Trout Fishing photo

The legend goes something like this: Ernest Hemingway and a companion were sitting in a bar somewhere (As Hemingway was wont to do) when a bet was made. Hemingway’s companion, the story goes, challenged him to write a complete story in six words (or ten, the details vary with the telling) or less.

Trout Fishing photo

hemingway shot

The result was a masterpiece of brevity that reads thusly:

For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.

It’s a brilliantly crafted bit of writing that in six terse words manages to capture the entire arc of the human experience, but did Hemingway really write it? The jury is still very much out on that one and probably always will be but the story itself is a classic of the “flash fiction” genre.

This got me thinking: Is it possible to write a hunting or fishing story that captures the essence of the experience in six words or less?

Let’s find out. Here’s a chance for all you aspiring Twitter-length novelists out there to show the world your literary style. Six words. One story. Try it.

The winner will receive many literary accolades and a first-place certificate tastefully printed on the nicest printer paper I can find in my filing cabinet (plus, they’re telling me, a Field & Stream ball cap from the editors). In keeping with the pared-down tone of the contest, the certificate will be adorned with only these words “You won. Go back to work.”

I don’t know about you, but that pretty much sums up my life.