Also, it takes place in a nuclear power plant


So the great thing about the NYCMidnight competition series, I’ve decided, is also the worst thing.  It’s ridiculous.  So you end up writing something that will never be used because it’s so weirdly specific and so completely unlike anything you would ever write on your own.  But at the same time you’re compelled to come up with an idea for something as weird as “fairy tale / nuclear power plant / fishing hook,” and how can that not be interesting?

We use the creative side of our brain too little, I think.  One of the reasons I love studying other languages is that it engages a part of my brain that I don’t think I exercise too much.  So even though I kept thinking “This is complete madness” as I was brainstorming ideas this weekend, I liked that it was pushing my brain into weird areas.

I have no idea what to make of the end result.  It’s a radioactive uranium fish, a group of other fish who talk like Italian mobsters, and it’s a romance.   And when would I have ever thought of writing something like that?

About the author

Tom Howard

Tom Howard is the author of Fierce Pretty Things (Indiana University Press, 2019).

He received his MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Fierce Pretty Things won the 2018 Blue Light Books Fiction Prize, and his individual stories have won the Ninth Letter Literary Award in Fiction, the Indiana Review Fiction Prize, the Robert and Adele Schiff Award for Fiction, the Carve Magazine Prose & Poetry Contest, the Tobias Wolff Award in Fiction, the Innovative Short Fiction Prize, the Willow Springs Ficiton Prize, the Rash Award in Fiction, and the Robert J. DeMott Award for Short Prose.

He lives with his wife in Arlington, Virginia.

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By Tom Howard


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