Saturday, September 18, 2010


36 hours. That's how long they give you to find four prompts via a scavenger hunt through the beautiful city of Portland (sigh--I heart P-town, yo), and then write a story using all of the prompts. Easy peasy, right? Not so much.

First of all, I may love Portland, but I am HORE-EE-BL at scavenger hunts. I totally got stuck on the clue to the third prompt and almost gave up! But thanks to the blessings of Powell's Book Store (I will never reveal exactly what I mean here), I finally figured out the location of the third prompt. I'm not quite positive, but I may have been the last person to get there. Most likely, you'll read the clue and think I'm missing brain cells, which I may be, but still.

Clue to Third Prompt
Sledgehammer Contest 2010:

"They say that little girls are made of particular things;
They say little boys are, too.
But what about people who play Sledgehammer--
What about you and you and you?

This week's rain reminds you of that Evening in Missoula...
It shouldn't be raining here in Portland, yet.
Start in on your indoor projects: Darn your socks with
Organic Silver Needles, over an Irish Breakfast. Restring
your grandma's old necklace with fragrant Dragon Pearls.

Living in our fair city, you must believe in the Magic of Roses,
And we bet this present turn of season makes you positively
Organic Avongrove Autumnal Flush."

Say what?!?! Exactly.

Any-h0o. I finally found all four prompts and then rewarded my self with shopping at Powell's (yay me!) and awesome pizza! Did I tell you that I heart Portland?

Second of all, oh yes there's more, I've only written like, three short stories in my entire life. (That's because I spend so much time writing my novels. Don't fret, I'm working on rectifying the lack of short story file) My main objective was to create a story about compassion. Hmm. What to write about, indeed. Think, think, think. I came up with my idea when I could think no longer. And then I wrote around the prompts:

Prop: Sunscreen
Dialogue: "What you need is a nice..."
Character: Delivery Person
Action: Climbing a Tree

I wrote and wrote and wrote and edited and cut and slashed.

My second objective was to write it lean, meaning, no unnecessary words and zero passive writing. Hopefully, I accomplished at least some of that. I finished Sunday morning around 3 am. Sunday was a day full of grocery shopping, house cleaning, napping, re-reading and figuring out how to burn the story to a disc. Yes, I'm that lame.

I arrived at the drop-off location around 9:30 pm. The warm summer air felt wonderful. The city streets still held mega amounts of people, and music echoed off the buildings. I love Portland. I wore my sweats as I had been writing and cleaning and doing no-work-day-stuff all day and it was Sunday and I wear sweats most of the time because I'm into comfort like that. A giant pimple graced the center of my face because I'm cursed that way. My hair looked like Medusa's when she has visitors.

When they opened the doors to the covert-story-drop building, a man with a camera snapped photos non-stop. I probably didn't smile.

The end result of my story, HUMAN, along with fifteen other stories can be found here:

2010 Sledgehammer 36-Hour Writing Contest Entries

Check them out and vote for your favorite three!

Two days after the deadline, the contestants gathered at Black Bird Wine and Atomic Cheese to read 5 minute excerpts of their stories and drink wine. It was rad!

Here are some photos that I took along my journey. Note, I am in none of them.

The journey started here:

Lovely Buildings

(Because we're green like that here in the Northwest)

(I totally want this chandelier. Can you even see it?)




I had a blast and am looking forward to next year. You should join me!

Peace out!


  1. Sounds like a blast! Wish I could have joined in the fun. Alas, I was doing ghost tours and learning the new job. But, hmm, some great ideas here for scavenger hunt games... I like the mix of scavenger hunting and writing. Right up my alley! Maybe next year.

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Gary! I know you would have had a blast participating. Yes, there is always next year:)