I chalk it all up to peer pressure. The good kind, though. The kind that stretches you and makes you grow as a person and as a writer. The peer pressure that forces you to examine your abilities and discover that yes, I can actually do that thing. That’s how I ended up entering NYC Midnight’s short story challenge.
A group of writer friends said they were entering. “What is this?” I asked. I’m not a short story writer. I’m also not a writer of a wide variety of genres, but I was still intrigued, and off I went to look into it.
What is NYC Midnight?
NYC Midnight runs different writing challenges throughout the year. They have a micro-fiction challenge, flash fiction, screenwriting, and more. Each challenge gives writers three prompts – a genre, a subject, and a character.
It’s limited to 2,500 words for the short story, and down to 100 words for a micro-fiction challenge. And then there is the time limit. Challenges range from eight hours to eight days to write, complete, and submit work.
The short story challenge’s first round, thankfully, gave an eight-day time frame. My prompts were a fairytale, purposeless, and a sculptor. Others I know who entered I had to write a thriller, a ghost story, or any number of other genres. There were over 150 groups assigned prompts, so there were thousands of entrants.
Five winners from each group move on to join the second round with tighter restrictions, this time only three days to write 2,000 words. This carries on throughout the year with each round getting smaller with tighter parameters until a single writer wins. There are cash prizes awarded for the top ten winners, but I think most writers would agree that just making it to the next level is accolades aplenty. Actual prizes are a bonus.
Short Story Challenge Accepted
Within my group of writer friends, we bounced ideas off one another. We helped name characters, how to approach different subjects, and how to resolve our stories.
I had never written a fairy tale before, but I was excited to try it. I ended up writing about a little sprite who lives in a village of sculptors who create all the flora and fauna of the world. Because of a bully, she loses her ability and her purpose.
Do It For the Feedback
The best thing about NYC Midnight’s challenge is that each and every entry receives feedback from a professional, even from the first round with well over four-thousand entrants. That’s professional advice about your writing, your tone, what you could be doing better, and what you’re already doing well.
This is an invaluable service for everyone involved, and I think it’s the part I’m looking forward to most. I don’t count on myself winning, or even advancing to the next level if I’m honest (though that would be a huge boost to my self-esteem), but getting that feedback is completely worth the entry fee.
All the other challenges are currently underway, but keep an eye on NYC Midnight’s website for when new challenges will begin. You can also take part in their community forums, which are definitely handy for writers of all experience levels. Visit https://www.nycmidnight.com/ for more information and news on the next upcoming challenge.
About the Writer: Allison Wells is a hot mess mom of four who has published six books both traditionally and independently. Currently, she’s working on growing her editing and book coaching business. She’s usually more interested in watching SNL reruns on YouTube than keeping up with the latest show on Netflix, but she prefers a book to those any day. Find her online at allisonwellswrites.com