Recipe for Pain

  1. Contract a minor cold, of the kind that you barely notice, except that it makes you cough at the least provocation, e.g., whenever you laugh it starts a coughing fit that takes a minute or so to stop.

  2. Take the puppy out for a romp in the snow, slip, fall, and catch yourself in a way that strains some of your rib muscles, so that they're sore and sensitive to sudden movement, such as coughing.

  3. Decide to enter the Lyttle Lytton Contest again this year.

  4. While working on your entry, be sure to do your research by reading through all the past winners, in order to compile a nice little ranked list of features that the winning entries tend to have.