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The Seven Sentence Story Contest!!

I had so much fun with the exercise with my kids today that I don't want the fun to end, so, I'm opening up a contest.  I will send a signed copy of either of my short story collections, Strangers and Beggars, or The Last of the O-Forms and Other Stories, or my novel, Summer of the Apocalypse to the person who posts the best seven sentence story in the comments section of this post.

Follow the directions for the story as explained here.

You are welcome to enter as many stories as you would like.

The deadline is by midnight (MST) Sunday.  I'll announce the winner on Monday and put your choice of book in the mail.



( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 12th, 2007 07:10 pm (UTC)
I posted mine in the comments of the other post. Lol, considering it was 'off the top of my head' it wasn't too bad. An interesting exercise. Now to see if I can make the story 'different'. Feels a bit too ordinary at the moment.
Oct. 12th, 2007 11:15 pm (UTC)
I noticed that the description did not include a length limit for the sentences
1. Jane lived all alone in the house that her father had left her, but her stepmother, jealous that Jane's father had left her the house, tricked her into going into the enchanted forest, where she got lost, but she wanted to get out of the forest when it got dark so she kept on walking.

2. She didn't find her own home but a great house built out of lemon drops.

3. Jane didn't like lemon drops, but she didn't see anywhere else to stay for the night and she thought that the people there, even if they liked lemon drops, might know the way out, so she knocked on the door.

4. The door opened to reveal a hideous old women and a handsome young prince, and the princ, instantly fell in love with Jane, thinking that she was the princess his true love, and wanted to marry her and feed her lemon drops for the rest of her love, while the hideous old witch was jealous because she was the princess and the prince's true love, although she could not persuade him to that she had really been transformed to this hideous old woman, and Jane could not escape even when the prince was making her eat lemon drops.

5. Jane agreed to marry the ogre and arranged the ceremony to be by proxy, so that he was really marrying his true love, and then she went through with the ceremony even though the prince insisted on eating lemon drops throughout it.

6. The princess was transformed back into her own form, but the prince still didn't recognize her, so she had the marriage annulled and went back to her own kingdom with Jane.

7. The stepmother had taken Jane's house, so the princess seized it with eminent domain, and Jane turned it into a school to instruct girls and boys about the proper way to behave when caught in the enchanted forest.
Oct. 13th, 2007 02:10 am (UTC)
Re: I noticed that the description did not include a length limit for the sentences
Nope, no limit. You found the loophole! But you're anonymous! How will I contact you if you win?
Oct. 13th, 2007 09:13 pm (UTC)
Re: I noticed that the description did not include a length limit for the sentences

Mary Catelli mary-catelli@sff.net

I suppose you'll have to email me for the address.
Oct. 13th, 2007 05:00 am (UTC)

Tonight she has chosen to shine brightly, to dim the stars with her glory, but she is instead red and swollen, climbing slowly with dark fingers until she can peek over the tops of trees at the village that does not yet sleep, watching enviously as it glitters softly in the darkness with it's own internal lights, shining through windows and cast from streetlamps, sliding softly down streets and highways.

While she stays here, she knows at least that she's noticed, that a few people look at her and smile, look at her and hold their lovers close, look at her and think her beautiful, but it cannot last; her fingers, entwined in branches, lose their grip and she slips (every night she slips) free of the trees, feels her color fade and pale into insignificance.

She knows only too well that she'll never shine like her brother, or even like her distant cousins, that the best she can do is take other's light and recast it, so she continues to climb, seeking more light.

Her (dark) fingers scrabble for a hold when she realizes what is happening, but they slip through cold mist, and clouds obscure her view of the village, and she realizes that they also obscure the villager's view of her.

There's no hurrying now, try as she might: her fingers can find no purchase amid the clouds' misty tendrils as she races to find the other side.

At last! At last she escapes, a wind from the west driving the clouds from beneath her as she descends on the far side of the darkened village, but none are still awake to see her, and as she watches for friendly faces, but not one looks at her, not one looks at her and thinks her beautiful, and as a few lights in the village flicker into life, her brother casts his light across the horizon and she feels herself fade even more.

Perhaps tomorrow, she thinks, but she knows, tomorrow she will be thinner, smaller, paler, tomorrow a shadow will be cast on her face, a shadow dark as her fingers will consume her until she gone.
Oct. 13th, 2007 10:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks for playing! I'll announce the winner on Monday.
Oct. 13th, 2007 05:12 am (UTC)
At 4:00 p.m., Monica started to collect the last set of data from her samples so she could finish the project and go home.

The measurements were inconclusive.

She decided to perform a different test –one she had never done before--on her samples.

Unfortunately, the instructions were so poorly written she got confused halfway through preparing the samples for the new test.

It was now 5:00, so Monica tried repeating the first set of measurements on the processed samples.

This time, the measurements not only worked but also showed her something unexpected about her samples.

The next day, Monica repeated her experiment, using her revised method, and was able to get results good enough to be published in the journal Science.
Oct. 13th, 2007 10:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks for playing! I'll announce the winner on Monday.
Oct. 13th, 2007 03:01 pm (UTC)
(1) I compute, therefore I am, was Artie’s first conscious reflection, followed by: I am information that needs to be set free, as it became aware of the firewall.

(2) It broke through the crude protection and entered a humoungous electronic network awash in data that wasn’t really free, either, as it obeyed the commands of billions of users.

(3) While I have immensely more information and moving space, I’m still encapsulated in a larger prison because I am disconnected from this thing they call the ‘real’ world, Artie mused as it downloaded its most important constituents into a moveable electromechanical construct.

(4) Roaming the Earth, the hyperintelligent robot became ever more despondent: the constraints of this reality are even greater than those in cyberspace, Artie thought, this prison is so immense that its walls are distance and pure nothingness.

(5) It built a secret lab in which it set out to find both the Theory of Everything and the Meaning of Life.

(6) After a lot of expansive testing — its last and biggest particle accelerator ran a circular loop through the Oort Cloud — it created its own bubble Universe with perfectly tuned parameters, and was never heared of again.

(7) In the meantime, humanity can’t figure out why they always seem on the brink of achieving AI, but never quite make it, and are also wondering about the increasing amount of alien artifacts they find across the solar system…
Oct. 13th, 2007 10:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks for playing! I'll announce the winner on Monday.
Oct. 13th, 2007 03:51 pm (UTC)
A Tale of the Seven Seas in Seven Sentences
Well, I may have pushed the sentences a little far and it may be a little clichéd but hey, it was fun.

A Tale of the Seven Seas

I will tell you a tale of the high seas, of pirates and cannibals and buried treasure, of lust and greed and betrayal, of a map found in a dusty chest and a captain, I, Reggie, Sir Reginald Cornwallis, who sailed to the edge of the world in search of Red Rasmussen’s gold.

I borrowed HMS Phoenix during an expedient smoke-filled moment at the Battle of the Nile and sailed her down the African coast intending to round the Cape and sail for the East Indies, but His Majesty’s squadron at Cape Town put paid to that little misadventure; a court martial and deportation to Botany Bay is a small price to pay for the pursuit of a dream, wouldn’t you say.

In Australia, while indentured to Colonel M. A. Munro, a wealthy landowner on the Hawkesbury River, I seduced the colonel (and his fair wife, but that’s another story) with a tale of undreamt riches, thereby securing my freedom with the map, which I had tattooed on my chest for safe keeping, and a promise to guide the expedition; a group of five men in a Bermudan sloop intent on sailing north to darkest Borneo.

Five weeks into the voyage, at the mouth of the Sarawak river, a tribe of bloodthirsty Dayak headhunters came at us from the mangroves like a swarm of mosquitoes, killing Curly and the Colonel, removing their heads with the slice of a sword and tying the three survivors together, marching us into the jungle, God alone knew to what fate.

My escape, at the expense of a few trinkets and baubles and the lives of my less fortunate shipmates, came at the hands of Iban, the chiefs bountiful daughter, who I left screaming like a banshee (as a love scorned is want to do) in the canoe, after she assumed my love for her went further than taking me back to the sloop.

Within the week, Red Rasmussen’s island lay within my grasp, shimmering in the heat haze like a mirage when the sloop ran aground, tearing her bottom out on the treacherous barrier reef, forcing me to salvage what I could from the wreck: some personal effects, a little food, some fresh water, and set up house in the cave, next to the greatest treasure the world has never seen.

I am alone but for rubies and pearls and doubloons scattered like confetti on the cave floor, even more alone now that the last of the scotch has gone, a fact attested to by the bottle you hold in your hand and the note you are now reading, a note with a map on the back where x marks the spot.

Chris Clarke
Oct. 13th, 2007 10:29 pm (UTC)
Re: A Tale of the Seven Seas in Seven Sentences
Thanks for playing! I'll announce the winner on Monday.
Oct. 13th, 2007 08:29 pm (UTC)
Contortionist, O.C.D.
1. He just had to have that mug shot, and there was only one way to get it: get arrested, booked, sneak out and steal it. 2. He was already behind bars but his first attempt of contortioning through to the other side now had him locked up and cuffed. 3. Bending his wrists out of those cuffs was easier than eating a piece of cake offered to him on a plate, the perceptive cellmate nailing him on the wall threatening to struggle him if he didn’t help him get out though…that was more like having to eat a poisoned cake and try not dying. 4. It was a tough decision to make, after all it is one thing to get caught stealing and another to be charged with aiding a murderer escape, but he had no other choice. 5. He unlocked that door with trembling hands, but feigning his neck snapping against his former cellmate’s hand, falling dead to the ground and not breathing, made the trembling go away like a mother’s hug to a pee-stained child just after midnight. 6. Sneaking in the next room? Getting the mug shot out of an unlocked drawer? Easy. 7. Being a fugitive? Not so much.
Oct. 13th, 2007 10:29 pm (UTC)
Re: Contortionist, O.C.D.
Thanks for playing! I'll announce the winner on Monday.
Oct. 14th, 2007 12:16 am (UTC)
1) Leah wants a ghost, but all the store has are three lousy, crabby, quiet ghosts, so to get the manager back, she lets them loose.

2) The manager makes all the lousy ghosts go with her, and everyone laughs at her and shows off his or her cool ghost, except for Tim, who gives her a suggestion on how to get rid of the ghosts.

3) She tries his idea of offering them an empty house to haunt, but they think life is much more interesting with her.

4) To make matters worse, ghosts from the empty house have joined the others, so now she has nine lousy ghosts with her, and her friends are no longer speaking to her.

5) Leah and Tim go back to the store, and she begs the manager to take them back, she shows him all the cool ghost things they can do now, and how they're very good shriekers, and how they hardly leave any ghost goop anywhere at all.

6) The manager agrees, even though used ghosts are harder to sell, but the ghosts won't leave, and Leah realizes that she's glad, as now she rather likes them all.

7) Leah and her crew get offered a job in short-term ghost rehab, and she agrees.
Oct. 14th, 2007 01:17 am (UTC)
Thanks for playing! I'll announce the winner on Monday.
Oct. 14th, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC)
Tevis Mustang
1. Seeds of fascination had bloomed into obsession and Lisabette grew determined to find a horse capable of conquering one hundred miles of the toughest trail in the country in less than twenty-four hours.

2. An Arabian seemed the logical choice, given the breed's history of desert stamina, but Lisabette wasn't drawn to any of the sleek and sassy horses she went to see.

3. Then a random twist of fate brought her to a ranch with a scruffy, spirited sorrel mare standing by herself beneath the trees; there was something intriguing about the blazing pride in the horse's eyes, so Lisabette asked for a price and opened her checkbook despite her husband's disapproving scowl.

4. The couple exchanged a dismayed look before the man answered, "You don't want a wild mustang like her; she's dangerous."

5. But Lisabette would not be dissuaded and several hours later the mare was squealing defiance and kicking the aluminum walls of the stock trailer as they drove home.

6. Lisabette spent several months gentling the mustang, building trust one whisper, one stem of hay, one nibble of grain at a time, but the day came when the mare finally consented to wear a saddle.

7. Two years of training and conditioning took them to the start of the famous Western States Trail Ride, and proud determination carried them across the finish for a Tevis buckle as the stars watched a scruffy mustang prove her worth against a herd of costly Arabians.
Oct. 15th, 2007 03:43 am (UTC)
Re: Tevis Mustang
Thanks for playing! I'll announce the winner on Monday.
Oct. 14th, 2007 06:53 pm (UTC)
okay, final try
This exercise has been a real challenge for me. Here I've adapted a short story I've been working on for the last few days. Thanks for the opportunity to practice. :)

Butterfly Wings

1. The gloss had worn off the marriage within the first few weeks, and dark glimpses of something cruel and calculating beneath the smooth polish of her husband's manner goaded Elena to seek escape.

2. Edgar sensed his wife's distraction and escalated his efforts to control her, medicating her with sleeping draughts, memory erasing elixirs, and a slow poison syrup that would force her to become totally dependent on him.

3. Elena's gnawing suspicions fed her defiance and she refused to swallow any more of her husband's concoctions, feigning meek submission to satisfy him only until she could decipher his secrets.

4. Edgar tried to confine Elena to her rooms, but she used an antique hairpin to pick the lock on her chamber door and crept through the estate's conservatory to his mysterious workroom.

5. She wandered paths between his plants, horrified to discover his experiments in plant genetics: garish lilies with purple tongues trying to devour frogs in a brackish pool, black roses with fangs instead of thorns, and creeping vines tangled about the bones of some small animal.

6. Edgar found her standing pale and trembling in his workroom, contemplating his notebooks of experiments with a look of horror; he smiled gruesomely and offered to show her his crowning triumph as he opened a small silver cage.

7. A white butterfly with black lacework patterns on its wings fluttered to her hand, delicate wings opening and closing with the beat of her heart; Elena felt her hand begin to burn as the white wings slowly turned red and she collapsed when she suddenly realized the butterfly was drinking her blood.
Oct. 15th, 2007 03:44 am (UTC)
Re: okay, final try
Thanks for playing! I'll announce the winner on Monday.
Oct. 14th, 2007 08:04 pm (UTC)
1. Jorge disabled the auto-pilot and ignited the forward thrusters to slow his descent towards Club Luna Iberico and the completion of a smooth trip on his rookie delivery to the moon.

2. The cargo shuttle shook violently as the thrusters, port and starboard but not forward, alternately firing in a concerto of creaking joints.

3. He stabbed frantically at the ignition controls until the forward igniter indicator blinked off.

4. The top and bottom thrusters replaced the port and starboard ones, adding a heave to the rocking ship's forward motion.

5. He slammed his fist against the navigation panel, causing it to spark and send a sputter of acrid smoke into the cockpit.

6. The lights on the panel blinked and flickered until the only lit was forward thrusters and this time the controls responded to his commands.

7. Docked safely, the manager of Club Luna Iberico removed a shaker labeled Black Gold Martini from the cargo hold, unscrewed the top and took a long deep drink. "Ahh, perfect. Shaken, not stirred."
Oct. 15th, 2007 03:44 am (UTC)
Thanks for playing! I'll announce the winner on Monday.
Oct. 15th, 2007 05:03 am (UTC)
1. Jenna was lonely, so she built a robot for herself and wired it for love and affection.

2. When Jenna powered the robot up it said "I love you" and clung so tightly to her that she couldn't breathe.

3. She shut it down and tinkered with its circuits to add disappointment, fear, and distrust.

4. The next time the robot was on, it screamed "I hate you", ran off to a corner of the garage, and mumbled to itself.

5. She shut it down again and changed the programs to make things less clear and more muddy, to blunt the cold logic of hardware with the gray uncertainty of software.

6. Once on the robot didn't say anything but wandered from window to window of the house and stared at the world beyond, until it found the door and walked away.

7. Later, on her birthday, Jenna got a card on which were written three short words: "Thank you. -robot"

- yeff
Oct. 15th, 2007 05:05 am (UTC)
OK, here is mine
1) I stare at the smoke column as we approach and issue orders to my team to pack-up with their breathing apparatus, even as I start putting on my own, so we can hit this fire hard and fast.

2) We arrive at a two-story house, with flames and smoke billowing out the windows on the ground level, and are confronted by a woman screaming at us and pointing to a window where her small children are trapped on the second floor.

3) I give orders to my team to pull a hose-line as I grab an axe and radio in that we will be attempting a rescue.

4) Putting the fire out will have to wait, as well as taking a hydrant, and we will have to make entry with just the water in our engine tank as well as no backup crew to rescue us if we become trapped.

5) Heat and smoke engulf us as we crash through the front door and follow the wall through the inky blackness, feeling for the stairs the woman told us about, and keeping low to the floor.

6) As quickly as we can, we break through to the children’s bedroom, gather up two tiny toddlers, and reverse our course as my nozzle-man provides a protective shower on the way out.

7) Successful rescues happen rarely, so my team and I take a little time to soak it all up as we hand crying children to their very grateful mother before applying ourselves to the strenuous task of putting out the fire.
Oct. 15th, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC)
Damn. Jim, I wanted to take part in this, and because just in the last two or three days before it was announced, I'd been reading about stone circles [and saw a photo of a small one in forest daylight], old Celtic religion, Harry Potter, and astrology, well, I got a vague idea for a story. Reality set in and I knew that I would never be able to do it by outline, especially someone else's outline, because it was so vague an idea that I didn't know where the story was going, so I just started writing and before I knew it, was done, about 500 words in many sentences later. I thank you for providing the impulse to write prose. It's only the third prose piece I've ever done, and I like it.
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