The 43rd OTP mini-contest launched in October 2019. This mini-contest asked contestants to write a story up to 75 words long that gave an example of bad “worldbuilding”. That is, stopping a story to tell us information readers had no use for.
Here are our winning entries, then our honorable mentions. Four of our six winners are new to OTP.
Third Place by James Celer (new to OTP)
Alice screamed silently. Was she crazy? Everyone looked like her, everyone on the street, on TV, the children. Suddenly she remembered: the Cloud Ring must have created a world of Doppelgangers!
Doppelgangers – beings who exactly resemble another. Identical twins, though, are not doppelgangers. Sometimes it refers to someone with the same name, but it usually means a replica person.
Alice’s mind raced.
Second Place by John Christenson (new to OTP)
The Royal Bakers have labored night and day to prepare the Cupcakes Della Fortuna for the Mage of Doom. If the Mage is displeased with the offering, he will send plagues to kill millions. The Mage licks his lips and prepares to take a bite. For cupcakes, decorative preformed paper or foil liners are indispensable. And what would a cupcake be without a delicious buttercream frosting? Don’t overmix the batter, and don’t overfill the pan.
First Place by Melinda Brasher (published in issue #22 and mini-contest #25)
Passion burned in the duke’s eyes. “We shouldn’t,” he whispered. His body pressed into hers, sparking waves of desire. “We should,” Charlotte answered breathlessly.
His fingers fumbled desperately with the ties of her corset. Derived from Old French corps, a corset is a type of raiment/undergarment typically difficult to remove due to the complicated system of tight lacing and whalebone stays, the demand for which has contributed to worldwide whale overhunting. Charlotte moaned.
Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)
Three other entries scored highly enough to earn honorable mentions.
The alpha wolf’s fangs dripped with the blood of our former companions. Eyes of cold blue ice stared through me. This must be the pack that decimated the petting zoo last week. My guardians used to take me to that zoo every Sunday. It held mostly small animals that were tame enough to be petted. Some animals were bigger and could be ridden by small children. They even had a human there once…
(by Tracy Davidson, published in mini-contests #23 and #40)
“Nurse, I need five CC’s of Epinephrine stat!”
“Hurry, he’s flatlining.”
To flat line is to register on an electronic monitor known as an electrocardiogram or electroencephalogram as having no brain activity or heart beat. The term was first used in 1980 and has since become very popular in television shows and movies.
“Damn it… Nurse, call it.”
“Time of death, 12:16 AM.”
“Guess we’ll never know where the Mayor was taken, unless…”
(by Lemichael Dunbar, new to OTP)
“As you know, Bob, gravity on our oscillating matter/darkmatter double planet often changes direction, so things don’t stay where you leave them.”
“Never mind, Sue, I found my keys to the quantum-entanglement shrinking starship in my other pocket. Now bring along our adorable adopted alien robot children and we’ll escape this anarcho-totalitarian dystopia and start our primitivist vacation-adventure hunting recreated mammoths on the climate-overcorrected snowball world called… Earth.”
(by Graham Darling, new to OTP)
Congratulations to the winners and our sincere thanks to everyone who entered the mini-contest.