Contest, Short Story, Typography

6 Word Stories: A Contest

When I was a student at FIT, we would have to collect “things” for several classes and keep them in a book. At random, our super adorable Typography Professor would call you up and have you present your findings for the week. Being a collector of stuff (I get it from my grandma Dorothy), I had a billion little bits of paper overflowing out from my “process” notebook. It was not weird to buy a magazine or product just because you liked the typography or design of it. Art students are strange collectors. It was no surprise to me when I picked up the November 2006 issue of WIRED magazine because I liked the cover and wanted to read the article. Boy was I in for a really wonderful surprise.

Of course that week I was called up in Type class to show and tell my findings. All I brought up was the magazine, explaining why I purchased it and what treasure awaited me inside. The article, located on pages 212 -221, is called “Very Short Stories” and is a conglomeration of 33 Writers, 5 designers, and 6 word pieces of science fiction. Not only is the graphic design/typography stellar, the stories are pretty cool, too.

You can find the original content Here: and Here:

I still have the magazine and refused to throw it out when Captain Clam was on one of his cleaning rampages. I wrote a 6-word story about it: Captain Clam Says NO, Stephanie Wins.

I need to rework that a little bit. In the meantime, below are the short stories and graphic designs for your viewing pleasure. I have organized them according to their presentation in the magazine.


Failed SAT. Lost Scholarship. Invented Rocket.
– William Shatner
Computer, did we bring Batteries? Computer?
– Eileen Gunn
Vacuum Collision. Orbits Diverge. Farewell, Love.
– David Brin
Design By Chip Kidd


Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so.
– Joss Whedon
Automobile warranty expires. So does engine.
– Stan Lee
Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time
– Alan Moore
Design By Chipp Kidd


Longed for him. Got him. Shit.
– Margaret Atwood
His penis snapped off; he’s pregnant!
– Rudy Rucker
From torched skyscrapers, men grew wings.
– Gregory Maguire
Internet “wakes up?” Ridicu –
no carrier.
– Charles Stross
With bloody hands, I say good-bye.
– Frank Miller
Wasted day. Wasted life. Dessert, please.
– Steven Meretzky
Design by Frost Design


“Cellar?” “Gate to, uh … hell, actually.”
– Ronald D. Moore


Epitaph: Foolish humans, never escaped Earth.
– Vernor Vinge


It cost too much, staying human.
– Bruce Sterling
We kissed. She melted. Mop please!
– James Patrick Kelly
It’s behind you! Hurry before it
– Rockne S. O’Bannon
I’m your future, child. Don’t cry.
– Stephen Baxter
1940: Young Hitler! Such a cantor!
– Michael Moorcock
Design by Tomato


Lie detector eyeglasses perfected: Civilization collapses.
– Richard Powers
I’m dead. I’ve missed you. Kiss … ?
– Neil Gaiman
The baby’s blood type? Human, mostly.
– Orson Scott Card
Kirby had never eaten toes before.
– Kevin Smith
Rained, rained, rained, and never stopped.
– Howard Waldrop
To save humankind he died again.
– Ben Bova
Design by Stephen Doyle


We went solar; sun went nova.
– Ken MacLeod


Husband, transgenic mistress; wife: “You cow!”
– Paul Di Filippo


“I couldn’t believe she’d shoot me.”
– Howard Chaykin
Design by John Maeda


Don’t marry her. Buy a house.
– Stephen R. Donaldson
Design by John Maeda

Broken heart, 45, WLTM disabled man. - Mark Millar Design by John Maeda

Broken heart, 45, WLTM disabled man.
– Mark Millar
Design by John Maeda

TIME MACHINE REACHES FUTURE!!! … nobody there … - Harry Harrison Design by John Meada

– Harry Harrison
Design by John Maeda

Tick tock tick tock tick tick. - Neal Stephenson Design by John Maeda

Tick tock tick tock tick tick.
– Neal Stephenson
Design by John Maeda

Easy. Just touch the match to - Ursula K. Le Guin Design by John Madea

Easy. Just touch the match to
– Ursula K. Le Guin
Design by John Madea

Now, there are an additional 59 stories that did not make it into the magazine. You can view those here (and scroll to the middle) for inspiration. These are “Special Web-Only” Edition Pieces.

So… what’s up with my contest? Well, I want YOU to write me a 6 word story. You can include graphics if you’d like, or just rely on your shear genius to tell a story using 6 words and nothing else. Think of it as a haiku, but not.

Please submit your stories to with the subject line: “6 Word Story” by August 16 (My mom’s birthday!). Eventually I will post the finalists and then let you all decide who wins.

Now, what is the prize? Well, since I LOVE TYPOGRAPHY so much, the winner will receive a handmade item from me in the shape of a picture frame


Photo Courtesy of Nick Papaleo
Drawing by Leigh Kosloski
Frame shown is NOT actual prize, but a mere depiction of what will be sent to the winner. Picture is not included, but I might throw a fancy sketch of a cat or something in there for funsies!

You can enter as many stories as you’d like, but please be reasonable. I do have a life (just kidding!). In the event of a team effort (say writer and graphic artist) or two really awesome neck and neck stories, I think I can find it in my heart to give out two prizes. I have a lot of spare time and picture frames on my hands.

Well, I love you all and good luck!


2 thoughts on “6 Word Stories: A Contest

    • Read the post and please submit accordingly. I know it’s a rather lengthy post, but read ALL of it. Follow the rules, although no one seems to do that these days. I’ll add your story to the mix, I know you can do better than that (although it IS growing on me!). You have two weeks, doll!

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