Back in 2007, on our sister site, Armchair Arcade, we ran a small “contest” called One Paragraph Short Stories. Although that posting no longer exists on that older version of the website, the Google cache is there for you to check out the original post. Although there were only six submissions at the time, it proved extremely popular, generating around 300,000 views.
Interestingly, several of those stories have lived on and been posted, shared, and enjoyed elsewhere. In fact, I was reminded of this concept because I found out today that one of my stories, A Simple Diversion, has proven popular over in the Philippines as part of college assignments (Perhaps it’s the twist ending and how to properly interpret it from a different culture?).
Although we did run another One Paragraph Short Stories contest that was videogame-themed after the initial 2017 event, I never did revisit the concept again like I wanted to. Now that’s about to change with One Paragraph Short Stories 2019.
I’ll be accepting submissions until November 17, 2019. Although not a contest in the truest sense – this is more for satisfaction, fun, and exposure – I will attempt to have public voting in December so people can choose their favorites.
By submitting, you give us the right to post the story freely as part of this contest/event, but otherwise, you retain full rights to your own work. To state it another way, all we want is the right to post it as part of the event, no strings attached. Your work is your work.
You can post your one paragraph story (in English, please) as a comment to this blog or submit it to me directly via our Contact Us form (be sure to include your full name so we can attribute it to your story). Please make sure it’s one paragraph and one paragraph only on any fiction topic or theme and that you submit your best work, which of course means already having it edited and spell checked. Multiple submissions from the same person are fine. Please note that we do reserve the right to refuse posting submissions for any reason.
Remember to tell your friends and family to participate. Everyone is welcome to submit a story (“bonus points” for creative concepts and titles!), which I’ll release in collated groups in new posts based on submission date and before actual voting begins. Thanks!
For your reference, as well as for the purpose of providing examples, I give you my three one paragraph short stories from 2007 (I hope to submit some more of my own for this 2019 event should time permit):
LOVE RINGS TWICE by Bill Loguidice
Theirs was a true love, thought Tony, one to stand the test of time. Eva, his soul-mate, was somehow even more beautiful than the day they first met, he realized. And even though she always seemed to say something interesting, it ultimately didn’t matter, as he was happy just to hear her soft, melodic voice. Someday soon, he imagined, they would have children together, and their love would blossom as a family. These wonderful thoughts made him feel warm and tingly inside. Suddenly, without warning, Tony was yanked from his daydream by the doorbell. He let out a long sigh, realizing that that would be the courier with the divorce papers.
A SIMPLE DIVERSION by Bill Loguidice
Jack tried to speak, but failed, the tears beginning to well. Angie tried to speak, but also failed, her face becoming flush. “W-W-W-hat do we do now?” Jack finally stammered. “Don’t know,” Angie responded, barely audible. The two sat staring for a long time, sharing a stunned silence, not really hearing the gentle clicking in the background. How had they reached this point? What went wrong? All had been wonderful just a few moments ago, as they worked as one to reach new levels of success. Then, without warning, it happened, “Disk Error”, flashing repeatedly. Though it was like “Game Over” from so many times before, those words now took on their true, sinister meaning. Having nothing left but time to reflect, Jack and Angie called it a night.
SARAH by Bill Loguidice
Sarah was excited by the prospect of jumping back into the holographic synthesizer. Living long-term aboard a space station was not her idea of paradise, but the pay was irresistible, if not the atmosphere. Now her turn was again up to get away from it all, if only for a few hours. As usual, she wanted to simulate a nighttime float in the creaky row boat on the small lake by her old Earth-bound Florida home. The last time she did it, she just laid back and, though the irony was palpable, simply looked up at the stars. While she loved the light breeze that gently rocked the boat, she did not appreciate the simulated insects, with their all too real bites and buzzing about; Sarah had been on that sterile space station a very long time now. Whoever determined that virtual reality would truly fool the senses only if there was genuine environmental interaction, Sarah thought, probably needed to actually get out more. In any case, this time Sarah bent the rules more than a little by getting one of her programmer friends to hack the system for her and override life simulation on her program. Now she could really relax, just her, the boat and those very distant stars. Sarah happily entered the room, ran the program and within a few seconds, ceased to exist.