TLDR: My short story can be found here (for FREE):
I wrote “In Deep Water” last January for the first round of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the competition–if you’re a writer, I highly recommend you do it. It costs a little bit of money, but it’s an amazing creative experience, plus you’re guaranteed feedback from three judges for at least one short story. They also have forums where you can post your work to get feedback from others who are participating in the competition. This is invaluable. The forums are password protected, so you don’t have to worry about the short story being considered “published” online when it comes time to submit it to magazines or anthologies.
Essentially the NYC Midnight Short Story contest gives you a week, or 7 days, to write a short story. If you’re thinking it’s easy to cheat, think again. They assign three prompts at midnight (hence the name) that your story must follow. You’re given a genre, a character, and a theme. Everyone in your “heat” is given the same assignment.
My short story, “In Deep Water”, is a comedy about a self-help guru with the theme of rejection. If you’re cowering in fear at the thought of this assignment, you probably have a vague idea of how I felt last January when I first read the prompts.
In the first round you’re up against about 30 people (depending on how many people registered; there’s a maximum of 100 heats in total), and the top 5 stories make it to round 2. For round 2, however, you only have three days to write a short story. If you happen to make it to round three, you only have one day to write a coherent, intriguing, well-written short story.
I wasn’t going to brag, but since this is my blog, I’m going to brag just a bit and tell you that “In Deep Water” came in first place in my heat. My second-round short story is a historical thriller, and even though I didn’t make it to the third round, I’m really pleased with how it turned out. It couldn’t be more different from the short story I wrote for the first round, which is one of the reasons why I highly recommend this challenge. It forces you to venture out of your comfort zone and write in genres and on topics and themes you normally wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. That said, I wasn’t able to compete in the contest this year because I was at a library conference right smack in the middle of the first round. Sigh. At least I got a ton of free books. (Visit my book reviews page to check out my Goodreads profile).
If you’re interested, my short story from the second round of the NYC Midnight competition is being published at the end of April. It’s called “The Debt” and is a historical fiction featuring a father and a tunnel. Follow me for updates and I’ll post when it’s available.
“In Deep Water” is published in the March 2018 issue of Drunk Monkeys Literature and Film magazine. It’s free to read! I hope you like it!
What about you? Have you competed in the NYC Midnight contest? Did you like it? I’ve only ever tried out the short story competition, but they have one for flash fiction and both short and long-form screenwriting. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.