Registration | Rules of the Competition | After You Submit Your Story | How the Competition Works





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 title and synopsis of any story entered for publicity purposes, but that's it.  If NYC Midnight is interested in publishing a story from the competition, a separate agreement must be worked out between the parties.  We would never publish a story without the written consent of the author.


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 EDT 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 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, location, and object assignment provided.


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 Flash Fiction 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 Flash Fiction 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 one) 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.  Also, only one submission is allowed per entry fee.  So, if you register and you list five additional people that will be writing with you, you are still only allowed one submission.



Rules of the Competition


Q.  How closely do we have to follow the genre assignment?

A.  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, go to 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.  How closely do we have to follow the location assignment?

A.  The assigned location must be the predominant location used in the story. You may use other locations, but the assigned location must be the predominant location used in the story.


Q.  How closely do we have to follow the object assignment?

A.  The assigned object must physically appear at some point in the story. For example, if your assigned object is a wig, the actual object must appear in the story rather than a character simply mentioning a wig or the words  “A wig” appearing as the name of a restaurant, in a letter, on a sign, or as a nickname for a character. 


Q.  Do you have some examples of past genre, location, and object assignments?

A.  Yes, here are a few examples from past competitions:

     Drama / An awards dinner / Press on fingernails
     Sci-Fi / A drug rehab center / A wig
     Comedy / A luxury spa / An exit sign
     Romantic Comedy / An ambulance / Onion rings
     Horror / A rooftop / A wheelchair
     Open / A space station / A glass eye


Q. What are the formatting requirements for the stories?
A. There are no requirements regarding spacing or margins, but we ask that all stories are written in 12 point Courier, New Courier or Times New Roman typeface. Also, the title page must only contain the title of the story and a short synopsis (1-2 sentence description of the story). The author's name must not appear anywhere in the story or on the title page to keep the document anonymous for judging.


Q.  What are the acceptable file formats for the stories?

A.  The only acceptable formats are .doc (Word Document), .txt (Text File) or .rtf (Rich Text Format).


Q.  What are the rules regarding spacing?

A.  There are no rules regarding spacing, you may space the stories any way you like.  But, keep in mind that anything over double spaced may make it a difficult reading experience for the judges.


Q.  What is a brief synopsis of my story?

A.  A brief synopsis is a 1-2 sentence summary of your story.  It should be simple, yet very enticing (the main goal is to make the reader excited to read your story).



After You Submit Your Story


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. 


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.


How the Competition Works


Challenge #1: July 10-12, 2020

Writers are placed randomly in groups and there will be up to 150 groups.  Each group is assigned a genre, a location and an object that must be included in the story.  Once the judging is complete, writers receive points based on what place they end up in the challenge (see below):


1st Place

  15 points

6th Place

  10 points

11th Place

  5 points

2nd Place

  14 points

7th Place

  9 points

12th Place

  4 points

3rd Place

  13 points

8th Place

  8 points

13th Place

  3 points

4th Place

  12 points

9th Place

  7 points

14th Place

  2 points

5th Place

  11 points

10th Place

  6 points

15th Place

  1 point


Challenge #2: August 28-30, 2020

Writers compete in the same group they were placed in for Challenge #1.  Writers receive a new assigned genre, location and object which must be included in the story.  Writers receive points based on what place they end up in the challenge.  The total points from Challenge #1 and #2 are added together, and the top 5 writers in each group advance to the 2nd Round. 


For example, if a writer comes in 4th place (12 points) in Challenge #1 and 13th place (3 points) in Challenge #2, then his/her total points for the 1st Round is 15 points.  If 15 points is among the top 5 highest point totals in the group, then the writer will advance to Challenge #3.  The points writers accumulate in Challenges #1 and #2 are only to determine which writers advance to Challenge #3, and have no effect on the judging in Challenge #3 or #4.


Challenge #3: October 16-18, 2020

The top 5 writers that advanced from each group will be divided into new groups and there will be up to 25 groups for the third challenge.  Each group is assigned a new genre, location, and object and have 2 days to submit a 1,000 word story.  The top 3 writers from each group will advance to the fourth and final challenge. 


Challenge #4: December 4-6, 2020

The writers (up to a total of 75) that advanced out of Challenge #3 will participate in the final writing challenge.  They are assigned a new genre, location, and object and again have 2 days to submit a 1,000 word story.  The judges choose winners and they'll share in thousands in cash and prizes.




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