Hello, Scourge Beasts and Frog Princes!
You’re still human, I see. You might shudder to hear it, but I was like you once. You best cherish your humanity while it lasts because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
No Longer Human
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!
There are many stories about monsters, and some of the most captivating are those about monsters who were once human. Many of us are fascinated with stories of werewolves and vampires learning to live with their new powers and limitations. Sometimes people are forced out of their humanity by a curse. Sometimes these inhuman changes occur only at certain times, like the full moon. Sometimes they slowly get worse over time. Or much like our prompt from last week, sometimes these curses need to be reversed before sundown, or sunrise, otherwise they’ll be permanent.
You could write about someone trying to break the curse, like the Frog Prince needing a kiss. Or perhaps you could write about someone who’s come to (however begrudgingly) accept their new life, or at least find the good in it, like Salem or Thackery Binx, the cursed black cats from some of our favorite witchy stories.
Perhaps it’s an entire group of people who are “no longer human.” The game Bloodborne is a good example of this. The entire town of Yharnam suffers from the Scourge of Beasts which causes everyone to turn into half-wolves and tentacled horrors. However, in the end…perhaps the goal of being “no longer human” wasn’t the problem…perhaps it was merely the execution that went wrong. The game Bendy and the Ink Machine is another good example. When the words “Not Monsters” come up, it might be difficult to believe. But after seeing the truth through the looking glass: “Once people, now fallen into despair” the horror of the story becomes tragedy.
There’s a certain tragedy to the phrasing of the prompt in general. A longing. A tale of someone who was human once…but is no longer. These words could be the lament of what a character has lost, or the hope that they can become human again.
Or…perhaps not. Maybe these words are said in pride. In some stories, humans can ascend into godhood, or some other form of superhumanity. In that case they might say the words brimming with pride that they have surpassed ordinary human limitations.
Maybe a villain is no longer human due to the horrors they committed. Much like Voldemort, slowly becoming something less and less human the more he split himself apart.
It doesn’t have to be all monsters and villains. Perhaps you could write about a cyborg who believes the metal in their bones, the wires in their blood, means they aren’t human anymore. Or you could write about someone who has downloaded their brain and memories into a computer…and regrets the loss of their past self.
There could be a more realistic kind of sadness to the prompt as well. The masses might cast insults and stones at someone for their supposed sins, saying they’re not human—if nothing else, to allow them to forgo compassion. One of the most horrifying real examples is when someone’s parents might shout that their child isn’t human, simply for doing something they don’t approve of.
Most of our prompts come from idioms, or phrases our helpful and twitchy humans can think of. But this one is taken directly from the title of a book: “No Longer Human” by Osamu Dazai. The book is autobiographical, and tells of the many struggles that Dazai went through throughout his life—both inside and outside his mind. He felt isolated, and even disqualified, from the human race due to these many struggles, hence the title. You could write about something like that; Someone who is in fact perfectly human, but their pain and/or isolation inside makes them feel as though they aren’t.
So, go out there and show us the best of humanity. Or else, let the fire of your humanity fade. For in the ashes of what is left behind, something new, strange, and horrible…or maybe even beautiful may be found.
Who knows? Maybe being human isn’t the end-all, be-all, after all…
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.