‘Hint Fiction’ Celebrates The (Extremely) Short Story
Can you tell a whole story in 25 words or fewer? Inspired by the six-word novel attributed to Ernest Hemingway — “For sale: baby shoes, never worn” — Robert Swartwood has compiled a new anthology of bite-sized fiction.
The stories in Hint Fiction are short enough to be text messages, but the genre isn’t defined only by its length. It’s characterized by the way the form forces readers to fill in the blanks, Swartwood tells NPR’s Scott Simon. Most fiction hints at a larger story, he says, but the brevity of these stories really challenges the reader’s imagination.
The short stories in Hint Fiction were selected from more than 2,000 submissions — Swartwood started small, soliciting stories on his website, but the contest grew in scope when publisher W.W. Norton got involved. The anthology also features the writing of well-known authors, including Joyce Carol Oates, Ha Jin, Peter Straub and James Frey.