How do you tell a compelling story in 250 words (or less)?

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Make every word count. That’s the lesson I’ve learned as I work my way through short-fiction challenges. It’s a good writing lesson in general: learning to convey a thought, an emotion, an experience, a story, while avoiding superfluous fluff.

NYC Midnight holds a series of fiction writing challenges throughout the year. …

Simon always dreamed of flying. Now he is forced to grapple with the dire consequences of his experimental dreams.

An arm with an analog wristwatch.
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Author’s note: This is my round 1 submission for the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge 2021 competition.

Simon raised his arms toward the sky, and gazing at the fluffy white clouds sprinkling the bright blue background, he felt his feet lift off of the pavement below.

He floated up, above the masses as they scurried along the sidewalk, passing the windows of the second, third, and fourth floors of buildings that lined the street.

“I’m flying,” he cried, his chest bursting with joy.

Seconds later the world began to swirl with vertiginous speed.

And just like that, the dream was…

Fake it until you feel it. It really is that simple.

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I used to dread teaching emotional intelligence. It wasn’t the topic; I was always very passionate about helping people develop those skills. It was the format: I had three hours to teach people what emotional intelligence was, why it was important, and how to improve it.

It was an impossible task. There was too much information crammed into too little time.

At least, it felt impossible to me because I’ve always believed that to master a new skill, I first needed to learn the history of everything involved in accomplishing that skill. (The perfect foundation for imposter syndrome, right?)


Not knowing if a marathon will be canceled, is there a point to training for it?

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Something new that I learned about myself during this time of coronavirus is my proclivity to obsess over ‘trivial’ problems as a coping mechanism, to make up for my feeling of utter helplessness over big picture problems like famine, gun violence, and world peace. And of course, this pandemic.

For example, I am registered to run the 2020 New York City Marathon. (My first time for NYC, and my second world major.) And I find myself fretting over whether or not to go ahead and book the flights and hotel for the trip because I am convinced that:

  • If I…

Can you ever truly be prepared for what every early morning runner dreads?

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Dani’s arsenal of self-defense weapons sat in a straight line on the counter, exactly as she’d left them the night before. As she prepared for her morning run, she stowed each item in its proper place with careful precision. First, she put the pepper spray in her right thigh pocket. Next, she inserted the pink stun gun into her running belt. She attached the safety whistle to her jacket collar and clipped the personal alarm to her water bottle. Finally, she placed the sharp, metal defense claw around her left forefinger. …

Does a lump of dread grow in your stomach when you hear these words? Well, don’t mind me. I’m just over here sweating bullets until it’s my turn to speak.

Let me get right to the point; this is not a story post. This is my Medium profile. Because I have failed to come up with a quippy, clever, 160-character elevator pitch that explains who I am and why I exist on this platform. The sub-headings tell the story, but I’ve included additional information for those who might be curious.

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My primary drive is fiction writing

I know Medium isn’t necessarily the greatest platform for fiction writers, and that I should really be posting stories over on Wattpad or Tumblr or maybe even my own website (for which I have purchased about a dozen different domain…

In this time of coronavirus, domestic violence is on the rise.

Even if we’ve never met, either in person or online, I want you to know that I see you.

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I see you, and I feel for you. I’ve been in your shoes; well kind of. I escaped my ten-year domestic violence (DV) nightmare almost 20 years ago, so I do not know what it is like to have to “shelter” with my monster. But I know it’s happening for many people, and my heart breaks for those who are living in that nightmare.

If you are reading this, and you are fortunate enough not to be experiencing DV, that is…

My second round submission for the NYC Midnight Short Story 2020 competition.

Note: For this round, I was assigned “historical fiction” as my genre, with an eating contest as the subject, and a teenage mother for my character. The word limit for this round was 2000; this clocked in at 1993 words. Again, my comfort zone is science fiction and psychological horror so I’m not certain how this story will hold up. But it was fun to write, and I learned a ton about pirates!

Trinity Church — Newport, Rhode Island, USA

“…and these ‘nodding rods’ were used to gently ‘poke’ members who fell asleep during services.”

The tour guide motioned toward a row of gold-tipped sticks, mounted on…

My first round submission for the NYC Midnight Short Story 2020 competition.

Note: I was given “romantic comedy” as my genre, which I do not believe I have any talent for writing in (I’m a sci-fi and psychological horror gal at heart), but somehow I came in fourth in this round and I’m moving on to round two! My apologies in advance; we were given a genre, subject, and character to use, a 2500 word max, and seven days to complete it, so as I review it now, there are several passages I would have liked to fix, but I wanted to post it “as submitted” here.

Julie paused on the…

Writing on Medium isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay.

Let me begin by telling you about the time first time I successfully stood up on a surfboard.

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Years ago my sister-in-law tried to teach me to surf; it was quickly apparent that I just didn’t have the legs for it. I accepted that it was one of those life experiences I would never have. I tried. I failed. I moved on.

A few months ago during a visit to Hawaii, sitting on the beach and watching people of all ages, shapes, and sizes surfing the waves, I was bitten by the surfing bug again. I wondered: What if I…

Written By Kim

I hate this part. OK, I’m a storyteller. A runner. Artist. Developer. Writing words and code and words and code and….

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