What is it?
NYC Midnight has been running since 2002, hosting hundreds of writing competitions since. Each competition is slightly different, but all have a similar theme. Writers are put into groups. Each group gets a prompt which consists of a genre, setting, and object. Finally, each writer has until midnight to complete their entry.
Specfically I entered the Flash Fiction Competition. Flash Fiction is exceptionally short pieces of story, usually only a couple of hundred words. For the purposes of the competition, each story had a strict 1,000 word limit.
I entered without much thought, as I found the competition on the closing date for registration. I had never entered a writing competition before, (Unless you count the one when I was a kid?) and I was excited. The format was exciting too. I haven’t been forced to write something creative with a for years! The biggest pull factor for me was that each entry would be given specific feedback from the judges, something I really felt could help my skills as a storyteller.
Starting out as one of the 3,000+ writers, I ended in the final 60,
and I was delighted to get as far as the final. I’m fantastically proud of myself and believe that it has really improved my skills as a writer. I’ll be putting up the final products on my writing page soon enough.
What’s the magic?
Flash Fiction is a special kind of story. It really suits modern reading habits, where attention spans are shorter in adults and children, and where people find new stories on social media as much as they do their local bookshop or library.
Flash Fiction is tough! It, like all good story, has to have a beginning, middle and end, all within a tiny word limit. But that word limit can be strangely freeing. You have to really consider each word, each phrase, each sentence. It’s pure in that it forces you to think and rethink each and every word you put on the page.
The magic of flash fiction, in my opinion, is how it can capture people’s attention and usually evoke a strong emotion in the reader. I got goosebumps when I read 177 seconds, the winner of the 2017 competition. It’s magic lies in how strong they tend to be, considering the writer has so little space to get so much across.
Check out NYC Midnight to find out their next writing competition!