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.) Winner gets a free Gotham class.
Here we present the winner and nine finalists:
Her cubical life was breached, when his poems began circling.
She folded herself into him like origami. Thin, tidy, silent.
Lazonby, United Kingdom
Heartbreak: When you grow old alone, sitting next to him.
He guarded her grave, until the dogcatcher took him away.
When she stepped over the snake, it awoke and smiled.
Hanged for treason, the jester dies on stage: gallows humor.
Redditch, United Kingdom
She tuned her hearing aid, sat down, and played.
Oradell, New Jersey
Matched on Tinder. Accidentally swiped right. Hopefully, so did Dad.
Brooklyn, New York
She was blinded by the diamond manacle on her finger.
“Everybody just shut up...we’re having Klondike Bars for breakfast.”