Saturday, December 23, 2006


By definition, flash fiction is a sub-genre of the short story characterized by word length. There is no official or exact word limit, but flash-fiction stories are generally less than 2,000 words long, and tend to cluster in the 250- to 1,000-word range.

One day, at their regular round table meeting at the Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan, Ernest Hemingway said to William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker and other literary notables attending: "I'll bet each of you ten dollars that I can write a novel in only six words. Place a ten dollar bill in front of you. I'll write the words on this paper and fold it. When you hear the words if any of you disagree with my statement, I'll pay each of you ten dollars. If there are no objections, I take your money."

Faulkner unfolded the paper and read:

"For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Used."

Hemingway collected.


Kevin said...

Fiction indeed, since Mrs. Parker was the only member of the Round Table, and by 1930 Hemingway and Fitzgerald weren't speaking to one another.

Joey J said...

Thank you, Kevin. If you wouldn't mind sending me more information on Hemingway's Round Table, I will surely update my posting.

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Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if you know this, but Faulkner and Hemingway never met. Not even once. There is a book about this called "Hemingway and Faulkner In Their Time." That said, I doubt this is the source of his short story. In fact, no one has ever been able to prove that he actually wrote that. It does, however, sound a great deal like him.