Here's what I learned from the experience:
- Normally when I write I either have a really good sense of where the story's going or a really good sense of the character. I develop these things by spending time journaling about the idea or running it through my head a lot. 24 hours doesn't allow for that kind of thoughtfulness, so instead I forced myself to free write first about the character--her age, location, what she wanted out of life, etc. And then I tried to make an outline that included just the first few scenes. From there, I knew the others would flow.
- Knitting really is the best thing to do when you're stuck on a story. At one point, I was hating my draft, so I picked up my yarn. Within a few stitches, I realized why I hated it, and once I changed that, I could move forward.
- Writing friends are awesome. It is so much more fun and educational to share experiences like this and discuss them. Thanks BostonErin for suggesting the date!
- The rules of the contest mention things that a lot of people do wrong. Unfortunately I didn't read these until after I wrote my story. One I broke was to go with the first idea that came into my head. According to the site, that often results in lots of people writing on the same topic. I hope that didn't happen, but we'll see... I do have hope--when we do exercises in my writer's group, I always go with my first idea and we all end up with completely different stories.
I'll hear back from them in a month, and I'll be sure to post here about it.
If you're interested in joining the next contest, click here to learn more: http://www.writersweekly.com/misc/contest.php