I Made the Cut for Challenge 3! #FFC

Well, actually, I WON the 2nd challenge, and I am FIRST in my group! I am so SO happy. And proud. And, of course, now stressed about Round2 and the 3rd challenge this weekend.

FIRST PLACE!
(15 points)

I still can’t quite believe it! I made it and get to write in the next challenge.

But now, I’m AGAIN super worried I will get a weird genre this time. I’ve been lucky so far – while I had not written mystery before the 1st challenge – fantasy is quite my genre. Perhaps the one easiest for me.
(I mean, apparently so… 😉 )

I wonder if I’ll get lucky again.

A recap for those of you who don’t know what I am talking about:
In May 2022 I signed up for NYCMidnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge (see post)- a writing competition where participants get to write 1000 word flash fiction pieces on a prompt (genre, location and object). The first round, consisting of 2 challenges, is open to all participating writers. The best 15 stories in each group get awarded points. The cumulative points of both challenges determine if a participant will move on to the next round – the top 5 in each group get to advance to round 2.

And that now includes me. Because I came in second in my group in the 1st challenge – 14 points. And now, I WON! 15 points, baby! That brings me to a total of 29 (of a maximum possible 30) points – the best result in my group!

What happens next? Well, all the writers who placed in the top 5 – that’s 600 out of the original 4200+ participants in all the 120 groups of round 1 – will be assigned new groups. At 11:59PM EDT on Friday 7th Oct the new prompts will drop and everyone still in the game will scramble to get something worthwhile to paper in the 48h given to us.

The time translates to 6am for me. And once again, I’m, not at home, but on the road with my dear husband. That’s somewhat lucky, though. I’ll have a hotel room all for myself b/c he’ll be working.

So… fingers crossed I’ll wake up to a good prompt in about 2 days’ time! I’ll keep you all posted.

Done, and done. #FFC

It’s a bliss to work on a flash fiction story while on holiday in Sweden. We’re staying at Thankfully, the LTE availability is superb even in remote areas. Right now, we’re at a camping ground in Glaskogen Nature Reserve. It’s beautiful, peaceful, relaxing – just right for a challenge with a tight deadline. This time, it wasn’t even necessary to write through the night! I submitted on Sunday, 14th of August, 11:30pm – with 6,5h deadline left… and got the confirmation email a few days later.

And now, AGAIN, waiting for the results! Isn’t that just the worst part of it all?

NYCMidnight – Flash Fiction Challenge

Results Round #1, Challenge #1

Progress on the WIP had been somewhat non-existent lately, while all the nice little side projects ate up all my writing time. A rather unsustainable situation for someone who really, desperately wants to finish_the_damn_1stdraft. So I had to make a decision about the continued participation in the NYC Flash Fiction Challenge (NYCM-FFC).

Do I just stop after the 1st round’s 1st challenge? Do I go on if I got points? If so, how many to still have a shot at round 2?

For clarification: about 4200 writers from all over the world participate in the NYCM-FFC. That’s 120 groups of about 35 each. Each group writes a 1000 word flash fiction using their unique prompt (genre, location, object). The best 15 stories earn points – 15 points for placing first, 14 for second place, 13 for third – you get the idea. After round 1 (consisting of two challenges; max 30 points possible), the best 5 in each group advance to round 2 and get to write on.

I got lucky with the prompt in my first challenge. You can read about it here. I wrote through the Sunday night and submitted around 5am. (Time zone shift of 6h compared to NCY)
And then, the waiting began.

The results came in late. Exactly 24h before the 2nd round’s prompt was due, actually. And I, on family holiday in Sweden as of now, had discussed the “prioritize your WIP!”-issue with Husband over the last few days. Decision: if I scored more than 5 points, I’ll be ready to write the 2nd challenge – provided the genre is somewhat manageable for me.

Well. Tomorrow I’ll be at least looking at the prompt. Because I came ion 2nd in my group. SECOND! 14 points, baby!

Will you look at this?!?!?

I have to say, I am somewhat proud right now. Let’s see what tomorrow’s prompt is.

Writing Challenges

From time to time, writing turns into a really frustrating experience. Nothing seems to happen. The ideas won’t come – or too many of them, and then I end up chasing all the plot bunnies and short fiction ideas while my WIP sits in a corner, sad and lonely. It’s hard to avoid this from happening – at least I have not yet found a strategy against it yet – so naturally, I embrace it!

Enter: all the challenges and competitions.

No, not ALL of them, but here and there, if I come across an interesting opportunity, I just give myself some slack and just roll with it. See where it gets me.

This time: the NYC Midnight Challenges. Yeah, plural. You read that right.

Check out the website here. I can’t remember when and where this came to my attention, probably Twitter or maybe Insta. The Short Story Challenge was under way at the time (still miffed I missed this!) but there was a Flash Fiction Challenge coming up – just what I needed! Something that will get my creativity flowing but won’t bog me down for weeks. Something with a tight deadline, a clear task, a limited amount of hours involved. There was going to be feedback! Terrific!

So, I signed up in late May, got my registration confirmation, and had to wait for the first of at least 2 challenges to start.

The assignment dropped – as specified – on 11:59 EDT, 6:00 in the morning for me. On a weekend I was visiting my sister whom I had promised to help sort through kid’s clothing, clear the overgrown garden and turn the compost. Perfect timing.

Not.

Anyway, I had been so afraid I’d get Romance or Political Satire as a genre, but I got lucky. I got this:

My prompt for Challenge #1 in Round 1 – Flash Fiction Challenge

It was a ride! I ended up writing through the night and submitted with only an hour left. Forking 5am in the morning. It was nice to hear the birds coming to life and all that. And honestly, I suffered the consequences for a couple of day. I’m just not used to pulling all-nighters anymore. But, it’s over and done. I got the confirmation a couple of days later. Now we wait for the results.

To Dust – Weekly Poetry Challenge

Yesterday we went on a hike that led us to Alsace and three old castles: Loewenbourg, Wegelnbourg, and Hohenbourg – mostly reduced to ruins. The sight’s a good reminder: All that is now will eventually turn to dust. So here’s my entry to Colleen’s Poetry Challenge. Synonym words were CHANGE and DEFY.

2018-09-01 16.43.06picture: Castle Hohenbourg  – September 1st, 2018

~To Dust~

The hands of time turn
mercilessly—eat the world
alive, bit by bit.
Stone breaks to dust, flesh withers.
Nothing withstands time’s power.

All shifts, all crumbles—
memories that remain fade
into nothingness.

 

Another picture of one of the ruin’s doors/arches – it’s the entrance that led to a spiral staircase used to get to the upper part of the castle. Only a few steps are left, you can see the remains peeking out from behind the left door frame.
The castle was established in the 13th century and destroyed and rebuilt several times as ownership and allegiances shifted. This arch’s time stamp dates back to 1578. That’s 400 years between the year the stone mason chiseled those numbers into that slab of stone and my own arrival here on earth – 440 between that day and the day this picture was taken.

2018-09-01 16.41.58

Summer Peril – Tanka Challenge #96

My Tanka poem for Colleen’s Tanka challenge #96. It’s been unbearably hot in most of Europe – a poem about the summer’s cruel grasp seems to be a natural topic.
This week’s prompt words were CONGREGATE and PASSION. I chose meet and heat as synonyms.

~Summer Peril~

Meet me at the foot
of the thirsty willow tree.
Its leaves fall in sheets,
dancing pirouettes of death
down to the dry riverbed.

Last week’s rain dance went
unheard, is unanswered still.
The sky’s unblemished.
Below the weeping branches
we hide from the burning heat.

 

Head over Heels – Tanka

Welcome to the 94th instalment of Colleen’s Poetry Challenge—the 9th I am participating in. The synonym prompt words were BELIEFS and STRANGE. I used theory for beliefs and foreign for strange.
This week, my poem consists of two Tanka stanzas with a Haiku wedged in between.

~Head over Heels~

Is it yours to give
the heart I seek—I long for?
Black-hole gravity
in your eyes pulls me to you,
capturing skin, soul and mind.

Serendipity—
romantic theory—yet
inexplicable.

Simple sensations:
sweet blood rushes, pulse quickens,
heartbeat jolts and jumps.
I take the risk and follow
this foreign path, this promise.

Shifting and Changing – Poetry Challenge – a Tanka

Some busy months have passed, and so it’s been some time since I participated in Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge. I am all the more happy to post this Tanka today.
Colleen’s prompts were PLAN and INSPIRATION – as always with the catch to only use synonyms. I used the words schedule and whim.

Granted, my week is not as carefree as the poem might suggest. Still, I think a little flexibility in our plans is a good thing. You might want to check out my post about Bullet Journals for Authors here.

WhatsApp Image 2018-04-30 at 16.21.38
Picture: Ingo Rammer, Isle of Skye, 5:30am view from Quirang down to Staffin Bay

~Shifting and Changing~

My weekly schedule,
more a guideline than a rule,
adapts to my whims,
in the spur of the moment,
in the flux of time and space.

You, Melting my Core – Poetry Challenge

Here’s my entry for Colleen’s 2018 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 79.
The weeks’ prompt words were DANCE & COMMAND – as always, synonyms only.I used sway & twirl, and govern & guide.
I wrote a set of three stanzas, each in Tanka style. I really like the form. Enjoy.

5435470541_afff96f1a1_b

~You, Melting my Core~

Give me your hand and
I will sweep you off your feet.
I’ll sway you, twirl you
’til the world dissolves and all
you see is my glowing smile.

Grant me a kiss and
I will touch, ever gently,
my honest promise
to your heavenly-sweet lips
’til I steal your breath away.

Gift me your heart and
I will gladly grant you mine
to govern, to guide,
to melt, and to shape anew;
’til it’s yours, forevermore.

Forging Our Luck – A Haibun/Tanka

It’s time for the weekly poetry challenge, brought to you by Colleen (77th installment.)
This week’s (non)prompt words were CHARM and TIME. I’ve done a lot of Tanka poems recently, but today I opted for the Haibun form, this time a double Tanka reflecting the prose. Enjoy!

DSC01376 Picture: Schiessentümpel waterfall, Mullerthal, Luxembourg; IR-June 2017

~Forging Our Luck~
The world’s prime attribute is to be a never ceasing flux, the future constantly changing, challenging old habits and notions. This is good. It’s how we evolve as human beings, as nations, as mankind.
At times, those currents run low and hidden from sight, working their magic on a subtle level like a river licking away its icy confines come spring. Slowly, but steadily.
At times, it’s less gentle.
At times, something trips and the pent-up power of change breaks through and ripples the polished surface of established routines. With a vengeance, it forces us to assess our reality anew. Hopefully, we evolve to a better kind of ourselves, to a more magnanimous future.

At times, perception
Shifts and points our attention
To the core issue
Hidden beneath a layer
Of old, stifling conventions.

If ever the day
Was ripe for change, it is now.
I see a new age
Dawning, rising, bewitching,
Pushing ahead, undaunted.