General Questions | How the Competition Works



General Questions


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.  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 Standard 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 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 2017
  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 2017 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 to follow these instructions so there isn't any confusion.

     1. Make sure to use your pen name when registering since that is the name that will be posted to the website when the competition begins.

     2.  After you register, please make sure to send us a separate e-mail at with the subject line Pen Name Information.  Please include your legal name and the pen name you are using in the body of the email so that we have a record of it.

     3.  Please try to use the same name and/or email address throughout the competition when uploading your submissions.


Q. What are the format 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.  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.


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.  In some cases we reach out to the writers to publish their stories on our website, but a separate agreement is made for the story.


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

A.  The story must be within the assigned genre, the location must be the predominant location used in the story, and the object must be included at some point in the story.


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 acceptable 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.


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).



How it Works


Challenge #1 : July 14-16, 2017

Writers are placed randomly in groups.  There are up to 100 groups in the 1st round.  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 : September 15-17, 2017

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 : November 10-12, 2017

The advancing writers that advanced after Challenge #2 will be divided into up to 20 groups.  Each group is assigned a new genre, location, and object and have 2 days to submit a 1,000 word story.  The top 4 writers from each group will advance to the 4th and final challenge. 


Challenge #4 : December 15-17, 2017

The writers (up to a total of 80) 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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