History of the Six Word Short Story: Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a complete story in six words. Here is what he wrote: “For sale: baby shoes, never used.” Some people say it was written to settle a bar bet. Others say it was a personal challenge directed at other famous authors. But it proves that it is possible to create a short story with just six words.

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Judging Criteria

All entries will be judged on the following criteria on a 1-4 scale with 4 being the highest ranking:

Creativity, Cleverness, and Imagery

Conflict of interest for judges:

To avoid conflict of interest and to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, any entries from friends or family members of a judge will require the judge to declare a conflict of interest and that judge will refrain from ranking or commenting on that entry. If a conflict of interest is declared by a judge(s) the conflict of interest will be taken into consideration when determining the overall average ranking for that entry.

All judges will be required to complete a conflict of interest agreement stating that they will not rank or comment on any entries from friends or family members.

Meet the Judges

  • Linda Lein

    Linda Frances Lein, author and writing coach, has written four books: Mother to Mother Letters about Being a Mom (1999), Country Reflections (2000), Hannah Kempfer An Immigrant Girl (2002), Carlisle, Minnesota: The Making of a Small Town (2008). She has also published poetry and articles in the following journals: The Rambler, Red Weather, Lake Region Review, Minnesota English Journal, Writer's Journal, The Ambassador, Connections, The Standard. Lein has taught writing courses at Minnesota State University Moorhead for nine years. She has also held numerous writing workshops in west central and northern Minnesota. Additional information about her and her work is available at http://lindafranceslein.wordpress.com/.

  • Yahya Frederickson

    A former Peace Corps Volunteer in Yemen and Fulbright Scholar in Syria and Saudi Arabia, Yahya Frederickson is the author of 4? poetry collections, most recently The Gold Shop of Ba-‘Ali (Lost Horse Press, 2014) and The Birds of Al-Merjeh Square (Finishing Line Press, 2014). His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Hanging Loose, Witness, Arts & Letters, Water~Stone Review, and other national journals. Yahya is currently a professor of English at Minnesota State University Moorhead.