• U.S. members: The Federal Government is offering each household in the United States four (4) free at-home Covid-19 test kits. https://www.covidtests.gov/

The 2018-2019 Sekrit Solstice Sci-Fi/Fantasy Story Swap!

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

CobraMisfit

I want to be Comic Sans.
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 5, 2010
Messages
8,138
Reaction score
2,136
Hear ye, Hear ye!

The First...uh...SECOND of December is once more upon us, which means that we stand on the precipice of yet another season of writer-based joy and wonderment.

That’s right, gang, polish up your prompts, spool up your spellcheckers, and flex those fingers because it’s time once again for the Best Thing to Happen to Humanity Since the Invention of Tacos....

THE SEVENTH* ANNUAL SEKRIT SOLSTICE SCI-FI/FANTASY STORY SWAP!


giphy.gif

This one never gets old.



So what exactly is the SS-SFF-SS you may ask?

The SS-SFF-SS (AKA: The Sisyphus) is a writer-focused word party where writers trade stories based on provided prompts and a secret matching system. Basically, all participants submit details for the kind of story they want to receive and what they’re willing to write. Once we close prompts, participants are secretly paired up via the Story Elves and a lot of math, they create a story based on their assigned prompt, then provide it to the Story Elves who send it to the giftee a la Secret Santa.

The best part is that authors not only gets to write something fun or outside of their normal comfort zone, but everyone who participates walks away with a story written just for them. Hilarity normally ensues, especially when we try to match authors with stories in a blind Guessing Thread.

If you want an idea of the general madness involved, feel free to review last year's SS-SFF-SS Event and the SS-SFF-SS Guessing Thread (password: vista).

What the Sisyphus is not:

1) Stressful: This ain’t NaNo nor your publisher’s deadline.
2) Lonely: We’re a family here. We lean on each other.
3) Judgmental: Genre, word count, and typos don’t matter here.

Basically, we prompt, we write, we trade stories, we guess, we share the joy of the event, and we create life-long bonds with our fellow writers.

If this sounds like your kind of literary playground, then here are the rules and such.


The Rules and Such:


RULE #1) HOW TO PLAY: There are two primary ways of participating: RECEIVING/GIVING and GIVING ONLY. (See Rule #5 for The Beta Option.)

1a) RECEIVING/GIVING: Signing up to RECEIVE a gift means signing up to GIVE a gift. No exceptions. Since the spirit of this event is giving, you ask for treasures, you have to give treasures. To do so, you’ll make a post with what you want to read as well as what you’re willing to write. I’ll then put the names of participants in The Sign-Up List of AWesome located at the bottom of this post.

Also, you may absolutely write more than one story if you want!


1b) GIVING ONLY: You may absolutely sign up to GIVE a gift, but not RECEIVE one. If you’re the benevolent type that loves to give and give, I’ll forward you a copy of my Wish List. I’ll also hook you up with a giftee (or more than one if you so fancy). Please let me know if you want to give a story in general or for a specific prompt so I can match you appropriately.


RULE #2) PROMPT PARAMETERS: When you sign up to RECEIVE/GIVE, please include a prompt that provides parameters for both your gift AND what you are willing to write for someone else. Your “receive” info can be anything: a word, a quote, an author name, an idea, a theme, etc. Just give your gifter a direction in which to run.

That said, please KEEP IT REASONABLE. Long, detailed prompts run the risk of not getting matched because people don’t want to be boxed in. Feel free to ask for the moon, but also allow your gifter room to maneuver. If your prompt is deemed too stringent or “outlinesque”, the Story Elves may contact you to tweak it. If you refuse, you run the risk of Getting Benched (See Rule #11).

Also, please specify themes/topics that you are okay with/not-okay with, both for receiving and for giving. (i.e. maybe you want to receive a space opera, but aren’t confident with writing sci-fi yourself.)

Unless otherwise specified, the person writing for you will assume all bets are off.

giphy.gif



Example Prompt:

Originally Posted by Queen Novella Von InkyQuill, High Potentate of Wordsmithia and all the Territories and Colonies therein

Golly, CM, this sounds like the best thing to happen to humanity since the invention of tacos! Of COURSE I’ll participate. Sign me up to both give and receive.


Prompt: I'd like an Alt-History Steampunk YA Cookbook, please. Nothing grimdark or with explicit violence/smexy times. Bonus points for a manatee in a tutu!

I'm willing to write anything, except smexy manatees in tutus.

RULE #3) EGADS, YES!/ER, NO THANK YOU: If a prompt really excites you or there’s a prompt/person you don't want to write for, no matter the reason, please rep/e-mail me with your request. I’ll do my best to accommodate your wishes.


RULE #4) WRITING TIME: Once the sign-up thread closes, the Story Elves and I will pair everyone up based on provided Prompts and what people are willing to write, then send out assignments via e-mail. From the day you get that e-mail you'll have approximately 10 weeks to create your masterpiece.

As of today, our target delivery date is MARCH 10th. This ensures that authors don’t feel pressure to write during the holiday season AND gives them enough time to get their stories to betas as needed. Keep in mind that target dates are flexible and we can always shift them if folks need or want more time.

Most important: Communicate! If you hit a snag or have questions/concerns, please contact me via e-mail or here on AW and I’ll do my best to help you out. If you’re struggling and go radio-silent, especially as we reach the final weeks of the event, the Story Elves will go into full panic mode and may initiate Rule #11.


RULE #5) THE BETA OPTION: This is the tangential way to participate since beta volunteers are always welcome. If you're not interested in giving or receiving, but would like to play as a beta, let me know via Rule #12. Authors may also seek out betas exterior to this thread/genre as they desire.


RULE #6) WORD COUNT: There’s no limit to story length. We’ve seen everything from 100 word poems to over 30k novellas. A good story is a good story, so don't fret the word count.


RULE #7) SUBMITTING COMPLETED STORIES: When you're ready to deliver your story, send it to me via e-mail in Word, .rtf, or .pdf (if a different format, just let me know). Also, please make sure to include a 200-400 word section pasted directly into the e-mail that you feel best represents your tale of wonders. I’ll use this for the guessing thread. Again, for those unfamiliar, here is a link to last year's Guessing Thread.


RULE #8) DON’T FRET IF YOUR STORY ISN’T “COMPLETE”: It can be rough, clunky, filled with typos, etc. Folks won’t care. What they WILL care about is the fact that you put in time and effort to make something. We’re among friends here, so do your best, but don’t lose sleep. If the deadline hits and you need/want more time, submit what you have and work things out with your giftee for the "completed" story down the road.


giphy.gif

sweet



RULE #9) OWNERSHIP: The author of the story owns that story outright. This is especially true if the author decides to polish/expand the story for a professional market. The prompt they use is merely a motivating tool, but does not transfer ownership of the story to the giftee in any way. Everyone who participates in this event agrees to this.


RULE #10) SAY “THANK YOU”: In the past, a few people have expressed concern about whether or not their giftee liked their story. Once you receive your gift, PLEASE thank your gifter. A heartfelt “thank you” goes a long way to convincing someone that the hours spent building something special were not in vain. So please be courteous and vocally appreciative.

giphy.gif



RULE #11) GETTING BENCHED:
The Sisyphus is a fun bonding experience with a great deal of latitude, however we also need to ensure it’s a safe and agreeable environment for all participants. Endangering this safe space, in any fashion, may invoke Rule #11. That said, benching is a “last resort” and the Mods and I will attempt to work things out with an author long before it happens.

By agreeing to participate in this event, you also agree that actions like bailing without communicating, inflexibility, hostility, or out-right offensive/boorish behavior may result in removal from the event and/or being forced to sit out of next year’s Sisyphus.


RULE #12) I’M IN!: To ensure you have read ALL THE RULES, including this one, please rep** me (on this post) a statement that says you have read and agree to all the rules AND that you swear to give your gift by the deadline. Please also provide an email in the rep, even if you've played in the past, so the Story Elves can send you your gift when it’s time.

Once you submit your rep, I'll send you a confirmation e-mail within 24 hours.

FYI, please avoid PMing me. My inbox is stuffed with messages as far back as 2010, which I’m finally willing to admit I’ll never clean out.


Here ends The Rules and Such.

giphy.gif




The Timeline of Excellence:



December 1[SUP]st[/SUP] (oops 2[SUP]nd[/SUP]!): Sign-ups open. Masses flock to this thread. A new dawn of storytelling breaks and hope reigns supreme.

December 22nd: Sign-ups close. Late-comers reap a harvest of sorrow.

December 25th: Assignments are lovingly wrapped and hand-delivered direct to your inbox. Hooray! Presents for everyone!

December 25th – March 9th: Plots are generated, characters are drawn, and words are flung.

March 10th 17th: Stories are due to moi. Everyone celebrates the impending burst of Spring with the knowledge that their masterpiece is a mere hours away from arriving in their giftee’s inbox.

March 11th-ish 18th-ish: Stories are delivered to giftees who are overwhelmed by teh awesomez. Guessing Thread open in SYW. Stories are read. Friendships are forged. Joy spreads through the valley and there is peace.

March Somethingth: We crown this season's Supreme Guessinator who lords over all of us with her/his story-guessing might.

All hail last year's winner: paddismac!


As Supreme Guessinator, The Goat ruled the Land of Sisyphus justly, spreading goodwill to all the people. But will this season's winner be as magnanimous or will they rule with an iron fist?


Only time will tell.

giphy.gif

So smooth....


Personal Note: This is hands-down my favorite writing event. There’s something magical about writing specifically for another person using their prompt. Not only does it allow you to move outside your comfort zone, but also helps you explore a genre you may have never considered before. The more people who participate, the more fun we have, so feel free to tell your friends, family, kids, cats, or even that strange neighbor who mows the yard in nothing but a sheen of sweat and a smile.

And now, without further ado....


The Official Proclamation:


Let it be known throughout all the writing lands that the 2018-2019 SS-SFF-SS season is now officially open!



giphy.gif



Let's light the tires and kick the fires, gang!


The Sign-Up List of AWesome:


Name: | Both Give and Receive(B)/Give Only(G)

1) Kitkitdizzi - B
2) themindstream - B
3) Air Meermans - B
4) Maggie Maxwell - B
5) Kjbartolotta - B
6) shortstorymachinist - B
7) BryanT - B
8) eyeblink - B
9) Shadowflame - B
10) Jaymz Connelly - B
11) griffin - B
12) Friendly Frog - B
13) Michael Myers - B
14) JA Rama - B
15) Kate Smash - B
16) tiddlywinks - B
17) Esmae Tylor -B
18) SianaBlackwood - B
19) Jade Rothwell - B
20) Albedo - B
21) Tamlyn - B
22) EvilPenguin - B
23) Richard White - B
24) amergina - B
25) Myrealana - B
26) Titus - B
27) SeaSerpent - B
28) EFB - B
29) Tazlima - B
30) AnnieColleen - B
31) Blinkk - B
32) tianaluthien - B
33) Justobuddies - B
34) tjwriter - B
35) Cal_Darin - B
36) Angela - B
37) aspirit - B
38) Lissibith -B
39) CobraMisfit - B
40) ajaye - B
41) feyngirl - B
42) Lilachason - B: NEED REP AND E-MAIL
43) hillaryjacques

Betas
:

1) Riv
2) Kjbartolotta
3) Jaymz Connelly
4) Titus



* Good gravy, 7 years!

**For those who are unfamiliar with reps, that's short for Reputation Comment. You can submit one by clicking on the blue star at the bottom left of a post (be careful not to click the triangle-exclamation point as that reports the post to a Moderator). That brings up a text box where you can enter data and submit. Hear ye, Hear ye!
 
Last edited:

-Riv-

The much appreciated
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 3, 2014
Messages
4,164
Reaction score
2,062
*kicks back on Maggie Maxwell's bench*
*saves her a place*

I'm going to hang out on the sidelines and cheer y'all on this year.

I will be available for brainstorming or beta-ing at any stage.

Yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

:PartySmil
 
Last edited:

Kitkitdizzi

Don't feed the critters
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 2, 2015
Messages
608
Reaction score
223
Location
A land of rocks and waterfalls
Happy happy dance!
mIRgrdi.gif


oSJV9A2.gif


O6s9mYl.gif


What I would like to receive: A story set in an outrageously beautiful place. And I want that place described. I'm talking scenery porn, David Attenborough nature documentary with time-lapse and sweeping panoramas but in prose form. What the story is actually about, well, I leave that open-ended.

What I would like to give: I'm feeling up for anything. BRING IT ON!
 

themindstream

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Messages
1,005
Reaction score
173
*rushes up to the counter and breathlessly slams prompt down* IN!

Give: No erotica, no horror genre. I'm good for both Sci Fi and Fantasy of most flavors, I'm not the best person for a romance-specific prompt (but I've had some practice with writing romance this year, which is something). Humor is likely to be encapsulated in a serious plot.

Receive: No erotica or gorn but sex and violence (even graphic) in the service of the story are fine.

Beta read: Pass, for now. Got a lot on my plate.

Prompt:

The world is too big for anyone to save.

If you want more ideas feel free to mine my last couple years of prompts for inspiration.
 

Ari Meermans

MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
12,814
Reaction score
2,919
Location
Not where you last saw me.
Both Give & Receive.

Same as always:

What I read: Just about everthin' except grimdark, slash horror, and smexytimes.

What I write: Nothing very well, but willing to try my hand at everything but the above. Howsomever, if you're a stickler for believable Hard SF, I'm not the writer you're looking for.


Prompt: An art restorer discovers the paintings of a famous long-dead impressionist are actually coded plans for an invasion of Earth. Time is running out. (Play it for realz or with humor; either is welcome. <g>)
 
Last edited:

Maggie Maxwell

Making Einstein cry since 1994
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 21, 2013
Messages
10,426
Reaction score
5,097
Location
In my head
Website
thewanderingquille.blogspot.com
Ah, finally!

All right all right let's get it oooonnnn!

Any bets on how insane I'm gonna be this year?

Later maybe. Now, prompt.

As always, I'm in to give and receive (and probably give too much)

What I would like to receive:
One or more of these:
- The monkey without shadow
- Baba Yaga's house is a mech
- The Ashiarai Yashiki (https://twitter.com/41Strange/status/978391330207379456)

What I am willing to give:I can write SF/F with humorous tones, or touches of horror. I cannot write smexytimes or gore. I am willing to write shiny emo teen vampires and smexy manatees in tutus if it comes to it. Just don't expect it to be serious.
 
Last edited:

Kjbartolotta

Potentially has/is dog
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 15, 2014
Messages
4,147
Reaction score
924
Location
Los Angeles
Prompt: Horror-comedy. The parameters are wide-open and I love to be surprised. If you're struggling for a premise, I enjoy things like conspiracy theories, urban legends, accursed objects, truly unexplainable Forteana & general kitsch. Any of the funny episodes of the X-Files can work for inspiration. But don't be afraid to do something different if you want!

I Write: Hmm. SFF with a surrealist twist, I suppose. Mostly. I'd like to write something that isn't explicitly comedy this year, and do a story in a secondary world (or far-future) setting with lots of worldbuilding and opportunities for WTFery.

Also, I am willing to beta.
 
Last edited:

shortstorymachinist

The score is still Q to 12!
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 22, 2015
Messages
1,974
Reaction score
898
Location
Japan
Cobra McFist punches in! THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR IS HEEEERE!

I'm giving and receiving!

Prompt: I want a weird breeding program. I don't care why it's in the story or what it's breeding, whether it's bears, beets, or Battlestar Galactica extras. Give me freakish horses souped up for cross country races; give me butterflies designed to flutter in seizure-inducing patterns; give me onions that cause giggles instead of tears. JUST MAKE IT WEIRD. :greenie

I like sci-fi, both squishy and hard, and fantasy. Horror and romantic elements are fine, so long as it's not the entire point of the piece.

Giving: I'll write sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, and even include a heavy emphasis on romance of you really want it.
 

BryanT

Do I have to?
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 8, 2017
Messages
1,454
Reaction score
501
Location
A little to the left of hell
Woo hoo! I’m here to give and receive!

Prompt Magic has run amuck. Backlash on casting? Unexpected side effects? Who done it? I’m good with anything you want to write from Smexy times to your deepest imagination.

Giving I write primarily SF/F. I can do erotica, m-m romance, I’ve never written horror, not sure I have it in me. But I’m game to stretch the writing skills and see what materializes.
 

eyeblink

Barbara says hi
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
6,315
Reaction score
773
Location
Aldershot, UK
I'm in, for the seventh year in a row.

To give: I will try most things, SF, fantasy or horror and places in between and outside. I do tend to be dark/slipstreamy and more likely set in this world (not necessarily in the present day) than in another one. That said, I have written an other-world fantasy for a past Sisyphus, but don't expect too much in the way of trad fantasy or very hard SF. I can't really do out-and-out comedy but can do humour in otherwise serious pieces. LGBT characters are not unheard-of in my stories. I don't have any taboos as regards language or content.

To receive: "Just when I thought I was out - they pull me back in." Please interpret that in any way you like, in any flavour of SF/F/H. As with giving above, no taboos.


(In case you were wondering, that is a quote from The Godfather Part III. I saw the film when it came out in 1990, but then I am old.)
 
Last edited:

Shadowflame

Gametrovert
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 19, 2010
Messages
3,873
Reaction score
543
I'm in! (will send rep in just a bit.)

Giving: Willing to stretch my boundaries, except no smexy times (I just can't do it). Horror, SF (hard, soft, space opera, military, etc), fantasy (epic, urban, weird, etc), even some literary if that's what you would like. Just send the prompt and I'll figure something out no matter how odd it is.

Receiving: I'd like anything from the above.

Prompt:

I'd like the writer to stretch their boundaries. Take one genre or theme that you love, and one that you hate and smash them together. Any subject and any type of characters (human or otherwise) is fine.
Example: Stephen King and Nora Roberts
Military SF and urban fantasy
Grimdark and Comedy
 
Last edited:

Jaymz Connelly

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 2, 2012
Messages
12,669
Reaction score
2,480
Location
under a rock
It's here! It's here! *runs around like a maniac and then falls over* :e2woo:

I’m in to give and receive.

What I will write: I’d be willing to take a stab at pretty much anything but hard sci-fi. My science would turn a scientist into a raving lunatic.

What I won’t write: Hard sci-fi, zombies (unless you want them to be ridiculed and destroyed early in the piece), vampires, shapeshifters (unless they’re dragon shapeshifters, because dragons), sax, graphic violins.

What I want: I’m in the mood for a bit of sci-fi… or steampunk western – dealer’s choice. :) For what I don’t want, see what I won’t write.

Prompt: You’ve heard the saying, ‘you can’t go home again’. Well, what if you HAVE to? I’d like an MC that has to go home, after being away from where he/she grew up for ten years or more. What brings the MC home and will they stay, or will they leave again? Do they fit back in like they never left? Has the place changed beyond recognition? Not looking for major conflict here, more a little exploration of whether you can go home again or not.

And if that doesn’t grab you, just write whatever you want in the sci-fi or steampunk western genre. :)

And I forgot to mention I'm willing to beta if anyone needs it.

Guess I'd better go back and read the rules properly now, eh?
 
Last edited:

Ari Meermans

MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
12,814
Reaction score
2,919
Location
Not where you last saw me.
Yeah, don't forget to read the rulzez; there's one (especially) that's easy to forget in our excitement.
 

Friendly Frog

Snarkenfaugister
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 23, 2011
Messages
2,337
Reaction score
902
Location
Belgium
Wow, lots of entries already. Just how many of you have been obsessively refreshing?

Anyway, I'm in. Giving and receiving if you please.

giving: I generally write light SF&F, including modern fantasy and/or humourous, but I am happily willing to experiment with other genres (but with the caveat that I might end up doing them badly). Please don't ask me for any gore, grimdark, graphic or sexual violence.

receive: I doubt I'm surprising anyone with this, but well, don't change a winning prompt-method? Connect the dots: orbit, giant salamander, cog, lacquer, glow. Given the festive period, I'd prefer anything but a bad ending but go where the story takes you. No gore, horror, grimdark, graphic or sexual violence, please.

What I would like to give: I'm feeling up for anything. BRING IT ON!
Ooh, someone's feeling adventurous!

Any bets on how insane I'm gonna be this year?
I'm not betting but whatever we bet, I'd bet you can top that. :Hail:
 
Last edited:

Michael Myers

Take a chance. Amaze yourself.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Messages
5,582
Reaction score
882
Location
In the carpenter's shop eating oysters with the wa
Website
www.dancerandspy.com
First time. Hope I'm doing this right.

Give: More "Lathe Of Heaven" than in-your-face. Thoughtful. Dramatic. A wrinkle or two.

Receive: I've often had this thought when watching a Sci-Fi production: When you're light-years in deep space, does anyone really care if you're wearing a uniform? A comedy/drama kind of thing.
 
Last edited:

-Riv-

The much appreciated
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 3, 2014
Messages
4,164
Reaction score
2,062
First time. Hope I'm doing this right.

Give: I'd like to write to (redacted's) prompt, if it's ok to ask ahead of time.

Receive: I've often had this thought when watching a Sci-Fi production: When you're light-years in deep space, does anyone really care if you're wearing a uniform? A comedy/drama kind of thing.
Hi!
Cobra assigns prompts to folks (it's secret!), and participants receive their prompt on Christmas day. The recipient doesn't know who is writing for them. Then the stories are distributed in March (this is when the recipient gets surprised by who wrote for them), and then there's a thread to guess who wrote what (after reading excerpts).

Let Cobra know privately (via rep) if there's a particular prompt that calls to you (so you probably want to edit that part out of your post), and you may or may not get it in your Christmas stocking. :greenie
 
Last edited:

J. A. Rama

Master Plot Hydra Conqueror
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 7, 2013
Messages
1,137
Reaction score
292
Website
phractalreality.blogspot.com
Yay! It's here!

Sixth time lucky?

Signing up for both giving and receiving.

GIVE: NO HOLDING BACK THIS YEAR. I will do any genre. Hardest SF or squishiest fantasy, it's all fine by me! I'll take a whack at any tone, whether silly or serious, dark or light, hilarious or horrifying. Yeah, I'll do grimdark, torture, romance, or erotica, even if it's all of them at the same time with a sparkling vampire thrown in. (Granted, I...CANNOT write serious erotica. It's usually more silly than steamy.) I have no problem with cursing. Only thing is I...really can't guarantee that my muse won't hijack the entire thing and deliver the exact opposite of what I aim for. I shoot for HEAs, but there...have been times that hasn't happened.

(Cobra, if you get stuck on finding a person to write for someone's prompt, feel free to ignore all of the above and assign me as a wild card! *cracks knuckles*)

RECEIVE:

Space opera about a giant glowing thing that should be neither giant nor glowing, especially that color, and -- wait why is it making that noise?

OR

Anything with an evil glitter penguin and a sentient basil plant that moves by itself - when no one's looking.

OR

A medium to hard science fiction fairy tale retelling. Gritty preferred but if you can't do that that's okay.

....

ENTIRELY OPTIONAL: A romance of any combination of genders (including a polyam romance).

I don't mind foul language, violence, grimdark, erotica, psychological torture, cosmic horror, over the top humor, etc. I am not easily offended. You have the same freedom as above - you are not constrained to an HEA, keeping the MC alive, etc. Feel free to end it in whatever way works best whether it's HEA or rocks fall everyone dies, and to make it as dark and depressing and doomy and gloomy and horrible as you want, or as twinkly and happy and hilarious as you want, or all of them at the same time.

Bonus points for breaking my heart and then pulling a happy ending out of the bag!

If you get stuck on any of these, that's okay. Consider my prompt written in jello. Just let it go where it goes. I WILL LOVE IT NO MATTER WHAT.

Only thing set in stone: Please no bugs (I mean, you can MENTION bugs, but please no description) or parasites or super graphic body horror. Those things will give me anxiety attacks. Not exaggerating.
 
Last edited:

Maggie Maxwell

Making Einstein cry since 1994
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 21, 2013
Messages
10,426
Reaction score
5,097
Location
In my head
Website
thewanderingquille.blogspot.com
Hi!
Cobra assigns prompts to folks (it's secret!), and participants receive their prompt on Christmas day. The recipient doesn't know who is writing for them. Then the stories are distributed in March (this is when the recipient gets surprised by who wrote for them), and then there's a thread to guess who wrote what (after reading excerpts).

Let Cobra know privately (via rep) if there's a particular prompt that calls to you (so you probably want to edit that part out of your post), and you may or may not get it in your Christmas stocking. :greenie

Yes, it's supposed to be a SECRET Santa exchange. The only one who knows who's writing for who is Cobra. Also, don't jump the gun on requesting a specific one just yet. We typically have around 50 participants each year, so there's still many, many more prompts to come. All that said, if more than one calls to you, you can always write more! The only official limit on how many stories you can write is how many people participate and how much time you have.
 

KateSmash

this was a triumph
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 29, 2010
Messages
2,330
Reaction score
410
Just can't stay away.

Give: I'll try anything once. Yes, even the kissy bits. I'm told I'm quite good at the kissy bits.

Receive: Gird your loins and try not to throw fruit pies at me ...

This year, sisyphus stories will go out just after my tenth wedding anniversary. I'm feeling a little bit schmoopy about this, so I want something a little romantic.

Write me a story where the protagonists are long term partners in both love and heroics. All of the details like genre and setting, are all up to you. Bonus points if you think outside the heterosexual-cisgender box. Kissy bits are purely optional*, though very welcome. But please avoid tragic deaths, infidelity, and/or breakups. Most importantly, have fun.

(*Kissy bits, should you wish to include them, can be anything from sweet and innocent to make-a-sailor-blush steamy sexytimes. It's all good.)

Annual side request: My eyesight sucks. If you find it in your heart, dear gifter, could you please submit your story as a .doc or .docx file? They're the easiest to put on my ereader and adjust the text size on. I would love you forever.
 

tiddlywinks

Chaser of Shineyyyy Plot Bunnies
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Messages
9,406
Reaction score
3,678
Location
Trying to Remember Where I Stashed My Muse
Website
www.elainewitt.com
ETA: So. Many. Good. Prompts. Already!

Give
: I'm fine with stretching my skills, so am willing to try my hand at most anything. Except the following (same caveat as always): I don't write hard SF or MG, and I don't want to write erotica, heavily historical or political, or anything about aliens (unless it's about a gin-swilling alien.). Otherwise, I love writing fantasy, romance, PNR, urban fantasy, humor, fairytale retellings, touches of horror and darkness and anything in between. And zombies (boo to all you zombie haters).

Receive: I want a story that ends on a happy note. Please no sad or breaking my heart. I need uplifting. And a character who is a klutz.

*cough* Bonus points if there's something sparkly and or a penguin. Or both combined. :greenie

*cough cough* More bonus points if you want something a little more specific in direction and would like to write me a story about a band called Depressed Glitter and a kitten villain named Fluffydark. *points at other Sisyphus people and blames them for plot bunny*

Or whatever. I just need a happy ending. And a klutz. :greenie
 
Last edited:

Esmae Tyler

This & That
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Dec 1, 2014
Messages
294
Reaction score
75
Location
New York
I wasn't, then I was, then I wasn't, now I am...

Give: I'm more than happy to write anything except for comedy, because my sense of humor is demonstrably warped and what I find funny gets me side-eye from various corners. Also I am probably not anybody's first choice for smexy stuff. I am especially fond of horror in its various flavors, possibly excluding the super gory kind.

Receive: I want a story about the cast and crew of a reality TV show set someplace unusual (think Survivor or Out of the Wild) and off the grid. So far off the grid, in fact, that none of them are aware that the rest of the world* is experiencing some kind of apocalyptic* event.

* Salt to taste. Or use cinnamon.
 

SianaBlackwood

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 21, 2012
Messages
735
Reaction score
99
Location
Australia
Website
sb.siasan.com
Back again for another year (I just can't stay away...), and once again I'm signing up to both GIVE and RECEIVE.

Receive: I've received some very good stories as a result of it, so I'm going with my usual prompt: add goats! I'd also like some kind of weird setting, and bonus points for something giant and glowing.

Give: I write softer SF and/or contemporary(ish) fantasy, with some horror/gothic elements. I also like to include giant glowing things and assorted random silliness. I can sort of write romance, but it's going to be far more emotional than physical. You can expect my characters to get hurt a lot and (probably figuratively) dragged through hell, but things usually end on a positive note.
 

Jade Rothwell

rolling dice
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 24, 2016
Messages
1,310
Reaction score
163
Age
28
Location
Ontario, Canada
I'll GIVE and RECEIVE. I'm happy to BETA, so long as the piece is short. If you're unsure whether yours counts as short, PM me the word count :)

GIVE: I write short stories, but am not picky for genre. I don't feel comfortable writing erotica or hard sf. I love soft sf and romance though.

RECEIVE: My only rules are no erotica and no detailed descriptions of bugs.

PROMPT: Set a story in a world where bad and good luck are very real concepts.
 
Last edited:

Albedo

Cultured vulture
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
6,911
Reaction score
1,906
Location
A dimension of pure BEES
Yeah, I had so much fun last time I can't say no this year!

Give: I write SF (hard and not), fantasy and horror. Lately I've been leaning dark-but-kinda-funny, but I'm willing to tackle any tone from the lightest, fluffiest, to grimdark, or a mix (fluffydark?).

My attempts at romance have been known to sterilise lab rats through several sheets of lead plate, but if that's your bag ....



Receive: One or more of the following prompts. Sex, violence, and bad words are OK, but not mandatory.

* The portal has been opened! Except somebody got the polarity wrong, and now our world is leaking into Hell. Those poor, innocent demons.

* Magical body horror. JK Rowling meets Cronenberg. Go totally overboard on the squick, or not.

* A vulnerable person is protected by/best friends forever with a terrifying monster. Be as heartwarming as possible.

* A Black Mirror-esque, cautionary fable about social media and technology, but in a high fantasy setting. Are we headed for a surveillance state under the eye of the Dark One? How will the dwarves' tinkering doom us all?

Bonus points for dinosaurs.
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away