Registration / The Rules of the Competition / After Your Submit Your Story





Q.  Can writers participate from outside the United States?

A.  Yes.  Writers may participate from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection to upload your stories.


Q.  Who owns the rights to the stories created during the competition?

A.  You, the writer.  NYC Midnight reserves the right to publish the synopsis and e-mail address of any writer that enters the competition for publicity purposes, but that's it.


Q.  Do we have to be in a physical location to participate?

A.  No. The entire competition takes place online and the submissions are required to be uploaded to our website.  So, as long as you have an internet connection, you may participate from anywhere you like. 


Q.  What if I live in a different time zone than New York?

A.  All competition start and end dates are in the Eastern Time Zone (New York).  If you live in another time zone, you will need to make sure you are aware of how many hours ahead or behind you are from New York.  For example, if the competition start time is listed as 11:59PM EST on a Friday and you live in Los Angeles, CA, the competition will begin at 8:59PM local time on Friday.  If you live in London, UK the competition will begin at 4:59AM local time on Saturday.  There will also be countdown clocks on the website to help writers keep track, but we also recommend you mark your calendars with the correct times so you know when the competition starts and ends so there is no confusion later.


Q.  Can I participate if I'm under 18 years of age?

A.  Yes, but anyone under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian send their consent to with the following information:
1. The subject line of the e-mail should be: Parental Consent for 250-word  Microfiction Challenge 2020
  2. Their consent for your participation in the competition in the body of the e-mail. For example, "I am the parent/guardian of __________(Participant Name) and I hereby provide consent for him/her to participate in the 250-word Microfiction Challenge 2020 on"
  3. The full name and phone number of the parent/guardian in the body of the e-mail.


Q. Can I write under a pen name?

A.  Yes, but please make sure you clarify this when registering for the competition.  We will display the first name, last name, and city, state or province, and country of the registered writers on the website when the competition begins.  If you prefer to have a pen name posted to the website, simply enter your pen name on the registration form where it asks for First and Last.  You will be asked to provide your legal name on the registration form as well, but it will not be used for the website.

Q.  Can teams of writers (more than 1) work on the stories?

A.  Yes.  You may list additional writers on the registration form, but please note that ONLY the writer who registers will be eligible for the prizes.



Rules of the Competition


Q. How closely do we have to follow the assigned genre?
A. Closely.  Your story should not be confused with another genre. For example, if the assigned genre is drama, a story that reads as an outright comedy will most likely be disqualified.  You may add in elements from other genres, but make sure the predominant elements of your story are without a doubt from your assigned genre.  To view a list of genre definitions we've put together, click here.  Please keep in mind these are just suggested guidelines and are not explicit instructions on how to write your story or what elements to include.


Q. What is the assigned action?
A. The assigned action must happen within the story.  For example, if the assigned action is “building a sandcastle”, then the action of building a sandcastle must happen in the story.  Referencing the action through dialogue only is not acceptable.  For example, a character that says to a friend “Want to build a sandcastle?”, is not acceptable without the actual action of building a sandcastle taking place.  The action can be physically performed by the characters, but it can also take place in a flashback or flash-forward, a memory, a hallucination, a dream, or in a character’s imagination, as long as it happens within the story.   The action does not have to be written exactly as it is assigned, as long as it is being described in the story.


Q. How can I use the assigned word?
A. The assigned word must be included in the story exactly how it is spelled and continuously (no spaces), but it may be capitalized in any way the Entrant chooses and it may be part of a longer word.  For example, if the assigned word is “courage”, then using the word “courageous” or “encourage” would be acceptable because it contains the exact spelling of the assigned word and it is used continuously (no spaces).  Using “Courage”, “COURAGE”, or “CoUraGE”, would also be acceptable.  While using non-US spelling and grammar is acceptable throughout the story, it is not acceptable for the assigned word.  For example, if your assigned word is "favor" and you spell it "favour" in your story, it will be disqualified.


Q. How do you determine the word count?
A. In this competition, there is a maximum word count of 250 for the stories.  The stories must be typed or pasted into our upload form, which will have a limit of 250 words.  It will not allow stories beyond 250 words to be uploaded.  We will make this upload form available immediately to all writers once the competition begins so they can check their official word count before submitting.  The title will be collected separate from the story on the submission form and will not count towards the 250 words.


Q. Are there any other specific formatting requirements?
A. Yes, please keep in mind the stories must be anonymous and they will be uploaded in plain text as described below:


ANONYMITY -  The author’s name must NOT appear anywhere in the Short Story.  The author will have an opportunity to put their name on the story submission form which is submitted along with their story, but it should not appear anywhere in the story itself.


PLAIN TEXT – The story must be typed or pasted into the story submission form, which is plain text.  All formatting such as fonts, bold, italics, or underlining, will be removed when pasting in the story submission form.


Q.  Can we provide previously written short stories during the competition?

A.  No.  All stories must be created during the competition and must be based on the genre, action, and word assignment provided.



After Submitting Your Story


Q.  How do I know you received my story?

A.  After you upload your story, you should land on an upload success page in addition to receiving an immediate email stating that we have received your submission.  If you do NOT receive an immediate confirmation e-mail and/or land on the upload success page, your submission may not have gone through and we suggest uploading again.  Please check your junk mail folder for the confirmation email as well.  In addition to immediate confirmations, we will be sending an official confirmation email with more details within 72 hours after the submission deadline.


Q.  When can I share my story on the forums?

A.  We ask that writers wait until they receive an official confirmation email before sharing to our forums.  The official confirmation emails typically arrive within 72 hours after the submission deadline.


Q.  When will I know the results and receive feedback?

A.  The details on result announcement dates will be included in the official confirmation emails and are typically at least 2 days before the next round is scheduled to begin.  Feedback is typically sent within 48 hours after the results are announced.


Q.  Can I post the story I create for this competition on my personal website or social media?  Can I submit it to other competitions?

A.  Yes.  Since you retain all the rights to the stories you create during our competitions, you are welcome to do whatever you like with them. 





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