On Friday, June 29th, Wordcrafters and City of Eugene unveiled the winners of the Step into Short Stories Contest. The idea behind the contest is that 300-word stories that capture the essence of Eugene are posted in the stairwells of the Overpark Parking Garage on 10th and Oak. This year the city partnered with Wordcrafters, a local writing non-profit to make this happen.
Writers were invited to submit up to three pieces with a “blind” submission process, meaning the author’s name and identifying information was removed from story so that stories would be judged by merit and names wouldn’t bias the judges. Nine pieces were selected and there was a guest author invited to submit a story, totaling ten pieces posted for this particular contest (though there are also other contests: Step into Theatre, Step into Poetry, Step into Comics in other stairwells and garages).
I submitted three pieces and all three pieces won! It is especially validating knowing I won and no one had any idea these were written by the same author or who was submitting them. All three of the stories are posted in the south stairwell of the parking garage. They are also posted on the Wordcrafters website in print and audio format.
The titles of my pieces are:
The Silicon Shire
My Big Fat Eugene Wedding
Raindrops Falling on My Head
I have a background writing short stories; I have sold 150 short stories at this time. Even with experience writing flash fiction (short stories under 1000 words), it was a challenge writing a complete story with a beginning, middle and end with a conflict and characters in 300 words. It was even more of a challenge to incorporate details about Eugene and its quirky personality. I usually write humorous fantasy and science fiction, not mainstream or non-fiction, so that was an additional challenge.
Only the first story is truly fantasy. The other two might be considered creative non-fiction—real events that I took some artistic license in changing a few details to make into a story.
One component that the stories have in person that the website lacks, is the augmented reality that accompanies each piece. AR is basically a moving illustration that matches each piece that can only be seen on a cell phone (after one downloads the special app to see it) while one holds the phone up in the stairwell.
If you are interested in checking out these mini-stories, you can read them for free on the Wordcrafters website here:
If you like short stories and fantasy and science fiction in general, I have two collections of previously published short stories available on Amazon in print and ebook.
Fairies, Robots and Zombies—Oh My!
Ghosts, Werewolves and Zombies—Oh My!