On and off over the past few years I’ve participated in writing contests held by NYC Midnight. What’s unique about these competitions is that writers receive parameters — genre, locations, objects, and etc. — and tight deadlines within which to incorporate these parameters into a successful piece of writing.
Each contest has multiple rounds that writers proceed through if advanced by the judges. I’ve never made it to the final round … before now.
This week I learned that my third round entry in the NYC 2022 Short Story contest has earned me advancement to the final round.
Sure, I’m excited, but the looming reality is that the final round begins (gulp!) at midnight NY time this evening. That’s 9 pm for me here in Tucson, less than four hours away. That’s when I’ll receive a new prompt for a 1250 word story that needs to be completed and uploaded in 24 hours.
Whatever happens, I’m grateful for NYC Midnight for its sometimes maddening but always stimulating prompts, which bedevil a poor writer by informing him that, for instance, he has 48 hours to write a short story in the romance genre featuring localism and an evening student. (That was round three. Romance not being my favorite, I tore my hair out for a while but finally set down to write a passable piece, which got me to tonight’s final round.)
In fact, while I haven’t yet come close to winning the contest, I’ve greatly benefited from the prompts, which helped me arrive at some published stories I would never otherwise have written. Here are two of them:
Wish me luck tonight! I’m grateful to friends in The Writers Studio, especially including Rene Bibby and Betsy Mahaffey (Happy Birthday, Betsy!), who provided feedback and encouragement to help me survive earlier rounds.