Two UCSB creative writing teams currently lead the race in a high-speed international writing competition.

In the final round of the 2008 NYC Midnight Creative Writing Championship — set for Oct. 17 — the teams will have 48 hours to create 1,000-word stories in their quest for a $750 grand prize. Of the five groups entered in the competition, two teams representing UCSB currently hold first and second place. The UCSB contingents — Heroine Studio and the Big EZ — are comprised of a mixture of current students and alumni.

Big EZ team member Portia DiPasquale, a fourth-year English major, said she is rather disappointed with the competition — or lack thereof.

“[My team] thinks the competition is really sad, actually,” DiPasquale said. “There are five teams and we were expecting to have a lot of competition, but after we get the judging results, we aren’t really fazed by them.”

The contest consists of a total of three rounds of competition in which five-man teams progress through four different writing tasks. Each story is judged on an individual basis by an impartial panel of experts from the writing industry.

For the upcoming championship round, writers are assigned an object, a location and a genre — all which must be apparent in their respective short stories for that given round. Currently, the Big EZ has a total of 163 points, while Heroine Studio trails with 136. The remaining three teams unaffiliated with UCSB have yet to break 100.

Alumnus Jason Mortenson, another member of the Big EZ, said he relishes the opportunity to prove himself against his peers.

“Well, I’ve always enjoyed writing, and this was an opportunity to compete against people and get an idea of where I stand against other writers,” Mortenson said. “It’s just a test of my writing skills.”

Co-founder of Heroine Studio, Wilson Trang, a fifth-year history major, was the lead scorer for his team in the first round of competition.

“Heroine Studio is a creative think tank; it’s a bunch of students getting together and bouncing ideas off each other,” Trang said.

Overall, DiPasquale said the contest offers a rewarding experience.

“I think the competition as a whole is really ingenious. It’s really witty to have a group of people write about a genre …” DiPasquale said. “I definitely would recommend it to all the UCSB students of whatever major. It’s worth it.”