Hellooo Musicians, Soloists and Choir Members!
I hope you’ve all sufficiently warmed up your voices. We have an important performance to put on tonight! Because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
The Last Song We Sing
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 is a prompt filled with poetic melancholy. It’s the idea of an end of sorts, but an end that comes with a song—going out with a bang, or a roar, or with gentle warble.
The first thing that comes to mind for me is a literal take on the prompt—the last song before someone’s death. You could write about a funeral march. A singer might be sick, and want to put on one last show before they die. Or perhaps loved ones sing to a sick person on their death bed. Perhaps someone doesn’t realize it’ll be the last song they sing before they get into an accident. Or maybe death is not so melancholy— warriors might sing before or during battle, ready to go to Valhalla. Maybe a group of rebels know they’re going on a suicide mission, and they sing together on their last night; they are helping their cause tomorrow…at the price of their lives. I also think of movies like Captain America or Star Trek (2012), where someone has to sacrifice themselves so that others might live—in both situations the character sacrificing themselves could have sang a final song with the person on the comms. Maybe you could write about a mythical creature, and their customs around song—maybe sirens have a way of serenading their dead that is both haunting and harmonious.
There are other kinds of tragedies you may want to use this prompt for. Perhaps someone is developing polyps on their vocal chords and wants to sing one last song before they lose their voice. I could see a story like Ariel’s being told with this prompt—someone giving up their voice, and singing a last song, their very notes captured and taken away.
Or maybe you want to go bittersweet with it. You could write about a high school choir singing at their own graduation before going their separate ways; the choir might get new members, but this is the last song the seniors will sing. Perhaps a party of adventurers is splitting up and they sing one last song around the fire before they start a new chapter of their lives.
Or maybe you don’t want to add anything bitter in your story—just the sweet part. It all hinges on what the word “last” refers to. Because “last” could simply be the last song in a concert or show. The last song a band or bard sings on tour before going back home. The last song a group of friends sings at a bar before going home for the night. It could be the last song before a new beginning. Perhaps someone is going to change—whether in a way that is mental or physical, or simply changing their stage name—and they sing one last song as their previous self. Or else they may be revealing a truth about themselves to the world through their last song before it’s revealed. Maybe a couple sings a song that doubles as a proposal—their last song before they are married. You could even use this in a “one more level” sort of way; maybe your character says “Okay, but this is the LAST song we sing” …but they keep going for hours on end.
You could also use this in a symbolic way. The last story an author writes, the last art piece a painter makes, things like that could symbolically function as a last song. Even something like the last game in a tabletop roleplaying campaign could be the last song, so to speak. However, if you go this direction, I will warn you to make sure the prompt is still clear within your story!
You may have noticed that, for my challenges, I like to find the direction in which I think people’s brains will most likely go with the prompt, and challenge you to go the opposite direction. This prompt is no different. I think the most natural trajectory of this prompt is to think of death, and general melancholy. My challenge is for you to make this prompt about something other than death, and/or something that isn’t melancholy.
My other challenge for you is the same as one we had a while back: pick a real song and use it somehow in your story—be it that the characters are singing that song in the story, or simply that you listen to it while you write and let its rhythms influence you, even if it’s not directly mentioned. (Feel free to share these in generalchat-media!)
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!
The curtains are about to open, everyone! Take a deep breath, and don’t forget the lyrics. We’ve practiced this hundreds of times! I know you’ve got this.
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.