Welcome to another year of #13Stories—13 days and 13 prompts to create flash fiction, short stories, poems, or whatever writing that you can cast forth from your hearts, minds, and fingertips in celebration of Halloween. October is the season for challenges of all sorts—inktober (or kinktober for the adventurous), witchtober, drawlloween, and so many other themed art challenges. But, what about for we writers? When I looked around before embarking on this Thirteen Stories journey, there wasn’t really a prompted, October themed writing challenge. And so, here we are.
The idea for 13 Stories came about as many things do—in a flash of inspiration at the very last minute while diligently trying to do other things. When sharing my idea and brainstorming with my friend and author, A. J. Vrana, she mentioned that it reminded her of the Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai (100 Tales). The rest is history.
This year is a little bit different for me. I am tired, y’all! I am on month seven in lockdown, and I know many of you out there are struggling and maybe even finding it difficult to find inspiration. I certainly am. I debated putting Thirteen Stories off until next year, but ultimately the spirit of my favorite month buoyed me—we can do this in whatever capacity we each have. I have energy to give to you, and I hope that helps you find the energy to pursue the writing that you wish to do.
ANYONE can participate in 13 Stories. All you have to do is wield your writing tool of choice and begin. Each of the prompts are a starting point, none of them are strict. Use them as inspiration and see where they take you. Remember: this is not meant to be restrictive, but rather to light a writing fire under your…well, you get the idea.
How does one participate?
1.) Write a piece for the day’s prompt. It can take whatever form you wish.
2.) Post it! (please use the tag #13Stories so we can and enjoy each other’s work!)*
Note: You can choose to participate in whatever capacity you wish. Do you want to write every other day? Only want to write a few of the specific prompts? That is fine. You do what is best for you, though I will encourage you to be consistent with whatever you do choose! I hope this can be a way of growing not only our writing in fun and interesting ways but our connections as a community as well.
At the end of this challenge, it will be All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween, Samhain—the night of the “thinning of the veil” that allows the spirits to walk among us. I will set up 13 candles in a dark room and read stories that were created during our challenge, blowing out a candle after each story until the room is dark. Perhaps we will see if the spirits are evoked through the safety and power of our words.
*When posting to social media, since these are writing pieces, feel free to use screen caps and post images, or link to a blog post, etc. It can also be a good way for people to see your other work!
Day One: Halloween is a city that dresses itself up each year.
Day Two: A person finds pictures of themselves on their phone that they did not take.
Day Three: An average person begs a monster to help them…
Day Four: Someone is replaced by a changeling
Day Five: A fortune teller flips over several tarot cards, everything they say comes true.
Day Six: You find a book and read it, accidentally opening a doorway to the old gods.
Day Seven: You and a few other people are suddenly the only ones to remember Halloween.
Day Eight: There is a tree in the forest that is alive and always watching.
Day Nine: A story/poem/vignette from the perspective of witches’ familiars as they assist in creating the magic of Halloween.
Day Ten: You hear a repetitive, scary sound with no apparent source.
Day Eleven: The ghosts in the house don’t want you to leave…
Day Twelve: There is a person that is living within a mirror…
Day Thirteen: “I was born on the night of Samhain, when the barrier between the worlds is whisper-thin and when magic, old magic, sings its heady and sweet song to anyone who cares to hear it.” ― Carolyn MacCullough, Once a Witch
Thank you for joining me on this journey. I so look forward to the writing that you all put out into the world. May this spooky be the best company as we hunker down and write!