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The Contestants and Judges Discuss the Three Minute Fiction Slam

on Wed, 03/08/2017 - 23:09

On Thursday, February 23rd at 7:30pm in SNHU’s Walker Auditorium, the New Hampshire Writers’ Project co-hosted the Three Minute Fiction Slam with the SNHU Creative Writing Club. With three minutes on the clock, the contestants brought a piece of themselves to the stage that resonated within the judges and the audience.

In order to stay within the three minute time constraint, the contestants had to focus their stories so that only the biggest details were included. This, of course, can pose a challenge. Elaine Isaak, one of the three judges of the event, explained that the time is actually what makes it as captivating as it is. Elaine explained that “Susan’s story was so complete and gripping that it was irresistible, but there are often others that are just never in contention.” Susan P. Thomas, winner of the Three Minute Fiction Slam, also commented on the timing of the pieces. She “appreciated gathering with other writers who were challenging themselves to tell a story in such a constrained period of time.”

The techniques for preparing for the Three Minute Fiction Slam varied. Susan was very conscious of the time limit, especially because she had gone over it in the past. She had to continuously cut her story in order to cut down on her time. This “resulted in a crisper piece, with shorter sentences and faster movement.” Katy Hamilton, second place winner of the Three Minute Fiction Slam, explained that she “used rubber bands to attach [her] phone to a floor lamp and recorded [herself] and edited the heck out of [her] piece.” Because of this, she felt she was allowed to be “ruthless” because of how freeing the time limit was. Wendy Jenson reflected that reading her piece aloud also helped her with her writing, such as “the rhythm and cadence of the piece, and how [her] own narrative voice could both provide emphasis and direct word choices in order to deliver the experience of the story more exactly.”

When discussing the setting of the event, Judge Elizabeth Atkinson recalled that Walker Auditorium was “very comfortable and worked well” and that, as a first time judge, she really enjoyed the experience. Others, like Wendy Jensen, found the event to be very eye-opening. When listening to the judges’ responses, she found that their reactions “gave a direct window into the reader’s experience” and that the feedback was “much more immediate and heart-felt than an editor’s dry remarks might be.” The genuine suspense was a response that Katy Hamilton enjoyed. Given that she finished right at the three minute mark, “the audience actually gasped at the sound of the timer” and she loved “watching an audience engage with [her] piece in real time.”

Congratulations again to Susan P. Thomas, Katy Hamilton, and Curtis Graham for being the winners of the Three Minute Fiction Slam! Thank you to Rob Greene, Elaine Isaak, and Elizabeth Atkinson, our three wonderful judges!

Susan will be advancing to the state finals TOMORROW NIGHT (3/9) at 7pm at the NH Institute of Art! Come out and support her!