Hello, Snow Queens and Scrooges!
You! You’re just so cold! I can’t believe it! Your chest must be frozen over! Because….
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
Heart of Ice
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!
We begin our Christmas season with a winter-themed prompt. We’ve had a similar prompt before, in “Black Stone Heart” but I think we can find new and fun ways to venture into the ice.
The first place my mind goes is Frozen. The movie has a theme of “a frozen heart” and uses it in many different ways from which you could take inspiration—from the ice harvesters, to Anna’s frozen heart, to Elsa fearing she’s become a monster.
Someone said to have a heart of ice tends to be someone who couldn’t care less about the plight of others. There are many ways you could use this idea in your story. Why would someone act in such a way?
In The Snow Queen—from which Frozen takes inspiration—shards of an evil mirror fall into people’s hearts and eyes, freezing their hearts, and tainting their perception, making them see all the worst aspects of the world, and act cruelly. Perhaps you could write something like this.
If someone literally has their heart frozen in your story, was it done intentionally or by accident? Maybe in your story it’s a family curse your protagonist tries to break before the ice reaches their heart. Maybe in your world there is a race of ice people, and it’s perfectly normal to have a heart made of ice. Or maybe they’re a race of monsters, and your protagonist must melt their heart to kill them.
Maybe your story isn’t about freezing, but instead melting. In Frozen and the Snow Queen, frozen hearts are melted with love. How would a frozen heart be melted in your story? Perhaps your take is more dangerous, and less heartfelt. You could even potentially combine it with last week’s prompt—maybe someone has to enter the fires of hell to melt their frozen heart.
You could write about literal ice—not lodged in anyone’s chest. Perhaps the heart of an icy pond is like the eye of the storm; it’s the only safe place to stand. Maybe in an ice sculpting competition, having a strong ‘heart’ is a key criterion. Maybe an important object gets covered in ice, and your character must break the heart of the ice to release it. Maybe someone’s most prized object is made of ice in the first place. Maybe your characters must venture into the center of a city made of ice and snow.
Perhaps you can take a more scientific approach. In sci fi stories, cryogenic freezing could be applicable here—you could write about someone nervous to have their heart frozen. Or maybe you could write about a robot with a diamond heart, which someone mistakes for ice. Or perhaps there is a machine whose main component needs to be cooled below freezing, or else it might explode.
I’m telling you, you’re just so cold—! What? Oh…Oh I didn’t mean to offend, Mr. The Snowman.
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 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).
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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.
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- 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.
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- 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.
By Jesse Fisher
The chill of the air was about as noticeable as a leaf in the forest. The fact that anything could walk around without heavy furs would have been stare worthy but the fact it carried blocks of ice. Some say it was once a man whose heart died and now lived on a mechanical heart that would not let him die, thus his blood was swapped for another fluid. Age seemed to have forgotten him, that is when he became an it.
A living machine that did not speak, did not look at anyone, or eat from what the townspeople saw. It worked from day to night, chill to burning season.
There came a point where one child let their curiosity take hold and followed the It to the place where the It ended up when the sun went down. The child did its best to be hidden from the It with doors shutting and the thudding of the It’s foot falls.
The It knew of the child following, this was not the first to do so. Sooner or later a parent will find the child and drag them away from the house that was cold even in the heat of the burning season. That was the curse of the It, to work on the thing the village needed. Firewood during the growing season, plowing the fields after the thaw, and the ice for the storage that would last until the next chill.
A curse that all ignored as it was done be the one being that they all saw as a It and not a man that gave up feeling anything so the village could live.
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)
His name was forgotten, anachronistic. As for his host, who would name their child Kudakuziva? Adjectives made poor names, but to be banned for a trait of personhood rather than social standing was insulting to the child, the family, the clan.
Vakasarudzwa crackled in his ruminations. He knew he had died, had been sealed away until the next hero of his family line needed him, had been prevented from joining his clan-spirit. He rooted through Kudakuziva’s memories—the child knew nothing of use—looking for information about the danger to his clan.
There was no clan. There was no city. While he was sealed away and slumbering, his family had been destroyed. Only one household in the entire city had survived, a mother with no husband and her three children. He searched for her name, for her family’s position. He found only Mother Fate.
Kudakuziva stumbled through the city’s ruined streets, weeping as the spirit coolly rifled through his oldest memories. It was like an avalanche of childhood pains. Kudakuziva went to Mother Fate’s house.
They were stopped at the door by the Scholar. She was Mother Fate’s oldest priestess. It was a position passed down, but the first was her eldest daughter.
“What have you there, Kudakuziva?”
Kudakuziva mumbled something so incoherent he couldn’t hear it over Vakasarudzwa’s building disappointment.
“Are you alright?” The Scholar asked.
“Something in my head. Hurts.”
Her eyes widened. “No, it is too soon.”
“Scholar, please,” he whined.
Her hands were cool on his skin as she grabbed his shoulders. “Let me talk to him, Kuda. Who are you, Spirit?”
“I am Vakasarudzwa of the Rechlivkolva clan,” the voice was steady, measured and almost uncaring.
“You are welcomed, Spirit of the Past.”
“Where is my family?”
“Come inside,” the Scholar gestured to the front door. “Our Mother has seen your arrival and wishes to speak with you. There is much you have missed. The clans, however, are gone. Only the clanless survived.”
“So you awakened me to be your king!”
Her smile was a hard thing, but melted before a beautiful, genuine laugh.
What is happening in Area 51?
By Spawn of Faust
Scientists were surrounding me. Their lab coats hanged from their shoulders. Needles punctured my skin and entered my veins. Fluid flowed in and mangled with my blood. Calm entered my mind, and I stopped thrashing in my binds. My body has fallen to the table, to which I was strapped.
Men unshackled me from the chains, which were made from the cold iron. I wanted to jump up, roar from the bottom of my lungs and rip apart the men, who dared to imprison me. But all my urges failed to fight through the drugs, that were now in my bloodstream.
They should fear me. Why weren’t they feeling the terror from my sheer presence?
They have clasped my hands and heaved me from the table to the egg-like pod, which stood in the corner of the room.
I have been unceremonially dumped into the pod. My limbs had been rearranged so they could be strapped once more. Tubes were connected to my body. Lid of the pod had been closed over me, and I could see silhouettes of my jailors through the thickness of the glass.
Icy liquid was flowing into my pod and into my veins. Shivers ran down my spine as I could feel my body slowly cooling down. Men were leering at me. I thrashed once more – the leather cuff snapped. I managed to punch the lid, but it led nowhere.
My body reached uncomfortable stiffness. I could no longer move my extremities. Ice finally flooded my lungs and I started to slowly lose consciousness.
Just before I finally lost myself in the icy grave, I could hear the men outside. “Mr. President, the operation ‘Hell Freezing Over’ had been successfully executed. We just need to continue step by step.”
As It All Crumbles (Students of the DiamondBridge Academy universe)
by Carrie (Glaceon373)
The day after winter break, Sam noticed a stark change in her friend Roselyn.
There was the obvious: wearing jeans and a sweater instead of a dress, no rings instead of many, and normal-looking boots instead of loud high heels.
But there was something in her face, her eyes, her soul. Something had changed. And it was entirely Sam’s fault, because no matter how much they both apologized for the events of the Solstice party, Sam now had the blame of an entire person’s personality on her shoulders—
“Hey Sam, what’s—”
“Aah!” Sam flinched halfway off the plastic lunchroom chair.
“Uh… hi, I’m fine.” She recollected herself. “Just, uh, wasn’t expecting you, Jidz.”
“You were looking right at me,” Jidz said as he sat down next to her. “How zoned out were you?”
“Uh… Look, something’s up with Roselyn and it’s—”
“Yeah, she really doesn’t seem good.” Jidz pointed non-obviously across the cafeteria. “I mean, look at her. It’s like her face is melting into goop.”
“I th-think her entire self is melting. Like her old, angry, super-detail-oriented self is melting away.”
“Why stop at ‘detail-oriented’ when we all know you mean perfectionist—”
“It’s my fault!” Sam burst out. She covered her face with her hands. “I kickstarted all of this! She’s going to end up a completely different person, isn’t she? And it’s all my fault!”
Jidz stared at Sam, confused.
“What if I was too mean, and now she’ll be mean forever? What if she never asks anything of anyone ever again because of that Solstice party? Have I ruined her life? Will she—”
“… sorry…” Sam folded her knees to her forehead and forced deep breaths into her lungs.
Jidz sighed. “I can only help if you tell me what’s going on. Roselyn may be melting, but you’re, like, crumbling, or fracturing, or some other stupid metaphor. But you have to talk to me.”
Sam poked an eye out of her bundle of limbs. “Promise not to judge?”
Jidz nodded. “Of course. Now, what happened the night of that Solstice party?”
Duty of Care
by Lee Strangely
There was nothing, not even the surrounding mountains that could hold back the dawn. Under its glow the full extent of the conflict was laid bare before Amelia’s eyes. Snow began to bury the two armies that littered the mountainside almost as fast as daybreak exposed their rime covered corpses.
She couldn’t help it, running so fast down the icy slopes. The more she saw of her soldiers, melted, broken, and shattered into a million pieces, the more it snowballed in her; the fear of how much it will hurt.
Amelia continued following the carnage swimming in the sea of white as it led her to a cliff. Somewhere in the center of it all, lying there was a figure. Human, crystalline, like an ice sculpture of a once great general.
“Commander!” she called out, running down to him with reckless abandon.
“Mistress,” he said, saluting her.
“Please don’t move,” she said, kneeling down. “Oh no…”
She could feel her heart being beaten like a drum looking at him. So many cracks all around. The remains of a fiery torch puncturing his chest. The hot tar still crackled as it melted through his mechanisms.
“Mistress, we’re victorious,” he muttered.
“It is my duty, Mistress.”
“You’ll b-be fine,” she whimpered.
She attempted to stick her hand in to pull out the black goo. Immediately she yelped, retracting her hand.
He reached out to her, “Don’t, Mistress.”
“I-I can fix you.”
She reached back in, crying out in pain as she quickly grabbed the burning blob and lobbed it into the snow.
“You are hurt,” he stated, trying to get up.
“I CAN FIX IT!” Amelia shouted in tears, looking back at her nearly pink hand, “I can fix it…”
Quickly she began rolling a snowball in her hands; molding it into a heart-like shape; the thing glowing as she condensed it into ice.
As the sun rose, the Commander turned to her, water dripping down his cheek, “It was an honor… serving you, Mistress…”
by Gerrit (Rattus)
The wind blew cold between the cracks in the walls of the old wooden house. The woodstove sat long abandoned in the corner, its door hanging lazily ajar. A thin layer of dust coated the pile of firewood next to it, but Letitia didn’t intend to use any of it. The warmth would keep her guest away. Besides, she didn’t feel cold much anymore.
She watched as the frost formed its familiar fern-like pattern on the windows, branching across the glass as it crystallised. Her guest had arrived.
“Took him long enough,” she muttered under her breath. Now she need only wait. He would fly around the house, leaving his mark on the windows, never noticing that he was being watched. She saw him as little more than a distortion in the air where he passed, but it was more than most could say.
After a short time, she felt the sensation of one of her wards being activated. She had hidden them strategically around the house to form a one-way barrier, forbidding anyone but the caster from leaving its area of influence.
Snow seemed to blow in as if from nowhere, coalescing in the centre of the room. It took the shape of a sprite, no bigger than her hand. His hair was morning frost, his skin the clearest ice.
“Hey, what gives?” The fae asked. “I’ve got a lot of other houses to get to, you know.”
Letitia smiled as she stood. “I’m sure you’re a very busy man, Jack. So how about you give me what I want and we can both be on our way?”
Jack’s eyes flickered to the pendant around Letitia’s neck. “You’re the one that’s been taking powers from the Seelie Court.”
“It’s not as bad as they make it sound, really. I haven’t been stealing all their power for myself. Just a little drop from each one.”
Jack steeled himself, his voice the chill of winter. “You’re not taking even an ounce of my glamour.”
Letitia smiled once more, magic flaring to life in her hand. “Oh, Jack. I wasn’t asking.”
[DM me on discord for details!]
Flaring Desires (The Will)
“I’ve had enough of this!” Mobius’ claw shot forth and caught the old woman’s neck, slamming and pinning her to the wall. He felt Gale’s cooling wing on his arm, but the fire inside was zapping and crackling wildly. “I don’t give a damn what you are: human, god, or otherwise! I will break you until you give me what I want! Where is Remianna?!” he demanded, static sparks biting at Gale’s feathers and the woman’s neck.
However, even with her feet dangling a foot from the ground, the Woman in White never attempted to stop the dragon. Her wrinkled, ebony hands did not reach up in futile effort to free the oxygen in her lungs. No, even with a virtuous white blindfold binding her eyes, it still felt as if she were staring. Her neck bent to look down upon her aggressor, like a machine resisting the touch of flesh: effortless.
The Woman in White smirked knowingly. “I sent her to the moon.”
“That is it!” Mobius spat, wrapping his desperation in addition to his frustration around her neck, squeezing the life from it. Gale was horrified, but the subject of his horror changed quickly.
“Are you quite finished?” the Woman in White sighed. She reached up with her frail hand and with the strength of the planet entire, wrenched Mobius’ wrist around, nearly breaking it.
The roles were reversed; every minor twist of his claw ripped the air from the dragon’s lungs in a pained gasp. “You deny the truth due to its absurdity,” the Woman in White remarked. “How convenient.”
Upon the release of his wrist, Mobius retreated into Gale, seeking the comfort of his partner. The Woman in White, however, simply continued as if nothing happened. “My brother named your kind after the Dragushta—a container for living fire. It had a heart of ice so it could live despite the flames. He did not name your kind dragons because your role was to protect or hoard, but because you had troubles controlling your desires—like living flames. Perhaps that is why I trust you: your unfailing honesty.”
By Marx (CW: Mental/Physical abuse)
I blink, returning to the here and now. I look from my kneeling position up to Jasmine. She simply stares back, her face nearly impossible to read.
It’s been so long since anyone has acknowledged me. Days at least. Maybe weeks.
This isn’t going to end well for me.
Then again, nothing ever does…
“Do you know what today is?”
I pause and I think. While sunlight from the windows does indicate the passing of time, my own pitiful existence doesn’t exactly give me any reason to follow its fading and return. I shake my head.
“It’s my birthday.”
“No.” Jasmine cuts me off. “Not yet. You see… Alex gave me a gift. He shared his absolute control over you. So, just for today, you’re MY thrall as well.”
My eyes immediately widen in terror, regardless of my various efforts to hide it.
“So… I want you to feel as if right under your skin, there are dozens… hundreds… of tiny, little bugs slowly biting, clawing and chewing at you. Always trying to get deeper but… never quite making it.”
…it’s not real.
It’s not real…
It’s just in my head…
Oh my God, I can FEEL them!
“Excellent.” says Jasmine, her cold stare permeating through me. “And while you sit there silently in agony, I want you to think about something. I want you to think about the night you killed my family. About the glee you did it with, knowing it would hurt me. And I want you to remember the tears streaming down my face as I screamed for you to stop. All in the clearest detail you can manage.”
Jasmine grabs ahold of my chin and forces me to look at her. She doesn’t glare in fury. She doesn’t smile in victory. She just stares. “Okay. Now, I’ll accept it.”
It takes me longer than it should to remember what she’s talking about.
“H-hap… py… B-birth… day…”
Jasmine grabs my face, pushing me deeper in the corner before she walks away. “Thank you.”