Writing Group: The Moon in a Jar (PRIVATE)

Hello, Moonwalkers, Mooncalfs, and Lunatics!

Huh? You…You did WHAT?! Oh no, this is bad! This is really bad! You have to put it back! Because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

The Moon in a Jar

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 was inspired by a Maldivian folktale in which a man, sailing on his way to meet the king, sees the reflection of the moon in the water and tries to catch it in a jar. But, of course, when he gives the jar to the king, there’s only water within it. The story could have several interpretations. It may have a moral of thinking about your plans beyond the surface level. It could also have a moral about being content with what you have; the king was already the protagonist’s friend, and didn’t need any gifts to welcome him. 

I see lots of morals that this prompt could contain. Putting the moon in a jar is taking something big, something that everyone benefits from, and making it small, something you can steal and own, that only benefits you. It makes me think of the song “Buy the Stars” by Marina and the Diamonds. Putting the moon in a jar is like trying to buy the stars. Someone who thinks they can or should put the moon in a jar likely has a great misunderstanding of why the moon is valuable. Someone could bottle the moon as a grand gesture of devotion…when really it’s out of a selfish desire to look good, and to buy the other person’s love. A king could put the moon in a jar as a show of his power, not realizing the moon should not be treated as a trophy, and its absence will destroy his kingdom.

The TV show Avatar the Last Airbender actually has an example of exactly that. General Zhao captures the physical form of the moon spirit in a bag, and in doing so turns the moon dark. Everyone else can see the horror of his actions and how it affects the world as a whole, but he only wants to be known as the man who darkened the moon. 

Another thing Avatar does is give the moon a physical form—first an animal, then a person. Many other stories have given the moon a physical form too. In Tolkien’s Silmarillion, the moon is a silver flower put into the sky, and has a person to guard over it. In Tangled the Series, the Moon Drop contains the power of the moon, and a person can take this power for themselves. In Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, a star comes down to the world in human form. Perhaps you could write about something like that. The “jar” could be the physical form the moon is put into. Or the jar could reference a cage for the moon’s human form, like a mermaid trapped in a tank. 

In some video games, such as Bloodborne and Majora’s Mask, the moon is a sort of final boss. Ending the game with the player defeating the literal moon—something that shouldn’t be touchable, let alone tameable—is quite the power trip. You could write about the grand battle between your character and the moon. 

Speaking of video games, the prompt could also refer to resources. Perhaps defeating the moon gives you the most powerful and/or magical material in the world. Or it could be more realistic. I’ve visited a Museum of Flight in real life where they had a tiny moon rock. You could write about a piece of the real moon in a jar. In a way, that’s almost the most fantastical idea of all—that mere humans were actually able to visit the moon, and bring pieces of it back down to Earth. 

My challenge for you this week is for you to go literal with this prompt. I think a lot of us will take this prompt in a symbolic direction, I am curious what you will come up with when challenged to somehow literally put the moon in a jar in your stories. 

Phew! There we go. Crisis averted. Oh…Oh wait. It’s off center now. Sigh. We gotta go back up there.

—Kaylie

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!

  1. Text and Formatting

    1. English only.
    2. Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
    3. Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
    4. Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
    5. Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
  2. What to Submit

    1. Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
    2. Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
    3. Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
    4. 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.
    5. 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).
  3. Submission Rules

    1. One submission per participant.
    2. Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
    3. Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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).
    7. 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.
    8. 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.

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VulpesRose
VulpesRose
1 month ago

Approaching Darkness
by VulpesRose

The Darkness has set its sights upon you, my sister.

You must journey to the pool that is the cradle of life, the reservoir of power our mothers have drawn from for generations. If you leave today and receive favorable weather, you should reach it before the moon has next reached its fullest. Bring with you a purified vessel, stopped with a fresh cork.

Light your fire before sundown. Tend to it as you would care for a child. Do not cook, and burn only what you find along the lakeside.

As the moon approaches its zenith, you will begin your swim. You will know it is time because the crickets will cease their song. Your fire may begin to dim, but do not feed it further.

Swim. Do not be alarmed by the unseasonable chill of the water. Swim until you reach the place where the moon’s reflection shines upon the water. Recite the Litany of the Mother. Fill the vessel with water from the moon’s reflection and replace the cork. Give thanks to the Mother and beg her intercession in your plight.

Return to the shore and pour only a handful of the water upon the embers of your fire. If the fire is extinguished, then the Mother has heard your plea. If not…well, best not to ruminate on that.

Then you must return home.

Use the water to anoint the doorways of your home upon each sundown. If the Darkness has not come for you by the time your supply runs low, we will ensure you can repeat your ritual.

No, sister. This will not prevent the Darkness from coming for you. That, I’m afraid, is unavoidable.

Even the moon regularly turns her gaze away from the darkness she presides over. But her favor should be enough to ensure that, if he comes to kill you, your death will be swift, and if he does not, then you shall remain by his side.

You will take your place among the darkness, but, if it is the Mother’s will, you will not lose yourself to it.

jesse fisher
jesse fisher
1 month ago

A Marble in the Sky
By Jesse Fisher

Clink clink

It rolled the glass, and a small luminous orb moved slowly. The manipular had grown bored of this.

Clink clink

Here was an item said to have powers over something so important that the world could feel the movement. The very orb in the sky moved in the same way as the one within its grasp. The fact that people ignore the movement as just gravity would feel insulting if that did not allow for the power to control the oceans. Tsunamis were at its beck and call, island nations were at its mercy. Yet, the drive for this evil has yet to replace itself. Crush the orb in its hand and it would destroy the larger object.

Clink clink

Was it really that evil, it did kill for this power. The long skeletal remains are a testament to the worth of just seeking such an item.One move and that would be it, the world would end. It might live if it was luck. Then what, any motivation for evil would die with the world around it. Having no one to fear you as you hold it over their heads seemed worse than boredom. At the very least it could know somewhere out there people feared it, well maybe not it as a whole but some one had to notice the slow near self orbit of the larger orb. How at the very least it was off from the historic record, something to show it was not as it seemed.

Clink clink

It was times like these that one would hope for someone to be driving a boat to this location, to this crescent island to find this item in hand just for something to show its power.

Clink clink

vellichorian
vellichorian
1 month ago

Night Terrors
By vellichorian

Consciousness crept back into Randy’s head like lava, thoughts bubbling and singeing as his awareness increased. He recognized the odor of fry grease and stale sweat wafting from his clothes, turning his stomach. What time was it? Why was he still wearing his uniform? The last thing he remembered was walking to his car in the KFC parking lot after his shift ended…

Something prickly clung to a line of drool on his cheek as he shifted his body, trying to get comfortable. A memory of the half itchy, half ticklish feeling of lying in the grass as a child flitted through his head…

Grass?

He wiggled his fingertips to feel the surface below him as his synapses sizzled. Grass.
But how?

He was walking to his car…

Then a blinding light…

And the feeling of being lifted into the air…

He screamed and scrambled to his feet. Breathless and dizzy, he looked around. It was a starless night, with a full moon directly above him. It illuminated a circle of about twenty feet around him. Grass, shrubbery, and a metal bench beside a gravel path occupied the circle. His head throbbed, and he rubbed it, testing for a lump or bruise. His head was fine.

“Is anyone there?” he shouted. “Anyone? Where am I?”

Not even a cricket answered.

Then, to himself, “Get ahold of yourself, man. Deep breaths. One…Two…” Randy looked up. The moon had an odd halo, like a reflection, around one side. Like it was behind glass.

Walking to the edge of the path, he stopped at the edge of the light. He paused, squinting into the darkness. A few feet away, he saw the ghost of his own face peering back at him.

Without warning, the light swung to follow him. An enormous eye with an orange iris and vertical pupil appeared where Randy’s reflection had just stood.

Randy froze. The eye blinked.

Randy’s brain finally put the details into place. The moon wasn’t a moon. It wasn’t in a jar. He was.

Randy screamed and fainted.

Rattus
Rattus
1 month ago

The Thief Queen of Ruddreth

Serennia lay on her back on the rooftop, the bustling nightlife of Ruddreth unfolding somewhere beneath her. Stars shimmered in the sky above her, the wind dancing gently across her skin.

“You’re gonna make me a very rich girl in the morning.” In one of her hands was a large diamond, pilfered from some unwitting noble that had been passing through earlier in the day. The theft had been easier than she was expecting. It had been one of several gems within a chest, unguarded in the back of a carriage.

She could have stolen more of them, and had considered the idea for more than a moment. But, she figured, the more of them she took, the more likely they were to notice. It was much more fun to just take one and wonder how long until they realised it was missing.

She held the diamond up into the air above her. The full moon reflected in the gemstone, its pale glow refracted across every facet. It looked almost to be trapped within the crystal.

“If only,” Serennia chuckled. She liked to think of herself as a pretty adept thief, but to steal the moon itself? That was the stuff of legends. The sorts of things that kids dreamed of, but could never truly accomplish.

But she could come close. Even if she couldn’t steal the moon itself, she could still become a thief like none had ever known. Her name would become one of legends, the Thief Queen of Ruddreth.

Serennia laughed. What an idea that was. Thieves didn’t go down in legend. Those privileges were reserved for Kings and heroes. Then again, who’s to say heroes couldn’t be thieves, too? It was a pretty ridiculous idea, admittedly. But if there was a way to do it, she would find it. She would make a change in this world, leave it a better place than she found it. And she would steal whatever it took to make that happen.

Skeleton
Skeleton
1 month ago

Unnecessary Power (The Will)
By Skeleton

“…and they theorized that because the murals showed the energy—they think it might be plasma—flowing from the container, that it might be some kind of weapon.”

Remianna’s voice was soothing to Eymir. He loved these moments with her, relaxing in the night, their bodied pressed up against each other as they tried to occupy the twin bed together. It made him feel like he was useful for something other than destruction and death.

“The power of the moon confined to a jar,” she mused to herself. “What does that even mean? What power does the moon have? Is it alive? Is it another one of those Forebearer facilities? What’s the point in having a weapon like that?”

“Rem?” Emyir began, his lips pulling tight as the sour topic surfaced. The dragoness against him adjusted herself to look at him slightly, wondering what was wrong. “Could we not talk about weapons?”

Remianna was silent for a moment, her own expression souring at his dismissal of her interests. “I just think it’s interesting, Eymir,” she explained, “that the Forebearers—the supposed creators of civilization and life on this planet as we know it—had multiple facilities and designs dedicated to war.”

“And they’re all dead now,” Eymir countered back, trying to regain what comfort he had in that moment he loved so much.

“Yes, but that kind of technology could possibly be applied to help people, rather than destroy! Imagine having an energy source like the murals describe: infinite energy coming from the planet itself. We could power entire cities… all of civilization, even!”

“And someone would just use it for their own gain—for their own pathetic purposes, Rem,” Eymir riposted again. “Infinite power brings infinite destruction. It’s better to let the past stay the past.”

The white dragoness looked to her husband with dismay. “How can you say that? It would help far more than—”

“Because that’s the reason I was born, Remianna,” Eymir concluded. “It’s the whole reason the Sufferer came to be: to destroy the world.”

Glaceon373
Glaceon373
1 month ago

To Hold the Moon
by Carrie (Glaceon373)

I want to hold the moon.

I want to pluck it out of the sky, and I want to hold it in my hands. I want to watch it cast shadows in every groove on my palms. I want to roll it left and right, and I want to feel it move.

But the moon is not a marble in the sky, and it is much too far away to be plucked from its home. I could never hold the moon. No one could ever hold the moon—except the Earth, who keeps the moon in constant orbit, and the Sun, who keeps the Earth in constant orbit. They’ve been doing that for eternity.

But I am not the Earth, nor am I the Sun. So I cannot hold the moon.

But I really would like to do it. I would like to be able to squeeze the moon as it hides in my pocket when the mean kids gang up on me, and then I would be strong enough to defend myself. Or maybe I could put the moon on the lunch table and watch it while I eat. Even still, I could take the moon and put it in a small glass bottle with a little cylindrical cork, and maybe it would make a fun, bright sound when it rolled against the glass.

But none of that can ever happen. I can’t hold the moon. I should stop trying. I should just learn to deal with the mean kids, I should learn to accept that I’ll always eat lunch alone, and I should accept that I’ll never learn what noise the moon would make when it rolled around in a glass bottle.

Still, it’s nice to imagine it, once in a while.

Do you want to imagine it with me? I have this marble, and this plastic bottle? If you close your eyes, it’s easier to pretend it’s glass…

Constellasphere
Constellasphere
1 month ago

“Lavender Dyed You”
By Constella

The Archiver often ended her long periods of work by gazing up at the night sky. She would do so in serenity, her dark eyes closing as a soft breeze came in through the window and played with her hair. Tonight the moon was a waning crescent and the field of flowers thrived under it; their petals opened shyly to voice their greetings and good tidings. The stars danced with their only sister, twinkling in an endless tapestry.

It had surprised her when the sound of soft footsteps entered the room. She opened her eyes and looked to her right to see Ares there, sitting down in a spare chair near her. His fingers passively toyed with the end of the night shirt he wore in lue of there no work to be done. Though he tried his hardest to hide it, the Archiver could see clear as day his reddened eyes and face. But she said nothing of it and simply looked back to the sky; she set to never overwhelm him even though it pained her to watch him suffer, but instead had offered her company should he desire it. This was the first time he had accepted her offer; the Archiver was always glad to see any signs of him further healing.

“Would you like some tea?” Her voice was feather-light as to not scare him. She knew his ram ears, constantly flicking out of anxiety, were sensitive. With a bit of hesitation, he nodded silently, his eyes remaining downward.

The flowers outside made a beautiful drink; it was perfectly sweet without the need of other additives and when brewed would dye the water a translucent lavender. When Ares had the teacup safely within his hands, he first raised it upward, towards the moon. Within the crystalline cup the glowing orb was tinted and wavered; he held it as still as he could and yearned silently.

A sigh came from him and he lowered his arm, looking back down and taking an idle sip. Though they didn’t fall, she could still see tears coalescing within the endlessly conflicting ocean of his eyes.

Marx
Marx
1 month ago

Some People are Always Trying to Ice-Skate Uphill
By Marx

“I don’t think you understand what’s about to happen here.” The man said, glaring at his demonic prisoner. “The very short time you have left to live is going to be in the most excruciating pain you can imagine.”

“Oh no. Pain. Whatever shall I do?” Mara replied with a roll of her eyes, unfazed by the magic literally chaining her down.

“I’m not talking to you. I have nothing to say to a mere filth demon. I’m talking to your Master. He can hear me, yes? I want to make it very clear what happens when someone attempts to steal from me.”

Mara pulled against her bonds to no avail. “Funny how someone who siphons power from a deity has a problem with stealing. That said, my Master isn’t listening. He’s probably freeing your caged deity as we speak. Though I will admit the enchantments on these chains are impressive.”

The man’s eyes narrowed even further at Mara. “I know my enchantments are impressive. They were designed for something a Hell of a lot more powerful than you, much less anyone pathetic enough to take such a weak demon as a familiar. Something your Master will see when he fares no better than you.”

“Yeah… about that…” Mara began to pull more and more against her restraints, causing the aura around the chains to flicker. “I may be a weak demon. Maybe even one of the weakest. And at best I may show nothing but a pale reflection of my Master’s power. But the truth is… you’re the one who has no idea who you’re dealing with…”

By the time the man realized the enchantments were fracturing, they’d already been shattered as Mara freed herself.

Her eyes glowed a Hellish crimson. She licked her lips before baring her razor sharp teeth. Her nails lengthened into pointed claws. The flames of the damned surrounded her as she approached. “Now… what were you saying about… pain?”

Mara cackled loudly as the man fled, waiting a few moments to give the hunt some extra excitement before launching herself after her prey.