NYC Midnight: Microfiction

You may recall my short story from the NYC Midnight contest. I rather enjoyed it, and they gave really superb feedback. In fact I liked it so much I decided to try my hand at their microfiction contest: 24 hours, 250 words, randomly generated genre, word, and situation.

Genre: romance (really? REALLY? Okay. I’ll try…)

Word: popular

Situation: donating blood

What’s funny about my randomly generated situation is that HubsFish and I totally have a story about donating blood quite early in our relationship, so I took that seed of an event and grew a tiny story from it. Here it is!

Another Bloody Meet-Cute

My hand curled and uncurled like butterfly wings, urging my blood into the IV. Sam pumped his hand hard, filling his bag in hot red spurts. He leered at it, then squinted at mine. ‘Gonna bleed a pint, then replace it with beer. Wanna race?’

              ‘It’s a blood donation, not a chugging contest, Sam,’ I replied wearily.

              The woman across from me looked skeptical. ‘Boys like him must be popular at parties.’

              ‘In that vein,’ said a warm voice, ‘women like YOU get MY blood pumping.’

              Surprised, I turned to the handsome stranger, revealing a sly grin – and my love of puns. It was all the encouragement he needed.

              ‘It’s a bloody shame you’re with him,’ he murmured, so Sam couldn’t hear.

              Well, Sam couldn’t hear anyway because he was yanking his IV from his own arm. ‘Cookie time!’ He flipped the bird to the room and dashed out.

              I looked at the stranger, weighing my options. His IV bag was almost full.

              ‘Nurse, could you tell my boyfriend I’ll be a while?’

 ‘Sure, honey.’ She smiled knowingly as she left, but returned almost immediately, now beaming. ‘Honey, the only guy out there who looks like a boyfriend is flat on his back. Fainted.’

I covered my laugh with a fake cough. The nurse winked.

I turned to the handsome stranger with the puns, the wordsmith. ‘Aorta tell ya, you’re sure cute,’ I said.

              He snorted.

              I offered my hand. ‘Paula.’

              His smirk lit me up inside.

‘Jack.’

~*~

So, as you can see, 250 words is not very many in which to establish characters and motivations and… everything you need to establish to make a story, well… a story! But I enjoyed the challenge a lot, and I thought what I came up with was quite cute.

What did you think of it?

For any writers following along, I’ll share the feedback from the NYC committee, so you can see what you’re getting into if you’d like to play along with any of their numerous contests:

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY – {1795}  Hilariously silly jokes. I love the aorta one, for sure. You have a style of writing that is quite relaxed, easy to get through and enjoyably clever at the same time.  {1894}  The puns added a sense of playfulness to Paula and Jack’s meeting, and it makes it seem more causal while also being exciting.  {1943}  What a fun story! I loved the puns, and the way Paula found a soulmate who liked puns as much as she did. Sam was awful, yet really endearing, and I really liked Paula’s response to his challenge to race, with “It’s a blood donation, not a chugging contest”. I also really liked the way Jack talked to Paula quietly so Sam didn’t hear. Very cute!  WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK – {1795}  I’m unsure of some of the dialogue near the top of the story. It seems like Jack is talking to another woman near Paula when talking about getting his blood pumping…how would that instantly make Paula want to forget her boyfriend to try her luck with this guy when he doesn’t even show interest?  {1894}  Why is Paula with Sam? Why are they at the blood donation? Try to give some more setup for what’s going on.  {1943}  Your story has a really great premise, and you build chemistry successfully in just a very short word count. At times, I felt that you had a tendency to over write a little, using more complex adjectives than were needed, which distracts us from the plot. For example, I would maybe choose an adjective like “looked” or “studied” instead of “leered”, which has a rather negative connotation. Similarly, I would have preferred “smile” to “smirk” which again, has a slightly negative connotation, and I think the nurse could have been smiling, not “beaming.” If you pull back a little on these descriptions, we can focus more on the emotions of the characters and the action, rather than having to keep absorbing another piece of precise information about how the characters behave.

It’s unusual in writing to get such thorough feedback from multiple people all in one place like this, which is something I really like about these contests. So if you’re game for a challenge and you’d like some feedback, I highly suggest the NYC Midnight contests!

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