I did not make it to the Final Round of the NYC Midnight Short Story Contest. 😥
However, I am pleased with the story. I generally prefer to write longer-form fiction, but I really liked the structure and challenge of the contest. I will certainly enter again. NYC Midnight has other contests as well, including a script-writing contest over the summer. I am directing a play I wrote and working on two books, so I will simply wait until the next short-story contest.
I just received the feedback from the judges. I appreciate the comments. Some seem to be contradictory (there were several judges). I find the comments informative. I am not going to argue them, other than to say that one of the judges apparently defined the phrase Martial Artist very specifically. When I see the phrase, I also think Kung Fu or Ninja or something vaguely oriental. However, the phrase simply means someone who is skilled in warlike arts. Bruce Lee, yes. Huo Yuanjia, yes. But also von Clausewitz and Audie Murphy.
WHAT THE JUDGE(S) LIKED ABOUT THE STORY
- Interesting and creative writing format.
- Vivid imagery allows the reader to feel as if they are witnessing the development of the story as a member of the neighborhood
- The description of how the babies are made is interesting
- The character of the stork is memorable, even though it is something (especially with the cigar) that we’ve seen before; I think this is achieved through the character’s voice
- The concept here is very high-impact (!) and gives rise to much food for thought. In this context, it’s very unusual.
- It’s brave to play around with the short story format, too
- The voice of Stork is very well done
- And the television news item certainly has an authentic feel
WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK
- Some readers may find the format difficult to follow.
- Breaking up the newscast a few times with a few narrations might be beneficial and capture readers attention through the duration of the story
- One thing that is missing from this screenplay is the conflict — the stork delivering to someone who doesn’t want it — should be up front, so that the reader knows what to expect
- As far as building in challenge after challenge,
- There is much time spent talking and not enough time in actual action
- The part where the stork storms in, and the image of the tired mother and the father — is wonderful
- I wanted to see more of that
- The kung-fu element is not really integral to the story, however.
- And I do feel the idea of mass-produced babies took over from the story itself.
- As it developed it became more and more a stand-alone dystopia.
- The violence used to deliver the babies was the comic element and a satire of Internet shopping
- But I’m not sure how well it meshed with the mass produced babies.
- Perhaps a different structure would have worked better