Hello, Thieves and Pleasers!
Have you ever hidden your true feelings from others? Like maybe you get hurt, but you smile through it so that no one knows it? I wonder why we do that… hey, are you okay? You can talk if you need to. I think it’s time you opened up, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
Your Mask is Slipping
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 prompt immediately brings to mind the idea of us all having a self that we show to the world, and a self that we don’t let anyone see.
That is one possibility you can explore this week; a character who only ever shows others their happy, upbeat, and optimistic self. They seem to not have any problems in the world, but they just hide it from everyone and try to deal with it themselves. What happens when it becomes too much? Who would be the first to notice that falter in their smile? Contrariwise, perhaps you choose to write about someone who tries to act tough and scary to keep everyone away for whatever personal reason, but then one person sees that they aren’t nearly as mean as they make themselves out to be. Does this person continue to observe and maybe even try to become friends with the big scary person? Or maybe you choose to write about the cat who thinks— sorry, knows that they are the center of the universe and that these petty humans are not worth their time… except those ear scritches feel awful good… and that lap looks so comfy. But can the cat really be such a suck-up? They can enjoy these simple pleasures and still dominate the world, right? You could even write about a criminal profiler, someone who takes all the pieces at a scene and determines what kind of person to look for. Someone who knows far too well how to make that mask crack and slip.
You could even take the literal route with this, like a ninja or thief sneaking in somewhere to steal something precious, but their mask has a loose thread or the head strap broke and needed to be tied. Perhaps they need to fight off security single-handed because the other is keeping the mask up. Or maybe it slips at the most inopportune time and the camera captures their face. Or maybe you choose to follow the romance of two people at a masquerade, dancing the night away as if no one else existed but them. But then it’s revealed who they are. How do they respond to such a truth? Does one or the other flee in shock, maybe even embarrassment?
So many masks, so many secrets. All it takes is one little slip to change someone’s world. Whether it’s for the better or not is entirely up to you.
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! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.
Rules and Guidelines
We read at least four stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and two 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).
- Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
- 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.
- Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
- 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.