Assignment #1: 2019 NYC Midnight Short Story Competition


Our assignments for the first round of this year’s NYC Midnight Short Story competition arrived at midnight EST last night. I was violently ill earlier in the evening, and was blissfully asleep when they were posted. But it was the first thing I looked at when I woke up this morning (now feeling totally fine, thankfully). I just thought I share my assignment with you, since I thought it was funny. It will definitely push me to write something different than I otherwise would, which is the whole point, really. Even if it does seem a bit *ahem* cheesy *ahem*.

Genre: a Fairy Tale
Subject: Superhuman
Character: a cheese maker
Words: 2500

We have eight days to submit the first story (considerably longer than the 48 hours they give you for the Flash Fiction competition!) and I aim to get my first draft done this weekend so I have lots of time for revisions.

I think my story last year could have placed better if I’d had my first draft done earlier and had time to apply all the suggestions my writing groups gave me! You can read that one here if you want to: Flash Fiction Friday: “Tongue Tied” by S.C. Jensen. I am still going to do those revisions, though, and include the resulting work in the short story collection I plan to release this year. You know what, I’m feeling a bit inspired after reading this piece by Matthew Whiteside over at Seeking Purpose Today, so let’s give that a solid deadline. I plan to release it in September! <– Hold me to it, folks!

Anyway, I thought you all might get a kick out of this assignment. I wonder if I’ll be able to pull it off in my usual style–festering, my husband calls it. Are any of my fellow writers inspired by this prompt? Feel free to join me and post your own versions (link in the comments if you do!)

I’ll share what I come up with in 7 days, 11 hours, and 10 minutes. Stay tuned!

16 thoughts on “Assignment #1: 2019 NYC Midnight Short Story Competition

  1. Wow this is super cool I can’t wait to read what you come up with. I wil keep you accountable pinky promise. Good luck I’m sure it will be awesome.

    1. Thanks! The nice thing is I have a lot of material to work with in the form of flash fiction and short-short stories (2500 words and under). The work lies in choosing which stories to expand, and writing the remaining pieces! But I can do it. Thank you for your support!

      1. My pleasure. I love the guidelines they give you so many fun ideas come to mind. I would jump in it if I weren’t hammering away at my own fantasy Novel it seems all-encompassing. Happy writing.

        1. If you ever need inspiration, you should check out the assignments list of whatever the current competition at NYC Midnight is. Their Flash Fiction assignments are genre/location/object and the short stories are genre/subject/character (I’m not sure about the screen plays)

          But there are thousands. A friend of mine is doing this one with me and her assignment was a crime caper, a change of plans, and a fixer. I’m kind of jealous of that one…

          Good luck with your novel! I know how all-encompassing book writing can be. I need to get back into my own, too.

          1. There are three rounds to the short story competition, with decreasing time limits and word counts for each round. Competition gets pretty fierce past the first round. I’ve never made it past the first round in short stories, and the third (of four) for the flash fiction competition. The grand prize is $5000 US, plus some other goodies. The full list of prizes is here:

            I have been doing the short story and the flash fiction competitions for two years, so I’ve done the flash fiction competition twice and this is my second go at the short story one. You get feedback from the judges for each round, and there is a pretty good feedback community through their website. I think it costs $50 to enter, or a little less if you get in on the early bird registration.

          2. Oh wow, five grand you say? That sounds like the bells of inspiration chiming in my mind. Haha, I may have to add an extra hour of writing into my day and hammer our a short story. That sounds like a great opportunity to improve as a writer even if you don’t win.

          3. I think it’s too late to register for this one, sadly! But head over to and check out future competitions. I’ll be doing the Flash Fiction one again this year.

          4. Internet weirdos, unite! Now, back to writing, both of us…

  2. Best of luck with your story. Unfortunately I decided against’s the Short Story Competition this year, but I took part in the flash fiction one and I’m hoping to do that again this year. Sounds like they came up with some pretty interesting assignment.

    1. Thank you! I did the flash fiction one last year and made to round three, only to have something come up so I couldn’t finish it 😬 oh well, I got “romantic comedy” and probably didn’t stand a chance, lol.

      1. I came tenth in my group in the first round so didn’t manage to go any further. I struggled to get the second story done in time though so it’s understandable why it didn’t score as high as it could of. What did you think of the feedback.

        1. I’ve done the FF one twice and this is my second time with SS. So I’ve gotten feedback on six rounds so far between the two challenges, with genres across the board: Action, Suspense, Thriller, Comedy, Sci Fi, Fairy Tale…

          I’ve found that the judges seem to be split on my pieces. Two will be really positive and make minor suggestions for change, and one will just not quite seem to get what I’m going for, lol. I’m not sure if they play good cop/bad cop or if that’s just how it’s worked out for me. It’s okay, though, as it’s likely a good indication of how the stories would be received by the general public. Almost all of the feedback I’ve received has been helpful, although not all of it could be applied within the constraints of the word count. If you’re interested in reading my previous submissions I’ve posted them all here, along with the feedback and scores I received! I can link you to them if you like. It might be helpful to see feedback on another piece to see if you think it was useful or something you agree with.

          1. I found the same thing with the feedback I got. While possibly useful, it didn’t always fit within the restraints of the word-count.
            If you link them I’ll check them out in the morning. It’s a touch late here so I’m about to log off for the night.

          2. Wow. Going back to find those made me realize that I need to be more consistent with how I tag and title my blog entries! Here they are:

            2017 FF Rounds 1 & 2:

            2017 FF Round 3:

            2018 SS Round 1:

            2018 FF Round 1:

            2018 FF Round 2:

            Hopefully that helps! Let me know what you think if you have a chance to read them 🙂 Have a good evening!

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