Hello, Lost Boys and Wandering Wendys!
Welcome! Oh don’t cry, darling! You’re safe now. You’re among friends. Just like you, no one here knows their way back home. But I think you’ll grow to like it here, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
Where the Lost Things Go
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 prompt can be equal parts gentle and comforting, as it can be tragic and terrifying, all depending on the direction in which you take it. One of the interesting things about this prompt is it’s not just about a lost person, or thing, it’s about a place.
One of the first directions to which my mind goes is lost children. Maybe a child is crying in the woods, only to be rescued by a friendly troll, whose cave becomes a haven for them. Contrarily, you could write about a child lured away from the right path by a fae, brought to their world, and unable to leave—the child may not have been lost in the woods, but they are once they follow the call. Perhaps you could write about an orphanage; It’s a place where lost children go, but is it a place of belonging, or a place of neglect? You could even write about a child getting lost at the amusement park, rescued by a staff member, who takes them to guest services, telling them that this is a magical place where all lost things go.
But children aren’t the only people who can be lost. Adults can too; they just have a harder time admitting it—whether it’s figurative or literal. You could write about a couple in the car having the quintessential “You don’t know where you’re going!” argument. Perhaps they land at a truck stop, and the guy at the cash register laughs because they get this a lot. You could write about a lost mind; the ravings of a lunatic in an asylum, or else someone finally deciding to go to therapy after a while of feeling mentally lost. You could tie it to last week’s prompt—souls can be lost too. Where do they go?
You could make the lost things truly inanimate objects. You could write about a sock getting lost in the dryer, entering a fantasy world where all lost socks go. Maybe when our keys get lost they’re not really sitting on our counter, maybe they enter another realm for a little while. You could write about a child’s favorite toy going on to have a better life after getting lost. Maybe you could write about a collector whose museum houses all the objects the world has lost. Maybe a kleptomaniac’s house is where the lost things go…they’re just the one who made them “lost” in the first place.
Much like my fae idea earlier, you could write about a place that, instead of being a haven for those already lost, causes people to become lost by entering it. The Lost Woods that no one ever escapes. The Labyrinth that dooms its inhabitants to wander within forever. The City that claims all who enter.
You could even combine some of these ideas. A child following their lost plush toy. An adult thinking they saw their own child self in the mirror, or reminiscing when they see their old childhood home from a highway overpass. Or a lost object wishing to return home and taking the risk of dragging its owner down with it.
My challenge for you this week is to write about a story from your real life. Go back to the painful memory of the time you lost your favorite toy as a child. You could even try to redeem the memory by telling the story of the magical land to which your toy went. Write about when you got lost in the grocery store. Tell me about the time last week when you lost your headphones. [If you do this, feel free to put (Based on a true story) next to the title, so I know you’re attempting the challenge.]
Like I said, I think you’ll like it here. Because you don’t have any other choice.
—Kaylie & Paul
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.