A few good words

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

We’re doing it again. The summer short fiction issue. Now, for those of you who are new to the RN&R since last year, here’s the deal: We give you a set number of words (this year, up to 95 words), and you make up a story, which you e-mail to us here at renofiction@newsreview.com or mail to 95-word short fiction, c/o Reno News & Review, 708 N. Center St., Reno, NV 89501. We, the editorial staff, pick a couple dozen of our favorites, and we publish them in the newspaper.

Every year, a few questions arise, and here are the answers: Contractions count as one word. Headlines count in the overall word count. You can write less than 95 words. You can submit as often as you like. You can submit poetry, but it’s got to tell a story if you want to be considered for publication.

You get to choose the topic. Yeah, some common threads seem to arise. This year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some people writing about the war in Iraq, the presidential election, the loss of love, the anticipation of love, spirituality, sudden endings, happy endings, suddenly happy endings.

If you find yourself with a bit of writer’s block, you can check out our Web site to see the stories that won last year. If you’ll search around our Web site, you can also find the stories from years past.

I’ll also tell you that we, the judges, tend to go for humorous stories, but not stories that are basically a build-up to a punch line. That’s about all there is to know, except that every year we are floored by the quality and the sheer volume of responses.

Oh, yeah, deadline is July 16. If there’s a question about the postmark, e-mail the danged thing.

Reason to vote No. 34: Elected officials make the laws that police enforce. Your vote may elect someone who gives police the tools to fight crime and boundaries to protect civil liberties.