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.
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.