The stories in this collection run the gamut from playful to tragic, conservative to experimental, but they all have one thing in common: they are no more than 25 words long. Robert Swartwood was inspired by Ernest Hemingway's possibly apocryphal six-word story—"For Sale: baby shoes, never worn"—to foster the writing of these incredibly short-short stories. He termed them "hint fiction" because the few chosen words suggest a larger, more complex chain of events. Spare and evocative, these stories prove that a brilliantly honed narrative can be as startling and powerful as a story of traditional length. The 125 gemlike stories in this collection come from such best-selling and award-winning authors as Joyce Carol Oates, Ha Jin, Peter Straub, and James Frey, as well as emerging writers.
About the Author
Robert Swartwood created the term “hint fiction” and has held contests for it. He frequently blogs about short fiction on his Web site. He lives in Lititz, Pennsylvania.
Some of these stories suggest entire novels in just few words. So, in this small book, you have a whole library. It’s reading at the speed of light. — Robert Shapard, editor of Sudden Fiction and Flash Fiction
The perfect story collection for all of us with too little time on our
hands is a brilliant reminder of the magic that happens when you string
the right words together. A must-read for anyone who is or wants to be
a writer. — Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of House Rules
The stories in Robert Swartwood's Hint Fiction have some serious velocity. Some explode, some needle, some bleed, and some give the reader room to dream. They're fun and addictive, like puzzles or haiku or candy. I've finished mine but I want more.
— Stewart O'Nan, author of Last Night at the Lobster