Writing Group: The Lengthening Night

Hello everyone!

In an attempt to ring in Autumn rather than spookfest #5, we decided we’d look at a bunch of interesting prompt that have to do with the changing of the season this time. We had Autumnal Gloom, Before the Deep Sleep, and South for Winter among other contenders this week. But of course, only one could go on to have piles of microfiction spewed forth about it.

This week’s prompt is:

 

The Lengthening Night

 

RULES AND GUIDELINES HAVE CHANGED!
Read them below to participate! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

Because apparently we just can’t get enough darkness. Someday we’ll have an intrinsically pleasant prompt, but for now I’m not complaining. I do tend toward the macabre and the tragic anyway, and The Lengthening Night definitely fits that bill.

Like most of our prompts, this one has a blessed metaphorical richness. There’s all kinds of directions to take “night” and the process of it “lengthening”. Just think, “night” can represent any period of darkness one goes through, especially when contrasted with a period of light. It could be that one’s fortune is continuously diminishing, or a war is trudging on year after year, or a one still hasn’t recovered from some manner of comatose state. On the lighter side, night can also represent a period of peace, tranquility, quiet. This could be about coming to terms with something; recognizing, accepting, and learning to live in the darkness.

Wherever you take it, have fun in the dark! Here’s hoping you don’t stumble over too many things on your way to the bathroom.

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.

Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!

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, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!

Rules and Guidelines

We read five stories during each stream, four of which are selected at random, and one of which is selected because it has the most likes.

  • English only.
  • Prose only, no poetry or song lyrics.
  • One submission per participant.
  • Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
  • Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
  • You must leave a review on two other submission to be eligible, and your reviews must be at least 50 words long.
  • No more than 350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
  • Include a story title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name)
  • You must include the text “Submitted by” immediately before your author name, or you will not be recognized by our sorting process and you will not be eligible for selection. (Example Submission)
  • 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.
  • Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission live on stream and share it on our social media sites. You will always be credited as the author.

Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.

 

Writing Group: The Harvest

Hello everyone!

Now that Halloween has passed and the spirits’ve gone back into hibernation, we’re officially packing up and rolling on out of spooky town. Let’s have one last hurrah on the way out though, because this week we’re writing about a slightly darker-sounding aspect of the season of the Turkey…

This week’s prompt is:

The Harvest

Read the Rules and Guidelines below to participate!

Make it grim, make it dark, make it vaguely autumnal. There are a lot of directions to go with this prompt, but some of the most alluring out of the gate, especially if you’re leaning into the general creepiness of the prompt, is toward the harvest of people rather than produce. And those stories are bound to be a lot of fun, but remember, “harvest” can be a very broad theme. It could be about the things attached to harvest time as well: hunger, scarcity, plenty, reaping, sewing, life and death, etc., etc., etc. Just as scary to realize during harvest time that you’re facing famine as it would be to realize you’re the one being “harvested”.

Happy harvesting! Can’t wait to see what you all bring to the table.

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.

Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm to see if you made the cut!

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, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!

Rules and Guidelines

  • English only.
  • Prose only, no poetry or song lyrics.
  • One submission per participant.
  • Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
  • Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
  • You must leave a review on two other submission to be eligible, and your reviews must be at least 50 words long.
  • No more than 350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
  • Include a story title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name).
  • 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.
  • Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission live on stream and share it on our social media sites. You will always be credited as the author.
  • Comments on this post that aren’t submission will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing entries

Example Submission

 

Writing Group: They All Came Back

Hello everyone!

We’ve only got one or two more weeks of spooky themes left, and this week’s choice will not disappoint. There were a lot of good suggestions, but only one so monkey’s pawesomely faustian in its implications, that it had to be the winner.

This week’s prompt is:

They All Came Back

Read the Rules and Guidelines below to participate!

As I said before, this is a very, very open-ended prompt, but that’s a good thing! This could be about loved ones returning from the dead, changed. It could be about memories you thought you secreted away so far down they’d never resurface. It could even be about someone who doesn’t know how to turn away from a situation or a person they really ought to.

As long as you’re making us uncomfortable and spooked with this piece, you’ve done your job!

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.

Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm to see if you made the cut!

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, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!

Rules and Guidelines

  • English only.
  • Prose only, no poetry or song lyrics.
  • One submission per participant.
  • Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
  • Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
  • You must leave a review on two other submission to be eligible, and your reviews must be at least 50 words long.
  • No more than 350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
  • Include a story title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name).
  • 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.
  • Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission live on stream and share it on our social media sites. You will always be credited as the author.
  • Comments on this post that aren’t submission will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing entries

Example Submission

 

Writing Group: The Shadows are Watching

Hello everyone!

Continuing the theme of spooks, scares, and things we pretend to be brave about in the daylight, we put a whole list of horrific prompt ideas to a vote on patreon. This included things like “The Bugs are Growing Louder”, “The Veil Thins”, and “Crows Circling Overhead”. But, the patrons have decided, and…

This week’s prompt is:

 

The Shadows are Watching

 

Read the Rules and Guidelines below to participate!

There are, as always, millions of possibilities for this prompt. The clearest given route would be to write a story about sentient shadows (but who would ever do something like that?), but I challenge you to think openly about the terms “shadow” and “watching”, here. It doesn’t have to be a literal shadow, rather it could be the dark side of something, or the influence of it. It doesn’t have to be watching like a creepy stalker, but rather it could be “watching” like a shepherd over its flock.

Be creative, be wild, be spooky, but most of all, be open to angles you might not usually look from.

 

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.

Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm to see if you made the cut!

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, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!

 

Rules and Guidelines

  • English only.
  • Prose only, no poetry or song lyrics.
  • One submission per participant.
  • Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
  • Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
  • You must leave a review on two other submission to be eligible, and your reviews must be at least 50 words long.
  • No more than 300 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
  • Include a story title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name).
  • 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.
  • Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission live on stream and share it on our social media sites. You will always be credited as the author.
  • Comments on this post that aren’t submission will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing entries

Example Submission

Writing Group: Loving Eldritch Parents

Hello everyone!

We’ve got something really special to kick off our writing group. We were supposed to do this a few weeks back, but now’s as good a time as any. It is October, after all.

This week’s prompt is…

Wholesome, loving parents, but they’re also eldritch horrors

Now the obvious direction to take this one is toward humor and hyperbole. Easy to have a lot of fun imagine Cthulhu reading you bed-time stories at night, Yog-Sothoth helping you with your math homework, Shub Niggurath confusing your name with your alien siblings’, and those are all a lot of fun and totally valid! But you could also make this pretty sad or science-fiction-y if written the right way. What if the townsfolk are after your misunderstood aberration of a mother who you’ve been protecting in the basement for years? What if you’ve done something to accidentally transform dear old dad into a non-euclidean horror, and now you have to figure what it was and how to get him back?

Lots of angles to look at this one from! I’m stoked to see where y’all go with it.

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.

Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm to see if you made the cut!

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, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!

Rules and Guidelines

  • English only.
  • Prose only, no poetry or song lyrics.
  • One submission per participant.
  • Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
  • Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
  • You must leave a review on two other submission to be eligible, and your reviews must be at least 50 words long.
  • No more than 300 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
  • Include a story title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name).
  • 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.
  • Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission live on stream and share it on our social media sites. You will always be credited as the author.
  • Comments on this post that aren’t submission will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing entries

Example Submission

“Extinguished” — Short Fiction Competition Winner (Discord)

Extinguished
by DevourerofStars#5717

The sky was painted in brilliant reds, yellows and purples, all bleeding and blending into one another above the darkened, slumbering forest.

Almost time.

I looked over my ragged net, cobbled together from frayed rope and horseshoes. I could only pray the net would hold. I could already see the net falling short, falling apart or, worse, going up in flames.

Just three. Three feathers was all we needed.

I glanced at the tree ahead of me in the clearing. High above the ground and nestled within its skeletal branches, was a nest. From what I could see, the nest was thoroughly coated in a thick, yellow resin.

So damn close now.

It had all started as a wild goose chase, a fool chasing myths in deep snow. Lured by the promise of reprieve, how could I resist?

My stomach growled, churning itself inside out.

Days had stretched out into weeks, characterized by howling winter storms, numbness and searing burns. Trudging through deep snow and biting cold, I began to think there was no nest. And then, on one cold morning, I found it, silhouetted against the rising sun.

I checked over my trap, consisting of a dead hare tied to a stake in the clearing. A crude trap, but it would work. It had to work. I took my place, crouching behind the bush, net in both hands.

Now all I had to do was wait.

***

The sun finally peeked over the horizon, its rays piercing the dawn sky. Shafts of sunlight shot through the canopy and fell upon the resin-soaked nest. It smoked and smoldered, the resin becoming a wrinkled black paste.

Then the nest burst into flame.

Fire raced from the crown down to the base of the tree in seconds, consuming it in a swirling vortex of flame. Mesmerizing in the way only fire could be, the flames danced and swirled across the bark of the tree. The wood crackled and popped, charred black and criss-crossed with magma-like veins. I could almost taste the sweet, heady scent of burning wood even from where I stood. The sun continually crept upward as the fire raged unabated.  Finally, the fire began to retreat, leaving behind thoroughly scorched bark in its wake. The flames all moved unnervingly towards a single point, closing in from the branching crown and thick trunk. When they finally converged, the flames coalesced.

And there, where the nest had once stood, was a falcon wrapped in all the colours of a sun set. The reds, yellows and purples of its body faded into one another, beginning with the brilliant yellow on its head, down to its vibrant red body, and finally to its royal purple tail feathers. It was a sun onto itself, its mere presence lighting up the entire clearing.

A Phoenix.

The Phoenix let out a haunting screech, piercing the morning stillness under the dormant forest. It searched it’s surroundings with its black, pearly eyes, finally settling its gaze upon the carcass far below on the forest floor. With a powerful stroke of its wings, the Phoenix dived, it’s obsidian talons outstretched.

It collided with a faint thump, flapping its iridescent wings to stabilize itself. It’s claws sank deep into the tender flesh.

I almost threw the net then and there.

The Phoenix took off with the carcass in tow, only to come crashing back down, cawing in indignation.

I hurled the net, which sailed through the air before enveloping the fallen Phoenix and sending it tumbling. The Phoenix screeched, attempting to take off, only to find itself entangled in a web of robe. It entangled itself further and further with each successive stroke.

It worked. Holy crap, It worked. I tore through the bush and raced to the thrashing bird. Stooping to my knees, I grabbed it’s body, carefully avoiding the flapping wings.

“Hey, hey, it’s okay, it’s okay.” I whispered, stroking it’s body with my other hand. Maybe it understood me or something, but it gradually stopped struggling, now looking into my eyes intensely.

“Good boy, Good boy.” Gingerly, I plucked three feathers, only receiving a terrifying flinch each time. I dropped the feathers into a leather bag, their glow still spilling out from it.

“Alright, time to let you go buddy.” I began to extricate the Phoenix from the tangled net, carefully repositioning the rope to free him and avoid constricting it’s fragile wings. Then I stopped. If three feathers was all it took to help us through this year, what would six do? Seven, eight, nine or even 10? What about 20?

The Phoenix thrashed again, screeching bloody murder.

“Just a few more…” I wasn’t sure if that was more to the Phoenix, or to me. I tore into the bird, ripping off it’s beautiful feathers one by one. It’s struggle intensified,  talons kicking and hooked beak snapping to no avail. With every feather I wrenched from its body, I could practically feel the flowing silk robes and taste the rich wine on my tongue. I ignored it’s strangled cawing and wild eyes, thinking, I just need a few more…

An ear-splitting shriek tore it’s way out of  Phoenix, and then it’s struggles ceased. The forest darkened, it’s cry still ringing out across the new dark.

A deep cold settled on my chest, and I found myself struggling to breathe. I sank to my knees, hands shaking.

“Oh Jesus, No no no no no…”

The Phoenix was utterly stripped of its otherworldly beauty, left with nothing but raw, pink flesh. It’s wings were beyond mangled, twisted and bent at unnatural angles where the thick rope pulled tight.

The bag. The bag had no glow coming from it. I scrambled to it and grabbed the bag, tipping it over. Only black ash poured from the opening.

I covered my face with my hands, and yet I could still see the broken body of the phoenix. Something broke. I began to weep, sobbing and shaking deep in the forest at sunrise.

Thanks for reading!

This story was written by the clever and talented DevourerofStars#5717 for a Slavic Folklore-themed short fiction competition on our Discord server. A big thanks to everyone who participated, our community team who organized the event, and to the winner, for writing such a lovely piece!

Time for an Upgrade

Nothing big, mind you, but an upgrade all the same.

Lately we’ve been struggling with our Something Interesting posts. They’re a joy to do research for and to share, but focus is somewhat… divided at the foundry right now. We’re caught somewhere between information dispenser and writing prompt generator.

We want to fix that.

Unfortunately, fixing that also means doing away with our Something Interesting blurbs. Which is a shame. We really enjoyed them, and we know you really enjoyed them as well. Fortunately this also means we’ll have more time to spend with our community. Rather than just spoon-feeding you interesting factoids, we’re planning to do more in the way of getting you lot involved.

First and foremost, we want to involve you in the creation of our stories, so starting with our next video series (yet to be announced) we’ll be sharing “think-tank” posts, if you will, where we explain some of themes we’re looking for and some of the info we’re working with, and then look to the community for ideas.

Secondly, we want to put more emphasis on your personal work. This means more short fiction prompts, more fan stories, more calls for submissions, etc., etc..

Finally, we want to spend more time talking to you, mostly in the form of more frequent Q&A calls and discussion posts.

So not a tremendous change, but hopefully an important one nonetheless.

How does this sound to you? Are you looking forward to the new posts, or do think you’ll feel a little bereft without the Something Interesting blurbs in your feed?

Make Something Up: Creepypasta

makesomethingup_creepypasta1

We’re almost done with our creepypasta series, but we still have a story to write. In the meantime, maybe you do too? If so, send it our way!

Submissions: https://goo.gl/afa3e8

You could also submit to Creepypasta.com as well as the Creepypasta Wiki, which provide excellent platforms for this particular prompt.