Last year, I entered the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. You may have read about it here. I made it to the final round – one of 40 finalists from a field of more than 35 times that many who began it – and was feeling pretty good about my progress.
I also found a new group of colleagues. A team of writers who met in the forums of that contest keep their own Facebook group, and invited me to join. Now I have a writer’s circle – people who critique, challenge, and support one another as writers. And this group also continues to compete in the contest, as a writing exercise and challenge, similar to what brought me there.
So here I am again, writing stories in a weekend. But this time – I just had to go and make it more exciting. First, I encouraged my husband to join with me. So we are both writing stories in a weekend (and his are pretty darn good). And we have the advantage of a great crew of beta readers.
Late in the contest last year, I started creating a list of the posted stories – there are a lot of them and the forum content moves fast. It’s easy to miss one Once I saw how useful it was, I posted a copy to the forum. The reception was more than positive – I found the folks in the forum working to help make sure I found out about new entries and ensure that “the Master List” was up to date. Now it has become a tradition.
So – My husband and I are both writing all weekend, and then spending a few days or a week on the Master List.
That wasn’t enough for me either. The day before the first writing assignment, my father passed away. Dad wouldn’t have stood for me blowing off a commitment just so I could sit and cry about something I couldn’t change – so in between dealing with the funeral home and looking up the legal stuff, I knuckled down and put together a story. It wasn’t a great one – my assigned genre was Romantic Comedy and I have to admit, I just wasn’t feeling the funny – but it managed to eke out a few points. Nothing stellar – but enough that if I have done well with this past weekend’s second assignment, I might manage to stay in the game for the next round. Or not.
And with all that excitement, the thing that strikes me most is how much fun it has been writing with my husband. Even though we have been working on separate stories, we have helped one another and worked as a team (the two of us and our larger writer’s group). And most of all, I have been constantly reminded of my love’s imagination and humor – things that struck me when I first met him 20 years ago.
It wasn’t until later that I learned what a steadfast, genuinely good human being he was. I was reminded of that, too, as he supported me through our family’s loss.
Tonight, as I type, he is sitting a few feet away, playing a computer game. He paused it and leapt up to help me find some chicken breasts in the freezer (puppy was neutered today and his dog food seems to be making him queasy, so when I went to look for something else, he was right there to help…)
I don’t know how this contest will turn out – but I know that I am already a winner…