Wednesday, May 30, 2012

One Sentence Story, or #1ss

Though brevity is the soul of wit, long-winded is my middle name.

It all started with a story I wrote called Infinite Variety which I sent to Alex Shvartsman for a critique.

While reading it, he tweeted:

Dude there is a 90-word sentence in your story. I had to go find a snack in the middle so that I could get through it! :)
And, in the critique I got later:
This is an enormous run on were-sentence that makes me want to go out and find stakes, and garlic, and whatever else kills were-run-on sentences. 
Which I then Tweeted.

There was much speculation as to exactly what kind of sentence would warrant termination with prejudice, and as a result,  #1ss was born-- The One-Sentence Story Contest. 

Look for the #1ss hashtag on Twitter for details (and keep in mind it probably means something different in other languages) - in the meantime, here is my 242-word entry.

Good Thing I Did Not Tell Them About The Dirty Knife

by Anatoly Belilovsky

While it is true that most people believed in space aliens long before there was any compelling evidence of their existence, and many thought such features as empathy and sense of humor might turn out to be universal to all sentient beings who achieve spaceflight-capable technology; while many wondered what bands of the electromagnetic spectrum such aliens might monitor from afar to gain an understanding of Earth culture and human psychology, and what conclusions they might reach from their exposure to, inter alia, Hitler’s speeches, the dead parrot sketch, and “boldly go where no man has gone before;” while waves of frenzied speculation inundated all informational channels and filled all Terran minds with awe of one kind or another in the weeks after the alien spacecraft, retros blasting incandescent across the vacuum of space, was detected as it crossed the orbit of Saturn and tracked the entire way to its rendez-vous with history -- with all that has been said and written and considered in preparation for first contact between mankind and extraterrestrial civilizations -- it did, nevertheless, render the hand-picked, all-star, international reception committee dumbstruck and speechless when, upon landing on a dry lake bed in the New Mexico desert, the alien exited his ship and, facing an enormous, silent crowd, produced a battered volume marked “Hungarian-English Phrasebook,” peered into it intently, and intoned, in English but with a faux-Eastern European accent: “I will not buy this record, it is scratched!”

The End

And, yes, I did reuse the punchline.

PS:  Here is the latest link farm for the contest:
  •   AB


  1. You know, I can't tell which I like more--the actual stories coming out of this--or the story of how the whole thing came about. LOL Your tweets back and forth to each other and the details of how it all shaped up make for quite an interesting story, too!

  2. One of my stories for the #1ss flash-mob did not make it to the blog - it turned into a draft of a prompted submission. Two other writers (at least) got inspiration from their #1ss for longer stories that they are now working on. And Matthew Bennardo (link above) is going to put together an anthology of these stories as an ebook!

    All things considered, I am very happy about what came out of this.