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Fifth Tuesday stories
April 30, 2019

Writing challenge: My worst critique ever. It can be fiction. Maximum length for your story, poem, or essay is 500 words.

 

My Worst Critique Ever

Chris Zoern

“And you do understand that this is a very selective program, correct?” the Sergeant asked.

His words were muffled, and I had trouble processing them.  Rejected? How? I had the best time on the course, and I was certain I had done well on the written exam. I slowly nodded.

“I’m sorry, I really am. You’ll have to collect your things from your barrack by the end of the day,” he continued.

“Do I at least get to know why I’m not allowed in?” (more…)

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Fifth Tuesday stories
January 29, 2019

Writing challenge: It’s January in Wisconsin. We’re deep into winter. Where would you rather be? Maximum length for your story, poem, or essay is 500 words.

Time to Jump In

Brandy Larson

A white brahma bull stands alone on a high hillside—red earth and tufted green grass. We drive past with meadow and acacia trees on either side. The small fruit stand is next to a rocky outcropping on the edge of the road. Stopping for a cold coconut, our vendor deftly hacks off the top of the green husk with a few strikes of his machete and offers a straw—cool and not too sweet—coconut wata. Down to the last drop, he whacks the shell in half and we scoop out the jelly lining with a wedge of green husk for a spoon. Food of the Goddess. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
February 1, 2018

 

And the winner is. . .

Tracey Gemmell!

Novelist Kelly Harms, our writing contest judge, selected Tracey’s “Slip That Collar” as the best of our Fifth Tuesday stories. Kelly extended honorable mentions to Mike Austin for his story, “Dog People,” and Larry Sommers for his story, “Fowl Fortune.”

Tracey wins a critique of the first 50 pages of her novel to be provided by Judge Kelly. She also gets the pot of entry fees with which to take Kelly to dinner. It’s there that the two will talk through Kelly’s critique. (more…)

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Fifth Tuesday Stories

Fifth Tuesday stories
August 29, 2017
Writing challenge: Write a fishing story.

Max length: 500 words

The tree and He

Amit Trivedi

He poured himself a glass of wine and gazed outside through his window. The pain was still there, and he knew it would get worse. The long shadow of the barren oak tree reminded him of the long, unadorned tresses of a poor bride. What do I remind the tree of? he wondered.

They both had grown together – his father had planted the tree when he was born nearly ninety two years ago. He would not last much longer, but the tree had many years left to suffer!

Memories wrapped themselves in tears. He saw himself climbing the tree, gathering its leaves, tying a hammock and breaking his wrist when the rope had come loose. Instinctively, he touched his wrist and ran his finger over the mark that was still there. And he saw his wife lying in the hammock, reading Omar Khayyam.

There was the Door to which I found no Key;
There was the Veil through which I might not see;
Some little talk awhile of Me and Thee
There was – and then no more of Thee and Me.

“Do you remember?” he asked, looking at the framed picture of his wife next to Khayyam’s book. (more…)

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Fifth Tuesday stories
May 30, 2017

Writing challenge: You are cleaning your house (apartment, dwelling space, etc), and you come on a room you have never seen before. What’s in it?

Max length: 500 words

Life on a Shelf

Lisa Jisa

I crouched down on the closet floor to shove the last box out of the way. Although I had moved in eight months earlier, this box hadn’t been touched since. As I placed my hands down for leverage to stand up, I noticed a small door. I pushed the box over a few more inches and twisted the door’s latch. It popped open easily.

I peered into the opening and discovered a small room no bigger than a twin-sized bed. I crawled in and saw a short wooden bookcase along the opposite wall. A white hurricane-style lamp with pink flowers sat on the top shelf, and to my surprise, it turned on when I tried it.

A Moroccan-patterned cushion rested next to the bookshelf. With one hand, I pulled it over to sit on while my other hand reached for a book. The spine of the salmon-colored cover said COURAGE. I crossed my legs and leafed through the pages.

My eyes rested on a page that said 1984. “Spanish teacher let me speak to our class about the meaning and purpose of life. I knew I had to do it after brother of another student took his life over the weekend.” That sounded vaguely familiar. I turned a few more pages. 1990. “First day at Woodland Elementary. 29 students, all in my care for the entire school year.” That was familiar, too. Was this book about me? (more…)

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Fifth Tuesday stories
August 30, 2016
Writing challenge: A superhero makes a career change. Do not identify the superhero you select in your story, but do plant enough clues that readers can guess who it is.

Max length: 500 words

(more…)

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Fifth Tuesday stories
March 31, 2015

 

Writing challenge: Many writing seminars use lists of prompts to provide ideas for short stories. For this challenge, create your own list of six prompts to read to the assembly.  They must be amusing, at least enough to help fight off sleep.

Ruth Imhoff has offered an example: How to survive the Zombie Apocalypse! (well Ruth thought that was funny, but you’ll do better.)

Jen Wilcher plans to bring her laugh-o-meter so we can scientifically select the winner. The winner will receive an award, a prize or large bag of cash. Jen, as sole arbiter, hopes to receive bribes, of which she has offered generously to provide half of to the cash bag.

*Note: Rebecca Rettenmund won the bag of cash.

Alicia Connolly-Lohr, first-and-third

  1. Janet visits her new gym, lifts some weights then enters a treadmill room. It’s loud with the buzz of treadmills going, patrons running. There’s one open. She walks to it, sets down her water bottle, towel, keys and steps on. Thwack! She is thrown backward, slams against the back wall, falls to the floor, dazed. A man gets off his treadmill, comes over to help her up. “Did you hurt yourself?” She answers, “No, this is my usual warm up.” Write the remaining dialogue exchange for a romance novel.

(more…)

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