Last week I participated in the first round of NYC Midnight’s micro-fiction challenge. It’s a good thing we were allowed to submit three entries, because the reactions I got in various places really drove home how subjective this whole writing thing can be. NYCM provides forums where you can post your stories for feedback, and there the overwhelming favorite was the one on domestic violence. However, I also posted them on twitter, and the favorite was the poop joke – I even got retweeted by several people I didn’t know, which felt awesome. But when it came time for the judges to pick the top 25 from each group to move on to the voting round, the only one of mine they selected was the one about the reluctant wedding: Sick of being poor, Amy clasped the withered hand of her rich groom & choked out the words, “I do.”
Even though I didn’t feel that was my strongest of the three, I was just happy one of mine was moving on to the next step. So then NYCM had the public vote on their favorites. The three with the most votes in each group (plus two picked by the judges) would move on to the final round. I was surprised to find out last night that my wedding story had the second highest amount of votes in my group, so thank you to everyone who voted for me.
That meant today was the finals, and all 100 writers who moved on were assigned the same word: oxygen. Today was crazy busy with some high stress things happening, so I didn’t have time to angst and fret over my entries like I usually do. Fortunately, three ideas came to me very quickly, and arrived pretty much already in bite-sized chunks, so I did not have to spend forever trying to whittle them down to less than 100 characters. Considering the very small amount of time I had to work on them, I’m pretty happy with what I submitted.
1. Amy told him sex without oxygen would be a rush. A belt one notch too tight makes her a millionaire.
2. The greedy fire consumed the room’s oxygen making her husband’s death less painful than Sue planned.
3. Despondent from being the 3rd wheel, Oxygen split from the Hydrogens, flinging the world into chaos.
After I wrote #1, I was trying to find a three-letter name (have to keep it short!), and I picked ‘Ami.’ Then my brain started itching thinking I’d already used it before. So I looked up my first round stories and saw that I'd used ‘Amy’ in the wedding one that advanced me to the finals. Then I realized this new one actually made a perfect sequel for the wedding one and changed the name to ‘Amy’ to match.
Should I write a third one where Amy gets caught to make it a trilogy? What micro-stories can you come up with for ‘oxygen’?