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Fun with Words: NPR Challenge September 18, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Humor, Word Play.

I wrote a story to share with you today, but it turns out that I can’t publish it in any format if I want to submit it to NPR for the Fifth Round Challenge.

So, you’ll have to wait to read the story.  Sorry about that. To make it up to you, I’ll give you a few hints:

1.  It starts:  “Some people swore that the house was haunted.”

2.  It ends:  “Nothing was ever the same again after that.”

3.  The Cheshire Cat makes a brief cameo appearance before vanishing into thin air.

4.  The story features two main characters, related to each other but from different generations.

5.  It’s Pure Dialogue (both characters demonstrate proper listening skills).

6.  I submitted it with the title, The Namesake.

7.  The image of  Little Red Riding Hood, holding a basket, ties in nicely with the story line.

8.   There are no vampyres in the story since they’ve been done to death.

9.  As for ghosts, goblins, and witches, let’s leave that open for now.

10.  The story mentions blackberries (the fruit, not the techno gadget).

448px-Alice_05a-1116x149211.  There are no rabbit holes or hookah smoking caterpillars, but a gopher hole helps to move the story along.

12.  After final edit, I squeezed in just under the 600 word maximum ~ at 599 words.

13.  It was great FUN to write.  Why not give it a go yourself?

To read the story:  The Namesake

* * * * *

Inspiration:  My Literary Quest ~ NPR Three Minute Fiction

Official Rules:  Three Minute Fiction


1. Agatha82 - September 18, 2010

I wanted to take part but could not since I am not a US resident. However, the prompt inspired me to write my own haunted house short story and I am going to polish it and submit it somewhere (though the prompt is not included in my story)

Yes, I know vampires have been done to death but there are still plenty who love them and so there will always be a market for that. Not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s fine. I don’t care for Chick Lit or Epic Fantasy but plenty of others do and that is why there are so many different kinds of books out there. There’s something for everyone.

nrhatch - September 18, 2010

I agree with you completely.

And, given the quality of your writing, I would give your vampire story a chance. 8)

The writers on WEbook turned me off of vampire stories. It seemed that EVERYONE (and his/her brother) was writing a vampire story.

And “running with the pack” has never been my cup of tea.

Agatha82 - September 18, 2010

Meant to say, your story sounds intriguing so looking forward to seeing it when you can post it 🙂

Oh you poor poor woman, yeah, I can see why that would have turned you off vamps! Think it’s the “Twilight” syndrome. Everyone wants to be the next Meyer (not me though thanks lol)

nrhatch - September 18, 2010

I want to be J.K.Rowling. . . and bring Dumbledore back to life.

And invent fun words like Quidditch!

2. cindy - September 18, 2010

Good luck in the challenge, Nancy, hope we eventually get to read the story; I can’t make head or tail out of the hints.

nrhatch - September 18, 2010

NPR has first right to publish any and all submissions until 12/31/2010.

Between now and then, they’ll post some of the favorites on their site. If mine goes up, I’ll definitely post a link.

If it doesn’t . . . I’ll post it here in the New Year.

3. gospelwriter - September 18, 2010

Sounds like a fun story – so glad there’s no vampires, as I am sick to death of hearing/ reading about them… don’t get me started! 😉

I was all set to write an entry myself and was so disappointed to find it’s for US citizens only 😦

Hope you win!

nrhatch - September 18, 2010

Thanks. It would be exciting to have a story read/posted on NPR.

And I had a blast writing it.

I expect Alannah’s novel is the exception, rather than the rule, but I’m satisfied that I have nothing to add to the vampire genre.

4. tsuchigari - September 18, 2010

Yay! Can’t wait to see how it does. I’ll get to work on mine this week for sure!

nrhatch - September 18, 2010

Good luck with your submission.

Thanks again for the heads up. I listened to the winners from Rounds 3 and 4 and they sounded so excited to have been selected. 8)

5. Paula - September 18, 2010

I have almost finished mine, but I’m having my ever-present problem of editing! Cutting words sometimes hurts as much as cutting skin! Which of course is the reason it’s so good for me! I’ve got to thicken up my skin by learning to distinguish the difference between necessary prose/dialogue vs. extraneous and superfluous writing. Glad you told me about the non-publishing rule – I haven’t read them yet because I already knew the two lines and the due date, so. . .

As to vampi(y)res – I am with you as far as the genre goes. I have read several different author’s versions of those sorts of books, but have never really gotten any distinct pleasure from them They bore me as well. I will say though that I read two of Anne Rice’s vampire books, and found them very well done. But when I finished reading them the only thought that kept running through my mind was, “I can’t believe that such an obviously talented writer put so much time, effort, and brain power into such trivial schlock!” That sounds harsh, I know, and I really do enjoy many different styles and genres, and I can appreciate what I feel is good writing, but vampire fiction seldom makes the grade in my book. Kudos to those who can mine thumping great reads from an over-used vein! (No pun intended – or is it?!)

I don’t necessarily want to be J.K. Rowling, but I certainly wish I had been a fly on the wall in the room when she was writing the Potter series. Few series have entertained and delighted me more!

However, I can say the same about a lot of writers and their walls . . .many who frequent this site! I know of few other pursuits that present one with such a mixture of frustration, joy, depression, and elation as writing does. What a life! I’ll probably never make a living at it (don’t even think I want to), but I’m having the time of my life! Cheers all! (Even you vampires!) Write on!

nrhatch - September 18, 2010

What a terrific comment, Paula. Not a single extraneous or superfluous word!

I love editing my work, slicing and dicing and julienning words, sentences and paragraphs.

My suggestion:
(1) Once you finish your first draft, copy it into a new document.
(2) Save and close the first draft “as is” (so you can go back to it).
(3) Be ruthless in editing the copy.
(4) When you’re done editing, open up the original and see if there is anything missing that you want to reinstate.

Good luck!

6. Paula - September 19, 2010

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 etc., etc.

You left the smiley off that first line, but I saw it there anyway!

Thanks for the tips. Very helpful. I do save my first draft (after erasing one a long time ago,I learned my lesson!), but I have not made a habit of rereading it when I’ve finished editing, as I have relied on my memories – probably not a very good idea!

Check out my micro-autobiography challenge entry – it’s about 4 words over, and I have just about decided to leave it, rather then cut it any more, What do you think> Thanks, Nancy! Here’s the link:


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