Hello, Psychopomps and Sin Eaters!
Can I interest you in some Death this fine evening? It’s my proprietary blend. New and exclusive! It comes in strawberry, banana, cockroach, and green apple. You really ought to try it because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
Making a Business of Death
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!
In the past few weeks we’ve spun tales (and, perhaps, at times, grown tails) of blood and witches. Now this prompt for October is the business side of the spookies. Who makes money off of death? …More people than you might think.
You could write about an assassin, a bounty hunter, paid to kill. Death is just a job to them—a few more coins in their pocket. They may have no moral qualms with the profession, while the world fears, hates, and judges them. You could write about one such person who is asked to kill someone close to them, who realizes death is more than a number.
Grave robbers steal from those who won’t fight to get their possessions back—physically or legally. Or…would they? Perhaps a grave robber is haunted by the ghosts of those they stole from. Or maybe they met no resistance until they tried to steal from a pharaoh’s tomb…
Grieving loved ones, detectives, and supernatural buffs alike will all often pay to speak to the dead. A medium makes money not off of the death itself, but of the promise of a moment of conversation.
Even a simple hunter or adventurer could make a profit off of death. Even if it’s animals and/or goblins your character is killing, death is still death, and money is still money. You could write about a humble adventurer realizing that the monsters they fight aren’t so monstrous…
An undertaker or mortician is a less sinister way to take this prompt. Someone who makes sure the body looks nice, and the coffin fits right, for the deceased’s eternal rest. …Or perhaps things are not so gentle as kind as they seem. Many stories have taken the idea of an undead mortician to fascinating, scary, and sometimes hilarious extremes.
Maybe the business is not the death, but the raising of the dead. In a world where necromancy is common and accepted, perhaps a necromancer could be paid to raise loved ones, or to create zombie armies.
In a sci-fi story, someone who promises to upload one’s consciousness, or cryogenically freeze them, could make money off of killing their buyers, with no one able to tell they’re dead. Maybe you could write about someone protesting the creation and monetization of teleportation, firmly believing that teleportation kills the subject and creates an identical clone.
Or maybe this prompt doesn’t have to be so far from the last. Perhaps someone comes to a witch, not for a potion of strength or beauty, but to buy a poison apple to feed to their enemy…
There really are no hard feelings, dear. It’s just business.
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.