Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Being the nudge . . .

Last May, NPR declared a winner in round #4 of its Three-Minute Fiction contest. Novelist Ann Patchett sat in final judgment of the thousands of entries, and she selected Ben Yoseph's story, "Not Calling Attention to Ourselves."

"As always," it says at NPR.org, "the stories had to be 600 words or fewer — fiction that can be read in roughly three minutes. This round, however, the stories had to include four words: 'plant,' 'button,' 'trick' and 'fly.' "

Hmmmm. . . (Which I do recognize is getting to be one of my favorite blog expressions. But I've decided that when one produces a daily blog, one is allowed some of those.)

I consider short fiction to be one of life's greatest creative challenges. You have to create a world and move characters around in it, while simultaneously telling a story that carries a larger meaning. Writers try to write short fiction all the time. Few writers do it well.

When you think about it short, short fiction just might be the  fiction writer's ultimate thrown gauntlet.  You have to create that world and move those characters around in it, while simultaneously telling a story that carries a larger meaning -- all in 600 words. What a fun and festive challenge!

My take on the WMRA Community is that we're a hotbed of writers and wanna-be writers -- and by wanna-be writers, I mean those of you who are just waiting for the right nudge to start putting all those stories in your head down on the page.So, we at WMRA have decided to Be the Nudge.

This is the official call for short, short stories. Selected winners will be published on this blog and if, in the opinion of our judges (myself and others yet to be named) it is deemed workable, on the air. And I will take the big winner out to lunch at the restaurant of her/his choice (unless, of course, you'd rather not). There is no final deadline for submissions as of yet, just a plea to submit with all deliberate speed. 

Here are the rules:
  1. 600 words or less
  2. entirely original work by the author/submittor
  3. there are no other rules. We're not shameless copiers of NPR, after all. . .
Feel free to e-mail me or call  800-677-9672 and ask for me if you need encouragement or have questions. And please e-mail your submission, as well.

The photographs of writers are meant to inspire you. After all, two of them live in the WMRA listening area. . .


  1. So, how is the contest going? Have you decided on a deadline?

  2. Hey Carolyn, Well, haven't we been vague? Yes, we have, but we are waiting for one important aspect of the contest before we issue it. Should be within 2 weeks. Sorry to keep you waiting for something as important as the deadline, but all will be clear! All cheer, M