Concise Prose. Enough Said.
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The Missing Pages Contest

In which competitors were asked to compose a section that was lost or cut from a famous work of literature...


First Place
The Lost Book of The Iliad: Hektor Rallies the Troops
By Emma Smith-Stevens

Second Place
Lucifer Press - An entry missing from Writer's Market
By Michael Bartleby

Third Place
An early draft of Emily Dickinson's Chartless
By Kiko Sato

First Place: The Lost Book of the Iliad: Hector Rallies the Troops

By Emma Smith-Stevens

...And when the sky grew dim and both sides did lay to rest, Hector rallied his troops from their slumber and spoke unto them in a most grave tone: “Like lions in search of a lamb in order that they might shed her blood senselessly thus reddening her snow white coat, the Achaeans will stop at nothing to mar our freedom.  Like the great circle eyes of an owl that is not wise, their eyes are unwise.  In the spirit of the gods that favor them, the Achaeans are mean and stupid.  We all know that our gods are better.”

Cheers erupted in great waves from the legions of the god-beloved army, yet were silenced in a short time by the unsheathing of Hector’s sword.  He waved it wildly in the air and the moon-light glistened along its noble blade.  Then he waved it some more.  When he had been waving the sword for several minutes the men, once silenced by the awesome power of such a tool, began to grow restless, yet Hector himself was entranced.

“Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar,” said an Achaean.

“Sure.  Sometimes,” said another.  The laughter of the indolent two rose to the ears of Hector, who started and composed himself. 

“Is something funny my high-hearted friends of Troy?  Must I make an example of your vanity, you who are undoubtedly laughing at your own joke?  Are you not moved to terror by the tactics of our opponent?”  Hector took his stand by the sides of the two jokers, demanding that they prove their love for the principle of freedom, and when they could not bring such proof in a short interval, they were liberated by the shinning sword of Hector, already bloodied from the day’s combat.

“Anyone else have something to say?”

No man among the Achaean. forces did step forward, but the man-beast Hector stood yet, held fast to the place upon which his feet had anchored themselves to the Earth by conviction and pride.  “Anyone?”

The silence was that which knows it’s twin in the absence of noise.  Had one adjusted their armor in such a way as to free a path for the ear to meet with all sounds, one’s armor would have been so maneuvered in vain.  To reference the aforementioned lambs, the tone audible to the crowd was that of their silence after being senselessly killed.  Satisfied, Hector did apply to his face a haughty smirk before moseying into his tent and calling it a night.


Emma Smith-Stevens is 23 and a student of sociology and philosophy.  She lives in the Hudson Valley in New York state.  She has worked as a waitress, a gift-wrapper and, briefly, as a collections officer, which is not a job she recommends. She has never been to Iceland.

Emma's story The Bodega At The End Of The Earth recently was published in VerbSap.

Second Place: Lucifer Press - An entry missing from Writer's Market

By Michael Bartleby

Lucifer Press, Inc. 666 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010. Publishes general interest fiction and nonfiction. Receives 750,000 manuscripts/year. Publishes four titles/year. More than 60% of the books we publish are from first-time authors; fewer than 10% are from agented writers. Ha, ha. Just kidding. We only deal with agents, who only deal with previously-published authors, although every so often we'll pay a $2 million advance for the english translation of the first novel by a self-taught 15-year-old raised by wolves, because he has a fresh voice and it makes our 'B' list authors work harder. Query with outline, first six chapters, final chapter, SASE, and $150 to defray reading costs. No simultaneous submissions, please.

Fiction genres considered : Literary fiction, Women’s Literature, Chick-lit, Romance, Historical fiction, Mysterious Historical Women’s Literature, Romantic Historical Mysteries, Hip Lit, Lit Rom, Rom Lit Fic, and Psychological suspense thrillers a la Da Vinci Code.

Recent Fiction Titles Published: How I Lost My Job And My Boyfriend But Then Stumbled Into Another Job That Pays Even More And Found A Man Who’s Rich But Doesn’t Act It And Who Appreciates A Plus-Size Woman For Her Intellect and Humor Plus He Fucks Like A Weasel

Nonfiction genres considered : Self-Help, How-To, Psychology, Inspiration, Inspirational Self-Help, Helping Your Self to Inspire Yourself, Particle Physics.

Recent Nonfiction Titles : French Women Don’t Weigh Themselves; Nuclear Science For Idiots; How To Fuck Like A Weasel And Lose Weight Doing It.


Michael Bartleby has a manuscript touring the slush piles of Manhattan and is hard at work on his next book, a romantic literary thriller about women who shop to stay fit and the men who love them. He swears that success would not change him.

Third Place: An early draft of Emily Dickinson's Chartless

By Kiko Sato

I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
I can't go out and take a look,
I threw away the key.

I never leave my room,
Nor visit friends for tea.
It's not that I'm a lunatic;
Paparazzi follow me.

The net would be a boon,
I'd download books for free,

And I'd know how heather looks,
And what a wave must be.

I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet with Mapquest I would know the spot
As if the chart were given.


Kiko Sato is a student with too much time on her hands. Her last work for VerbSap was Tipping.

Editor: Here's Dickinson's final version of Chartless .

Photos courtesy of of

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