I'm teaching a long copy class this quarter. Students will be workshopping ads for future book pieces (hopefully). In addition, I'm giving a series of exercises to help students get in the long copy mindset. I thought I'd post them here. I invite readers of the blog to participate and post whatever they come up with.

ASSIGNMENT #1: The Six-Word Memoir
Long copy does not mean that you can just write until your pen runs out of ink. Any good prose is succinct. Don’t say in eight words what can be better said in three. When writing long copy, you should focus as much on the word choice as when space is limited (like on a billboard). In that spirit, write something short. Six words, to be precise.

The Legend
Legend has it that Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

The Project
A few years ago, SMITH Magazine re-ignited the challenge by asking readers for their own six-word memoirs. Write one for yourself. Focus on word choice. Spend some time and revise it. And consider that telling a very focused, specific story is usually more powerful than trying to encapsulate an entire life in one broad stroke.