One sentence stories: A dictatorial fiat

I’ve decided not to wait for some kind of popular vote method of determining which of the one sentence stories should get the $50 prize that I offered. Instead, I am going to award it by dictatorial fiat to Carrie Cuinn for her lovely (and long!) tale “Inevitable”. (Click the link to read it if you haven’t yet.)

As Jake Kerr mentioned on Twitter, Carrie’s story is not only well-written and affecting, but the one-sentence structure feels like an organic part of the narrator’s emotional state. All the one-sentence stories I’ve seen so far are amazing — but this one is some kind of ideal. So kudos to Carrie!

You can read all the one-sentence stories here. I believe there are 17 so far, written by 14 different writers. (Ken Liu and Damien Walters Grintalis also participated, but being the sensible writers they are, they chose not to share their stories publicly.)

An even better announcement!
Moving on to another announcement I’m even more excited about… Several folks who participated in the challenge (primarily Alex Shvartsman and Anatoly Belilovsky) have convinced me to publish an anthology of one-sentence stories.

This will be a simple affair — nothing fancy. But I’m hoping to sign up everybody who participated in the original challenge. (Whether they want to contribute the story they’ve already written or a new one is up to them.) I’ll be paying a small amount for the stories — only $10 each, but it’s something at least.

The book will be published as a free PDF, so this isn’t about making money. It’s about making a more lasting artifact to commemorate some of the joyful ephemera that bubbles up from Twitter from time to time. Graphic designer and artist Katie Sekelsky (who is also my fiancee) was excited enough about the idea to agree to design the book at a reduced rate. (You can see another book she designed here.)

Because of other commitments, I don’t expect the book to be published until the end of the year, which means the writers will have until September or so to revise or write a story.

No one except Carrie and Alex have officially signed up to be a part of this yet, but I’m hopeful that others will join up too. Once the original #1ss alumni have had a chance to join in, I will probably open for a few additional submissions as well. (I don’t have an unlimited budget, but I can probably afford 20 – 25 stories.) If I do, it’ll probably happen much the same way the original challenge did — on Twitter and without warning.

If you wrote a one sentence story that’s listed in this post, I’ll be reaching out to you in the next week or so to find out if you’re interested. (You can also drop me a line to say YES PLEASE or NO THANKS if you don’t want to wait.) If you wrote a one sentence story that’s NOT in that list, please let me know!


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8 Responses to One sentence stories: A dictatorial fiat


  • You can definitely have any (or all) of my 3 #1ss stories for the book, and if you insist on paying $10 I would prefer that it go to a worthy cause (Critters.org, duotrope.com, and escapeartists.net come to mind).

    And congratulations, Carrie Quinn! Woot!


  • Congrats to Carrie! Hers was among my favorites and, to be honest, I’m glad I no longer have to try to decide which of my favorites was my favorite-favorite.

    You’re welcome to include my story “Great-Uncle’s Visit” in a collection of the nature you described above.

  • S.R. Mastrantone says:

    Well done Carrie! You are also welcome to use my story, Matthew. Will drop you a line to confirm.

    From small acorns, eh!

  • Pingback: An Anthology of One Sentence Stories « Alex Shvartsman's Speculative Fiction

  • Gregg Chamberlain says:

    I sort of found this out by way of Alex Shvartsman’s own blogsite by way of Ralan.com while checking the anthologies section.

    I did not take part in the original one-sentence friendly competition but I would like to toss in my loony or toony’s worth for this anthology if there is a particular submission window for outsiders that you have in mind. Have got an idea for a one-line story to pursue in those odd moments just to see where I end up with the period.

    Ta-merci for your time.

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