Mini-Contest #31

The 31st OTP mini-contest was held in November 2016. This mini-contest asked contestants to use no more than 50 words to begin a short story that contained at least two anagrammed words at least six letters long (for instance, “silent” and “listen”). We told authors they’d get bonus points for using multiple anagrams in the same story BUT that they’d be penalized if the anagrammed words harmed the flow of the story too much.

Here are our winning entries, then our honorable mentions. After each entry, the anagrams are shown in brackets. Three out of the seven authors are new to OTP.

Third Place by Lisa Finch (new OTP author)

I turn from Joseph only briefly; yet he disappears.

“Figures.” I curse and search the arches and entranceways. Anywhere he’d hide.


The tourists waning, a shopkeeper rolls up his awning.

Lost: the alarming word suddenly dwarfs me.

“Joseph!” His name pierces the night, then echoes back a marginal cry.
[search/arches, waning/awning, alarming/marginal]

Second Place by Jennifer Moore (published in five other mini-contests)

The ragged dancer craned her head to listen, as leaping arpeggio ripples and pealing bells gave way to strange warning trumpets.

Her wicked strumpet sister stepped silent from the stage’s shadowy fringes, lips as red as garnets, fingers curled tight around the glass slipper with its dagger heel.

Goodbye Cinderella.
[ragged/dagger, listen/silent, leaping/pealing, ripples/slipper, strange/garnets, trumpets/strumpet]

First Place by Kirby Hancock (published in mini-contests 11 and 19)

The ocean carried a mystery disease to our seaside village; infected bodies washed ashore and accumulated on the golden sand. We longed to flee, but soldiers kept us quarantined. For survival, we learned to process the corpses for food and fuel. It beat going hoarse every day yelling for help. [disease/seaside, ashore/hoarse, golden/longed, process/corpses]

Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)

Four other entries scored highly enough to earn honorable mentions.

“Forever yours!” she cried, when I rescued her from the beast.

I secured my castle with high walls and a moat to make her feel safe.

A year later she fled, back into his arms and the open sky.
(by Subhankar Biswas, new OTP author)

Empires mean nothing when love is the premise. She severed ties to reside with me, our desire stronger than their grievance. Initially, they fought; now, they concede. A peace offering outside our gate: some large, wooden creature. I’ll accept for the honor it must be. Nothing more than I deserve.
[empires/premise, severed/deserve, reside/desire]
(by S. Bullard, published in Issue 26 and mini-contest 28)

His novel rejected, everything he aspired to turning to despair, he started writing a suicide note.

When it was finished it had turned into a brilliant new short story. Things no longer seemed so fiendish.

He relaxed, reached for a drink he had made earlier.

Then remembered, just in time.
[aspired/despair, finished/fiendish]
(by Ciaran Parkes, new OTP author)

And a special honorable mention for the most complex anagram of the mini-contest…

“The guidelines are black and white,” the Air Force recruiter said. “You can’t be deuteranopic.”

I sighed. Where you see red and green, all I see is gray.

I ceased my preeducation for pilot training, and turned my focus back to writing romance novels.
(by Stephen Lawson, published in Issue 25)


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