It may be apocryphal, but the story goes that Ernest Hemingway won a bet by writing a short story that ran fewer than ten words. One version of the story places the bet at the famed Algonquin round table. Whether true or not, there is an actual bet-winning short story attributed to Hemingway:
For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.
You have to admit it's pretty good. It builds, and there's a whole world of background and emotion lurking beneath those words.
We made a similar bet with our audience. Write a great short story in ten words or fewer. (You may use a title or not, but the title goes into the word count.)
Competition was intense, with one thousand and one people entering the contest. We thought it was appropriate to give you the ten best. The winner receives a free Gotham class, of any type. The finalists get recognition.
The city burned. Alice lit up, watched. She'd quit later.
Used to be orthodox. Then Mardi Gras. Tzitzit. Beads. Whatever.
Shoot us, the mother begged. No machete. Please.
Fired? Rhonda and John? You're kidding! On whose desk?!!
Judith De Leo
New York, New York
Back rubs. Hot baths. Foot rubs. Who created this devil?
Dear DadIts done. Coming home. Love, Rob(in)
Pennington, New Jersey
The inmate always called, wrote back, easily her best boyfriend.
We went there we saw it then we left
The map was accurate. He waited at the edge.
Glenn slow-danced with Tracey in the pizzeria. She stopped crying.
Therese Lanigan Schmidt
Saugerties, New York