Ode To The Short Story

April 25, 2012

All of us are beyond excited about the Fast Horse Summer Internship Campaign voting that’s happening this week, but there’s another contest I’ve been keeping my eye on – NPR’s Three-Minute Fiction.

For those of you unfamiliar with the challenge, let me give you the briefest of overviews: A professional author gives aspiring writers a starting sentence. The challenge? To create a compelling short story that can be read in three minutes. That translates to about 600 words if you’re wondering. This season’s author is Luis  Alberto Urrea, the award-winning author of 13 books, including “The Devil’s Highway,” “The Hummingbird’s Daughter” and his most recent release, “Queen of America.”

He kicked off the contest with this humdinger of a sentence: “She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door.”  Just imagine the possibilities! While I aspire to have time to sit down and draft an entry one of these days, I simply get giddy when the station begins reading the top contenders. It’s user generated content as its best. Some humorous, some dark, some heartfelt. The stories captivate you, often leaving you to ponder a setting, a topic, a meaning… NPR must know it has a gem.

In its eighth installment, the contest is wildly popular, drawing more than 6,000 submissions this go-round. That’s a lot to cull through, but man oh man, do they find the crème de la crème. I’ll leave you with a couple of my favorites. If you have a spare three minutes, I promise they’re worth the read.

Rid Yourself Of This Pest Today!


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