Knock knock, Crocodiles and White Rabbits!
Who’s there, you ask? Who do you think? The one who’s always there. Stepping in rhythm to everything you do. Every action you take. Every word you say. Always lurking. Always hurting. Always healing. Always ticking. Because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
When Time Came Knocking
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!
I’m quite aware of who submitted this prompt, and why…because I submitted it! Time is one of my characters and I wanted to write a particular scene when he shows up at another character’s house. Of course, due to this, that is the first place my mind goes to with this prompt: the living embodiment of Time literally knocking at the door. You could explore how you yourself might give human form to time—Is your version of time Father Time, a small child, or rather the attractive lady next door? Perhaps your character has been literally running from time for a long time, and just when they think they’ve gotten away…there’s a knock at their door. Or you might choose a different embodiment. Could your Time be a dog, or cat playing with history as if it were a chew toy, or ball of yarn? Is your Time a clockwork being who ticks and clicks in addition to knocking?
You could take this in a more symbolic way. Perhaps the neighbor dog pawing at your character’s door isn’t the literal embodiment of time, but when the newspaper it carries tells your character they need to get out of town, the symbolism is there. Maybe the attractive lady knocking on the door is perfectly ordinary, but her knock tells your character it’s finally time to ask her out. Time could mean many things. We often call death “our time.” This prompt could easily refer to death knocking. Is your character appalled, thinking they had more time on this earth? Or do they meet death with a gentle nod, understanding it is, in fact, their time? But it doesn’t have to be so sinister. Perhaps the “time” the prompt refers to is an event your character was really excited for, and the “knock” (friends knocking on the door, ready to join them, perhaps?) is met with joy. Anything your character might say “it’s time” for—they might realize “it’s time” for a change, or “it’s time” to go.
There are other, simpler uses of time too. Perhaps a teenager is playing games, and their parent knocks on the door to tell them it’s dinnertime. Even a time limit in said video game could work as time knocking. You could write about something as ordinary as an elementary kid struggling with their times tables, or a barista looking forward to their shift ending. An appointment one is dreading certainly often feels like time is knocking if. Someone who is very busy and never feels like they have enough time might constantly feel as though time is knocking. Perhaps the message of that story would be the opposite of most: they must learn they have more time than they think.
There are many different types of knocks as well. I’ve talked about knocks at a door, and haven’t even explored all the uses there—what about trap doors? Knocking on the walls?—but you could write about other knocks. What about knocking on wood? What might Time need luck for? Or does time send the sound of knocking throughout a character’s life as a warning—something like “the bell tolls for thee”? One might consider a simple “tick tock” a knock of sorts. Someone sitting in a quiet room, hearing the ticking clock, might believe it to be an incessant knocking. The chimes of a grandfather clock, or the cuckcoos of a cuckoo clock could function in this way too. Cinderella hearing the dings of the midnight bell, trying to leave the castle before they finish chiming certainly fits this prompt. …You could even use a nock pun as we watch time getting their bow ready, much like Eros/Cupid might.
Time knocking could easily be interpreted as the consequences of one’s actions catching up to them. The tyrant controls the kingdom for a long time, but eventually the rebels reach his door. A thief is finally caught. A lie finally is exposed. In the movie Mirror Mirror, the Evil Queen’s mirror is constantly telling her magic comes with a price. Even though she doesn’t know what the price is, she insists she will pay it. In the end of the movie, the price is that she turns into an old lady. Age and ugliness are her greatest fears, and this is a terrible fate to her. In this case, this is time knocking in two ways: the price of magic coming back to bite her, and literal age catching up to her.
Speaking of a character getting aged up in a moment, perhaps you could write about something like Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle. Perhaps your character experiences time knocking in a spell cast on them that ages them up, ironically, before their time. Or perhaps an ordinary orphaned child feels they have to grow up too fast to take care of themselves? What happens when time comes knocking at, well…the wrong time?
A sillier use of this prompt could be something inanimate that represents time—like a clock—getting up and walking to the door. Perhaps you want to write about a world of living inanimate objects, and the clock knocks on the hammer’s door to say that’s quite enough noise…only for the hammer to retort that the clock has been chiming every hour for the past week!
My technical challenge for you this week is to use rhythm and/or onomatopoeia to help the vibes of your piece come across more clearly. If you want to create a sense of foreboding, perhaps you want to put a literal knocking onomatopeia throughout your piece—create the feeling that something is coming. If you want to create the feeling of aggravation, perhaps you want to use a ticking onomatopoeia a little too much. If you want to show excitement, perhaps you want to use a fast rhythm in your wordings to convey this. If you want to show a character waiting, maybe you want a rhythm of sentences that is long and drawn out. (My fragments + anaphora in my intro sentence above could be considered as a ticking of sorts!)
My content challenge is to pick something other than death to write about. While a fitting use of the prompt, death seems like one of the most obvious choices. Get creative! Pick something a little more outside the box! Especially as I may be dealing with the death of a family member of my own very soon, I would certainly appreciate more wholesome and wacky takes on the prompt myself this week.
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!
I am sorry about this. But I won’t be relegated to the background anymore. It is your time. You must come with me. Whether you come quietly is your choice.
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.