This was a challenge I really enjoyed, because the format forced me to think hard about what constitutes a story. I felt that my attempts fell into three categories: 1. descriptions which are not actually stories; 2. descriptions which strongly indicate a back story, but do not contain any action in themselves (Hemingway’s classic “For Sale: Baby shoes, never used” falls in this category); and 3. full stories in which there is an actual event and reversal. Here are some of each:
The taxi disgorged its clown posse.
On Fifth Avenue rich guys vomit.
Ben Franklin grinned between my fingers.
The war made me like this.
We’re running out of handcuffs, Captain!
Welcome to McDonalds! Fuck off! Die!
“Push harder,” he said. She didn’t.
Wrong address. I went in anyway.
Death came for everyone but Sarah.
I’m equating story with event, following Aristotle and Robert McKee. I found category 3 the hardest to write. You can get a pretty juicy description in 6 words, but for there to be a true event requires a set up and reversal, giving you about 3 words for each. Very difficult!