Got 3 Minutes?

Really, what can you do in 3 minutes? Brush you teeth? Check Face Book? Put in a load of laundry? Or… The 4th Round of ALL THINGS CONSIDERED NPR’s 3 Minute Fiction Contest is closed. The challenge this round was for writers to send original works of fiction that could be read in three minutes or less and to incorporate 4 words into their stories: button, plant, trick, and fly—used in any form.

With the help of 1st readers from the Iowa Writer’s Project, Ann Pachett, author of the novels "Bel Canto" and "Run,” is judging the more than 3800 entries. While the reading/judging is underway, Ann tantalizes listeners with “interesting snippets” from entries each week on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. During, Sunday’s chat with host Guy Raz, Patchett noted that she is “pleasantly surprised” by the entries, “stories have a good shape, something happens in them…” Imagine all that in around 600 words!

Notable Round 4 entries are posted on the website:, along with finalist and winners from the 3 previous rounds of the 3 Minute Fiction Contest.

3rd Round: Writers submitted original works of fiction inspired by this photograph.

2nd Round: Submissions were original works of fiction that begin with this sentence: "The nurse left work at five o'clock."

1st Round: Submission rules were simplest: original works of fiction that could be read in three minutes or less.

Have 3 unscheduled minutes? Read some short fiction. You’ll be surprised, impressed and inspired!