First Chapter Writing Contest
Laughter which cannot be suppressed is catching — Mark Twain
2013 First Chapter Writing Contest–So You Think You Can Make Me Laugh? Ha!
Thanks for the laughs, contestants. A winner has been at long last declared! Kate Baggott. Read her hilarious entry.
Embarrassing Moments from the Art of Husband Hunting
Dating almost killed me. Really, I almost died of embarrassment. Embarrassment for myself and for the men involved.
Marco was thirty-five, but still lived at home with his parents. That was not too unusual. I knew a lot of people who’d had to move home to pay off student loans or credit card bills. The difference was that Marco had never lived alone, not even for university. He had never cooked a meal or done a load of laundry. I am not even sure he’d ever been out past midnight. While we shared a drink and a game of pool, his cell phone rang every ten minutes and every time he answered, he had to lie.
“Look, Mom, I’m just playing some pool with Jimmy and Paul. I’ll be home late, just go to bed, OK?” he said.
There are things you should never have to hear a man say. I asked him to walk me home after that.
Marco stood in front of my house and looked and looked.
“So, you live here with a bunch of friends?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“And who takes care of everything?” he asked. “Like who cleans and stuff?”
“Well, we take turns, in theory,” I told him, “but we’re pretty relaxed about that stuff.”
“Amazing,” he said.
I could tell he wanted to be invited in to look around, but I didn’t ask. I was afraid he’d figure out all the freedoms of independent life while standing in our kitchen and never ever leave.
So I went on a blind date with Patrick. I met him over the Internet, but I knew his type. He was a band boyfriend who wrote for a music trade magazine. He knew exactly what kind of guitar strings every bass player in the city used. He asked musicians for quotes about tuning forks and snares. They asked him to carry amplifiers out to the van and he did. Patrick planned his life around shows he would see. He’d learned all about women from listening to ballads. He insisted on constant eye contact and spoke of “yearning” and old-fashioned things. I fell right in and, if there’s anything worse than falling in a trap, it’s falling into the oldest trap in the world.
One evening during our acquaintance, Patrick explained that because he spent so much time around men in bands who were so much more talented, more confident and just sexier than himself, he was rather inexperienced with women for a man of his age. He had never, for example, experienced a blow job.
While I am not immune to feeling pity, especially pity accompanied by a nice ballad, the limits of my generosity were – thankfully – to remain untested.
The whole matter was resolved during a little kissing and heavy petting and didn’t have to go any further. It was the longest 19 minutes of my life. In my mind, our acquaintance was over, but he still dumped me by email the next day to make certain I felt badly. He just didn’t have time to fit in a relationship between shows.
“I am sorry,” he wrote, “but I knew it was always going to be about the music for me.”
In between, another man I met over the Internet offered me $30,000 to marry his cousin for immigration purposes. The marriage had to last three years, but we didn’t have to live together, or even see each other outside appointments with the department of immigration. It seemed an embarrassingly small amount of money for so much trouble.
Simon actually had a real job and listened to every word I said.
“You are probably the most interesting person I have ever met,” he said, which was exactly what I had always wanted to hear a man say.
Simon and I got to the third date stage and, knowing what these milestones demand, I invited him to dinner. I asked him to sit in the kitchen so he could watch me cook like a good wife. I put candles on the table and he seemed to enjoy the “Marina Makes an Omelette While Wearing an Apron Show.”
He enjoyed it until my roommate’s cat, who had been locked in the bathroom, escaped and came in to the kitchen with a present.
“Oh, look!” Simon said. “The little kitty’s caught a mouse.”
“A mouse?” I asked. I was confused. The little kitty had never done anything useful before.
Not even the cutest apron in the world could make it possible to recover my nice little wife act after the cat dropped a used tampon into Simon’s lap.
I burnt the omelette, Simon lost his appetite and the cat hid under the couch for the rest of the evening.
I followed Simon outside to say good-bye on the porch, but lives-at-home Marco was standing on the sidewalk outside my house with people I can only assume were his friends Jimmy and Paul.
“She lives there with a bunch of friends,” Marco was explaining.
“So who takes care of everything?” Jimmy or Paul asked.“Like who cleans and stuff?”
“They take turns,” Marco told them, “but they’re pretty relaxed about that kind of thing.”
“Amazing,”Paul or Jimmy said.
Contest Benefits: I will provide a short critique for all submissions highlighting the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is a HUGE benefit of entering my contest. We writers crave feedback. Feedback makes us better. I am working on finishing ALL the entry critiques… You should receive yours by the middle of August. If you don’t, send me an email please!!
Prize: The winner will receive a $25 gift card to Amazon. But wait there’s more! As the champion, your winning story, your picture, and a little blurb about YOU will be featured on my website. And I’ll talk about you in social media land.
What to submit: Your funny first chapter. True or not true or a mixture of both, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s funny. I will have a funny meter and you will receive a score as part of your critique.
What not to submit (Big No-No’s): Prose of a nasty, evil, mean-spirited, or pornographic/graphic nature.
Word Count: 1000 word max meaning do NOT exceed 1000 words.
Two Kinds of Entry formats accepted: 1. I’ll accept a video clip if you think an oral delivery will enhance the comedic nature of your work. Big risk, big potential pay-off IF YOU NAIL IT. If you don’t . . . well let’s just say you want the right kind of laughter.
2. I’ll accept your written entry as part in the body of an e-mail only. I WILL NOT OPEN attachments. Repeat after me. Terri will not open attachments.
E-mail all submissions of 1000 words or less to: email@example.com
Don’t forget to include a title, your name, and your e-mail address so I can send you your critique and let you know if you’re the big winner.
Need some humor help? Well, you’ve come to the right blog. PERUSE my past postings for help. Try First Chapters are like First Dates. See post.
Ready. Set. Go! Let the funny begin!