So, for the second year in a row, I entered the NYC Midnight Short Story Contest.
The challenge: every writer gets a genre, a setting and a character. Then we have eight days to construct a story. It’s fast and furious, especially for people like me who wait until the last minute. My scenario:
Setting: A flight on a private plane
Character: A drug dealer
Horror, nothing could be more perfect. I could’ve gotten something like Historical Fiction.
Here’s the thing… What ends up happening in the span of 192 hours is the worst parts of your personality come out. You get competitive and obsessed. Then you procrastinate. You check the forums for quitters. You want to quit. You can’t focus. As the deadline looms closer and closer, your writing gets more raunchy/nonsensical/stupid/boring/unreadable. You reach for something interesting. Then it just starts to feel like a waste of time because clearly nothing is going to come of it. How do I know? Last year I entered a story called “The Hot Breath of Spiders,” which may be my favorite title I’ve ever come up with. Like a dumbass, I waited until the last minute with that one and my story fizzled and died. So lame.
I’m a title junkie. I think of a title and go from there. My possible choices for this one, which of course had to be shocking in the best way:
“I Know Why The Babies Are Dead.” No, I can’t, that’s going a bit far.
“The Fortunate Son Also Dies.” This was the title ’til the last day.
“High.” Get it?
Not so easy after all, gotta tell ya. This bitch of a competition was eight days of hellish self-doubt. But good things came out of the muck: I didn’t quit. I submitted my stupid story early. Next we put our stories up on the forums and everyone gets to read them and comment. That’s when you really find out a. how bad you suck, b. how awesome everyone else is and c. how thick your skin is. Whatever, good luck to me and you and everyone in your endeavours, I’m going to live and write all alone on a mountaintop now.