Can you finish your piece before you reach the period?
My favorite city magazine, Portland Monthly, runs five one-sentence stories per issue. Editors manage to cover the most Portlandish news of the month in an average of 26 words each.
“News that Powell’s Books and Rogue Ales are collaborating on a beer infused with actual pages of Moby Dick raises the troubling prospect of 50 Shades of Grey-flavored absinthe.”
“Portland State professor Cameron Smith’s homemade space suit, built with hardware store parts and a 1970s Soviet fighter-pilot helmet, takes Portland’s DIY fascination to soaring new heights.”
“It happened in the early hours of New Year’s morning, but the outer Northeast beer pong stabbing will be hard to top as 2013’s dumbest crime story.”
“Yamhill’s new high school viticulture program easily trumps the self-taught alcohol curriculum offered at most high schools.”
“History’s most depressing souvenir knickknack arrives: the newly released Portland skyline rain globe.”
“Andrew Basiago, a Vancouver, Washington, lawyer who claims he frequently traveled through time as part of a secret government program, read all these stories long before you did.”
Taglines: “Because there’s simply no time for details.” And: “If brevity is the soul of wit, our one-sentence news nuggets belong in the Hilarity Hall of Fame.”
More one-sentence stories
PoMo’s not the only one-sentence-story game in town. Among others:
- One Sentence: True stories, told in one sentence
- One Sentence Stories: Sample: “A shiver went up my spine as I watched what I feared would happen again — my $100 black stilettos in my dog’s teeth.”
- Monkeybicycle One-Sentence Stories: Sample: “His skin tastes like pan-fried chicken soaked in buttermilk, mustard, shortening, but I’m a raw vegan.”
Try it yourself.
Short stories increase readership and understanding. Can you tell one of your organization’s stories in a single sentence?