Monday, May 13, 2013

A very long three minutes and a short two years

Sometimes I feel like I haven't written a complete story since college.  I 'won' one year of NaNoWriMo with a fictional journal that was more stream of consciousness than crafted prose.  Other than that, I've accumulated a lot of ideas.  But I haven't had the discipline to hash it out from start to finish.  When you don't have to turn it in by Friday, but you do have a whole other long list of things that are 'due', it's easy to let it go.

That was part of the appeal of NPR's Three-Minute Fiction.  For those who don't know, TMF is series of challenges issued to listeners to write a story which can be read over the radio in about three minutes, so clocking in at less than 600 words.  Each round has its own prompt, and you have about a week to submit your response.  Round 11 was dubbed 'Finders Keepers':
Write a piece of original fiction in which a character finds something he or she has no intention of returning.
Ask and ye shall receive, oh keepers of the public radiosphere!  I heard the contest announced while in the car, and by the time I got home I had a basic concept as far as why my character would not be returning what they found.  It took me almost the entire week to whittle that down to a complete short story that I could submit without too much panicky self-doubt.  Now it's in the hands of NPR staff and creative writing students.  I'll be listening closely to the radio to hear if they read an excerpt from my story...

Another deadline which did not hold as fast was one at work.  No boring office details, but the main project I work on, which is the main reason I was hired in the first place, had a major milestone that was been pushed back and back and back.  It's something worthy of 'Office Space' or 'Dilbert', the way things kept cropping up.  Last week was actually my two-year anniversary, and I'm proud to say that this afternoon, we reached that milestone.  I think what made this particular deadline stick was the fact that someone scheduled a party/meeting to celebrate and declared that there would be cake.

Because cake is the universal corporate harbinger of miracles.


  1. Did you know I work for NPR now? Did you know that I am a Regional Judge for the TMF contest who passes recommended stories on to the national level? Did you know that?

    I mean, sure, it's all entirely false, but if it's the kind of lie that will let me read some more JBett fiction for the first time in eight years, then OF COURSE it 's actually true and OF COURSE you should send that sweet baby on to me at

    PS> If that wasn't convincing, then did you know I'm good friends with Joss Whedon and that I'm kind of a gatekeeper for him who filters out only the best young writers to join his elite staff of Writers in Residence? That's also true. Completely, absolutely true. Just sayin'.

    Chris Gardner--Regional Correspondent for NPR and Close Confidant and Bosom Buddy of Joss Whedon (Who Is Always Looking for Fresh Talent)

    1. Oh sure, but do you have an in with Johnny Depp or Baz Luhrmann? ; )

  2. I'd like to read this story, too! Good luck!