Most writers are slightly obsessive over word counts. We want to know not just the ideal number, but how many is too much how little is too few.
The web makes word counts all the more challenging because there really isn’t any right answer. Print newspapers need articles to fit in a certain space determined among other things by graphic design, advertising spots, and other content.
Patch doesn’t have that problem. We could publish a 5,000-word story—I’m not sure anyone besides the reporter’s mother would read all of it—but we could do it. We’re still obsessed by words counts, though, because even though we have the space some stories are better told not with words but with video or photos and sometimes a story only needs 200 words where sometimes it needs 1,000. It’s a difficult balancing act and a question that I am asked frequently and often don’t have the set in stone response the questioner often desires.
So it should come as no surprise that when Montville Patch blogger Candy Buebendor wrote about six-word stories a few weeks ago your southeastern Connecticut Patch Editors became obsessed not just with six-word stories but with speaking in six words.
Six-word stories are nothing new—like I said most writers are slightly obsessive over word counts. In 2008 the stories gained brief popularity with The New Yorker article “Say It All In Six Words,” and the book Not Quite What I Was Planning, a collection of six-word stories submitted to the online magazine SMITH. Websites such as Six Word Stories and Six Word Story Every Day popped up, but the six-word story reportedly began when Ernest Hemingway was asked to write a full story in six words. His response?: “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
In the spirit of that original challenge I’m going to ask you to write a six-word story in the comments to describe Mystic, and start thinking of six-word stories to describe the borough and Pawcatuck, because those will be the next challenge. Here’s a few to get you started.
Quaint boutiques scattered through historic downtown
Wanted: Close to downtown parking spot
Electric mix of shops and dining
Drawbridge splits seaside village in two
And don’t forget the slogan: Mystic Pizza A Slice Of Heaven