Short Story Challenge Results & Round-Up

NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge 2013

Late last night, the final results of the 2013 NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge were announced. And I’m happy to say that, in a contest that started out with about 800 people from all around the world, I made it through all 3 rounds and ended up in 5th place. 😀 I’m still waiting on specific feedback from the judges, and of course the writerly prize pack that comes with 5th place. But it’s pretty exciting! Especially since other times I’ve done this contest, I didn’t make it past the 1st round. I guess I was more inspired this year? Or my wordsmith muscles have gained some bulk and precision. Or both. Either way – hurray!

Since all of the judging is over and I know where I stand, and some of you have expressed curiosity, here are the details about each round and the story I submitted for each:

Round 1

800 people broken into 25 heats. 1 week. 2,500 words.
Assignment: action/adventure, an alter ego, a grandfather
My entry: Duet
Result: 1st in my heat, advancing to the next round

Round 2

125 people broken into 5 heats. 3 days. 2,000 words.
Assignment: science fiction, the Olympics, a personal trainer
My entry: Nico’s Gym & Time Jump™
Result: 4th in my heat, advancing to the next round

Round 3 (Final Round)

25 people all in the same heat. 1 day. 1,500 words.
Assignment: open genre, the end of the world, a surgeon
My entry: Anthropocentrism
Result: 5th place overall

It definitely got tougher during later rounds. The shorter deadline meant less time to think and refine. And I discovered that it’s really hard for me to do a short story under 2,500 words. The first round was spot-on with length, I had to cut maybe 10 words. The last two rounds… let’s just say there was a LOT of cutting and trimming. Round 2, especially, I think lost a lot of nuance/details when I had to cut down. But overall, I’m still pleased with each of the stories. I think Round 1 was my favorite story of the bunch, but that may just be because I had the longest to think & plan it. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments.

I will definitely be doing this challenge again next year. 🙂 Also, my prize pack includes e-book publication of a 251-500 page manuscript, so I guess I have to actually write a novel now, haha.

Any fellow writers out there? Have you ever participated in a short story contest like this?


  1. thats amazing!! I used to write all the time but ever since I went to school for science it’s kind of taken a backseat. Perhaps entering a contest would be an incentive to write.

    1. Thank you! And yes, I’d recommend a contest. It definitely lit a fire under my bum to actually get some writing done.

  2. Great job! I have only had a few minutes to sit down before jumping up to go run errands, but I read Nico’s Gym & Time Jump and thoroughly enjoyed it! Retconned history is a loads of fun when done well.

    1. Thanks!! 🙂 The first one is actually my favorite of the three, but I love the idea of Nico’s. May have to revisit/expand that one.