Hello, Monsters, Murderers, and Ne’er-Do-Wells!
It’s on its way. Shouldn’t be long now. I think I can hear footsteps. What do you think? Should we run, or stand our ground? Because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
Something Wicked This Way Comes
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 line originally came from Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth. Out of context, the line conjures ideas of monsters approaching, and the speaker fearing them, but it originally referred to Macbeth himself, a man—who had become a “thing”—whom the speakers themselves had made wicked…
The line was made even more famous by the Ray Bradbury novel of that name. In the novel, a carnival comes to town, riddled with dark, supernatural people and secrets. You could write about something like that—something bigger than one person or creature, but rather an event approaching.
This prompt has a lot to do with anticipation. The wicked thing is on its way—be it an entire country away, or mere footsteps from reaching you. Either way, it’s coming, and you know it. Or at least…you believe it. You could write about an army miles away, but for which the heroes need to prepare right now. You could write about someone backing up, heart pounding, grabbing anything that can be used as a weapon, as they hear footsteps in their house. You could write about someone who believes something wicked is coming…only for it never to arrive.
The character’s reaction—before or after the thing arrives—can change the course of the story. Do they run in terror, only to find the monster is always right behind them? Do they stand their ground despite the fear pummeling their hearts? Do they accept their fate—be that fate death, or something worse? Do they appeal to the “thing”’s good side? Or, like in Bradbury’s novel, do they laugh in the face of it?
Perhaps the anticipation is worse than the actual thing. The prompt implies that someone believes that something wicked is coming…not that it’s necessarily true. Perhaps your character is like Rapunzel in Tangled, fearing the rustling in the bushes…only to realize it’s just a bunny.
You could also take the prompt in the opposite direction. Perhaps it appears harmless…until it reveals itself as wicked. Maybe the seemingly harmless bunny is more like the one guarding Monty Python’s Holy Grail. You could take this idea in a more realistic direction—perhaps someone didn’t want to admit their spouse was abusive, and only now can they admit to themselves that the person they once loved has become something wicked.
One of the very best examples of this prompt is the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who.You never hear their approaching footsteps; they only approach when you’re not looking at them. You know the wicked thing is coming…because you’re not looking at it.
Hey, look at me. What? No! There’s nothing behind you! Why would you think that? Okay, don’t turn around. Don’t turn around. Don’t turn around.
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.