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Can I Get a Testimony!

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topangarose View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote topangarose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2019 at 6:00pm
Originally posted by LoboGal26 LoboGal26 wrote:

Originally posted by Lord Xoon Lord Xoon wrote:

I just haven't had much motivation to write lately. For the past year or so, if it wasn't for these competitions, I wouldn't be writing anything. So, I don't know about measuring success, but it's literally the only new writing I've been doing until I can snap out of this funk, so that's a plus.

I feel your pain.
As I shared in a pre-submission thread, I was diagnosed with breast cancer last spring and all motivation to write withered away. If I tried to write, I stared at the blinking cursor until a new question about my treatment needed my attention and I dived down a research wormhole. In an attempt to kickstart my words, I signed up for the November novel writing event and wrote a sentence...in a month.
For me, just completing a short story and submitting it was an important step toward rediscovering my writing mojo.


That's a big accomplishment. From one who understands that worm hole, I applaud you. And wish you happy and safe healing that improves more everyday.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SEHBicycle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2019 at 8:30pm
I discovered NYCM SSC by their effective facebook ad--three prompts, write a story, GO. My eyes lit up. This was a game I'd played as a kid writer with my older cousin who taught elementary school, and LOVED it--3 words, 5 words, whatever the other one picked. I'd played it after college with a friend of mine who also taught, Pam, and I still loved it.

But I let my creative writing fall to the wayside because I had bills to pay, and I had way too much fun in my garden, and riding my bike. I let slide the novel I'd started--I didn't have enough time, and I'd gotten stuck. Turns out, I didn't yet know my writing process for novels. My novel, started all because of the word "Mausoleum" Pam gave me, stalled in its folder.

So that first NYCM SSC story year, I was DEEP in the second draft of my first full-fledged novel. The prompts gave me a break, and a breath of fresh air with action-adventure, an invention, and a flight attendant. It took me 6.5 days to figure out my character, leaving 1.5 days to draft the story. I knew nothing of beta reads. The theme of my crits? "It feels like you've crammed a novel into a short story." Er, yes, I had! That was my first short story in something like 20 years.

I critiqued writers whose critiques I respected, and one coached me, hey, embed your post into your footer so folks can find you. Then I got return crits from the folks I'd been doing. I caught the eye of a few NYCM regulars who invited me into a web group they were forming.

This contest brought me a writing HOME. These writers, as a web group, we nurture each other's creativity. I've traveled to conferences, retreats, and met several in person. They're even more wonderful! The way multiple minds can help you dive into what your piece wants to say, that's a priceless gift.

That first story for NYCM SSC? It DID become the character's dilemma for my second novel. And that story game I played after graduation? Two years ago, I drew historical fiction with 3 days. I knew what I'd do. I'd go back to the novel, with the runner cooling down in the mausoleum and meeting a Civil War ghost. I'd use this short story to figure out why someone who died in the Civil War would be kicking around 150 years later. The story didn't advance me, but it DID give me the huge mistake that character made. When I drew historical fic for 8 days this year, I used the short story to figure out what happened to the girl he left behind.

That's my longwinded way of saying, without this competition, I'd never have met writers who push me to grow, who celebrate the ups and downs with me; I'd never have remembered how much those word games forced me out of my comfort zone and FREED me to explore. My novel 3 main character came from another year's SSC, when beta comments said they loved her attitude, they loved my romance about a thief who couldn't help but give back the "last will and testament" she had stolen. Who knew I could write romance? Never, in a million years, would I have tried that on my own. THAT is what this contest has given me--writer friends, novel concepts, and a portfolio of stories.

I hope you'll find those writers who can be your support network as you grow.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote nod1v1ng Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2019 at 8:41pm
Originally posted by LaissezFaire LaissezFaire wrote:

Reading makes you a better writer and, so too, the more you beta the better you write. 

I think this is so true. Furthermore, I think it can make you a better person. True confession: Your writing here, and in other venues, has challenged my worldview and often reminds me to check my privilege. The real privilege is to read and recognize truths outside our own realities. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote topangarose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2019 at 9:55pm
Originally posted by nod1v1ng nod1v1ng wrote:

Originally posted by LaissezFaire LaissezFaire wrote:

Reading makes you a better writer and, so too, the more you beta the better you write. 

I think this is so true. Furthermore, I think it can make you a better person. True confession: Your writing here, and in other venues, has challenged my worldview and often reminds me to check my privilege. The real privilege is to read and recognize truths outside our own realities. 


Good point! I hadn't thought of it that way, but that's true for me too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote northernwriter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Feb 2019 at 4:26am
I love this group and this post so much!

As soon as I started reading in kindergarten, I decided I wanted to become an author. I read fervently and loved getting writing assignments in school. While I always kept a journal, I didn't write fiction on my own. I think I was always afraid of falling short of those great writers I had loved as a child. I kept reading my way through college and I became an English teacher, and then later a math teacher. 

After I turned 40, I realized I had a great job, husband, and kids. But I always felt like writing was "the one who got away." I realized I had nothing to lose - if I failed at writing, it would be okay, because I have a good life anyway. But what if I succeeded? I saw a Facebook post for NYCM this past summer and signed up for the flash fiction contest. I wrote the first short story I had written since a high school or college assignment.

I joined the forum but was afraid to post my first entry in it. I got zero points and anxiously awaited the feedback from the judges. In the back of my mind, I had this awful feeling that the judges would make this big proclamation, like "You have failed at writing. Try golf instead as a hobby." But the feedback from the judges was fantastic; it listed strengths I didn't know I had and very specific things to work on. I felt like I could do this again. For my FFC round 2 story, I got assigned romance and used my experience as a middle school teacher to write an LGBT YA story. I was still terrified to post my story online, but was lucky enough to join a great writer's group that I found here and became brave enough to get some beta readers. When the scores came out, I couldn't look for about an hour; I was really hoping I had improved enough to get a point this time instead of another zero. When I finally checked, I saw that I had gotten 15 points. (I'm a little nervous posting this. I don't want anyone to think that their story is not amazing if they haven't gotten a high score, because we all know the judging can be subjective!) I had never believed in myself as a writer and I desperately needed this external validation - someone else in the world thought I could write! It was enough to motivate me to continue with NYCM and to sign up for online writing classes (I live on an island off the coast of Alaska, close to where my story for this round is set, so there are no in-person classes I can take). I did the short screenplay challenge this winter, and this is my first short story challenge.

I would love to score well and advance, as would we all, but in the end my goal is to keep improving and find my voice and genres that call out to me. I really believe writing is a craft, and that means we can all improve. I want to spend this first year (of what will hopefully be a lifetime of writing) just exploring and playing with words. NYCM is perfect for that, as I've been assigned genres I never would have tried otherwise. And the writer's group I have found through the forum is the best I could have imagined.

Thanks for reading and best of luck in this competition to all of you! 


Edited by northernwriter - 11 Feb 2019 at 4:30am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote ttlbrake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 2019 at 8:58pm
I just binged this entire thread and thoroughly enjoyed it! What a treat to read about where everybody is coming from and to know that there are so many people who love writing as much as I do. 

I've always had a knack for writing whatever I was told to write (eg. essays, speeches, etc.), but my heart has always belonged to poetry. I'm a deeply sensitive person and love nothing more than being cut to the quick with beautiful phrases. Poetry has been a type of therapy for me through years of depression, although there have been long periods of time in which I couldn't get a single word on the page. I have been on the move for most of my adult life, even spending two years in China (I'm Canadian), and luckily have a career (registered nurse) that allows me the mobility I love. 

As I've gotten older, I've kind of come in to my own as a person who can now see her own value, which has made me long to write again. A few years ago, coincidentally, I was in Costa Rica while an online writing workshop was taking place, so I participated. And loved it. And created some pieces that make me very proud. 

I can't say that I write as much as I wish I did, but I have made it a more regular occurrence. In addition to poetry, I've finished a children's story book that I hope to submit for publishing as soon as I come up with some illustrations. When I saw the NYCM ad on Facebook the day before the deadline. I thought, "why not?" and entered on a whim. 

I've loved reading everybody's stories and am sorry that my reviews aren't great. I've never reviewed before, which I think might be obvious. It's also been wonderful to get so many reviews in return; they've really shed light on my blind spots. I didn't know about the beta readers before submitting my story, so if I make it through to the next round, I'm going to try to budget time in to get some feedback before submitting. 

Thanks, everybody! I've been enjoying the forum, if relatively quietly. :-)


Edited by ttlbrake - 14 Feb 2019 at 9:02pm
Round 1, Heat 60 "Suspended State"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (4) Thanks(4)   Quote trish1206 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2019 at 11:19am
I've always had such a hard time with online profiles.  They want you to label your 'occupation'.  And I am one of those people who have so many.

I make money by being an audiobook narrator for Audible/Amazon.  I am a portrait photographer with a studio.  I aspire to being an author some day.

Who knows what I'll want to do in the future!  Stop trying to nail me down!

Anyway, this is my 16th NYC Midnight competition.  I have made it into the finals a handful of times, and actually came in THIRD for the Flash Fiction 2013 competition.  Out of thousands.   I was so thrilled and have been chasing that high ever since.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote SEHBicycle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Mar 2019 at 9:39pm
Originally posted by northernwriter northernwriter wrote:

For my FFC round 2 story, I got assigned romance and used my experience as a middle school teacher to write an LGBT YA story. I was still terrified to post my story online, but was lucky enough to join a great writer's group that I found here and became brave enough to get some beta readers. When the scores came out, I couldn't look for about an hour; I was really hoping I had improved enough to get a point this time instead of another zero. When I finally checked, I saw that I had gotten 15 points.

Woo-hoo! I love hearing stories like this--though scoring low on the first, getting solid feedback, and then nailing the next story!

Originally posted by northernwriter northernwriter wrote:

It was enough to motivate me to continue with NYCM and to sign up for online writing classes (I live on an island off the coast of Alaska, close to where my story for this round is set, so there are no in-person classes I can take).


Wishing you happy writing, and always learning!

Originally posted by northernwriter northernwriter wrote:

I want to spend this first year (of what will hopefully be a lifetime of writing) just exploring and playing with words. NYCM is perfect for that, as I've been assigned genres I never would have tried otherwise. And the writer's group I have found through the forum is the best I could have imagined.


You've got all the tools, and the support, to enjoy this writing journey. Congratulations on diving into this. Here's to you doing well in this competition, too!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote td333777 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Mar 2019 at 10:45pm
Back when I was 25 (which is oooooh so long ago) I was daydreaming while washing dishes at a Domino's Pizza shop, and I came up with an idea for a story...so strong that for the first time in my life, I sat down at the computer and actually WROTE the damn thing.  Showed it to my family and friends, got the usual compliments, and then forgot about it.  Ten years later, a woman I was dating was a big reader so I remembered the story, pulled it out of a drawer, and showed it to her.  Her response was more measured: "Not bad." 

A couple of years after that, she emailed me out of the blue (we'd long since broken up) and said "Hey, I saw an ad for a 24-hour short story contest.  You're pretty good, you should try this."  Figuring why not, I ponied up my $5.00 entry and gave it a shot along with 500 other people.  Much to my surprise, I won!  After that, I thought "Well, sh*t.  Maybe this is something I should nurture."

I spent a few years entering contests, writing shorts, waiting for the first BIG idea to hit me--something that could be an actual novel--and when it finally did, I kinda dived in head-first.  Finished the book in about a year, got an agent on my fourth query, got a book deal from Simon & Schuster.  Woo hoo!  Finish line!!  I'm a big time writer!!!

And the book bombed.

S&S didn't promote it, mostly because I don't think they really knew how, and I was crushed.  Sat around for a bit, listening to the internal voices that I think haunt all writers regardless of talent or ability level:  "You see, you sucked all along.  Failure was always strong in you, young Jedi--you just managed to dodge it for awhile, somehow."

I tried to write another book, but my creativity just seemed to be at an all-time low.  I'd lost my confidence, and it showed in every word I typed.  So I quit.  For about three months.

Then I saw a FB post about a writing contest with an unusual format: the NYCM Short Story Contest.  I figured, "Well, sh*t.  Short story contests were how I got my start--why not try another and see how you do?"  My first round story finished first, which really got my confidence and creative juices flowing again.  My second round story finished 5th (top four moved on to finals), and the feeling I had then really proved to me I was "back" as a writer because I didn't cry about it, I didn't have voices nagging me in the dark.  Instead, I GOT PISSED OFF.  I stomped around the house for a week sounding like a poorly written supervillain: "How dare they not recognize my genius.  They will PAY for their insolence!!" 

Sooo...I entered the Flash Fiction Contest that summer to prove to myself that I could do better.  I got insanely lucky with my genre selections, really wrote to my strengths, and took first place.  And thought, "Well, sh*t.  I just won more money than I got paid for my first novel.  SUCK ON THAT, SIMON & SCHUSTER."

Which meant that I had to enter the Short Story Contest too, but not because of the money or the winning, but because along the way, I'd discovered that I really just LOVED the contest.  The pressure, the excitement of the night they release the prompts, the crazy tight deadlines that force you to be creative but on a clock, the fact that you get to see how other people attack the same prompts, and because the forums are simply wonderful!  The camaraderie, the support, the genuine and heartfelt desire to make each others' writing BETTER.  It's like being in an MFA program, except it costs $50 per semester instead of $15,000.

Anyway, I ended up taking 2nd overall in the Short Story contest and really felt like NYCM was bringing out of me some of the best fiction I've written in my entire life.  If it hadn't been for this site and these contests, I seriously believe I might have given up altogether.

So, yeah, that's an exceptionally long-winded version of what this contest means to me.

The shorter version: everything.

TD


Edited by td333777 - 20 Mar 2019 at 10:48pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SEHBicycle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Mar 2019 at 6:59pm
Originally posted by td333777 td333777 wrote:

So, yeah, that's an exceptionally long-winded version of what this contest means to me.


WOW, now THAT is a tale! Well done on the accomplishments. It's amazing how this family of contests has kicked so many of us into a higher gear. You've certainly capitalized. Good luck on that NEXT novel, whenever you tackle it! And all the short stories in-between.
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