A few months ago, my best friend emailed me a link to a flash-fiction challenge due to start this July.
NYC Midnight is an online platform that inspires writers all over the world by offering creative contests targeted to improve a writer’s skills and imagination. They host competitions for flash fiction, short stories, screenwriting, and short screenplays. The contests are structured round-robin style, where entrants are grouped together and given an assignment, then the top performers from each group move on to the next round–rinse, repeat. Timelines are tight; the flash-fiction challenge gives writers only 48 hours to write and submit their stories which are required to be no more than 1000 words. Writers are given a genre, location, and an object; these elements form the prompt for each challenge.
I was intrigued. I REALLY wanted to do this. But one of the weekends on the schedule just happens to be the weekend I’m getting married. Impossible, I thought. But I must admit, I kept thinking about it since the day I saw that first email and read the winning stories. I’ve been writing more and more in recent months, and in that regard the timing seemed appropriate.
Yesterday, she re-sent the email to remind me that the deadline for registration was today. It was now or never (or at least not until 2019) if I wanted to take the plunge. Of course I signed up. Maybe I’m crazy. When will I find the time to participate? And more importantly, the time to write my best stories? Winning stories? Well, it doesn’t matter really because what’s done is done–the entry fee is paid and I’m ready for my first assigment. And even better, my friend has signed up also!
One of the best parts of the contest is that you receive feedback from the judges on every submission. Each writer gets at least two story challenges before they start cuts, so that is two opportunities for an outside critique. That in itself should make the challenge worthwhile. I don’t have the highest expectations, honestly, because some of those winning stories were pretty fantastic and intimidating. But. I do know that regardless of the outcome, it will make me better. And getting to embark on this adventure with my best friend is the cherry on top. We are both curious to see which genres we get assigned–my luck, I’ll get something like: Genre: romantic comedy. Location: Antarctica. Object: A paperclip. But that’s part of the fun of it; I’m looking forward to embracing the random.
So here’s to the experience, come what may. Check back here for updates, my thoughts on the challenges, and the stories I’ve submitted.
For more on this contest and to read past winning entries, check out their website at NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge