Why did I enter the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2015?

As you know I am desperately trying to get back into the swing of things with my creative writing (see previous blog post Follow the Literary Brick Road).

So when this competition popped up on my Facebook feed I was really tempted to give it a go. I had seen it before the previous year but with quite a hefty entry fee I decided to give it a miss.

Keep Calm Write Flash Fiction

Keep Calm Write Flash Fiction

There are arguments to both sides when it comes to paying to enter competitions. First of all, why should we? There’s always that fear of getting scammed too. But on the other side of the coin the costs do have to be covered and judges paid for their time.

This year it was $55 (minus $5 if you tweeted about it – which I did). There was a reduced early bird fee but I missed that. And it is actually my husband I have to thank as he said he would pay for me to do it as an early 30th birthday present.

But this fee seemed to annoy many people and the comments on Facebook were really harsh and just mean. The one that sticks out was: “If you’re a writer you can’t afford to enter this, if you can afford to enter this then you must be a shit writer”. See? Harsh.

So was this person correct? I hope not! Judge for yourself – my first round entry Jungle Camp can be found here.

Whatever your thoughts on the fee I have to say, I’m having a blast. The challenge was just that – a challenge! And just what I needed to give me a kick up the backside. I had to write a 1,000-word (or less) story in 48 hours with three stipulations. The genre had to be romance, set in a slum, with the mention of a map. Easy, right? Wrong. And that is why I am still smiling now.

My idea changed so many times from first draft to my final entry but as I wrote I felt all those skills come back into play, my brain engaging with words once again, my knuckles sore from typing for too long.

There is also a forum where we have been able to read each other’s work (only if you decide to post yours) and it’s been really useful for giving and getting feedback. It really is like being in a workshop at university again.

I don’t know what the judges will say but my fellow contenders (a handful of the 1,400+) have been kind. I look forward to receiving my final score before moving on to the next stage. So watch this space – I will update you as soon as the scores are in.

Negatives? Well the judges of this year’s competition still haven’t been updated on the website but at least they bothered to get back to me about it via Twitter.

Thank for reading and if you do decide to read my entry feel free to leave any feedback – positive or negative.

(It’s an early prediction but I think this lady – Jen’s Pen Den – will go far in the competition)

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About Donna-Louise Bishop

I'm a writer, freelance reporter, creative writing tutor, and blogger, living in the beautiful county of Norfolk UK. In my spare time I am also a wife, a mother to three boys, and a human washing machine.
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7 Responses to Why did I enter the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2015?

  1. jenspenden says:

    Ah, thanks for the mention 🙂 I predict YOU will go far. Outstanding story!

    BTW, I saw that comment on FB too ( “If you’re a writer you can’t afford to enter this, if you can afford to enter this then you must be a shit writer”). Made me so angry. I’ve decided not to read those comments anymore. People are way too negative.

    • Donna-Louise Bishop says:

      Thanks for the reply. Yes I don’t like type of negativity like that either – I think I must learn not to read those comments too!

  2. Great thoughts! Glad your hubby supports your writing! What a thoughtful gift. And what a nasty soul was that commenter! Sheesh! Jen is a serious contender…the force is strong with that one.

  3. Melanie says:

    I got in with the early bird fee with the tweet discount, and when I thought about it, the price per story (assuming two stories) that get feedback from judges (I didn’t know about the awesome forum at this point), it seemed a good deal to me. Of course, doing the calculations now on what NYCMidnight made on entry fees, even with paying the judges well, they are bringing in quite a haul and could probably drop the entry fee a bit, make it more accessible to more writers, and still make bank on fees.

    • Donna-Louise Bishop says:

      I agree that actually, when you see what you get in return, it is a pretty good deal. That’s mainly down to the forum though. The feedback and chance to share my work with other writers has been priceless. It does work out to be rather a lot of money NYC get though doesn’t it? One niggle of mine is that I am frustrated that they haven’t updated who the judges are for this year – especially when we have forked out quite a bit to take part.

      • Melanie says:

        Have you done one of these before? I’m curious what kind of feedback the judges actually give. The forum has been invaluable. The comments have been detailed and honest, and I appreciate that.
        I think they may have updated the judges page. It no longer has the disclaimer about “here are the 2014 judges.”

      • Donna-Louise Bishop says:

        This is the very first time. I also entered my first short story competition this month with a local writing group. Yes, everyone has been really professional and constructive within the forum feedback. I will check the judges page later today – thanks for the heads up!

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