ms. eldritch horror

"people often reveal their true colours when they are held accountable for their actions; there are those who want to make amends and improve their behaviour and those who don't."
- amalia costa (wtw alum)

Message to Readers

i've realised now i have to put myself through hell and back before realising what's good for me.

hope this (very short) list still appeals to some people. december submissions are open.

november 2019 wtw highlights

December 23, 2019


i have a bad habit of either: writing these lists as soon as the month begins OR bookmarking pieces in an "xyz month wtw highlights" folder on my laptop and then writing it over the course of three very strenuous days. it seems that this month has been the latter. (if you see me sporadically liking pieces all of a sudden in copious amounts with no apparent rhyme or reason, it's because i'm gearing up to write them compliments in these highlights. i hate to leave a like and then not comment, so this is my compensation.) this month's novel writing competition has delivered some truly promising narratives, and i'm only disappointed that the ones most deserving of the credit got no credit at all. so it'll be my job to fix that here.

also: since i've run into some free time, november 2019 will mark the inaugural month where pieces will have a specified reason for why i picked them! (albeit, much shorter than the reasons here. i've practically killed myself by putting myself up to this, i realise now after sweating blood to finish this list.) therefore, from now on, please feel free to add your reasons for why you nominated the pieces that you did, and i'll include them in my comments in praising them in the respective monthly highlights. (if you've seen someone has already nominated a piece you were planning on nominating, do it again anyway! it shows that multiple people are passionate about this piece being seen, and it gives me more reasons to hype up this piece as much as possible.)

enough chattering, let's get into the highlights!

(for easier navigation, control+f to check if a piece or writer you submitted appears in this list. if it's not, don't fret! there's plenty more gems to sort through while you're here. take your time.)

marsan's 6.- el flaco
Elena and the girls are silent, smoking. Cruz is picking out flowers for the funeral, nothing but sweet peas and daisies. By the time Eustaquio arrived, the woman's breathing matched that of the rhythm of her rocking chair. The wind howled and sobbed, as it would for the next week. 
    marsan's masterful continuation of their Nine Abadón series leaves behind a sense of intrigue and the charming loneliness of a small town dying with every breath its inhabitants seem to take. this partial epistolary manages to fit in its short contents love, loss, and the all-encompassing fear of not knowing. the small details make the characters come alive - they are personable and real, even though to the wider narrative, they may be mere specks. but look! you'll recognise some of these names from marsan's previous instalments of Nine Abadón; this might be a good time to reread parts one to five, or test yourself to see what you remember about the characters just from reading it the first time 'round. claudia bernal lives and dies and lives again through marsan's engaging story, and i can't wait for the next part (if there is one? i hope there is one) of Nine Abadón.

r|a|i|n's a river by my home.
tomorrow will smell like today
which smells like yesterday,
and no one here knows anything
except for that.

    this piece of poetry caught my attention earlier in november, and every time it was republished, i felt increasingly motivated to give r|a|i|n credit where credit was due. i feel like as a community, we have become disillusioned with pretty imagery, things that make us forget how terrible the world outside our windows is. i too am guilty of this kind of poetry. r|a|i|n makes no effort to spread such sweet lies. if i were to describe the language in a river with a single word, i think the closest thing would be "tainted". r|a|i|n highlights the purged and the sloughing waste with honest phrases which knit together with a seamless and genuine retrospective voice. at the same time, it barely seems real; it's this kind of warped fish-eye perspective that we all know of somewhat, and yet do not want to know of at all.

pouringoutthesun's and there’s a journey in here somewhere
Some rules:
  • ​Do not ask the dream characters where their eyes are.
Last time you did this, a shadow settled itself over your honey-coloured vision. The bystanders, they put on masks. The sky; it split open from the force of their malevolence.
    in all my time on write the world, i've never seen formatting to convey such emotion as pouringoutthesun (pots for short) has here. perhaps i'm biased in choosing this piece, but pots' writing never ceases to amaze me, with its lyrical phrases and fantastical concepts ingrained in words that always scream that their story needs to be heard; even if you don't understand the story in its entirety, you need to listen. pots' titles add another layer of mystery to their entrancing prose - most of the time, it reads like poetry - and gives you a hint of context for the worlds you're about to enter. journey is no different in this regard; pots' choice of examining dreams under the lens of waking shines poetically through their use of italics and a formatted set of rules for the unnamed protagonist to follow. but when we return to dreams, will we even remember the living? i believe this is ultimately the question journey poses. or perhaps i'm being pedantic.

pouringoutthesun's before the battle music started there was this
You take a breath and breathe in the space where he just stood. It tastes like lightning.
    in order to condense my ceaseless compliments for pots' writing, i'll shove all of their talented work together so as to maintain some semblance of order. before launching into the reasons for why this piece made it onto the november highlights, i'll first talk about pots' profile picture and bio. i'd like to think that madeline miller's the song of achilles is a fairly well-known contemporary text on write the world (if you haven't read it, i highly recommend it; prose that reads like poetry and all that) and if it wasn't clear that pots has read and loved that very novel, you need only read battle music. the colloquial beginning eases you into a tale of fantasy and intrigue - what has happened? who is he? does it matter, when this prose tastes like music on your eager tongue?

oscar_locke's bad friends
in the sand the sharpest of shells
and the waves claw
at the heels of the sky

    oscar has a way with words and by manipulating the simplicity of structure with poetic metaphors that make you realise new truths about the little details in your own waking reality. bad friends is no exception to his phenomenal writing; there is always an aspect of the natural yet human features of the roaring world, and that is partly why oscar's phrases are so engaging. the way his poems are structured, the lines run into each other like bleeding ink; it is difficult to see where one life ends and another begins, but the simple immersion of his words makes it all worthwhile. oscar's poems read almost like a montage - lavender fields morphing into purple-black bruises, bruises and bone and pins and visceral imagery that manages to shock you over and over again. i've gotten used to being enthralled by oscar. and can i say, every time, it's an absolute pleasure.

oscar_locke's épea
The disciples made of marble
They are judging
Sinking to decide
The placement of the continental reef

    i honestly can't understand the mentality of users on this site sometimes. sure, give a contest announcement 20+ likes, and then a piece of genuine poetry just one? i guess this classifies épea as underrated. oscar's water imagery in this poem is exquisite; with language like "disciples made of marble", "where heaven and horizon meet", "this water is a mirror of the sun" how can you not be absolutely entranced? épea marks a slight departure from oscar's usual style of work - the subtle differences of capital letters at the beginning of each line give the poem a more formal feel, like each line introduces a new idea, a new perspective of the reality this poem is producing. the ebb and flow of the length of the lines and rhythm of individual phrases ties back into the central tennet of this piece - water, the ocean - which only serves to highlight oscar's prowess as (dare i say) write the world's most prolific poet.

norah's bloom
“Were you ever going to tell her?” the woman said to Maggie, almost gleeful, “were you ever going to let her know that it was her rain, were you ever going to tell her where she was from, who you were to her?” 
    i have to admit, i'm glad norah insisted i read this piece. enjoying her previous work, i had opened it when she first published it, but was originally put off by the reversed nature of the narrative - i have an unwieldy penchant for impatience, and i barely read more than five paragraphs before deeming it too confusing; i barely understood why, where, how, or who. but norah urged me to reconsider, and i did. i read more slowly this time, took time to savour the phrases, to commit Eva and Maggie's names to memory, rather than skimming the surface, hoping to snag a metaphorical finger on a crag of stunning prose. rather than a crag, after taking time to read bloom again, i found it was more of a current. there was no 'hook' to speak of, just an unexplainable urge to keep reading, and urge to understand, and the more i knew, the more i wanted those explanations. norah did not promise something she could not deliver. take some time to read bloom and maybe realise how clever norah really is.

norah's carry
carry it on the roof of your mouth like a nonbeliever’s prayer, like the sunset on your shoulders
    let's continue to compliment norah, shall we? carry is one of the best examples of a successive anaphora that i've ever seen, with analogies and similes that are both sweet on the mind and yet wrench something terrible in the heart. if oscar's work reads like a montage, norah's work reads like a film with too many pieces put together, or too many pieces left out, so all that's left is all the bits of life that we deemed worth keeping - there is pain in these structured photographs of an idealised world, but only those who have felt the tears in the earth can possibly comprehend the sadness that comes with a highway moon. the deliberate choice of formatting means norah's cluttered collection of poetic anecdotes reads more like a portrait of urban beauty instead of a structured "poem". and honestly, i prefer it this way.

she's-got-a-story's darlings
Not twenty-four hours After Tea, somebody goes missing. 
    for those of you who have not had the pleasure of reading elle's writing, now would be the time to rectify that. judging by her controlled sentences which engage the reader while not becoming too complicated, you'd never guess that she thought maps of australia were printed upside down. darlings is a story that i'd pay to see as a full-length novel, and to recycle my comments from the actual piece itself: "i had literal chills while i read this; the appeal yet terrifying prospect of a murder in an urban town, and all the little people dealing with it is a niche that you have slotted into seamlessly, yet still reaching out to grasp at new readers with your fabulous turns of phrase. the dialogue flows so seamlessly; i can imagine seeing this as a screenplay, and i am enthralled beyond words." the subtleties of darlings may be lost on you the first time you read it, but read it again. i assure you, when you realise what you've been missing, your mind will be blown.

n.'s delete my number
I regret comparing you to Paris,
my dear brother of peace and poetry,
because you know it wouldn’t be fair if
my heart fell captive under lock and key.

    guys guys guys. sonnets. if it isn't already obvious that all good writers should get something out of loving shakespeare, read delete my number. personally, i find it quite difficult to get invested in rhyming scheme poetry - it feels like it borders too much on the childish side, and a lot of the time, the syllables don't match up so it just feels like a pointless mouthful - but n.'s masterful crafting of this original sonnet makes me love ABAB CC structure all over again. the clear shakespearian allusions serve to enhance the message of this poem; by using names of old and applying them to a modern context, a new, unexplored concept is suddenly clear as day. i recommend reading this piece out loud - sonnets are made to be spoken, not silent on the page. sonnets come alive when they are heard. and n.'s work is no exception.

ali s' empty
She’s hugging her knees to her chest, as small and fragile as she was five years ago. “Finn, maybe we were made to be lonely.”
    ali s' empty is another one of the many exemplars for the novel writing competition. i've got to admit, i'm a sucker for stories that start with conversation, especially between friends. male/female platonic friendships rarely get the representation they deserve, so when i see pieces like this - well written ones - which make it so abundantly clear that girls and boys can be friends without resorting to romantic stigma, i'm immediately singing praises. the language and sentence structure in empty is simple enough in itself that it reads like a scene out of a short film, while still retaining enough poetic analogies - astronauts loving suns, a friendship like gravity - to make this more than just a surface sweep of inaction. the dialogue flows naturally from character to character, and dipping into El and Finley's psyches with a kind of practised ease that makes it feel less like you're an intruder in this private moment, and more like you, in some inexplicable way, are part of the moment. read this piece and see for yourself.

jeily's for you embrace me now even when you are gone
When you pressed a key, it reverberated throughout the building, and it felt like that single note understood all 7 billion of us on the Earth.
    just from reading the title of jeily's latest work, i knew i had to read it. jeily has built up a reputation of having brilliant examples of prose and descriptions that leave me breathless. believe me, it is really difficult to have a run on sentence that exudes so much beauty and emotion while still managing to make sense. (too many times i've tried to stuff words where they don't fit, and it just ends up a jumbled mess.) for you embrace me now's opening line drew me in at the first mention of a cathedral, and i was not disappointed when she began to delve into the physical appearance of the cathedral, let alone the emotional significance. with such sophisticated terminologies like 'Baroque' and 'Rococo', i was immediately impressed. and the contrast between the historical and the modern made for a charming setting. all that, plus a healthy dose of pining, for you embrace me now is a piece of writing too good to go ignored.

aryelee's i am something without teeth
what is a girl if not a collection of:
                                                    half-forgotten memories
                                                    misplaced emotions
                                                    bruised knees and weeping eyes
                                                    iron nails hammered into ribs
                                            and   something hollow in the wrists

    aryelee's poetry has never failed to astound me with its rhythm, syntax and, over anything else, its unique structure which pushes and pulls the reader, almost seeming to orchestrate the reading of the poem just by how many extra spacebars and enter keys were pressed. it's mesmerising. the tone of i am something without teeth is a visceral emotion that i feel almost everyone has experienced at some point in their lives. aryelee's colourful metaphors and striking analogies help to paint a picture of a relic crumbling away, a life that's frayed at the edges where seams should be, hope left too long in a closet so that when you finally go to wear it, it crumbles to dust. i hope i'm not being too poetic when trying to compliment exactly why i love this piece, but if i am, it's because it's the only way i can function in the face of something that expresses life and the world so succinctly and yet so broadly. time after time, aryelee's writing is (all in all) a reflection of humanity. and i think that i why we are so drawn to it.

babybluelamentationschildish wanderlust
i am 
Hecate at crossroads, 
wishing green at every light. 

    it honestly astounds me every time i am reminded that babybluelamentations is only fourteen years old; her poetry uses language that is sophisticated beyond her years, a sort of rhythm and pattern, a flow of back and forth that is difficult to harness to this extent. basically, childish wanderlust is one of the most enrapturing pieces of poetry on write the world that i have seen, to date. the alternation between the modernity of urban dissatisfaction and ancient goddesses, hundred-year-old wells, and the constant elements of human nature tie in seamlessly to create a stilted yet effervescent story within its mere five stanzas.


congratulations to all of october's amazing writers! all of these pieces are worth a read, a like, and a comment if you feel so inclined (and you should), and i'd suggest checking out some of the other pieces of mentioned authors as well (rules are rules, i can't accept pieces that didn't come out this month but there are some really good ones that were released a while back). hope this brings a little more recognition to those who deserve it.

there were so many more pieces than just these that deserved some love, but i just didn't have the mental capacity or sanity to write out full-length reviews for every single one of them.

(i'm not kidding. there were over 100 pieces i planned to promote in this piece, but after the first five or ten short reviews, i felt really fatigued. it was physically impossible for me to do all of those pieces unless i wanted to have a breakdown and finally release the list next february.)

however, this does not mean i discounted these pieces entirely. these kinds of pieces will be included in a special end-of-year post that will contain all of the brilliant pieces from 2019 (or at least as many as i have bookmarks for). this list will be released at the beginning of next year (after the december highlights are released) in the format of the old highlights - just the title, author, and a small excerpt. this makes it easier for both me and the reader, who as we all know, have short attention spans and maybe might not even read this so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

therefore, the highlights going into next year will return to the previous formatting, as this seemed to work best for convenience's sake (finding the pieces) and didn't push me past the brink so that i'd feel more motivated to continue doing these highlights. (i'm sorry guys, but there are honestly a lot of work, and this list has been released late enough.)

on a side note, check out writers of the world's november must reads! nominations for november are closed, but the official list has already been released. they do great things for writers (aka giving them actual reviews for spectacular work). they have a much more organised system than i do, and give prizes for the top pieces in each category. go check it out!
i'll include the updated submission changes in my spiel for the december highlights submissions, so don't fret about keeping this tab open longer than you need to. it'll all be there for ease of access and those who didn't have time to read this.

to see personal comments about previously mentioned writers, see julyaugust, september and october highlights.

i'm so fucking tired.


See History
  • December 23, 2019 - 4:32pm (Now Viewing)

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  • she’s-got-a-story

    thank you so much for all this hard work and heartfelt effort <3

    about 1 year ago
  • MarSan

    You're really a saint for this! It's going to be titanic work to manage both December and 2019 highlights!! Good luck and remember not to overwork yourself, dear. I'll use this little December breath to read all these pieces <3 And of course, thank you for choosing mi flaquito haha. Your feedback is v appreciated.
    (If you're interested, I just published Nine Abadón's last installment. I hope you enjoy Alma, and thank you for following the series (: )

    about 1 year ago
  • loveletterstosappho

    please rest yourself!! don't overwork yourself for this!!! thank you so much for what you do tho!!

    about 1 year ago
  • aryelee

    anha!!!! you're so sweet, and to go so in depth about each piece, author, and why you choose it must have been so much work, but you did it anyways and we're all so so thankful for you and your presence on this site!! i know i usually leave hearts, but i wanted to leave a little more than that since you went all out in this. also i would 100% fight for you so if anyone gives you any problems ever (not even just on this site) i am fully prepared to fist fight them for you

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

    about 1 year ago
  • jaii

    these all sound like wonderful pieces and i’ll be sure to read the ones i haven’t already when i have time. thanks so much anha! i know including all that commentary took you a long time and we are all so grateful for you dedication.

    about 1 year ago
  • babybluelamentations

    anha, you are AMAZING! To put in a personal word on each and every one of these pieces shows so much effort and dedication, and i thank you from the bottom of my heart <3
    keep writing everyone! You are all wonderfully talented people.

    about 1 year ago
  • jeily

    a massive thank you for including me in this, and for your kind words. thank you for doing this, and congratulations to everybody!

    about 1 year ago
  • N.

    ahh just in time for break! i have so much catching up to do. thank you for all of the time you put into this, and great job to everyone :)

    about 1 year ago
  • Norah

    thank you so much for your hard work and kind words!

    about 1 year ago
  • Cxtrus

    This was good, good job everyone.

    about 1 year ago
  • r|A|i|N

    oh my god thank you so much for doing this. this must have taken for ever and the compliments don’t even have a rushed tone (as mine often do) - each one is written eloquently and appropriately. this is perfect thank u so much. ill definitely do some reading now. looking forward to year round highlights!

    about 1 year ago
  • ajamwal

    omg you put so much hard work into this, wow, for that i actually read the whole thing!
    thanks for introducing me to @she's-got-a-story!

    about 1 year ago
  • agustdv

    so so proud of you for combining this list. i've read only a few, but i cannot wait to start onto the others. thank you so much for your hard work!!!

    about 1 year ago