Once again I signed up for NYC Midnight’s Short Story Challenge. I find having skin in the game (entry fee), a looming deadline and subject matter outside my comfort zone makes for a stimulating exercise. Last year I placed third in my heat (Genre: Spy; Subject: Newscaster) which wasn’t too bad for my first writing contest ever. This time my heat assignment was a little trickier:
- Genre: Suspense
- Subject: Internet Dating
Suspense as a genre isn’t something I’ve read a lot of. I’ve seen tons of films, some I didn’t even realize fell into the suspense camp, but what works visually doesn’t always jive with the written word. The subject was straightforward enough, so I had to make sure to pump it up in any way I could. For the curious, my synopsis was: Two men on a first date realize they have much more in common than they thought and why that’s a very, very bad thing.
The story I wrote was meatier (word count-wise) than my first attempt. I think I was able to put a little spin on the Internet Dating angle. Where I feel it fell flat was in the suspense department. Not only was I not familiar with the method, but I pulled another write it 4 hours before it’s due routine. It’s a shame because I was able to sketch out most of the tale on the second day into the contest, I just failed to transfer those notes into a complete narrative. What really put salt in my wound was finding a multi-part series on SFWA’s website about bringing suspense into your stories AFTER I had already submitted it.
Eh, you win some, you lose some. At least I have a new resource to dive into for my suspense training. Overall I’m satisfied with my submission. Handing it in at 11:55pm on the last day of the contest wasn’t too hot, but I’m a work in progress.