Hello, Bibliothecaries and Secret-Keepers!
Do you think we’ll find what we’re looking for here? It’s just…there are so many books. We’ll never get through them all! Well, I guess we’d better start now, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
The Library of Secrets
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!
Secrets can be strange, dangerous, and wonderful, both in magical worlds and our own. …So can libraries. Putting the two together will often land you somewhere awe-inspiring.
There are all sorts of secrets books could hold. They could house what a villain is trying to hide, which our heroes must rush against the clock to uncover. The library could hide strange truths about an entire town, secrets that have been buried for years, which everyone has forgotten. It could be a family secret; your character could frantically look through genealogy books, trying to learn who they really are.
Maybe it’s only one section of the library that holds the secrets—and everyone knows it does. The Restricted Section in Harry Potter is a good example of this. In that case, everyone knows the secrets hide there, but getting those books is the exciting part.
The type of library could be interesting to explore too. Is it in an ancient ruin, holding secrets of kingdoms and cultures long forgotten? Is it the dark, shadowed—even perilous—library of a villain’s lair? Is it the grandiose library of a castle? Or is it modern and new, its secrets far harder to find, but no less nefarious?
Secrets don’t always have to be bad. Perhaps your character learns their teacher was once a wrestling champ. Or that their father was the lead in the high school play years ago, and is embarrassed to admit it. Maybe there are notes scrawled in the margins that help your character get through class, or otherwise make them laugh. Perhaps your character could put a secret letter inside a book for their beloved to find.
The secrets don’t have to be the words on the page either. Keys and things are often found hiding in hollowed out books. Blacklights, or the moon, will often reveal secrets on the walls and pages invisible to the daylight. Sometimes books themselves can house spells and monsters that come out to play when the book is opened.
But the secrets don’t even have to be within the books. We all know those bookshelves with secret passageways, or rooms, or even portals, behind them. The secrets could be stuck to the bottom of coffee tables, scrawled on the arms of chairs, and rotting in cobwebbed corners. Maybe the library cat hides how much it loves children. Someone might tell the librarian the secrets they can’t risk writing down. Or maybe the librarian is not entirely human. Perhaps the library itself was built to hide something buried beneath it. You could write about how the library is not really a library at all. The library could be alive—its very sentience the secret to protect.
The library doesn’t have to be an ordinary library with books and shelves. It could be a music library—maybe someone hides their secret feelings in the songs they keep, rather than books. In sci-fi or otherwise futuristic stories, a library could be a digital database, or even an artificial intelligence. A tribes’ storyteller could be a collection of stories and secrets. Even the most ordinary of people could be a collection of secrets.
Libraries are beautiful, mysterious places, that seem to be born of, and brimming with magic, even in our own world. All the magic in our world is contained within the shelves, and pages of books. And sometimes that magic…is one little secret.
Just because it’s silent doesn’t mean it’s safe. After all…these are our forests.
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 five stories during each stream, two 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).
- 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.