Seksordsroman/6-word novel

For sale: baby shoes, never worn

Hvis du ikke allerede har regnet det ud, så er jeg lidt vild med Hemingway. Du kan argumentere for og imod hans forfatterskab, du kan argumentere, hvorfor andre er bedre, eller hvorfor han er den bedste, eller … Det er sådan set lige meget. Det vigtige, set fra mit perspektiv, er hans helt fantastiske skriveråd og teknikker. Hvis der er noget, der slår en god historie ihjel, så er det for mange ord, for meget fyld og for mange forklaringer. Og det er der rigtigt meget af i vor tids nye litteratur.

I dette indlæg vil jeg skrive om seksordromanen. De fleste, der interesserer sig for at skrive, kender til den og har sikkert også prøvet kræfter med den. Jeg er stødt på mange, som tror, det handler om at skrive seks smukke ord, en god sætning eller måske et godt livs-slogan på seks ord, hvilket jo sådan set ikke er så svært. Men hvis man lige sætter sig lidt ind i det, så handler det faktisk om, som titlen afslører, at skrive en roman på seks ord. Det vil sige en historie med hoved, mave og hale, ligesom den berømte fisk, som vi alle blev udsat for i gymnasiet.

Der er nogen diskussion om, hvorvidt det faktisk var Hemingway, der opfandt konceptet og skrev den berømte seksordroman. Den diskussion kan du læse mere om her: Var det Hemingway? For mig lyder det meget som et Hemingwaysk koncept, og derfor vil jeg fortsat kontribuere det til ham, indtil nogen beviser det modsatte.

Historien lyder, at Hemingway var på en bar sammen med en flok venner, som også var forfattere. Han udfordrede dem her til den mest ekstreme flash fiction-konkurrence nogensinde ved at påstå, at han kunne skrive en bedre roman på seks ord, end nogle af dem kunne på seks sider. Da de slog til, skrev han på en serviet: For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Hvorvidt det er sandt eller ej, må de fleste med lidt sans for skriveri indrømme, at det er den stærkeste flash fiction-roman til dato. Der er en formfuldendt fortalt tragedie i de seks ord, og den er hidtil uovertruffen.

Når jeg underviser i at skrive fiktion, kan jeg finde på at bede kursusdeltagerne om at give mig deres bud på en seksordroman. Nogle lykkes, men det er faktisk de færreste. Jeg har også Googlet gode bud, og her er nogle af dem:

The smallest coffins are the heaviest/De mindste kister er de tungeste

Goodbye, mission control. Thanks for trying./Farvel, kontroltårn. Tak, fordi I prøvede

 “Just Married” read the shattered windshield/Nygifte, stod der på den smadrede forrude

Ever seen chalk outlines that small?/Har du nogen set så lille en kridttegning

What’s your return policy on rings?/Hvad er jeres returregler for ringe?

Painfully, he changed ‘is’ to ‘was.'”/Smertefuldt ændrede han er til var

Margaret Atwoods forsøg: »Longed for him. Got him. Shit.« Længtes efter ham. Fik ham. Lort

Eileen Gunns »Computer, did we bring batteries? Computer?« /Computer? Fik vi batterier med? Computer?

Gregory Maguire, der blot skriver »In the beginning was the word« /I begyndelsen var Ordet

At skrive seksordromaner er god træning i at få sagt tingene uden at sige for meget, forklare for meget og fylde for mange ord på. Det er en god øvelse at skrive sine ideer ned på denne måde. Giv mig din roman i seks ord, dit digt, dine memoirs. Få sagt alt, du vil, på seks ord. Hvis du skriver en, der er bedre end Hemingways, så send den til mig.

………………..

For sale: baby shoes, never worn

If you haven’t already noticed, I’m quite taken with Hemingway. You can argue for or against his works, you can argue why others are better or why he is the best, or … It doesn’t really matter. The important thing, seen from my point of view, is his amazing writing tips and techniques. If anything kills a good story it’s too many words, too much filling and too many explanations. And there’s a lot of that in the new literature in our time.

In this post I will write about the six-word novel. Most people who are interested in writing, know about it and probably have tried it on. I have come across many people who think it’s about writing six beautiful words, a good sentence or perhaps a nice life slogan in six words, which after all isn’t that hard. If you take a moment to look into it, it’s actually about, as the title suggest, writing a novel in six words. That means a story with head, stomach and tail, just like the famous fish we were all subjected to in high-school.

There is some discussion whether it was actually Hemingway who invented the concept and wrote the famous six-word novel. You can read more about that discussion here:  Was it Hemingway? To me it sounds like a very Hemingway-ish concept, and therefore, I’ll continue to contribute it to him until someone proves it wrong.

The story goes that Hemingway was at a bar with some friends, who were also writers. He challenged them to the most extreme flash fiction-contest ever by claiming that he could write a better novel in six words than they could in six pages. When they jumped on-board the bet, he wrote on a napkin: For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Whether it’s true or not, most people with some sense of writing must admit that this is the strongest flash fiction-novel to date. It’s a perfect completely told tragedy in those six words, and it’s so far unbeaten.

When I teach fiction writing I might ask the students to give me their version of the six-word novel. Some manage, but it’s actually only a few. I have also Googled suggestions, and here some of them:

 

 

The smallest coffins are the heaviest/De mindste kister er de tungeste

Goodbye, mission control. Thanks for trying./Farvel, kontroltårn. Tak, fordi I prøvede

 “Just Married” read the shattered windshield/Nygifte, stod der på den smadrede forrude

Ever seen chalk outlines that small?/Har du nogen set så lille en kridttegning

What’s your return policy on rings?/Hvad er jeres returregler for ringe?

Painfully, he changed ‘is’ to ‘was.'”/Smertefuldt ændrede han er til var

Margaret Atwoods forsøg: »Longed for him. Got him. Shit.« Længtes efter ham. Fik ham. Lort

Eileen Gunns »Computer, did we bring batteries? Computer?« /Computer? Fik vi batterier med? Computer?

Gregory Maguire, der blot skriver »In the beginning was the word« /I begyndelsen var Ordet

Writing six-word novel is good exercise in saying thing without saying too much, explaining too much or adding too many words. It’s good practice in writing down your ideas in this manner. Give me your novel in six words, your poem, your memoirs. Say everything you want to say in six words. If you write one better than Hemingway’s, then send it to me.

 

 

 

 

About Louise Andersen

I am an author, a creative soul, passionate about literature, music, art. I am also the mother of twins, navigating through heaps of washings, runny noses, boxed lunches and what other practicalities ordinary life drags along ... In love with my family, with life, with words, wonders and magic. Welcome to my world.
This entry was posted in Hemingway, Literature, writer's guide, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

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