Stranger Things Have Happened

Reading time: 4 minutes

Under the category of Stranger Things Have Happened – I mean that literally in this case because, look above – someone (okay, John Frain) just won a writing contest. pufferfish  n poison


Theme: Transformation. 800 words max. Bribing the judges with alcohol, while not condoned, was never expressly prohibited in the rules. Hence, my kind of contest.

For followers of this blog, I took one of my six-sentence stories from the April Blogging Challenge and exploded it into a fuller short story. Which, no surprise to anyone who writes, made it 1288 words and far too long for an 800-word story. Out came the red pen to lop off fully one-third of the story. Result: A much tighter narrative that jumped quicker into the story and lost my favorite line. So I followed William Faulkner’s alleged advice that “in writing, you must kill all your darlings.”

I can’t post it here yet, but I can do the next best thing:

12 thoughts on “Stranger Things Have Happened

    1. Haha! Nice one. You know when you usually type LOL, but it’s just an expression? Nope. I laughed. Out loud.

      Alas, I did not win my own manuscript. Too bad, the guy who runs this contest probably would’ve whipped into shape for me.

      Elise, leave a clearly marked path as you travel down your new story. I think I may be following in your footsteps soon enough, although I’m about to wrap up editing my ms and then sticking it in a drawer for a few weeks before resubmission. During those weeks, I plan to outline the new piece. So leave room on your path. And your flattery? Well, just keep that going, we’ll have more of that, thank you!


    1. Are you kidding me? Those good folks will be honored that a future NYTBSA (New York Times Best Selling Author for the uninitiated) visited their site, much less babbled there.

      Donna’s too modest to mention here that The Education of Dixie Dupree is coming this fall from Kensington, but we’ll invite her back at the end of summer to share the news. I won’t mention to anyone here how evil you are, Donna, so no need to worry about that secret getting out.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Moi? Modest? You should see me dance. Course it takes a beer – or two. Or a shot – or two. Then, watch out. And I mean, watch out for your feet. Or head. Depends on the tune. 😉

        I love my evil side. Bwa. Ha. Ha. Ha.


    1. Thank you, Angie. You’re probably sick of my writing by now! I appreciate that the writing is tight, and it’s an easy explanation. The story was more than 1200 words and I had to cut it back to 800. That cuts ALL the fat, and even a little meat. I’m gonna have to mention “art” or “France” or some such in homage to you during today’s contest at the Reef.


  1. As soon as I read “Columbo-esque” in the description, I knew which story this was based on. Congratulations, John! And all the best with that legendary manuscript of yours. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Spot on, Colin. You nailed it, I’m sure. I discovered that Columbo (what did it last, something like only two seasons) is now on Netflix. So I’m in a quandary. I swore off TV, but I’d love to see all the Columbo episodes. Maybe that’ll be my reward for FINALLY resubmitting my ms. Oh my gosh, NervesNervesNerves.


      1. There were actually sort-of 11 seasons of Columbo, plus some specials. However, each season had only six, seven, or eight episodes. The later ones even fewer. If you want to tempt yourself, check out:

        That would be a nice reward for resubmitting your ms. Or, depending on your budget, a nice accompaniment to the champagne when you land an agent. WHEN, you hear! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. 11 seasons? Are you kidding me? Wow, I was way off. I bet there’s a TON of episodes I haven’t seen yet. Yes, that’ll be my reward following resubmission. At least, that way, I’ll get one reward!


  2. Awesome story that I did recognize from April. But —

    >>Result: A much tighter narrative that jumped quicker into the story and lost my favorite line. So I followed William Faulkner’s alleged advice that “in writing, you must kill all your darlings.”

    Cough up that deleted line!


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