Contests…and More Contests

photo-1429051781835-9f2c0a9df6e4With the end of the year approaching, I realized it was time to give an update on my writing projects. It’s been a busy year with all aspects of my life, but I’ve picked up the pace of writing. At the start of the year, I posted about three projects that were in process: So Many Projects, So Little Time. All three of those are still in process. The anthology piece, however, has been submitted and is awaiting some editing before publication. Throughout the year, I have entered a few contests and I wanted to share those with you.

NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge
Okay, this is a big one. I entered this contest earlier in the year, but it didn’t start until July. This one has definitely been a challenge. It’s basically a tournament style contest. Each contestant has 48 hours to write and submit a thousand word story (or less) based on the assigned criteria of genre, location, and object. It works like this… There are three rounds with four challenges. The scores from both challenges in Round One are combined and the top five scorers in each group move on to the next round. Rounds Three and Four only have one challenge each. There are 60 groups with 30 people in each. If you’re decent in math, you’ll realize I’m competing against 1799 other people. Talk about pressure.

photo-1445109673451-c511bb51bd17So what was my first challenge? A horror set in a photography studio with an onion. Now, the onion didn’t have to be a major part in the story; just mentioned. I integrated it with the story. “Layers” is about Gus, a nerd. Gus loved beautiful women, and he couldn’t pass up an extraordinary woman and a photo shoot. He’s surprised, however, when the past meets with the present. I do not read or watch horror, so this one was a true challenge for me. Thanks to my boss and a horror loving friend, they gave me a couple of ideas that helped make it creepy.

In two days I will find out what the piece scored and two days after that, I get the new assignment. I won’t know if I move to the next round until the first week of November when I get the score – two days before the next round. My fingernails have slowly disappeared over the past couple of months.

Meltdown
This piece I submitted to Wow! Women on Writing’s quarterly flash fiction contest earlier this year, but it didn’t place. Using the feedback and critique from the judges, I tweaked it and resubmitted it in August to their fall contest. It’s about a woman who has a difficult time coming to grips with some life changes.

The Murder of Mrs. Jones
Originally posted on my other blog site, I submitted it to Wow!’s quarterly contest back in the Spring after quite a bit of editing. It went on to the final round of judging, but it didn’t place. This time, I took the feedback, polished it, and submitted it this month to Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction contest. Dr. Joe Simon, a therapist, finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation when one of his clients, Mrs. Jones, is assumed dead after a lot of blood is found in her apartment.

A Hiking Disaster
I think I’m in love with this one. It was inspired by one of my own hiking trips when fatigue took over my imagination. Sarah, a humble school teacher, is caught up in a murder investigation when she witnesses a body dumped on the trail sbb9f9777he’s hiking. She’s put into protective custody when it’s discovered her life is in danger, and then more disastrous things happen while she’s in custody. “A Hiking Disaster” is almost ready to submit to Writer’s Digest’s Popular Fiction Awards, which has an approaching deadline next month.

A Love Story
That is not the official title to this story. For some reason, figuring out a title for it has been difficult. This is probably the one short story that is closest to my heart and has taken the longest amount of time to finish. It’s inspired by my grandparents whom I didn’t know, so the story is embellished and imagined. I’m doing my best to get it edited and polished so I can finally submit it to Glimmer Train’s New Writers contest. The submission deadline: October 31.

My Own Upcoming Contest
In order to focus on finishing all these short stories that have been in process far too long, I put the editing of my book on hold. But once they are all completed and sent off, it’ll be time to refocus on the book. Which, by the way, still needs a title. That’s where you, my readers and followers, come in. In the upcoming months (maybe after the first of the year), I will announce a book title contest. The winner will receive a $25 gift card to their favorite restaurant. So be on the lookout for that announcement.

In case you lost count, that’s a total of five contests with submissions to keep my fingernails as little stubs. Sometimes I do think I’m crazy to have so many writing projects at once, and it can be overwhelming at times. But I’ve been having a blast tapping into the dark, twisted corners of my imagination. And that’s what matters (the fun part, anyway). The way I figure it, the more pieces I get out there, one of them is bound to get published. These aren’t the only contests I plan to enter, by the way. There are a few with deadlines in November and December, but I don’t have specific stories for them yet.  To keep up with all my madness and the results, keep an eye out here on my website or follow me on social media. I’m still finding my way on the various social media sites, but I will make sure to post contest results.

Have you ever won a contest? If so, what was the prize?