Flex your fiction muscle

If I were able to say I left any legacy with Juice magazine, it’s probably that I started their annual “5 minute fiction” contest when I was on staff there.


When I was little, I used to write stories all the time. (This is what happens when most of your friends are imaginary, right?) My family tells me that I used to pen plays for them to perform before I had a real command of the alphabet, so they used to try to get away with an improv of what they thought I’d written, and I’d yell at them.

At Mizzou, I majored in journalism and English and took one creative writing course in college. I had a short story published in the student literary magazine, but the vast majority of my writing is more of the journalistic bent.

I’d like to flex my fiction muscle a little bit more (these micro shorts on Elephantine are inspiring) and so I was intrigued when this Facebook event popped up in my feed. Note: I have nothing to do with this contest and don’t even really know who is behind it/what Spoilage is. Also, I’m not sure, but my guess is that they’re hoping to focus on mostly local submissions? Think you can crank out a story by Feb. 1? I might attempt it.


For its first issue, Spoilage is hosting a writing competition. Submit your original story (3,000 words or less) in compliance with the following guidelines to spoilageDSM@gmail.com with the subject “Contest.”
PROMPT: Everyone wakes up to discover that all of their screen-printed t-shirts are now blank.
SETTING: Present-day Des Moines
OBLIGATORY CHALLENGE: Include the sentence “How often should one use a colon?”
Entries must be submitted by Feb. 1st. The winning submission will be published in Spoilage’s inaugural issue, and its author will receive a screen-printed Spoilage t-shirt.
Commence writing!

I think writing fiction is scary! At least with a piece for the paper or a magazine, I have a deadline, a line of communication with an editor and the knowledge that even if I have to totally tweak what I originally submitted, I will be published and paid. With fiction there’s so much more rejection and fear of the unknown and it feels more heartrending to create.

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Filed under Books, I love Des Moines

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