The Great Dare for Writers and Teachers:

Sheri Jacobs
2 min readJul 9, 2022


The 10 Word Story

Writing prompt and challenge to create a story in exactly 10 words.
An entire plot in 10 words exactly…are you up for the challenge?

One of the first things that often emerges from someone’s mouth once they learn I’m a writer is:

“Oh, I love to write. I just don’t have the time.”

I call bullshit on the “no time” excuse with this writing dare.

The Challenge:

Create a story in 10 words— no more or less. The late and great Ernest Hemmingway (anecdotally) wrote a famous story in just six words:

“For sale, baby shoes, never worn.”

A Motivating Opportunity for Students

Whether you’re an ELA teacher in the primary or secondary grades, this 10- word-story-challenge offers a fun way to get your students motivated to write. Why? It’s short and therefore less intimidating to young writers AND provides the “water wings” of boundaries: 10 words — no more, no less.

It’s Like Frosted Shredded Wheat: Fun for the Kid in All of Us

If you are an adult reading this article, this fun challenge offers an opportunity to flex your creative muscles. Step away from the bills, the never-ending to-do lists and explore what kind of story you want to create in 10 words.

The Magic Behind the Challenge

When you have a set limit to the amount of words you can use, the words morph into verbal jewels, each one extremely precious and valuable. You are honing the writing craft, sharpening the literary knife with each word you chisel.

With only 10 words, you are compelled to foster inferencing, to show and not tell.

My Ten Word Story

He kissed her forehead before she went into the ground.

Mmm…who is he and what is his relationship to her? Is she dead? We can infer that the he and she are at a funeral — her funeral. But what if she is merely in a heavy sleep from drugs or sickness?

The possibilities are endless.

Notice the word went — not fell, not stumbled…went. Word choices matter.

Have Fun with Genre

Are you feeling your funny bone tickling today? Write a 10 word LMAO story. Your antidepressants not kicking in? Write a tragedy. Waxing dramatic? Craft a 10 word Soap Opera.

I challenge the following awesome writers to join me in this 10 word story dare. Please share this with anyone you think might want to give it a go:-)

Jeff the Content Coach Jan Sebastian Natasha Nichole Lake Michael Burg, MD (Satire Sommelier) Nikolaos Skordilis AliciaMarie Belchak | Master Life, Build Dreams M.T. Pariti Nicole Dake Irina Patterson Stella Lyn Norris Jennifer McDougall The Sober Vegan Yogi Text by Tasha Mike Lewis Mick Gibson Michael Burg, MD (Satire Sommelier) Jason Provencio Danielappletona Mypen Soul Writes Nick Parker



Sheri Jacobs

Author, Educator, Actor www.sheri-jacobs.com Author of children’s book DREAM WRITE (pen name, Kiss) and the non-fiction book, THE FRIENDSHIP DIET. VO/film actor