Well…That’s That (Writing Contest Updates)

Some time very early this morning the results of the second part of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge were announced. I was excited to see the results, but disappointed when I actually saw them. You’ll remember that I recieved ten points for my first story (out of a max of fifteen), but my second story only got me three points, which unfortunately was not enough for me to move on to the next round.


I’m really quite disappointed because I was enjoying the challenge, but also not surprised as I knew my second story wasn’t as good as the first one. I was really really hoping when I opened the website this morning…but I guess “them’s the breaks”. Congrats and good luck to everyone who gets to move on to round 2!

So that’s one disappointment, but just wait, there’s another. I also just recently got a notification from the Writers Digest Self-Published Book contest letting me know that I was not, in fact, amongst the winner’s circle. I wasn’t expecting much from that particular contest as I was up against possible thousands of authors, but two failures on top of each other kinda really sucks, you know?

So that’s that…time to go lick my wounds. How’s your day going? 🙂

Looking on the Bright Side – An IWSG Post

IWSG badge

Well, it’s once again time for the “Insecure Writer’s Support Group” post of the month, and though I’m having what I consider to be a pretty rotten morning so far I’m going to try really really hard to keep a positive light to this month’s post.

First thing to be happy about: a couple of weeks ago those of us who are participating in the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge got our results back from the first challenge. The way it works is that in each group (which has about 30 people), the top fifteen stories get points, and you get as many points as your rank. So the top ranking story would get fifteen points, and the lowest ranking story would get one point, with the remaining fifteen people getting zero points. For my first story of the challenge I got ten points, which I think is pretty great, especially considering that it’s my first time ever participating in the challenge. 🙂

The second part of the challenge was about a week and a half ago, so I won’t get the results back for that one until October 20th-ish. Once those points are doled out the top six scorers in each group move on to Round Two. I’m not expecting to get into Round Two because my second challenge story wasn’t nearly as good as the first one, but it’s still been tons of fun and I’ve gotten lots of great feedback from fellow participants, so it was definitely worth it.

Second thing to be happy about: the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book competition is coming to a close very soon. Why is that something to be happy about? Because it’s been KILLING me waiting for it! To enter the competition you had to send them a hard-copy of your novel way back in March/April, so I’ve just been sitting around waiting for the results since then. I’m not expecting to place at all – after all, I’m sure there were probably hundreds of entrants all with amazing books – but I’m excited for it to be over because even the losers get feedback from the judges on their novel. Plus it’ll just be nice to not be anticipating it anymore! Only five more days until “all winners will be notified”, so soon I’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief and know that it’s officially over and I don’t have to think about it. XD

Third thing to be happy about: although it’s actually taken longer than I expected it to because my life is a ball of “go here, do this, do that”, I am almost done of the current draft of “The Other World: Book One”. That means that I can ship the manuscript off to my beta-reader and not have to think about it again until she ships it back with her thoughts. This is definitely a good thing because I’ve reached that stage in every story where you just want to set your laptop on fire rather than have to re-read the same paragraphs one single more time.

Fourth thing to be happy about: NaNo season is approaching. Honestly, even though I love NaNoWriMo, I’m usually filled with dread at this time of year because it’s just such a god-damn busy time and I’m usually so stressed out and there’s absolutely no way that I can find the time required to write 50,000 words in one month. HOWEVER, this NaNo I’ve decided to totally rebel and do something fun and kinda-sorta-in-a-way relaxing. I’ve been toying with the idea of writing an erotic novel or two, mostly for research purposes (no, seriously), to see how such a thing would sell in comparison to my zombie novel, “Nowhere to Hide“. So, this year for NaNo I’m going to rebel and just write 50,000 words worth of erotic stories. My understanding is that the average erotic story is 5000-7000 words, so I’m going to try to write 8-10 short stories. I think it’ll be an interesting change from the usual system since, generally, by mid-way through NaNo I’m both losing interest in my story and wondering how I’m going to stretch it out to 50,000 words. With what I’m going to do this year if I lose interest I can just skip to one of the other stories in the line. Yeah, okay, technically it’s cheating, but the NaNo forums have a “Rebels” board for a reason, right. ^_~

So I guess that’s basically it for now. I’m just trying really hard to look on the bright side of things, because otherwise my eye starts twitching and I start grinding my teeth and not sleeping well, and it’s just overall a really bad scene. 😛

So what about you guys? What are you all up to? Looking on the bright side, right? RIGHT?

“Pool of Diamonds” Judges’ Feedback

So we finally, finally got our feedback from the judges in the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. Part of the challenge is that every single story gets feedback from the judges, but because of the number of stories being dealt with it can take a while for that feedback to actually get to the writers. The emails for the first challenge started rolling in yesterday, and since I already shared my second challenge story earlier in the week I thought that, instead of another flash fiction story for this Friday I’d share the feedback I received.

A reminder: the story that this feedback is for is “Pool of Diamonds“, which was my challenge #1 story. For this one I had to write an action/adventure story set in a sewer, and I had to incorporate a canteen into the story.

So here is the feedback I received:


Judge #1: Action and adventure are introduced immediately. Laura’s description exudes a palpable sense of fear. Vivid details assist with reader immersion. The ending is resonant.

Judge #2: The action starts with the first lines so it draws the reader straight into the story. There’s a lot of pace in the story and I was kept interested throughout. Descriptive narrative makes it easy to visualize the scene.


Judge #1: The title could be more attention getting. It doesn’t seem realistic that with all the excitement she’d be processing the thought about flashing “the toothy grin that had caused Caleb to fall in love with her.” You might consider mentioning the blood mixed with the diamonds.

Judge #2: The best advice I can give you is to always strive to keep your writing as tight as you can get it. Cut out as many unnecessary words as you can and when you think you can’t cut any more, start over. Always try to paint a picture with your words.

So there you have it. What do I think of this feedback? Well, to be honest, I was expecting a bit more. I realize that these judges have to deal with 1400ish stories all at once, but I was still expecting something a little more illuminating, you know?

All in all though, I’m pretty pleased with my feedback. The stuff they liked made me feel like I really had done a good job on the story, and the stuff they felt needed work seemed so small and nitpicky that it made me feel like they really couldn’t think of much of anything to complain about.

So what do you think? About the story, or the feedback? Do you think they could have given a little bit more, or do you think less is more in this particular case?

NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge #2: “The Intermediaries”

So, I was going to wait until “Flash Fiction Friday” to make this post, but, well, I don’t want to! We just got our confirmation e-mails that our Challenge #2 stories into the Flash Fiction Challenge have been accepted, which means that we can officially share our stories with the world and, more specifically, each other. Woo! (Also, *cough cough*, even though I’m posting this late Tuesday night, please consider it to be Wednesday’s blog post *cough cough*.)

So, my first challenge was a little difficult, requiring me to write an action/adventure story set in a sewer, while incorporating a canteen somewhere. That challenge wound up getting me 10 points (out of a possible 15), so I was pretty happy and you can read that story here if you’d like.

This challenge was a complete change-up. The genre was “ghost story”, the setting was “a school bus”, and somewhere in the story I was required to incorporate “a dirty bag of laundry”.

Honestly? I pretty much had the idea figured out right away, but it was surprisingly difficult to stick to the 1000 word limit! With the first challenge I just had to trim a little, but this story required some major hacking and rewriting, so I hope I managed to keep the overall story in one piece!

Anyway, without further ado, please enjoy “The Intermediaries”…

This story has been removed and is now an exclusive gift for supporters of my “Buy Me a Coffee” page. 

NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge Update (I Got Points!)

It’s been a long wait (the judges do have a hell of a lot of stories to read!), but we finally have the results of Round 1 of NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge! Just to remind everyone how it works: there are something like 1440 participants, divided into groups of approximately 30. For the first round each group was given a genre, a setting, and an object, all of which must be included in a story that is no more than 1000 words.

The way the scoring works is this: out of the 30 people in each group, only the best 15 stories get points. Of those fifteen, they are ranked by the best getting the most points, all the way down to the least. So the best of those top fifteen gets 15 points, and the least impressive of those top fifteen gets 1 point. Then we move on to the second part of Round 1 (with the same group) and the judges do the same thing for our second stories (with different genres, settings, and objects). At the end of the two challenges, the top five scorers in each group move on to Round 2, where they get put into new groups and the whole thing starts over again. After four rounds the top 6 scorers win the prizes.

So that’s all well and great but what you want to know is how I personally did in the ranking for the first part of Round 1, right? Well, I got points! That’s a huge thing right off the bat because it means that out of 30 people, the judges thought my story exceeded at least 15 of them. But it’s even better than that! I finished off the round with 10 points! That means that the judges ranked my story better than 24 out of the 30 stories! Only five stories ranked higher than mine!

FlashFictionChallengeRound1Part1This is all quite, quite exciting to me, especially given that this is my first real writing contest (aside from the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book contest, which I won’t hear about for another couple of months). Even if I don’t get enough points in the second challenge in order to move on to Round 2, it’s awesome to know that I managed to write a 1000 word story (with the necessary details) in less than three days (remember, I was working out West at the time, so I only had about an hour per night to work on it) and that a panel of judges ranked that story #6 out of a group of 30.

It might not seem like a large group to get worked up over – after all, it’s not like I was ranked #6 out of the entire 1440 participants – but it’s pretty awesome to me, especially considering that I read some of the other stories in my group and some of them were pretty amazing! So, in a way, it feels a bit like validation…like complete strangers telling me, “Yup! You’re a good writer! Congrats!”

Honestly, seeing the results this morning was really just what I needed. I was determined to have fun with the challenge even if none of my stories ranked at all, but checking the list this morning and seeing that I not only got points, but a lot of points was a huge boost to my writer’s confidence, which is something I’ve been needing for quite a while. So, thank you so much, NYC Midnight judges! You’ve absolutely made my day! ^_^<3

Part 2 of Round 1 starts at midnight tonight, at which time our groups will be sent their new genre, setting, and object assignments. We have three days to submit our stories (no later than midnight EST on September 20) and then it’s another wait to see how the judges will rank everyone. I can’t wait to try my hand at the second challenge, and even if I don’t rank on this one, I’ll always know that I was good enough to rank on the first one!

I’ll be sure to update you guys on the next assignment and to share the story once it’s been submitted! Cheers, and have an awesome day! 😀

NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge – Round 1 – Pool of Diamonds

Last week I told you guys about how I’d joined NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge. This past weekend was round 1. We had 48 hours to come up with a thousand words or less for our group assignment. I was placed into group 31, and our prompt was: action/adventure, a sewer, a canteen.

It took me a little bit of thinking to come up with an idea, but once I had it I whipped my story up pretty quickly and I’m pretty happy with it! I had planned to just give you a bit of a breakdown of the round 1, but what I found out recently is that it’s actually okay to share your story elsewhere while you’re waiting for the results. So, lucky you! You get to read my first round entry, “Pool of Diamonds”!

This story has been removed and is now an exclusive gift  for supporters on my “Buy Me a Coffee” page. 

NYC Midnight’s “Flash Fiction Challenge”

You guys know that I’m a writer (hopefully, otherwise you haven’t been paying attention at all), and a published novelist at that. No, I’m not what you might call “successful”, but for better or worse writing is the thing I love, and I fully plan to spend the rest of my days publishing more and more novels.

So it might surprise you to find out that in all my “career” of writing since the third grade, I’ve never entered any writing competitions. Now, there may have been a school thing or two back in the day, and I once had a poem published in the local newspaper back when they had such a lighthearted feature as that, but I’ve never actually sat down and committed myself to an actual contest, of the type that involves competing against other writers for a prize.

Today I decided to change that. After months of getting emails from NYC Midnight about their “Flash Fiction Challenge“, I finally decided to bite with only a couple of days left until the entry deadline. The idea is this: competitors are divided into groups, and each group is given a genre, a location, and an object that they must use to create their piece of fiction. This is a flash fiction competition, so your creation must be less than 1000 words. Each group gets to write two stories, and are awarded points and get feedback on their pieces from the judges. The top five scorers from each group then move on to the next round.

The fact of the matter is, I don’t expect to actually win anything from this competition, as it is actually quite popular and thus there are lots of other (presumably talented) writers to hold up against. But I think it would be fun, and sometimes you’ve just got to put yourself out there and take a chance or two. Since my current manuscript isn’t nearly ready for submission to publishers, I think this will be a fun way to do just that.

So what do you think, fellow writers? Want to join me? ^_~