This past weekend marked my 11th round of the NYC Midnight (NYCM) Flash Fiction Challenge (FFC). To be honest, I wasn’t all that enthusiastic to compete. I’m currently immersed in the latest draft of my novel, and shifting gears pained me. It pained me even more when I received my score for the first round of this year’s contest.
Okay, okay. That’s not horrible considering I’ve never attempted to write pure comedy, and comedy is one of the most subjective genres out there.
Low score aside, I still had fun this weekend. Well, mostly…
As a quick reminder, NYCM FFC is a writing contest where writers from all over the world are given three prompts (genre, location, and object), and then 48-hours to write a 1,000 word story. All competitors get to compete in two of the four rounds. This past weekend was the second round, which kicked off at 10 p.m. (MST) Friday when prompts were released.
First impressions of my group’s prompts:
Location: Waterfront esplanade
Object: Animal horn
When I saw my prompts, I went through a myriad of emotions all at once: horror, amusement, irritation, confusion. I mean, seriously, what the heck is an esplanade? I had to google it before I could do anything else. (FYI, an esplanade is “a long, open, level area, usually next to a river or large body of water, where people may walk.”)
Once I had my location prompt figured out, I turned to the main matter at hand: brainstorming a plot.
Per usual, I talked things out with my favorite writing critic: my mom. For the first time ever, we didn’t banter back and forth on how to approach the prompts. I already knew the general direction I wanted to take.
Yeah, yeah fantasy lovers. I know Gollum isn’t a goblin. However, I decided a long time ago that if I ever received fantasy in this contest, I’d write about a Gollum-goblin-like character. So, I did!
Next, I had to figure out the “animal horn” prompt. Obviously, my first thought was, “Unicorn!” I’m sure it was everyone else’s too, so I stayed far away from that and brainstormed other possibilities. As I did, my seven-year-old nephew curled up next to me with his tablet and watched one of his favorite videos: “Giant God Warrior” (a Japanese short fantasy monster action film). I stared at the creepy creature on screen, studied its horned back, and voila! I had an idea!
Well, sort of.
I packed up my computer and went home. By this point, it was approaching 1 a.m. and I’d been up since 4 a.m. So…yeah. The second I got home, I collapsed in bed and stayed there much longer than I usually do during these contests.
Once I found the motivation to get up on Saturday and start writing, my internet crashed. GAHHH! That threw me for a loop since I needed to do some much needed research on goblins.
[Cue twiddling thumbs, cleaning house, texting friends…]
An hour later, the internet returned, along with my focus. I sat down and spent the rest of the day hammering out a first draft. Mid-afternoon, my mom showed up to read what I’d come up with and help me chop over 600 words (doh!).
My favorite part of the contest occurred when my mom and I tried to think of names for my characters and the fantastical world they lived in: Letchmo. Catastrafo. Fodhopper. Evilgore. Mcnasty!
After we pulled ourselves together (and found a few serious names), my mom left and I sent a draft off to my beta readers. On Sunday morning, I awoke to their feedback. To my surprise, they liked it–much more than I thought they would.
I fixed the big problems, chopped the remaining 200 words I needed to chop in order to meet the word count limit, and submitted my story.
Was fantasy my favorite genre? No. Did I like the story I came up with? Yes. It’s not my favorite NYCM entry, but I’m proud to present it to the judges, my competitors, and, maybe someday, a publisher.
For those interested, here’s my title and synopsis:
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Zili, a gentle goblin, wishes to walk in the light as a man. A horned creature grants his wish . . . and more.
If you’d like to read my entire entry, let me know and I’ll send you the password.
Congrats to all those who participated and submitted a story for NYCM’s Flash Fiction Challenge 2017!
Photo Credits: giphy