Short Story Competition

A few years ago, I participated in the NYCMidnight Flash Fiction Competition. I made it to round 2, which I felt pretty good about. But then I let the competition slide.

This year, I decided to try it again except I opted to give the Short Story Competition a go.

Like the Flash Fiction Competition, NYCMidnight’s Short Story Competition is open to writers everywhere and has 4 rounds. But unlike the Flash Fiction Competition, you get more words and a bit more time to complete the story.

In Round 1, writers are placed randomly in groups and are assigned a genre, subject, and character assignment and have 8 days to write an original story no longer than 2,500 words. Judges choose the top 5 in each group to advance to the next round. But every writer is given feedback from the judges, which is helpful.

Round 2 gives writers new assignments but only 3 days to write a short story no longer than 2,000 words. The judges again choose a top 5 in each group to advance. Round 3 is another new assignment with only 2 days to write a short story no longer than 1,500 words. This time, the judges select the finalists.

In the final round, writers are challenged to write a story no longer than 1,250 words in just 24 hours. The top ten winners each receive a cash prize.

The genres can be one of 17 (action/adventure, comedy, crime caper, drama, fairy tale, fantasy, ghost story, historical fiction, horror, mystery, political satire, romance, romantic comedy, sci-fi, spy, suspense, and thriller. The subject and character assignment are also random.

In some ways, having more time and a higher word count, at least in the first round, will make it easier. But in other ways, it may make it harder. I’ll have more time to doubt myself. I’ll also have more time to procrastinate.

What I aim to do is get the first draft written within the first 24 hours, so I have a couple of days to sit and ruminate on it. Then go back and edit it. Of course, this strategy will only work for the first round. Then again . . . who knows if I’ll make it past round 1.

Some will depend on the assignment as I’m more comfortable with some genres than others. Some will depend on if I can get out of my own way and write.

Honestly, I will be happy to just make it to round 2.

Of course, I won’t find out how I do until April. This is a long challenge. Mostly because it will take the judges a while to read every entry and rank them.

Here’s the time table:

  • Round 1 – January 20-28 (assignments will be sent at midnight tonight)
  • Results for Round 1 – April 11
  • Round 2 – April 13-16
  • Results for Round 2 – May 31
  • Round 3 – June 2-4
  • Results for Round 3 – July 12
  • Round 4 – July 14-15
  • Finalists announced – August 24

Stay tuned to get updates on my progress. And I might, just maybe, even consider posting my first round story.


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