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Robert Swartwood is hosting a New Hint Fiction contest! So, crank out a 25-word story that stands on its own and suggests a more complex story.

But there’s only so much you can do with a 25 word limit, right? Robert doesn’t believe so. He has “faith that more can be done with the genre, that writers can think outside the box.” Let’s prove him right!

A BLAST FROM THE PAST: Four years ago Robert Swartwood selected “View from a ’77 Chevy Scottsdale” to appear in Hint Fiction from W. W. Norton & Company. Not long after, Dustin Grella created an animation of the piece. You can link to it from Swartwood’s New Hint Fiction Contest announcement–it’s the second “here” in “(here and here and here)” or you can click on the below.

Out of over 825 entries, this ‘ultra-short’ (under 150 words) was selected as an honoree in the 9th Annual Ultra-Short Competition sponsored by The Binnacle, which has published literature and art for over fifty years. “Here Lie the Chicken Bones” is out now with the other fifty-two honorees and, of course, the four winners.

Congrats to the winners!

Eric Svehaug – Married Love, Year Thirty (Poetry)

Cynthia Tracy Larsen – The Loyalty of Legs (General Fiction)

Lisa Ricard Claro – A Twisty Thing (Humor)

Jordan Gilletti – Roots (UMM Student Winner)

 

Fiction can’t touch this one.

Sometimes the truth really is that much better.

Read Chad Cottle’s story, and you’ll understand.

Visit Chicago Now to read my long-time friend and fellow writer’s adoption reunification story, “I Had My Mother’s Name!”

Carrie Goldman chose to use Chad’s piece as her grand finale for “30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days,” a November series in honor of National Adoption Month. The Huffington Post will re-run the series in January, so watch for the story there too.

If you like Chad’s writing, you can find more of it on his Amazon Author Page.

Vote

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Vote. No matter how you choose to do it, vote.

So, you say, you want to write short stories? Novels?

The first mystery, where novels [and short stories] are concerned, is how anyone manages, ever, to write a book that’s any good at all.

Sure, go ahead, simulate life, using only ink and paper. Take the words offered by the dictionary, the same words that are available to everybody who can read, and arrange them so strategically that they simultaneously illuminate and deepen the mystery of human existence.

Do so in a way that’s cogent and compelling, that grabs readers with the opening line and doesn’t let them go until the final one. Don’t make it too neat and tidy—that will come off as trivial. But don’t make it too messy and sprawling, either—that won’t feel like much of anything at all…

~ Michael Cunningham on The Pilgrim Hawk by Glenway Wescott, a Recommended Reading from Electric Literature

Still want to write after that?

If your answer is ‘YES!’: you’re crazy, but I understand. You must read-read-read and write-write-write though. So, start now:  subscribe to Electric Literature’s Recommended Readings, read Wescott’s The Pilgrim Hawk, or check out these suggested shorts (bottom of the page). You’ll be glad you did.

Oh, yeah, and then write. You have to because–remember?–you’re crazy. But, people like me understand.

~ N

Doodle by Billy Roids

Doodle by Billy Roids

 

“Hide and Seek with Summer” is now up at Citizen Brooklyn, a magazine

devoted to “unique energy, diversity, and expression.”

I just call Citizen Brooklyn edgy and provocative. It’s worth the look.

Hide and Seek with Summer

…watching my curtains rise and fall
my breath pushes in from outside
after I have drawn them against your heat…

<<read more>>

(Try reading the piece different ways: right column first and then left, left column first and then right, or top to bottom. But, no matter how I tried, it just couldn’t get it to work backwards.)

The poem was first published by Intersections in 2008.

Pay them a visit too, if you have the time.

Get “Bob the One-legged Robin” and other great stories in Short Stories, Vol. 1 from eChook Digital Publishing.

Authors include: Nick Boreham, Mark Budman, Claude Clayton Smith, Mindy Hardwick, Christine Pakkala, Dave Schofield, Megan Smith-Harris, Townsend Walker, and me.

To purchase the collection, visit iTunes.

Sign up at to receive pre-publication excerpts about other upcoming short story collections and ebooks for iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Android and Nook Color from eChook Digital Publishing.

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