn sun. 

bumbygibble
bumbygibble

If what I felt with with you was misery, I don't need to know happiness. 

Jochanaan
Jochanaan

Seeing the woman, the captain snapped, "Fire!"

Selina Belina
Selina Belina

Every dandelion was a wish for something more.

Vidhu84
Vidhu84

And when she saw him, she smiled and cried.

Katie
Katie

The full moon rose high in the sky as she rolled in and cried, "My monkey hurts!"

Gina Caciolo
Gina Caciolo

If paradise is everywhere, why does he keep losing it?

CS DeWildt
CS DeWildt

From the window of his idling van, he pondered the State’s decision to lower the age of consent and wondered if it had anything to do with his new view, that sixteen was a bit long in the tooth.

Kirk Nesset
Kirk Nesset

Years before the world disappeared, hepaused at the door, brightly casting off doubt—prompting the first of theinfinitesimal tremors.

William G Rector
William G Rector

All of the Martin Luther King Boulevards were laid end to end.

Bendayton
Bendayton

He bent down over the now silent man's supine body and broke the amethyst pendant from the cold, white-purply flesh, thinking: there's enough people in the world, and if she mattered at all she mattered this much.

Michael
Michael

In hopes of receiving rain, he opened his umbrella and walked away from where he'd come.

Kirkahartshorn
Kirkahartshorn

My life so far has been my life....unrehearsed and underprepared.

Mjeffrey
Mjeffrey

37 years, one lifetime, millions of mistakes, still happy.

JoannaHowell
JoannaHowell

The wish for home is homeless still and standing still is homely.

Nicole Qualtieri
Nicole Qualtieri

Slowly and methodically--finger by finger--she peeled off the soiled gloves.

Zachary Lynn Farrell
Zachary Lynn Farrell

ensconced in youth, yet she labors so quick to reach that end goal; what's a few casualties?

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