Last night when I woke up for my 3:30 a.m. pee (seriously, you can set your clock to my bladder) I checked my email. I’ve tried to move beyond this because in my past life I checked my email constantly. But, there was an exception. And that exception was that I was waiting for results from the Yeah Write Super Challenge.
I heard about this contest from someone on Scribophile, I believe, but don’t quote me. Either way, with my success in Round 1 of NYCMidnight I wanted to get into another contest as quickly as possible. So I signed up.
Similar to NYCMidnight, YWSC is a flash fiction contest with prompts. Writers are divided into groups and for the first round given an emotion and an action. They have 48 hours to produce a piece of 1,000 or fewer words. There are no genre assignments. Pieces are judged and the top five in each group move on to round 2. This contest moves a little faster than NYCMidnight (it’s also smaller) — rounds are two weeks apart so we knew that this week we were getting our feedback and results. And we knew that it was going to be “before Friday”.
I was assigned to group 4 and provided with: trust/abandon a city. Immediately, like *BAM!* I had an image in my head. As is my way, I chewed on it while starting my weekend and then on Saturday I put pen to paper. My usual critiquer (shit, that’s a word?) had selfishly planned a trip to the furthest point she could get from me without being closer* so I didn’t send it to her and instead swapped with two other writers in the challenge, both in my group. Three stories, three very different takes on the prompt.
Sunday I edited a few (million) times before deciding it was time to release the story and let the universe take over.
The feedback I got was awesome. The positives were that they loved how I gave just enough info to keep the reader curious and engaged and that it was a great story with a full arc. Both of these were huge. I am a terrible writer in that it’s like 90% exposition and 10% really good stuff until I edit it to death (that’s where the magic happens, kids and no, I clearly don’t edit these posts much). And knowing that the arc was complete in 1,000 words was huge because I know how a piece that exemplifies two of things with which I struggle most.
Where I lost points as that one judge felt I didn’t hit on the “trust” part of the prompt enough. The rules of this contest are that you have to use both part of the prompt (emotion/action) enough so that the story could not happen without them. I had worried that I could have emphasized it more. It’s there. And it’s important, but I had a feeling. And that feeling was right — which is important to hear. The second criticism was that the sentence fragments and comma mis(use) were distracting at times. I’ve heard that one before although I think there are some stylistic things that will never be sacrificed. I do need to think more about how I’m using commas in fiction.
We were alerted that the results would be published on the YWSC page at noon today. I was on a call with two of my colleagues and practices restraint and respect by staying present in the meeting and NOT looking. That was hard. But I did it. As SOON as we disconnected I scrolled to see the results.
Yup! I did it! I was in the top 5 of my group. I’m not sure how big the groups are or where I ranked and I’m not going to perseverate on that. What counts is that I submitted a piece that met the requirements and made it to the next round, which is this weekend. I’ll be following this post with the actual piece since YeahWrite encourages us to share them out.
I texted Kris about it and he asked if this was the RomCom so I realized that I’ve got quite a bit going on and that I don’t want to lose track.
So, here’s a rundown of where I am in Contest Land… which is a multi-verse.
This is my third time at the NYCMidnight rodeo, I think. My second time doing flash and I think I did the short story challenge another time (still think that was my best piece of writing to date). They have a huge amount of entrants and many, many groups. My journey so far:
How it Works: There were 35 writers in my group. They rank the top 15 and award points. Everyone moves on to the second round where they do the same. After that round scores from Rounds 1 and 2 are combined and the top five move to Round 3.
Round 1, Group 50: Suspense, a used bookstore, passports
Title: The Candlestick (PW: Mugsy)
Synopsis: As time runs out, a young girl is sent on an errand to fetch the passports that will get her family out of Nazi-occupied Holland and to the safety of America. In less than an hour her innocence is lost as understanding comes at a terrible price.
Results: 12 Points (4th place). I have never scored points in either of the first two rounds so I’m still riding the high of this accomplishment.
Round 2, Group 50: Romantic Comedy, a nuclear power plant, a jar of honey
Title: Still Life No More (PW: Mugsy)
Synopsis: Ashleigh’s predictable life is about to change thanks to some honey and a soldier who is good at getting her out of her pants in a non-traditional way.
Results: Pending. Probably Nov 1.
Next Step: If I rank high enough to move on the next Round takes place Nov 2-4.
Yeah Write Super Challenge 2: Fiction
I explained how it works haha.
Round 1, Group 4: trust, abandon a city
Title: Requiem in Seven Crayons
Synopsis: A soldier gives a little girl gifts, the most important being blissful ignorance.
Results: Top five.
Next Step: Friday evening starts the next round which goes for 48 hours. We’ll receive a character and event. Open genre.
The Great Flash Fiction War
I’m new to this one, too, but contests are really helping my writing so I joined. The Great Flash Fiction War. It starts tomorrow. It’s one round and the top 15 writers get published in their anthology. First place gets $2000 and the 14 finalists get $100. I’ll keep you posted.
This is a new contest. According to the rules: The Fiction War Prompt isn’t likely to be “person, place, thing,” nor “genre, character, conflict.” It is much more likely to be an essential statement or quote that must appear in the work.
So, I’ve got a weekend dedicated to writing. After the last few weekends Kris and I are both fine with that. We’ll keep some things sacred: like our Saturday morning walk around Lake Shaftsbury (where I always seem to finalize my mental draft) but I imagine I’ll be spending more time locked away at my new desk (yay!) than the other weekends I’ve had contests. TWO!? Let’s do this!
*<3333333333333! Totally busting your balls. But you know that, my little red-headed friend.