Writing Group: It’s the Little Things (PRIVATE)

Hello, Sweethearts and Small Critters!

Have you ever been annoyed by things others barely pay attention to? Have little, otherwise probably insignificant moments just brightened your day entirely? We know how impactful big events and acts are. I think it’s time to look closer at the not-so-big, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

It’s the Little Things

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!

So much goes on in the world. Huge celebrations or giant catastrophes, either of which can leave communities, cities, countries, or even all of humanity abuzz with chatter, regardless of whether it’s good or bad.

But let’s look closer at how our days go. Everything can be going perfect, or everything can be going horribly wrong. And sometimes it’s a comment at just the wrong time, or a simple, kind gesture in an otherwise horrible day that turns it all around.

One example you could explore for this prompt is the lovers who have their own routines and such. Maybe one always brings a small bundle of flowers home for the other, or maybe they set aside time before bed for them both to just lay there and talk, or they have their own silly way of saying goodnight that is unique to just them. Perhaps you decide to explore the world of someone still somewhat new to love, racking their brain for any way to confess to their crush. They get all kinds of advice from their friends on how to be suave or seem like a hotshot, but those just don’t feel right. So they resort to simply leaving a single flower, or a small poem, or even just small written compliments on their crush’s desk every day. Something sweet, and simple, until they can work up the nerve to speak up. Or perhaps you choose to write about how every time you have to do the dishes with your sibling, it always turns into a bubble fight in the kitchen.

Alternatively, the “little things” don’t always have to be positive. Yes, it’s easy to take this in a sweet, heartwarming way. But what about the sibling, or even a lover, who is trying so hard to hold a fraying relationship together. They continuously forgive, but the person they keep forgiving just keeps tacking on more little lies. One after another after another, and the one trying to fix things or help is losing their mind because they just don’t know what to believe anymore. Or perhaps you’d like to express how you absolutely love your best friend to the moon and back, you would never trade them for anything in the world… but they have this one tiny habit that drives you absolutely bonkers, whether that’s scraping their teeth on utensils while eating, or fidgeting with things when they visit which results in lost pencils or pens, or maybe they backseat game a lot when you’re trying to play together.

So we’ve explored positives and negatives. What about the in-betweens? Small things that don’t fall into either category. Perhaps a powerful team has been sent to defeat some evil overlord, and all of them are bested by the tyrant except for the small, underappreciated pixie sidekick who finds a way to turn the entire fight around. Maybe an alchemist is working on new creations, but accidentally measures their ingredients wrong. Simply a few too many grains of sand, or a little less salt, and suddenly they’ve created a nightmarish abomination. 

There’s thousands upon thousands of ways to explore this week’s prompt. It doesn’t have to be some grandiose event, or some life-changing revelation.

So get your usual beverage, wrap yourself in your blanket like you always do, and show us how such small things can make such big differences.

—Shawna

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.

Tune into the stream this Saturday at 3:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!

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!

  1. Text and Formatting

    1. English only.
    2. Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
    3. Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
    4. Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
    5. Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
  2. What to Submit

    1. Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
    2. Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
    3. Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
    4. 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.
    5. 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).
  3. Submission Rules

    1. One submission per participant.
    2. Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
    3. Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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).
    7. 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.
    8. 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.

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jesse fisher
jesse fisher
6 months ago

What you don’t see
By Jesse Fisher

Laying here in this empty house I wonder, how did it come to this?

I did not change anything, did I?

I mean it was not that long ago that the house was going about it’s day. The noises were a choir of chaos that played on key with the flow of things.

The days seemed to bring less but the flow kept going. The noise did not seem to change but soon the nights seemed to be lacking something. I could not say as it could have been the lack of sleep or maybe the over amount of sleep.

Was it the days away from all of this that led to it? Or was it days ignoring it all.

My thoughts could go on but I have much to do and not much time to do it in.

Many of us go through life not noticing the changes much like the person beforehand. The world they work in and the life they live cause them to reflect on their lives. How does a house that was once so loud you tune it out. Yet, once it is silent you wonder how it came to be.

Something once thought it to be an annoyance only to learn how you internalized it. It was a wonder anyone could be so blind. Then again blindness is something the world has trained us well.To not see anything until it is too late to change. Many wish to go back in time to change something but not use this foresight to apply it to the future.

MasaCur
MasaCur
6 months ago

The Power of a Smile
By MasaCur

Annie parked her truck, then watched Henry hop out and take his duffel bag from the truck bed. She climbed out and grabbed the shopping bag from the back seat. She thought about leaving the small box in it with everything else; keep it a surprise. After a couple seconds, took the box out and slid it into her jacket pocket.

Annie circled around her truck to intercept Henry.

“I, uh, I got you something.” She held out the shopping bag. “I was worried that you might get hungry.”

Henry took the bag from her. “Uh, thanks. Mom made some lunch, but I appreciate it.”

Annie felt her heart fall in her chest. She was so set on doing something nice for Henry that she didn’t even think whether it would be useful. “Shit! Of course she did. I’m an idiot.”

“No, Annie, uh, working on a salmon boat takes a lot of energy, and I’m a big guy. Thank you. I’ll eat it at some point. Thank you.”

Dammit, Henry. Don’t be patronizing.

“You don’t have to,” Annie said.

“No, thank you. I appreciate it.”

The smile on Henry’s face erased all of Annie’s anxiety.

“It’s not much. Just a sandwich and a bag of chips from work. And an electrolyte drink.” Annie gave a shrug. “It’s not like I can cook for shit.”

“Thank you. Seriously.”

Annie stared at Henry’s smile. She could get lost in it. If only… if only she wasn’t so damaged. If only she could be good enough for him.

She remembered the box in her pocket. “Oh! I have something else for you.” Annie pulled the box from her pocket and held it out with both hands. “Happy birthday!”

“You didn’t have to do that. You took me out for drinks.”

Annie smirked. “Well it’s not like it was that exciting. You didn’t even get drunk. Besides, the only reason I took you out was because it hadn’t arrived in the mail yet. Well, mostly. At least partly.”

Henry’s smile returned.

Dammit, Henry. Why does your smile both melt and break my heart?

Brickosaur
Brickosaur
6 months ago

What’s It All For?
by Brickosaur

I stick my hand out the door while Spotify loads. Cold. Windy, a bit. Two-jacket weather.

Spotify’s up. Paused song is Off She Goes by Bad Suns. It’s been on repeat, in app, in head, for four days.

I step out the door, stinging nose, into 1AM. Fuck scarves. I need this. I turn right onto a footpath, and hit play.

And then I cry.

I sob and growl with the music, allowing myself loud for the first time in months. The lyrics don’t matter as much as sheer volume; drums and vocals vibrate the emotion out of me so that it spills and freezes on my face.

I’ve failed. So much. I worked so hard and waited so patiently and I did everything to set myself up to thrive in my dreams. I was so careful, so determined, and I did everything and I failed. I fucking failed.

The song starts over. I stop singing. Throat kinda hurts. Tip head back. Starlight is pointier when it’s cold.

I don’t know what to do. When everything you wanted falls and crumbles to dust around you, when it’s clear you’ll never be the person or do the things, when the future grows dark and all the world shrinks to the people you rely on to take care of you…

What’s it all for?

Why am I even still here? I’ve failed. My body is broken. I’ll never be able to accomplish most of the things I desperately want. So what am I doing?

Why not die?

I ponder the question. Why not die, and make short my time failed, broken, lonely? What else is there, without a grand story?

Movement in the periphery. Glance over.

Coyote. Ten steps behind me, a coyote has stepped from the tallgrass onto the footpath. We watch each other. A thrill of fear, surprise. It feels orange, feels warm. It feels.

I don’t want to stop feeling.

That’s what I’m here for. To feel cold, and taste night. To see stars and coyotes. To Be, now.

I turn the volume up and walk faster, Being.

KipOfTheMany
KipOfTheMany
6 months ago

An Old Wish
By KipOfTheMany

The carnival lights grew dimmer as she paced through the maze of tents.

“I just need time to think.” She said to herself.

“Then you should have picked a different alley.” Said a voice.

She jumped. “What the hell?!”

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you.” A man in a top hat stepped out of a tent. “I saw you leave the fortune teller in a huff. What’s got you worked up?”

She gave him a dead eyed look. “Thank you for your concern, complete stranger, let me spill my guts to you.” Her sarcasm could have cut like a knife, but he seemed to dodge the blow.

“Oh come now, we’re not complete strangers. I remember a little girl telling me about a wish.” The man smiled. Whether it was an earnest or wily grin she couldn’t tell.

Either way it turned her blood cold. Memories of the first time the carnival visited leapt to mind. She remembered the magician, and how excited she had been to meet someone who could do “real magic.” She remembered the disappointment that followed. She studied the stranger again. It was him. Of course it was him.

She tiptoed through her next words. “That is a very old wish.”

“But you still wish it. Don’t you. When the night is cold and dark and you need a little light. It comforts you.”

She took a shaky breath. “You don’t know me at all. Why would I need comfort for one, and two, why would a ludicrous thought from 15 years ago help? I’m not a child!”

“And what are you now? An adult?” He smiled again. Was he mocking her?

Her face clouded with fury. “Leave me alone!”

He put his hands up in surrender. “Alright, alright.” He turned to go, but as he did so he casually flipped a card from his sleeve. It landed on the ground in front of her. It was a tarot card. It held the image of a butterfly. She knelt down to pick it up and began to cry.

Rattus
Rattus
6 months ago

Remembering (Illusions of Heroes)
by Gerrit (Rattus)

After the heartbreak faded from an all-consuming pain to a dull ache, Emrys found himself surprised by the things he missed about her.

He missed the obvious things, of course. Her voice, her smile, her warmth. But more than that, he found his brain longing for the things that were uniquely her.

The way her fingers felt intertwined with his. That look she got when she proved him wrong. The edge in her voice when people pushed a little too far. The way the stars danced in her eyes.

The only thing worse than learning how to live without her, was knowing that it was his fault.

He had pushed too far, tried too hard to keep her. It felt like the harder he fought, the further he drove her away. What could he have done, then?

The more he replayed it in his mind, the more he felt that there was no right move. Was it inevitable, then? Had they been doomed to fail since the start?

As much as the loss hurt, he knew he’d be willing to do it all again. She had been his whole world, his everything, in a time when he felt like he had nothing.

Every part of him wanted to chase after her and apologise for every stupid thing he had said. To wrap his arms around her and beg for forgiveness.

But he couldn’t do that. If there was one thing Ren would hate, it was him grovelling at her feet.

For now, they needed to be apart. He knew this. They needed to be alone, to take some time to learn how to be their own people. Perhaps in time their Paths would intersect again.

Until then, he would have to find solace in remembering the things that were uniquely her.

Their fingers laced together. That self-satisfied look that always preceded a proud ‘i told you so’. The hardness behind her words when a line had been crossed.

And he would look at the stars, and be reminded of her eyes.

Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
6 months ago

The Special Secret Ingredient (Nyx’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis

“Dinner’s nearly ready, my dear!” Louise exclaimed, as she squeezed the red innards of a small round bug into a bubbling soup.

Nyx was beginning to regret making a promise to try some of her companion’s cooking for once.

Louise had very specifically told her not to look at what she was doing, saying “You’ll never try it at all if I let you look dear!” – but Nyx couldn’t help but sneak glances at whatever the little witch was doing.

Some glimpses were normal enough: Louise slicing various bright mushrooms, or shredding herbs. But just as often, Nyx would see her gleefully chopping up a handful of fat pink worms, or picking off the legs and wings of various bugs with quick, well-practised motions.

She always talked so pragmatically about her cooking. “Why would I spend such efforts hunting boar and birds, when bugs and worms remain in such abundance?” She would say…

A familiar smell filled the air. Nyx snapped her head away from the cooking, suddenly breathing heavily.

“Louise? Are you okay?”

“Just a little cut my dear!”

“You should bandage that.”

“Already done!”

“Good!”

“I also mean the soup! Dinner time!”

“…Ah.” She stood, and hesitantly walked over to Louise, who had a bowl of steaming brown soup held within partially-bandaged hands.

“Try it dear! Like you promised me.” She said, smiling with excitement.”

Nyx looked doubtful at her, and then with a deep breath she took a spoonful.

The flavour was…good? Wait, it was good!

She only stopped when the bowl was empty. “How? How the hell did you make bugs and worms taste this good?”

Louise’s cheeks went a little red as she glanced sideways. “My meals are always good, my dear…”

“No, but seriously, how did you get it to taste-” Nyx stopped. Her eyes narrowed, and looked again at her friend’s bandaged hand. “……You put some of your blood in there, didn’t you?”

The red in Louise’s cheeks grew darker. “Oh. Well, maybe just a little.”

A pause.

Then Nyx started to laugh. “Louise! You know that’s cheating, right? I’m literally a Dhampir!”

Glaceon373
Glaceon373
6 months ago

Walking
by Carrie (Glaceon373)

Fuschia’s feet carried her across the tiled hallways. Her well-worn sneakers beat against the ground like a quiet drum, the vibrations dancing up her legs, never losing tempo.

They couldn’t lose it. She couldn’t let them.

The only thought she allowed to the front of her mind was the pulse her feet stepped in.

Hit, hit, hit, hit.

It was pretty, truly. A pretty noise, a pretty feeling.

How fascinating was it that, in a world of noise and business, she could latch onto the sound of her own footsteps? The rest of the crowded hallways were a blur of sound, sure, but her feet hitting the floor was the only thing on her mind.

She couldn’t let anything else in there. She couldn’t let them.

Her heartbeat wouldn’t line up with her feet. It thumped of rhythm, almost defiantly, almost frantically.

Out of rhythm like her completely botched audition an hour ago.

But it wasn’t just the audition, was it? What about the bad grade on her essay? Or the upcoming presentation? Or the test next week? Or the fights at home?

Any individual thing would have been fine. Any individual thing could have been bearable. But all the things were piling up, like grains of sand. Grains about to be swept into the cyclone of her brain. The biting, harsh, violent cyclone—

Her feet jarringly fell back into tempo.

She couldn’t lose it. She couldn’t let them.

She couldn’t let any other thoughts to the front of her mind.

Fuschia’s feet carried her across the tiled hallways. It was the little things that haunted her, so it would be the little wonders that protected her.

The vibrations danced up her legs, never losing tempo.

Hit, hit, hit, hit.

i-prefer-the-term-antihero
i-prefer-the-term-antihero
6 months ago

[Removed]

Last edited 5 months ago by i-prefer-the-term-antihero
RVMPLSTLTSKN
RVMPLSTLTSKN
6 months ago

Little Pearls
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)

There is nothing so subversive in nature as sand. Juru, God of the Shore, had a fascination with sand and clams. Sand was erosive and gritty, an irritant to most creatures, but clams used it to make pearls. Juru often stood in the form of sandy pillars to stare out at the sea, hoping to observe this process of turning offal to pearl.

Perhaps it was these vigils or his disposition to subversion or just his sea-aspected nature, but Juru was the first to notice something growing in the sea. There were souls missing, sailors and fishermen dying should make their way to their post-sentient existence; instead, they seemed to vanish. Annihilation.

Juru felt the growing presence from the deep places, even he couldn’t go to those depths. So he watched and waited and studied the sand.

When the sand ran out like water into a tsunami, Juru called his fellow gods.

When the great maw rose and swallowed the docks, Juru was not there. He stood with Karas, her sword left behind in favor of his nets.

When the Deep One came and ate its fill of mortals and divines, Juru fled. He watched his nets tear under mortal hands, his fellow fall to the will of a God only he understood.

When the Deep One reached for Juru, he fought the only way he could: he dove into the waves and found a clam bed before evanescing into a pillar of sand to make pearls.

The last words of Juru, God of Sostine’s Shore echoed for fifty years: This is for you, the Living.