Good day, Beverage Aficionados and British People!
Let’s see, we have earl grey…what about a nice jasmine? No? Well surely we’ll find something you like, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
My Cup of Tea
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!
Most of us have likely heard the phrase “it’s not my cup of tea” at some point in our lives to refer to something that is not our preference—be that a type of food, a video game, or even tea itself. Even though we often hear it in the negative, it can be used in the positive too.
This prompt conjures similar vibes to the “I’m Never Doing That Again” prompt for me. The idea of doing something, deciding it’s not your cup of tea, and never doing it again. You could easily apply the prompt in such a way. Or you could use this prompt to refer to the opposite—someone doing something and deciding they very much like it and want to do it again. You could write about a kid going to the amusement park for the first time and loving it. Maybe your character was always afraid to try painting, but when they finally try for the first time they learn they love it. Maybe, as a kid, your character decided they didn’t like a certain food and they learn they love it now. You could even write about someone who thought pineapple on pizza was an abomination, but then tried it and found—to their dismay—that they loved it.
Come to think of it, the prompt can be used in multiple ways in a single story. Maybe a family goes on a rollercoaster together, and one of them decides they love it, and another decides they hate it. Like in my examples, maybe someone decided something wasn’t their cup of tea, only to later realize they judged it too quickly. You could write a story about one friend trying to convince another something is actually good, despite their protests.
But you don’t have to use this prompt in the sense of the idiom. You could write about literal tea. Maybe your character just likes tea, and that happens to feature importantly in the scene you write. Maybe you have a character like Iroh in Avatar the Last Airbender, for whom tea is an important part of his life. You could write about a tea party—be it with snooty people, or with stuffed animals. Maybe someone drinks out of your character’s cup while they’re in the bathroom and they walk into the room shouting “Hey, that’s MY cup of tea!” You could even write a story where the tea is poisoned, and someone drinks out of the wrong cup.
Many cultures have traditions, old and new, that revolve around tea. Maybe there is a specific tea ceremony that your character participates in. Or perhaps your character breaks an unspoken rule of etiquette, like not allowing their host to refill their tea, or breaking a ceremonial tea-making instrument. How might that complicate the situation your character is in? Maybe your character is already familiar with tea, but is introduced to a new element that changes the experience. Maybe they try adding tapioca pearls, or yak butter, or raw egg into the drink. Maybe they’re drinking the tea from a saucer and holding a piece of rock sugar in their mouth. Maybe they try herbal tea or hallucinogenic tea? How does this new experience impact their worldview? Or is this a line they won’t cross for certain reasons? Perhaps you want to use this prompt to write about tea leaf reading. What’s left in your character’s cup of tea could mean a lot for the future…or nothing at all.
Maybe it’s the cup that’s more important than the tea within it. Maybe a late loved one gave your character their cup, and/or they have fond memories of drinking the tea within it with their loved one. You could even write about a teacup coming to life, like Chip in Beauty and the Beast.
Today, “tea” is a slang term for “gossip.” You could easily apply this use of the term in a story you write for the prompt. Maybe you want to write about how your character brings to the table their particular cup of gossip.
I have two challenges for you this week.
The person who submitted this prompt could have easily phrased this prompt as “Not My Cup of Tea.” But (whether the decision was intentional or not) instead they opted for the positive version of it. The phrase “My Cup of Tea” almost always comes with that “not” in front of it, and I think it’s where most people’s minds go with the phrase. My challenge for you is to write about the positive side of the prompt. What happens when something IS your cup of tea?
My other challenge is a strange one. Those who watch the Youtube channel Good Mythical Morning will likely remember “Snot Mike Up Puffed He.” Rhett and Link were playing a game, with cards that had nonsense phrases on them, and they had to parse the nonsense into well-known idioms. “Snot Mike Up Puffed He” turned into “Not My Cup of Tea.” But Link had an extremely difficult time figuring that out, and hilarity ensued. I have difficulty hearing the phrase “my cup of tea” without immediately thinking of “snot mike up puffed he.” My next challenge comes from this. Misunderstandings can be really difficult to write well. Often times they only serve to further the plot, but seem ridiculous and unrealistic, and are frustrating for the audience. My second challenge is for you to write about a misunderstanding. But do your best to write about it in a way that is fun, or even funny, which doesn’t frustrate the audience.
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!
Ah, the oolong and chamomile aren’t for you either? Neither is the green, or matcha, or chai? How about—? Oh forget it. Fine. I’ll get you that coffee.
—Kaylie & Pearce
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.