Recipe for a Short Story
A deadline and random contest rules make for an interesting concoction that’s both light and dense. A flavorful treat.
Prep: 3 months (approximate)
Bake: 2 weeks
Oven: 500 degrees
Makes: 1 short story (approximately 597 words, not including title)
- 2 parts dystopia
- 1 part favorite science fiction stories
- ½ line from a character in a science fiction movie
- 1 image of an actress (as stand-in for main character)
- 1 supportive and nudging writing mentor
- 1 supportive and honest husband
- 1 NPR 3-Minute fiction short story contest packet. Includes:
600 word limit
2 specific events must happen in the story
- 20 minute timer for writing sessions. (Option: sounds of summer storm played on headphones.)
- Coffee, Tums and scotch (optional)
1. Meet another story geek who also becomes your writing mentor. Be gently prodded into creating your own world.
2. Create the world, create a character and develop her origin story using the dystopia, science fiction and movie ingredients. Mix ingredients until frothy.
3. Get distracted by work and home life. Put story on hold for 3 months while writing mentor reminds you of character from time to time. (Evil thoughts at mentor are optional but add flavor.)
4. Open NPR contest packet and add ingredients mixed in step 2.
5. Add image of actress and mentally interview character to develop depth.
6. Over 2 weeks, add 20 minute timed writing sessions with soundtrack, coffee, tums and scotch as desired for flavor. Liberal helpings of supportive husband, complimented with supportive writing mentor, are strongly recommended at this time.
7. 3 days before contest deadline, place in oven and bake. (While story is baking, distract self with video games, movies and Facebook postings.)
8. 1 day before contest deadline, remove from oven. Be completely unable to decide if this is the best or worst thing you have ever baked. Laugh. Cry. Go from thrilled to depressed in one sitting.
9. Submit story.
10. Alternately dance for joy and seriously consider another hobby while waiting for contest results.