What is Hint Fiction?

A tiny cabin in a large wood

“A story of twenty-five words or fewer can have as much impact as a story of twenty-five hundred words or longer.”  Editor Robert Swartwood in his anthology of hint fiction named…

“hint fiction”

Through just a few concise words, a hint fiction suggests a much larger picture or “chain of events.”   Such writing is a challenge in brevity and the ability to affect the reader in a powerful way.   Lydia Davis and Joyce Carol-Oates are examples of those who write both hint and long fiction stories.

Here are two examples from the above book.

1. The Return by Joe r. Landsdale

They buried him deep.



2. What Didn’t Happen by Janet e. Gardner

His life did not flash before his eyes, but his mouth filled with the taste, perfectly remembered from childhood, of lemon buttercream frosting.


Watch for the upcoming monthly contests through Shelfstealers.com where we’ll challenge writers and readers to write such stories.

Questions on hint fiction?  Get ready to get challenged soon….

Don't underestimate a tiny story


Kaye LindenWhat is Hint Fiction?

4 Comments on “What is Hint Fiction?”

  1. ellen herbert

    Hi Kaye,
    This is intriguing because these hints force reader to take leaps with the writer. As a reader, I want writers to give some credit for my ability to do this. A writer who does it well most of the time is Kate Atkinson. Her fiction is like monkey bars, the reader must swing from one bar to the next in order to follow.

    cheers and thanks for this.

  2. Kaye Linden

    Thanks Ellen. It is difficult to write hint fiction. Like an athlete who makes ice skating look easy, the successful author makes hint fiction look easy.

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