I’m a big fan of flash fiction. I love writing the stories for Two-Sentence Tuesday (if you’d like to contribute your own two-sentence story, contact me) and I recently took part in the NYC Midnight flash fiction challenge. I had never done a writing challenge before, but I saw an ad for the NYC challenge on Instagram and thought, “Why not give it a go?”
The NYC challenge is broken into four rounds, with each
entrant guaranteed to participate in the first two. Entrants are divided into
groups and at a specified time (midnight US time) and date you’re sent a genre,
location and object that you must include in your 1000-word story, then you
have 48 hours to write and submit that story. The top fifteen stories in each
group are awarded points – 15 points for first, 1 point for fifteenth. After
the first two rounds, the top five entrants for each group move on to round
three, while the others are finished for the competition.
I didn’t move on to round three but I did make it into the
top fifteen for my group in both rounds, which I was so excited about (and genuinely
not expecting). The real prize from participating was the detailed feedback on
my writing from three different judges. Although it’s unlikely that I would
return to those stories, they highlighted strengths and weaknesses that I see
time and again in my longer work.
I don’t know a lot about NYC Midnight, but they seem to
offer a variety of competitions throughout the year. I would definitely give it
another go, and if you’ve been thinking about entering more competitions, I
would recommend looking out for one of theirs.
After all, there’s nothing like a tight deadline to get
those creative juices flowing.
Recently I entered the first chapter of my WIP into a competition being run by a publisher. Last week they sent me an email with the results and, even before I’d opened it, I knew what it would say. The first few words came up in the teaser in my inbox. “Dear Wendy, thank you for entering…” Then my brain auto-filled the rest. “…unfortunately, your submission was not chosen as one of the winning chapters.” I’ve had enough gentle let-downs now to know the drill. And, it’s all part of being a writer.
But I was wrong! This wasn’t an email letting me know that I hadn’t been selected. This was an email letting me know that I had WON!
I had to read it twice just to make sure. Then I jumped around the house a bit. Then I ran outside to tell my kids. Then we went and bought celebratory sparkling apple juice to have in wine glasses at dinner (I don’t drink). And I printed out the email to show my husband, who read it when he got home from work and his mouth did this:
Yep, we are not shy about embracing our feelings in this family.
The truth is, we can’t always win. But when we do, and especially when it’s as a result of our own hard work, it really is an awesome feeling.
Sorry, I’ve been AWOL, but I have a good excuse. I’ve been putting together a dummy for my picture book, Salty, about a salt-water crocodile who escapes from his cage and gobbles up the children he finds in the zoo – only to discover they taste disgusting.
I do have an interest in art but have been nervous about illustrating my work, mainly because the general advice is for authors not to illustrate their work if they want a publisher to take it on. But I heard about the dPictus unpublished picturebook show-case and the opportunity to submit my work was too good to miss.
A dummy picture book is mostly made up of sketches, with the final text, but includes two to three final artworks.
Here are mine:
The images are linocut prints and coloured with water-colour pencils. I’m so happy with how they turned out, but what do you think?
There’s a lot to be said for experience. For a start, you’re less inclined to cry in the change-rooms when buying new clothes, or in front of the mirror when you’ve had a haircut (I’m assuming I’m not the only one who used to do that). But there’s also a lot to be said for youth, not least being that you have a completely different world view when you’re young.
With this in mind I was really excited to see Fremantle Press and the Fogarty Foundation are sponsoring the Fogarty Literary Award for authors aged between 18 and 35 years old (I’m just chuffed that 35 is considered young). It is only open to authors whose normal place of residence is Western Australia. It’s a fantastic opportunity – the winner receives a $20,000 cash prize and a publishing contract – so if you are a young writer living in WA or you know someone who is, you should definitely check it out. The link is below. And good luck!