Thursday, April 4, 2013

Someone Get Me a Mixing Bowl!

     Each month the writer’s group I belong to, Saturday Writers, challenges its members to write short stories. This year the contest theme revolves around color. Rather than simply being genre based, we must include certain color words or images in our writing. It is a bit trickier than one would think at times. While we are only a few months in, I enjoy this new twist on the monthly competitions. 

     I began to wonder what other contests like-minded folks find themselves inclined to enter. Writers Digest has a litany of unique weekly and monthly prompts, sometimes based on a picture and other times with just a sentence starter. They are also hosting a Poem-A-Day event right now celebrating Poetry Month. As I investigated writing contests a bit, I focused on the competitions that had some kind of unique idea or premise. Exploring this seemed like a great way to generate new ideas, review work by other writers, and perhaps find an idea I could really sink my writerly teeth into. 

     I stumbled upon the Washington Post Invitational contest by Merge-Matic Books. It was featured on a blog I follow, Closed the Cover – Book Blog, which is great fun if you are interested. In this challenge, readers were asked to combine the works of two authors, and to provide a suitable description of the merged book. The event, now closed, was a tremendous success with the Post receiving many cleverly fused story blurbs. I would love to see our group incorporating something like this. What a witty idea! I can only imagine the creative combinations many of our members would come up with. 

     Here are a few entries that really stood out to me and got the creative energy running. Not all were winning submissions but I sure enjoyed them. Being a Shakespeare fan, the Hamlet story was, of course, my favorite. 

"Fahrenheit 451 of the Vanities" - Winner - Mike Long
An '80s yuppie is denied books. He does not object, or even notice.

“Green Eggs and Hamlet"- First Runner-up, Robin Parry
Would you kill him in his bed? Thrust a dagger through his head? I would not, could not, kill the King. I could not do that evil thing. I would not wed this girl, you see. Now get her to a nunnery.

"Where's Walden?" - Honorable Mentions- Sandra Hull
Alas, the challenge of locating Henry David Thoreau in each richly-detailed drawing loses its appeal when it quickly becomes clear that he is always in the woods.

"Curious Georgefather" – Honorable Mention - Chuck Smith
The monkey finally sticks his nose where it don't belong.

"The Silence of the Hams” – Honorable Mention - Mark Eckenwiler
In this endearing update of the Seuss classic, young Sam-I-Am presses unconventional foodstuffs on his friend, Hannibal, who turns the tables.

"See Moby Dick run." 
In a freak nuclear accident genetic anomalies teach children about relationships and friends.

"The Lord of the Flies over the Cucko's nest" 
Join Piggy, Ralph and Jack, when after thier return to civilization, they are sentenced to join Chief and Randle Patrick McMurphy in a zany iconoclastic look at Western Mental Health Care.

     See what I mean? This is some fantastic writing, fusing stories old and news and intertwining characters that have no business associating with one another. I love it! I will have to keep working on my own. Feel free to share any ideas you have. I would love to read them!


  1. That was one of my favorite categories for last year's Saturday Writers" contests! Bill Mueller's Sam Spaade meets Dorothy in Muchkinland was best. I didn't get mine submitted, so I hope we do it again.

  2. Marcia - I enjoyed the fictional character contest as well. I didn't blend any characters, just added a twist to the story. I do hope we have a similar contest again this year too.