What are you doing here? Did you make a wrong turn, or?… You know what, nevermind. You’re here now. As strange as this whole thing might be, as out of place as you may feel, you may as well adjust, because…
This week’s writing group prompt is:
I Shouldn’t Be Here
RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!
This one is downright invasive.
We’ve all had this experience before. For some of us it was in the margins of a party full of strangers; for others it was our friends’ coming-of-age celebration in the traditions of a culture we know nothing about. For the very unlucky, it was at the family dinner table.
No matter who you are, at some point in your life you’ll find you don’t identify with the setting you find yourself in. You’ll feel like an alien, or a stranger, or heck the two aren’t mutually exclusive, so maybe you’ll even be a strange extraterrestrial trapped among humans doing human things, wondering what in the world all of it means, and how do I get away from it?
And even if your humanity remains intact, you might still have this revelation. It might come to you late one night, after you’ve climbed over the “DO NOT CLIMB” chain-link fence in front of the old warehouse. As you’re exploring the ruins, you might hear something strange—something like a three-throated horse whinny—from the stairs leading into the cellar. As the inhuman figure emerges into the glow of your flashlight, it might dawn on you that perhaps here, at this precise moment, is not the best place to be.
This is the good thing about being a writer. This is your opportunity to take that emotion and put words, visuals, symbols to it. Give it a life outside your memory.
Write something about a zombie among the living, who’s forgotten what it was like to feel all the things they do, and is made profoundly aware of all they’ve lost every moment spent in their company. Write about a faerie who defied the laws of her people, goes out into human territory, and ends up captured; a wonder in a museum of curiosities. Write about a kid who hangs out with the wrong friends, and ends up with a gun in their hand.
Whatever you do, find yourself in it. Find the time you can recall realizing that perhaps you were somewhere you’d be better off far away from…
And then let us experience it.
Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.
The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!
Rules and Guidelines
We read at least six stories during each stream, three of which come from the public post, and three of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!
Text and Formatting
- English only.
- Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
- Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
- Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
- Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name). Do not include any additional symbols or flourishes in this part of your submission. Format them exactly as you see in this example, or your submission may not be eligible: Example Submission.
- No additional text styling (such as italics or bold text). Do not use asterisks, hyphens, or any other symbol to indicate whether text should be bold, italic, or styled in any other way. CAPS are okay, though.
What to Submit
- Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
- Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
- Write something brand new (no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
- No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
- Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
- One submission per participant.
- Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
- Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
- You must like and leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible. Your reviews must be at least 50 words long, and must be left directly on the submission you are reviewing, not on another comment. If you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post. The two submissions you like need not be the same as the submissions you review.
- Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
- You may submit to either or both the public/private groups if you have access, but if you decide to submit to both, only the private group submission will be eligible.
- Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or attributions are guaranteed.
Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.