Step right up, stories big and small!

An interesting thing happened this past Christmas. An old friend of 30 years decided to send me a gift that I really never would have expected. He paid my admission fee to a short story contest called the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. What was this? A little bit of research was in order. It turns out it’s a creative writing competition in which the writers are placed randomly in heats and then assigned a random genre, subject and character assignment. They are then given 8 days to write a short story, no longer than 2500 words. If you place high enough in your heat, you get placed into a second and third round respectively, each time with a new assignment and less time. Sounds fun right? Of course. I suspect the “challenge” part of this challenge is the random assignment — what if I get romance or political satire? Yikes!

Anyway, as I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, I do have short stories very much in mind this year. My books in the Supers & Sorcery series are novellas and there are plenty of characters and plot threads to expand as separate short stories. I believe those will be welcome by the readers who want more detail, more backstory or just more side trips. I’ve already completed one called Shallow Grave and I’m making it available here on the site for those that wish to join the mailing list. It’s just over the upper limit of a short story, according to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) definition – it’s just inside the novelette range. This got me thinking about the variety of story sizes and the new desire to continue writing in every category: flash, short, novelette, novella, and novel. I will be writing a longer novel-sized book this year, but first I need to choose which story!

Outside of writing prose fiction, I have an interest in writing screenplays. I’ve always been a movie-goer and have developed a critical voice of my own. I’m not saying that I know anything about anything, but I know what I like. There have been daydreams of being a director, how I would do things differently – cuts, camera shots, casting, story choices, etc. I’m sure it all extends from the same place as being a prose writer. While I don’t think I would actually enjoy being a director, a lot can be accomplished in the screenwriting itself. I’ll try my hand at it some point, whether it’s this year or further in the future. I guess we’ll find out!