Special/Signature Issues » Unique Specimens

The Objects

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For the second year, we gathered objects from the Valentine Richmond History Center's collection to present as writing prompts. All stories were required to use at least one of the 11 objects -- an assortment of toys, guns, hats and looking-at devices -- in the narrative. (These inspirational pieces are on display at the Valentine; check them out at our Fiction Party May 20.) Here's how many stories featured each item.

Waldo McLaflin Evening Shoes (c. 1928): 18

Movin' Groovin' Velvet Doll (Ideal 1971): 12

Pepperbox Revolver (c. 1835) or E. Lefaucheux Revolver (Paris, France, c.1863): 11

Monogrammed Straight Razor (c. 1900): 11

Sarah Sue Woman's Hat (Miller & Rhoads, c.1963): 7

Military Dress Uniform Hat from WWII (1939-1945): 6

Deluxe Roller Derby Skateboard (c. 1975): 6

Opera Glasses, Premiere Paris (1890s): 6

The Bible in Miniature (W. Harris, publisher, London, 1775): 6

Baby Brownie Special Camera (Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, N.Y.): 5

Multiple Items Within a Single Story: 20

Rejection of Use of Any Discernable Object: 53(!) Which tells us either that our rules are too obscure, or that many people cannot find inspiration in a tiny, tiny Bible.

Total: 161 stories

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