A Challenge? The Horror!

Since The Man from PigPerfect mysteriously turned up on her front porch, Janessa Chang-Showalter has had to shoot her dog, watch someone else shoot her hormone-crazed husband, and now she’s scared to death of the baby she’s being forced to deliver. She’s beginning to wonder if running off with Andrew to his Nebraska hometown was such a hot idea after all.

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I love a good writing exercise.  Timed exercises; photo prompts; ones that use structure, like 100 words or haikus — I like the way they get things flowing, and I love to see the way a gang of writers can take the same prompt and take it in a hundred different directions.  So when a friend of mine told me about NYC Midnight’s Short Story Challenge, I was all in. There’s a time element (8 days, in Round One, to write a story from scratch), a word limit (2,500), and prompts relating to genre, subject, and character — a competition seemingly designed just for me!  I figured as long as I didn’t get Horror for my genre, I had this on lock.

The night before the Round One assignments were revealed, I actively fretted: I hope I don’t get Horror as my genre for the Short Story Challenge.  And the Universe, as is occasionally her wont, picked up on two key phrases — namely “Horror” and “the Short Story Challenge” — and lined ’em right up for me in the nick of time.  By fretting about it, I had more or less asked for it, and I sure did get it. Continue reading