Mini-Contest #1

The first mini-contest was held in December 2006 and challenged contestants to tell a complete story between 10 and 20 words long. (A “complete story,” in our view, has, or at least strongly implies, a character, a problem, and a resolution.)

Up to three entries per author were allowed. We received 106 entries from 74 unique authors. Fourteen entries were considered contenders. Each judge labeled one contender as “My favorite” and rated the others as “yes,” “maybe,” or “no.”

It seems our judges have very different tastes. It was nearly impossible to please all five of us, but the three winners did. They are the only contenders that did not receive any “no” votes.

(Oh, and because this was our first, the prizes were a bit higher than in future mini-contests.)

Third Place ($10) by Betty Ulrich

She wore the perfect wedding dress, symbol of ever-after dreams, romantic honeymoon, loving groom. Sighing, she mounted the runway.

Second Place ($15) by Teresa K. Thorne

Head on her paws, the starving dog waited, eyes fixed on the boarded-up door.

First Place ($20) by Sheila Crosby

Shopping lists –
January: Flowers, chocolates, wine.
April: Diamond ring, champagne.
August: Insurance, duct tape, trash bags, chain saw, spade.

Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)

Six other entries scored highly enough to earn honorable mentions.

In retrospect, “Bugger off” was probably not the most prudent way to respond to a summons from Almighty God.
(by Mark Nutter)

Shovel driveway. Along comes snowplow. Shovel driveway. Along comes snowplow. Throw down shovel. Go for a drink.
(by Donna Burton)

Mah TV’s busted but Ahh got these fine sunglasses. They’ll pertect mah eyes when Ahh watch the Sun go nova.
(by Richard Lyon)

Hold my hand, I said. She didn’t. “Then tie your shoes.” She didn’t. She never did. She never would.
(by Joe Parslow)

He tabulates figures, adds, divides, converts her love into alimony. She folds his cuff before it dips into the coffee.
(by Swapna Kishore)

In abject horror, naked, I watch the numbers come to rest. Ashamed, I swear off donuts. There’s nobody to hear.
(by Joy Pincus)

Now It’s Our Turn
All five of our judges wanted to try our first-ever mini-contest. So…

Darrell shows the drugs, but hides his badge. The buyer grins and flashes her own badge. Darrell starts swearing.
(by Tarl Kudrick)

“Elves get paid, but reindeer just get hay,” Santa realized as he fell 5,000 feet into the icy ocean.
(by Blanche Kapustin)

Pitch black: impossible to see the creature. I grope, find a switch.
Oh–there he is. I close my eyes.
(by Francis Heaney)

Mission: Infiltrate, observe, recommend. Observation: Tall, wet six-legs easily distinguished from short, dry two-legs. Recommendation: Revise invasion strategy.
(by Bethany Granger)

Widow Adams delightedly signs for certified letters every day. The postman smiles, ignoring how her signature matches each handwritten address.
(by Geoff Duncan)

Congratulations to the winners and our sincere thanks to everyone who entered the mini-contest.