Six words. That's all Ernest Hemingway needed to write what's been called the saddest short story in the world: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." Wired magazine challenged a bunch of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror writers to create their own six-word short stories; the results appear in the November issue. My personal favorites are firmly rooted in the realm of the real:
Longed for him. Got him. Shit.
- Margaret Atwood
Don’t marry her. Buy a house.
- Stephen R. Donaldson
Easy. Just touch the match to
- Ursula K. Le Guin
And from my L.A. High School classmate David Brin, now very big in the spec-fic (speculative fiction) world, several gems, including:
Dinosaurs return. Want their oil back.
But perhaps you're more of a long-form aficionado. For you, Kathy McGinty offers "Nine Easy Steps to Longer Sentences," an unexpected treat on the federal government's "Plain Language" site. Why say "More night jobs would keep youths off the streets," says McGinty, when you can "sprinkle your sentences with classic redundancies," "use weasel words," "replace simple words...with multiple syllable words of Greek and Latin origin," and "add meaningless 'it is' and 'there is/are' expressions" to end up with something like this:
There is no escaping the fact that it is considered very important to note that a number of various available applicable studies ipso facto have generally identified the fact that additional appropriate nocturnal employment could usually keep juvenile adolescents off thoroughfares during the night hours, including but not limited to the time prior to midnight on weeknights and/or 2 a.m. on weekends.
Especially effective if you're paid by the word.
Hat tip to Mike Pope.