Back in May, I decided to sign up for my first NYC Midnight Challenge.
The way these challenges work is: people get assigned to random groups, given a prompt, and have 24h to submit their entry. Only a few are picked from each group and they advance to the next round. New prompt, new submission. Again, the same time frame. “Can I write 3k words in 24h?” I did not know, so I never entered. Plus, I was not sure if I wanted to pay to enter.
This time it was different. It was going to be a flash fiction contest (no more than 100 words). Woohoo! Something I have been doing on and off for a while. I felt encouraged, and so I paid the entry fee ($25 or something like that) and got excited about the challenge.
As luck would have it, I had a family event to attend during the first phase of the challenge, which meant that I was at the airport, talking into my phone (“brainstorming” the story) and then having to edit it… on my phone and submit it late at night after enough socializing had been done for the day. For someone who heavily relies on their computer when it comes to writing, and only uses the phone for … phone things… this was not easy.
This challenge provided more than a word prompt. There were three components (aside from the word count) one had to satisfy. 1. Your story had to be of an assigned genre. 2. It had to include a specific action (cannot be talked about, has to occur in the story). 3. A given word, in its original form, had to be used in the story.
As I’m rushing to the airport, I check my assignment…
Genre – horror.
Hmmm… I’m not really comfortable with writing horror… I could in 1,000 words but 100?!
OK, what is the action?
Action – shaving.
… Quite boring 😦
The word I have to use – filter.
In the end, I came up with a story that I now share with you. (I got the results this morning and found out I will not be moving to the next round, so it is safe for me to post it here. I should get feedback within the next day or two, which is when I will update this post. I would love to hear your input!)
[Over 6,900 people participated. There were 110 groups, each with approximately 63 writers. Only top 15 from each group moved on to round 2.]
Jonathan lifted his birthday gift with all its buttons, levers, and lights to his face.
“State-of-the-art,” his father remarked after seeing Jonathan’s puzzled expression having opened the gift.
The moment the razor made contact with the skin, Jonathan knew something was wrong. His cheek started to tingle and he could have sworn the pink he saw was flesh. “Dad has more experience with this,” he shrugged and pulled on the razor again. His cheek flapped open, revealing his mouth.
“Just use a filter or whatever you kids do these days” his father replied when asked for help.
“Write a horror story about the action of shaving and include the word ‘filter'”
– prompt used for this CW piece.
[Source: NYC Midnight Challenge]
P.S. As always, you are more than welcome to use this prompt to inspire your post. If you decide to write something, be sure to pingback to this post so that I can get an alert and check out your piece. (A post on how to do pingbacks can be found here.) If pingbacks are not your thing, feel free to simply leave a link to your piece in the comment section below. The more, the merrier!
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