Hello Scholars, Schemers, and Schmucks!
My dears, I have a proposition for you. I propose that we write good stories, about a great many things, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
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!
All too often in fiction one character walks up to another with the simple words “I have a proposition for you” and either epicness or shenanigans ensue…or both. Propositions come in many forms, and can lead to both positive and negative results.
One area of life in which propositions are common is in business. Perhaps your character is a businessman who is offered a new opportunity to grow their business…but at the price of their soul. (Either by selling out, or by literally making a pact with a demon). Or perhaps they are an honest businessman, and refuse the proposal outright. Or maybe your group is a ragtag team of criminals, and are offered a proposition for a new and exciting crime.
Or maybe you want to write about a literal proposal. At dinner, one significant other says to the other “I propose we spend the rest of our lives together.” Or maybe it’s a proposal of marriage between kingdoms through a prince and princess.
Not all proposals have to be shady. Your character could propose that their family goes to the beach that day. Or they could be sitting with their crush and propose a kiss. Or they could be sitting on the couch with their significant other and propose that they get a cat.
This prompt is about a proposition, but the proposition doesn’t necessarily have to occur within the story itself. Perhaps your character is facing the consequences of accepting a certain proposal, and is reminiscing about that proposition within your story. Often characters (and real people) accept deals without knowing the full ramifications of the deal.
Speaking of which…it could be a trick. Villains often make proposals without explaining all the rules. Your character might accept a ticket to a new country, not realizing that they will be a servant, or worse, in that new country. Or maybe it’s a little more overt: the villain’s proposal could be, essentially, “do what I want, or die.” Villains aren’t the only ones who make false proposals. Maybe a princess offers to marry the villain to buy the hero time to rescue the captives. Sometimes heroes try to weasel out of agreements and get everything they want too.
Just because the prompt is about a proposition doesn’t mean your character has to accept the proposal either. One is made, that’s all we know. You could play around with how your character reacts, and whether or not they accept. Sometimes the most dramatic stories are those in which the hero vehemently rejects a certain proposal they know to be deceptive.
For your challenge this week I propose that you play with the unexpected. Propositions often don’t go the way we think they will. Whether that’s through a trick, or loophole, or because we THINK we’re going to be tricked…when everything is actually perfectly legitimate. Keeping the audience on their toes and subverting their expectations can be a difficult thing to do. And while shock value is something that can indeed create the unexpected, I’m referring to something more difficult; crafting the story in such a way that we aren’t expecting the ending…but not just because it comes out of nowhere, rather because the truth is there the whole time, but we can’t see it. This is far more challenging in my mind.
Remember, these challenges aren’t mandatory! They are meant to be a fun bonus if you’d like to have a little extra challenge. But, if you don’t want to use them, please don’t feel obligated to!
Now, tell me…do we have a deal?
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.