Hint Fiction

I’m a big fan of Flash Fiction. I read a lot of it and write some myself. I recently came across a contest currently hosted by Robert Swartwood. The contest centers on “Hint Fiction”. An intriguing concept; Can a story of 25 words or less invoke an emotional response or have enough of an arc to be considered a story? Probably not, but that’s why there is the qualifier “hint” before the word “fiction”.

Robert does a nice job explaining Hint Fiction and the contest seems like fun. I find the 25 word story to be a pretty neat idea. Anyone who is even remotely interested in flash fiction knows of Hemingway famous piece of flash fiction: “Baby Shoes”. If not here it is

For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Poignant isn’t it. What does this piece “hint” at? Oh, the poor parents. What happened to the baby? Was it a miscarriage, still birth, SIDS, or something more sinister? Or, what if the parents received nothing but baby shoes as gifts and simply had a surplus of miniature penny-loafers. Or what if they simply never got around to putting that particular pair of shoes on their kid’s pudgy little feet. If I had penned this now famous bit of prose I would have taken more advantage of my 25 word allotment and ended up with this:

For Sale: baby shoes, never worn. See Mr. and Mrs. Bunyan for details.

Now it’s a story of a kid with freakishly large feet, but it still “hints” to a more complex story. How did his mother give birth to him, what is the back story, did they attend a swingers party with John Henry?

Perhaps that’s why everyone knows the name Hemingway and precious few know the name Chartrand. Oh well I still like mine better. In any case I will be submitting my entries to the anthology contest. I encourage you to try your hand at “Hint Fiction” too and submit your entries. Who knows, it may make you famous.

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