One of the most challenging things as a writer is to remain succinct; “every word counts” needs to be printed on the back of my hands whether I’m working on a book manuscript, writing to a friend, or answering grammar questions on a forum I lead. Occasional ramblings are far more acceptable than chronic ones; everyone has a friend, acquaintance or family member who rambles (or – you know who you are!): I have a neighbour near our building who can turn the reply to a simple, “How are you?” into a 45-minute explanation of how her cousin’s frog’s nephew’s classmate’s teacher’s son’s uncle came by with a blue – or was it green? You know the kind of green that looks like wilting grass, no, that’s too yellow… by the time she takes a breath she’s gone down so many detours I have NO idea what she’s talking about, or even what the original question was. Needless to say, when I’m on a deadline I politely avoid that side of the house.
I’ve come across a website that would be a literal impossibility for that neighbour, and would even be a challenge for many of us who consider ourselves to personify the phrase, “brevity is the soul of wit”: Click on the image below to see “One Sentence – True Stories Told in One Sentence”. Take the challenge – can you write a story in one sentence? And take inspiration from the site as well; there are some great starter-sentences there that could be expanded upon to make a short story, or even a novel.
Note: Since this was originally posted, the site at the link below has gone offline. Instead, just go to Google and search for “one-sentence stories“, and you’ll come across several great options.