Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A hint at things to come

As sad as I am that summer is over, I'm looking forward to winter as a time I can hopefully get a little writing done. You know, free of the distractions of beach trips and BBQs and island hopping. Of course, I say this every winter, and every winter I use the fact that it's cold and dark all the time as an excuse to hole up in my apartment and watch reality television on my laptop. It's just so hard to make any real progress when the alternative is watching Gordan Ramsey yell at people.

For this reason, I enjoy writing projects that don't involve being constantly plugged away at. As a matter of fact, you may remember that as one of the key reasons for starting this very blog. But even blogging can feel taxing at such times when I'm feeling truly lazy. Luckily, I've found a project that requires even less effort! A while ago I took one of the Gotham Writer's Workshop's free classes and have been on their mailing list ever since. Usually, I just delete their monthly newsletters, but every so often I read them for the inspirational writer's quotes and information about writing contests. Well, it just so happens, they have a contest this month in "hint fiction". That is, apparently, fiction that is written in less than 25 words and "hints" at the possibility of a greater story. The concept came from this 6-word story of Hemingway's: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

It's fun idea, so I've been playing around with a couple for the last half hour or so. You're only allowed to enter one, so I'll probably spend a bit more time on it, but here's what I've thought of so far:

She was huskier than he remembered, and at some point during the last five years, had apparently stopped taking her gender hormones.

Jill would forever remember that as the summer she learned to never buy sushi from an airport or a jet-pack from some guy named Stan.

He'd had her fooled, but thinking about it, Nathalie had to admit that there weren't very many synchronized swimming classes that met at 2 am.

Ben was happy to see the morning's newspaper headline made no mention of his involvement and said simply: "Alligators attack unlucky sleepwalker; family is grief-stricken."

The entry deadline is October 11. The prize is only $100, but you also get a year's subscription to The Writer and published in Gotham's winter course catalog. You also get a 10-week workshop although I'm not sure how that works for entrant's that don't live in New York City. Although they do have some online classes, I think. At any rate, I think you should all (yes, all of you--my esteemed readers!) enter and then share your ideas here. Or you could enter and share nothing with me. Or you could share, but not enter. Or you could pretend you didn't read this. Really, I'm cool with anything. But for those interested, here's the link: http://www.writingclasses.com/ContestPages/hintfiction.php


  1. Love it! I tried to think of a couple on my walk this morning. I should post later on today, if you want to check my writer's blog. :)

    I think my favorite is the gender hormones one. :p

  2. I really love the alligator one! Mine would be ... "While the mystery was intriguing, Suzanne was more interested why two ducks just wandered up on her suburban patio rather than who killed the mayor."

  3. I like yours, Jess--you should enter it! I've always enjoyed the mental image of ducks on a patio.

    And Dallas, I admire your restraint.

  4. I will definitely enter. I like your alligator one best. But surely you are already thinking of others.

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  6. I love it, Mom! It looks like I need to step up my entry quality!

  7. Would you believe that really happened to me this spring? I am not even joking. I am sitting out there, totally entranced in a James Patterson novel, when all of the sudden I hear a quack next to me. You can't make those things up!

  8. I liked the alligator one, too. I entered! I won't post the story here, but I will tell you that it had the promising title, "Zombie Tweens."