Where I Enter a Short Story Writing Challenge

A couple months ago, I saw an advertisement for a writing contest by NYCMidnightThe Flash Fiction Challenge. It cost a little money to enter, but winners receive prizes (first place receives $5,000!).

Like the impulse buyer I am, I immediately signed up. Who can resist a writing challenge? But I promptly had buyers remorse. I’ll never win. What was I thinking? And then I proceeded to forget about all it.

Until two days ago.


This weekend is Round 1 of the challenge. Each entrant has 48-hours to write and submit a 1000 word story.

The catch?

You’re assigned a genre (out of 17 possible ones), location (the bulk of the story has to occur here), and object (the object has to physically appear in the story).

My assignment:

  • thriller (not my genre)
  • A safe house (well that makes sense with the assigned genre)
  • A fishing lure (what?)

Oddly enough, despite that thriller is not my genre and the random fishing lure object m, a beginning and ending immediately popped into my head. I ruminated on it most of Saturday morning. I thought it was too easy. But it kept swirling around my head taunting me.

I almost let my procrastination get the best of me, as it often does. I almost let my self-doubt get the best of me. But I couldn’t go to sleep last night until I got this story out of my head and onto paper. (Or rather virtual paper since the stories have to be submitted electronically.)

The story flowed onto the page. The main problem—being constrained to 1000 words. So I edited, cut, reworded, reworked. And to my surprise, it’s mostly done.

my soon-to-be-submitted story

I even have a title, which also just came to me. This was about the easiest writing I’ve ever done, which, of course, is making me paranoid. I toil over my writing. I agonize over words. I sweat. I bleed.

But this time, it was almost too easy. The story just poured out of me. And now all I have to do is a final read-through and word count check, write a 1-2 sentence synopsis, and submit it before midnight EDT.

That’s it!

The top 15 stories in each genre group receive points (15 pts for first, 14 for second, 13 for third, etc.). The second round will be in September. (There are 3,500+ people signed-up, so it takes a while to read & judge all those stories.)

Everyone does the first two challenges in Round 1. Only the top 5 writers in each group, based on total points from both challenges of Round 1, go on to Round 2. Then the top 3 writers of each group go on to Round 3.

I expect competition to be fierce. But I’m having fun and using this challenge as good writing practice. A 1000-word story has to be tight, concise. An excellent exercise.

So stay tuned.

I may publish my Round 1 story here (after I submit it and the submissions are closed.) And I’ll definitely post an update on my progress in the upcoming round(s).

2 thoughts on “Where I Enter a Short Story Writing Challenge

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