Edited by Robert Swartwood

W.W. Norton & Co., $13.95, 188 pages

One of Ernest Hemingway’s saddest stories is only six words long. “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” These six words include what is needed in a short story and your mind can fill in the blanks. Would you like to write Flash Fiction of your own? Start by reading Hint Fiction, edited by Robert Swartwood.

In the book you will find over 100 unique and thought-provoking short stories. Some are ten words, others 23. The only rule is to use no more than 25 words. This gives enough of a hint of the story and lets imaginations take over.

The best hint fiction stories are those that have double meaning. For example, Andrea Slye’s story is titled “Lucky.” “She fingered the leash on the nail at the bottom of the stairs. What did Daddy need a leash for? They didn’t own a dog.” Just a hint that makes you think. Parents and teachers can use this idea to challenge their kids to write their own hint fiction pieces. The stories in this collection cover different topics. But they all have one thing in common. They are hints to bigger stories. Can you write the rest of it?

Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin