From the Dementors to the Dark Riders, Sasquatch to Cyclops, Frankenstein to Loch Ness, monsters have long occupied our storytelling traditions and haunted our imaginations. But what makes these mythical beasts so monstrously fascinating? Is it their otherworldly origins? Our innate fear of the unknown? Or the age-old good vs. evil theme they represent?
This month, Write the World
invite you to submit a piece of monster-themed flash fiction to our joint competition. Drawing on the brevity of poetry and the story-arc of novels, flash fiction compresses the best parts of literature into half-pint packages. So come celebrate the art of tiny tales with us, dear writers, in monster form! Whether you write about fabled mountain creatures roaming snow-capped peaks, real-life monsters of the deep, a sympathetic monster hero, or metaphorical monsters of modern day, give us a new monster tale for our time—one that will endure for years to come.
Be sure to read through the guidelines below, and then get busy, dear writers! The winners will be featured on Write the World’s
blog, and published in the March issue of Cicada
online as well as on Writetheworld.com
THINK BIG. Not in size, but in scope. Dream up a goblin, ghost, or ghoul; create your version of a “monster” that is a real, live animal (think vampire squid, ghost bats, goblin sharks, or gila monsters); or consider playing around with a natural phenomenon—imagine the ghost-like neon curtains of Aurora Borealis appearing to ancient civilizations, or the Min Min lights, mysteriously following travelers across outback Australia, or a meteor close to earth, seemingly hurtled our way. You have endless options for bringing the monster theme alive!
THINK NEW. Monsters inhabit some of our oldest myths and legends and newest movies and books, but are, by definition, imagined
. What new and different light can you cast on the old monster tale? Recast a traditional monster in a contemporary setting, unsettle your readers with a modern-day monster threatening our universe, or perhaps depict an inner monster who challenges the stereotype that monsters have to be bad.
REALITY AS ALLY. Remember the Dark Riders in Lord of the Rings
? The sound of hooves on cobblestone streets? The black cloaks obscuring the horsemen? Perhaps what makes the imaginary so haunting is its coexistence with the familiar. In the underworld, the Dark Riders wouldn’t be nearly so disturbing, but to imagine them sweeping into our own town is terrifying. Use reality to invite your readers into your story.
MONSTER AS METAPHOR. Though written two centuries ago, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
endures as a literature classic, AND as a metaphor for the dangers of unbridled science. What metaphoric or symbolic meaning might you write into your monster tale?
MONSTER AS PROTAGONIST. Sure, monsters often loom large as frightening beasts, but they can also be loveable do-gooders (think Chewbacca, Shrek, or Pikachu), or handsome princes stuck in grotesque guises (think Beauty in the Beast). As you craft your monster tale, consider making your monster the protagonist!
Who is Eligible?
Young writers ages 13-18
299 words (or less)
Autumn McGarr, Editor of CICADA
Jacqui Ronan Whitehouse, Art Director of CICADA
Best Entry: $100 (winning piece + author interview will be featured on Write the World’s website and blog)
Runner up: $50
Best Peer Review: $50 (reviewer interview will be featured on Write the World’s website and blog)
What’s Different about Write the World Competitions?
Prizes: The winning entrant(s) will receive $100, and the best peer-reviewer will receive $50.
Professional Recognition: The winning entry, plus the runner-up and best peer review, will be featured in Cicada’s March issue, as well as on the Write the World blog, with commentary from our guest judge.
Expert Review: Submit your draft by Monday, February 19th and get feedback from our team of experts—authors, writing teachers, and educational professionals. (Pieces accepted for Expert Review are capped at the first 100 submissions.)
February 12: Competition Opens
February 19: Submit draft for Expert Review (Optional. We will review the first 100 drafts submitted.)
February 23: Reviews returned to Writers
February 27: Final Submissions Due
March 9: Winners Announced
We’re thrilled to partner with CICADA, an online space where young people gather around their love of the written word. CICADA publishes teens’ work, as well as fiction, poetry, comics, zines, and interviews by a variety of established writers and artists.
[Note: Please keep in mind that although this competition is monster-themed, your writing should fall in the category of general fiction, not horror. Write the World
does not publish pieces containing gratuitous violence or content that's overly disturbing in nature.]