Sunday, February 14, 2010

weekly writing coach: npr short (story)

Robb Hill/Robb Hill Photo
It's my favorite kind of writing challenge: Time-limited, with a short word count and just enough open-endedness to pique your creativity. National Public Radio's offering round three of its "Three Minute Fiction" contest, in which you write a short story that can be read on-air in three minutes (that's no more than 600 words) and is inspired by the picture at left. You must submit before midnight on February 28, 2010. The winner’s story will be read on NPR, and he or she will receive autographed works by the main judge, author Alan Cheuse.

Even if you don't normally write fiction, take a try at this challenge--and of course, I'll want to know if a reader takes the honors. You'll find important cues here from Cheuse. He notes that some of his own writing about photos involved what happened the day the photo was taken, for example. So you can go with a story set within the photo, or just beyond it, or what led up to it, or something else entirely. And if you’re having trouble picturing what 600 words looks like, just take this post and multiply by three—this post comes in at 200 words exactly.

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