Category Archives: Audio Commentary

Writing Contests: Write 55 words

Finish your entry to some writing contests.Did you know that you could win some writing contests with fewer than 100 words? Well, this is one of them. Cobble a short essay or poem together using exactly 55 words (no more, no less) and submit it to Record. The winning entry will win $55.

Keep in mind that the titles don’t count against your word total; hyphenated words count as two words. There is no entry fee and you can submit multiple entries (just be sure to include your name and phone number on each.) You can fax your entry to 209-547-8186 or you can email it to Michael Fitzgerald at

Hurry! You only have until February 7, 2014 to enter. Good luck!

Scroll through this page for the latest information on a variety of writing contests.

About the Story: The Book Critic Dumps His Girlfriend

This story started as a list of all the bad habits a writer can fall into: bad names, static characters, too many details on parts of the story that don’t matter, too much action, stereotypes, etc. After getting a terse rejection email from a publication, I thought about merging the list with the idea of rejection. Whether you are getting rejected from a person or a publication, it stings either way, but you have to move on, right?

Audio commentary: Just (A Morality Tale)

All audio commentary is actually written. Haha.The audio commentary for the story Just includes a brief trip to the past. When I was in college, I took a class on medieval literature and we studied morality plays. At the end of the semester, I re-worked a script of Mankind and we performed it live. (Oh good, Dr. Koster still has a link to the script here.) Working on Mankind was a very different experience for me as a writer — the demons in the play get the audience to participate in a dirty song with them and the audience helps shape the outcome of the play. In today’s performances, such audience participation is frowned upon. But working with that concept – of the audience determining the outcome — made me want to try that in my own writing.

I was also a huge fan of those choose your own adventure books when I was younger, (seriously, who wasn’t?) even though most of the choices I made caused the death of the protagonist. Oh well.

For additional audio commentary on the podcast’s stories, visit us here.

Audio commentary: Afternoons in the Park

If it is audio commentary, then why do I have to read it?Reading audio commentary makes about as much sense as smelling rainbows, but here we go.

Go to any crowded park with lots of playground equipment and inevitably, you’ll hear an adult talk about what type of injury-producing playground equipment they loved when they were children. It’s like all of us who suffered broken wrists from climbing geo-domes or skinned knees from flying off merry-go-rounds or burns from metal slides cooking in the summer sun, grew up to become responsible adults who didn’t want their children harmed. But still, we hold onto the past.

Sometimes we try to hold onto our childhood friends, too, but that doesn’t always work out. This story lives between the two realms of childhood and parenthood.

For additional audio commentary on the podcast’s stories, visit us here.

Audio commentary: Her Mother’s Last Words

All audio commentary is actually written. Haha.Today’s audio commentary is a little personal. You see, I write my son letters. Sometimes it is hard, because I don’t know if he will ever want to read them. Other times, I fear what he will think of me when he does read them. But, I write them anyway, in the hopes he will understand how much I truly love him.

One day, while writing him, I started to wonder what it would be like if these letters were the only interaction he ever had with me and how that would affect him. Boom — story time.

For additional audio commentary on the podcast’s stories, visit us here.