BOB GARFIELD: So now the moment nearly a thousand listeners have been waiting for - I say a thousand because between our email and our website that's about how many participated in our Write a Novel in 12 Words or Less Contest. Among the contestants, three high school English classes in Grand Rapids Michigan, Bradford, Vermont and New York City.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: We noticed some trends. There are a fair number of poets and punsters among you, and a lot of you seemed to be inclined toward despair and death. I don't know if we attract that sentiment or cause it. And some of you went meta, making the game about the game.
For instance, Bruce Minturn of Seattle wrote, "Six words into his first novel, Sam's lonely wife murdered him." BOB GARFIELD: In any case, we did try to set some rules for judging. For instance, we thought the winners ought to have characters and plot, but - BROOKE GLADSTONE: [LAUGHS] BOB GARFIELD: - we hold no sway over OTM producers who made the final selection. So what you will hear are the most intriguing or satisfying entries chosen by the names you hear at the end of the show. Our top twelve 12-word novels. MAN: "She hated Ohio. She ran away. She loved the dead jazz musician." By Rudy Jaimes. WOMAN: "Living Abroad," by Marcia Veach. "This is China! This is China? This - is China." MAN: "I see now that I have taken lighthouses for granted." By April Kuiper, Grand Rapids, Michigan. WOMAN: "My sister had written Father's obituary. He is survived by one daughter." By Brenda J. Wolfe. MAN: "His enormous lottery winnings enabled him to create his own private hell." By Pamela Roeller, Litchfield Park, Arizona. WOMAN: "Louise's love of poodles was overshadowed only by her love of barbecue." By Mark Weaver, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. MAN: "Obituary. First five words free, she thought. Charles dead. Yacht for sale." Angela Stucker, Brooklyn, New York. WOMAN: "In the end, they barely reached Buffalo before finding themselves devastatingly incompatible." By Carol Braun, Garfield Heights, Ohio. MAN: "'There are no atheists in foxholes,' said the chaplain, 'so get out.'" Jonathan Swiller, Highland Mills, New York. WOMAN: "Well, I warned her. Chickens do not like to ride in cars." By Jeanine Farrell, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. MAN: "Got Grandpa's FBI file. Curiosity sated, Pop's backstory regains renewed luster." By Michael Ravnitzky, Silver Spring, Maryland. WOMAN: "Twelve-word novel win changes life. Fame, drugs, adultery, sorrow, tears, blood." By David Hill, New York, New York. BROOKE GLADSTONE: Honestly, we never received so wide a response to anything we've done before. Now that we're aware of the wellsprings of creativity among our listeners, I've got to ask, will one of you guys design our tee-shirt? BOB GARFIELD: She's actually serious. She wants you to design our tee-shirt.