The Story Behind the Story: A Success!

Please indulge me in this extra Story Behind the Story:

If you follow me on this blog or on Twitter, then you've heard me mention a group called NYC Midnight. They run writing contests throughout the year: screenwriting, flash fiction, short stories. A couple of the stories over on Fiction First were born as entries in NYC Midnight's 2013 Flash Fiction Challenge.

Last year, I entered my first NYC Midnight contest: their 2013 Short Story Challenge. I earned an Honorable Mention in Round 1--enough for me to feel great about the effort, but not enough for me to move on to Round 2.

This February, I entered their 2014 Short Story Challenge. I had one week to write a 2,500 word ghost story about racism that also featured a street performer. I came up with the premise of my story rather quickly. I spent 7 days struggling to write the actual words. By 5:30 pm the night before the story was due, I had a total of 800 words. Not good.

At that moment, I decided to start all over again. Same premise. New point of view. Only 24 hours to complete it. Cue the panic.

The story was due by 10:59 pm Saturday night. At 7:30 pm, I was still writing. Around 8-ish, I finished--and was 120 words over the contest limit.  I took a deep breath and short break and completed the fastest editing pass in my entire life. At little after 9 pm, I had a 2,500 word story. I uploaded the story to NYC Midnight's site, let out a sigh of relief, and let go. I still liked the premise of my story but had serious doubts about its execution, given the circumstances under which it was written. I figured my 2014 Short Story Challenge would end with Round 1 and not so much as an Honorable Mention.

Fast forward to last week, when the Round 1 results were posted. To my utter shock and amazement, the judges liked my story. They liked it so much they rated it #1 in my group. Holy crap.

My reward for such an awesome finish? Round 2! I got to do it all over again, only this time I had even less time. I had one weekend--this weekend--to write a 2,000-word story: a science fiction tale about sushi and a dentist. This story went much more smoothly and quickly this time around. I submitted it a few hours ago.

Now I wait. And wait. And wait. In a few weeks, I'll find out if my story was good enough to move me on to Round 3.

In the meantime, HOLY CRAP!