My Collection of 16 Word Short Stories

Inspired by Hemmingway’s 6 word short story:

“For sale, baby shoes. Never used.”

I challenged myself to ApostropheGallery’s 16 word short story writing contest. Top 6 winners get sent on an all-expenses paid trip to Bali for a writer’s festival. How cool is that.

(This is an excellent initiative by DiGi, which earns my respect for creative marketing.)

This Is My Strategy To Win This…

Firstly, I tried to understand how they would judge a winning entry. Since there are no details on the site, I made some simple assumptions on the winning criteria.

A winning short story…

  • Should affect me emotionally
  • Should be able to tell itself beyond the 16 words

Based on these two criteria alone, I hope my entires can stand out.

To meet the criteria of stirring up emotions, I decided to choose some extreme, vivid emotions. Preferably take them where they don’t normally go…. I went for either

  • Disgust, Anger, Shock… tackling morbid themes like death, obsession, perversion, and subjects like cannibalism, gay hate crimes, and tragedy.
  • Unexpectedness… a plot twist in 16 words? haha
  • Laughs, giggles… using ticklish puns, irony, and some lame jokes.

I ended up with 9 short stories. Some leave more to interpretation than others. Some are not direct.

Some of these might be real crap. But smile politely and give me the thumbs up of good intentions anyway 🙂

I really want to win!

Would love to go to Bali and meet all sorts of new people. Especially if they’re writers, they must be quite interesting.

I confess to hidden passions to write haunting short stories, a la Edgar Allen Poe, or at least children’s short stories. I wrote a children’s story once, about a Hippo who chased ranbows. Will share that with you one day…

For now I may have exceeded my word count ;P

10 comments on “My Collection of 16 Word Short Stories

  1. Amir July 25, 2007 12:26 am

    I like the one about the missing girl who gets eaten by dogs. It stirs up all kinds of emotionally charged visual images. 😉

  2. khaiyong July 25, 2007 10:06 am

    i knew u would come up with something gay.

  3. frank July 27, 2007 2:17 am

    I loved your stories. I thought they were very very good.

    The first had me smiling, By the third story I was guffawing. To be fair, morbidity and irony is a really good mix.

    I presume you submitted these? I hope you’d be shortlisted for the festival I am told there’d be six winners – a sixpack! 🙂


  4. khailee July 27, 2007 2:19 am

    yeah i submitted these. thanks for the kind words frank! i hope the judges think like you 😉

  5. Mike July 28, 2007 2:04 am

    Good stuff. I had a hunch that you could not resist to have at least one story with the word “testicle.”

  6. khailee July 29, 2007 4:27 am

    “testicle” is very arthouse haha

  7. carrot July 30, 2007 2:58 pm

    i like the third one about mixing work and pleasure 🙂 good luck!

  8. Izmir August 2, 2007 4:11 pm

    Damn, I should’ve submitted my entries too! But reading yours made mine feel like it could’ve been better. Well, maybe in the future, I’ll submit my writing. Yours were really emotionally stirring ones. Here’s to you winning it.

  9. charlie August 31, 2007 1:58 am

    haha! personally, i like ’em all. hope u’ll win, but if u were to win, i guess it’s the grandpa story that would be chosen. the others are creepy!

  10. heel lifts December 21, 2009 12:24 am

    Fantastic work. You have gained a new reader. I hope you keep up the good work and I look forward to more of your absorbing posts.

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