So I entered a short story contest on the NYC Midnight web site. Over 600 writers entered, they get divided into 25 groups, and each group is given a genre, a setting and a character. Then we had exactly eight days to construct a 2,500 word story. Sounds fun, right?
Fun, yes, a lot of work, hell yes. More than I thought, which is fine, but I found out I haven’t changed much since high school. I had a deadline, and I started early, but I scrapped at least two drafts, because they SUCKED, and it was almost impossible to figure out a suspense story where a tattoo artist would be in a morgue. At least I didn’t get the uber-vexing “Historical Fiction/A Riot/A Philanderer” scenario.
So they choose 125 winners out of the first round. I don’t know how many people threw up their hands in futility when they saw their assignment and quit on the spot. Or how many were just late, like me. I worked until the last minute and didn’t count on filling out the damn form, and writing a brief synopsis, and of course my computer crashed, and it got submitted at 9:08 pm Saturday. Eight minutes late. This is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night. Not only am I insecure about my story, but now it’s got the mark of sloppy time-management. The judges, they hate me already, I know it. (I shouldn’t say anything else – They have a link to this blog.) I will now donate ONE MILLION DOLLARS to their organization.
After 125 people go through, you get a whole new scenario, and you have three days to write 1,000 words. If you survive, you get to the third and final round, where 25 people have ONE DAY to write 1,000 words. You better be pretty f*^#ing good if you wanna win. Eight days was hard enough, people.
All I can say is I worked my ass off, I’m only slightly OK with what I wrote, and if I had just one more day I’m quite sure it could’ve been a masterpiece. Now that I don’t have to worry about it, I’m going to pay more attention to my boyfriend, and go to a super-strong yoga class tonight. In the back of my head, I know I’ll be re-writing my story. I hope I don’t hurt myself.
The winners of the first round will be announced March 6th. I’m somewhere between blindly hopeful, and insecurely cynical. Either way, there is probably be a strongly-worded blog in my future, dated March 7th, 2012.