November 2014 (Issue #24)

Issue 24 (800x600)

The premise for Issue #24 was


What is property? What has it? Who owns it? Who needs it? Who gets it? How does it work?

Your challenge: Write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long that focuses on at least one of the many aspects/definitions of the word property.

We received 174 contest entries and chose five stories for prizes. We also have two guest writers this issue. None of the authors in this issue has had stories published in OTP before, and for two of them this issue represents their first paid fiction sale.

For some reason, the majority of stories we received for this contest were based in the real world. As a result, six out of seven stories we’re publishing are, too.


Fortune has landed Casey here, strange as that is, with this good but grieving family. This room, Casey supposes, was Andrea’s office or studio—though neither Paul nor the boys have volunteered this information.

FIRST PLACE: Misplaced, Suzanne Ketchum Adams’s real-world story about a young woman trying to fit into the family she was hired to help. (Her first short story sale!)


It was Ben’s brother Olly who started it really. He had come to Ben’s on the Friday evening for yet another round of alcohol therapy, but after four cans of lager asked “what happened to the wedding present that I got you?”

SECOND PLACE: The Wedding List, James Holden’s real-world story about the aftermath of a divorce.


“What’s the first thing you want? Beer or sex?”

THIRD PLACE: Self Defense, Samuel Wilkes’s real-world story about life just after prison.


Ray’s told me more than once how wonderful Lizzie is. She seems so honest, he says, so giving. He’s shy, says he doesn’t know what to say to her. Says she’s here to help bums like us, not go out on dates with them.

HONORABLE MENTION: Debits and Credits, Scott MacAulay’s real-world story about life in a homeless shelter.


How did you react when the sirens went off?

Oh, quite cockily.

HONORABLE MENTION: Interview With Myself After the War, Jacqueline Schaalje’s real-world story about modern life in a modern Middle Eastern war zone. (Her first short story sale!)


“Welcome! Welcome!” the agent cried. “Welcome to historic Residence Brewer!” He waved an arm at the house.

GUEST WRITER: Sold, Matthew Harrison’s speculative story about a new kind of time-share for a new kind of future.


“Ravi, why do wonderful, brave men have to die in battle, and nothing happens to the drugged-out drunkards that beg on the streets?”

GUEST WRITER: The White Envelope, Janice Egry’s real-world story about family secrets.

Note: Photo courtesy of Cory Doctorow on Flickr (