At today's writer's group meeting, we enjoyed free Starbucks coffee (thanks Cathy!) and Jeff introduced us to Felix Feneon, who spent 1906 writing two- or three-sentence stories about daily life and mayhem for a Parisian newspaper.
Stuff like: "On Avenue de la Motte-Piquet, firemen were called in to unblock the wheels of the streetcar that had run over an unknown woman."
And: "A feebleminded woman, B. Nourry, ragpicker in Arcueil and prey to the little neighborhood rascals, has died either of fear or of her wounds."
So, Jeff challenged us to write our own three-line versions of this brief, which recently ran in our paper:
"A man who believed he bore the 'Mark of the Beast' used a circular saw to cut off one hand, then he cooked it in the microwave and called 911, authorities said. The man, in his mid-20s, was calm when Kootenai County sheriff's deputies arrived Saturday in his northern Idaho town. He was in protective custody in the mental health unit of Kootenai Medical Center."
I'm posting the ones I have collected so far in the comments to this post. Feel free to add your own version, as well as your thoughts about the value/challenges with the "three lines" approach.
This is the beginning of a newsroom-wide, three-lines project for 2008 which Jeff will introduce shortly. Stay tuned.