Who Wrote The World’s Shortest Short Story?

Augusto Monterroso is a Guatemalan short story writer best known for his 8-word story titled “El Dinosaurio”:

When I woke up, the dinosaur was still there.

You might imagine a young girl who wakes in the morning to find her pet Dino faithfully at her bedside.

Or you might imagine a lost traveller who’s become a T-Rex lunch, passed out because his legs are torn to shreds, and then wakes up to find the T-Rex picking the meat from his finger bones.

Is it subversive or just a pleasant little story?

What’s your 8-word story?

There’s a myth that Hemingway wrote a shorter and more powerful story.

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

But after some research it looks like this story was not written by Hemingway. It was most likely an actual ad in a newspaper, except selling a baby carriage. Go here to learn more about that (also here).

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31 thoughts on “Who Wrote The World’s Shortest Short Story?

    • Can I change my title to Shortest International Story? You can never trust Wiki these days. The title should be Who didn’t write the shortest story ever? Answer: this Guatemalan guy.

  1. That’s not a story. That’s a sentence. I guess I’m a short short story hater—haha! I don’t hate the sentence, i just think it’s silly to call it a story. On the other hand, I do think I will think up my own 8 word sentence. :-)

  2. Smacks of gimmickry, to me. Reads more like a tweet. Sorry, I remain unconvinced. I’m not a hater. I’m just passionate about good literature. If this is the future, as someone alleges above, it’s the future of non-readers.

    • I don’t think it’s it’s taking over literature. It’s just a fun and engaging way to tell a story. ANd a good exercise. Forces one to be compact, quick, and clever. I’ve been working all day on one and I can’t come up with anything good.

  3. I remember having to think of my own 8 word story when I was in a creative writing class, either that or it was during a poetry club meeting, also back in high school. I think mine was something along the lines of, “In a ditch alone, a car turned over.” Inspired by a car wreck I saw while on a road trip. Also, thanks for the follow, and I love the last sentence under your picture. That got a chuckle out of me.

  4. This is so cool, I am intrigued. The beauty of calling this a “story” instead of a sentence, is really the fact that you can complete the story on your own. A sentence in itself, assumes that that is all to what is written. Not so – it’s a story in itself.

    I’m not an expert at this so I wouldn’t know about Hemingway’s – but if it’s true, it’s very interesting too. I had a couple of friends sit with me over wine to read both statements, and we came up with all kinds of “what’s the story saying” arguments.

    See the power of words.
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. I despise people who put bounds on any genre of literature, so in the interests of hypocrisy: that’s no short story, it’s a micro-haiku.

  6. Anything that challenges the way we write creates new opportunities. I joined a “postcard story” group once. It was fun, but mainly I do find I write more without limitations.

      • Ah. Now I realize it. The postcard stories comment. Gotcha. I agree with Rich though. You can have a very well crafted and evocative sentence…it does not always a story make. :) My favorite short story authors are Saki and Daphne du Maurier. Without her stories, Alfred Hitchcock’s career would look dramatically different.

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