NYC Midnight Challenge.


Short Story Challenge 2017

Against my better judgement I entered the 2017 NYC Midnight Challenge Short Story Competition. My first (and, as it turned out, only) challenge required a genre of ‘Political Satire’ and was to feature a ‘middle man’ and ‘guns’. Notably my heat included another Australian, Sarah Martin, who went on to win the event. You can read her story Here. My own effort was panned for the blue language of the protagonist, but clearly there was more wrong with it than just that and it was adjudged equal worst out of about 3000 entrants.

Anyway, here it is. If nothing else it might inspire you to write with the knowledge that at least, somewhere out there, is someone blessed with less talent than are you.

The Kingdom





My initial reaction was predictably mature. I stormed around the house shouting obscenities at unseen judges but, eventually the pain of failure subsided and I teamed up with a few similarly aggrieved round 1 losers (all who had done better than me, it should be admitted) and we launched ourselves into round 2 without the judges. A heat was randomly chosen which tasked us with a ‘Ghost Story’ featuring ‘a volunteer fire fighter’ and ‘a bank loan’. My suspicion is that, had it been exposed to the judges wrath, the round 1 result may have been repeated. Nevertheless I include it here …..

Thompson’s Shack

Since then I have also made a mess of the 2017 Flash Fiction Competition (both 1000 words).

Horror/ A prison/ A hairdryer

Waiting for the Sunrise


Mystery/ Wetlands/ A locked safe

The Burundian Diamonds
But I will return next year. I am a masochist.

So here we are in 2018. And another crack at the Short Story Challenge and just counting down the days before elimination.

This time the assignment to be another (bugger!) horror story featuring a very tall woman and advice.

Where are you going, little boy? 


This year’s campaign got off to a disastrous start. I became seriously rushed and confused with the whole thing and probably reached an all time low in terms of output.

They keep insisting on giving me the ‘horror’ genre – and that is proving to be strangely prophetic. The assigned setting was ‘a wave pool’ and the assigned object ‘a pitchfork’.

Spear or Pitchfork?   The judges opinion? Zero points. Dead, motherless, last.

The nature of the Flash Fiction Challenge is that everyone gets a second go. After that the scores for each of rounds 1 and 2 (0-15 points awarded in each round) are combined and the highest 5 point scorers in each group progress to the next round. The reality is that a minimum total of 20-22 is needed, so my position was already hopeless …..

However, upon receiving the assignment of Drama/A hotel bar/A toy gun, I gave it a shot anyway ….. but this would be it for 2018 ….

And …. surprise, surprise … I DID NOT COME LAST.

I scored one point (so … almost last)

but here it is Don’t tell me your troubles

5 thoughts on “NYC Midnight Challenge.

  1. I have seen people get zero and then 15 and barely make it to the next round. Don’t give up! This Tuesday will be an exciting evening for results!! 🙂


    1. Ha ha! Yes … there would appear to be a certain inconsistency with the judging. But I will not be expecting points on Tuesday, and certainly not progression. The first story I ever wrote for NYC was probably my best. It scored zero, as well.


    2. And I think last year I hit 13 in the first round and the judges comments clearly reflected that my second was considerably better, but it scored only 3. In the end the only judge that matters is yourself.


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