Manga Writers => Manga Writer workshop => Topic started by: Operative13 on January 30, 2022, 03:05:12 AM


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Title: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize (Concluded)
Post by: Operative13 on January 30, 2022, 03:05:12 AM
Welcome to Project Cairlann's Short Story Contest!


If you're interested in more contests and prize pools, sign up to our email list here ( We are currently offering a free sketch of your character for a random draw each month!

Winner - Suuper-san

From January 30th to March 1st, post a 5,000 to 10,000 word short story here or PM me here or @Ope1ativ3 on Twitter to enter for a chance to receive $100 worth of character artwork from the artist of your choosing! The $100 art prize will cover either 1 full body, 2 busts, or 4 headshots. You may pick however combination best suits your needs should you win. When you submit your work, please select one artist from the list provided below, as well as a list of references for your character design*! The more specific, the better!

*No excessive nudity or gore. General rule is to keep it PG-13.

Please note that the character artwork will be property of Project Cairlann as we'd own the rights from providing the original commission. However, you will be permitted to use and distribute this artwork as you see fit, and you will still retain rights to your story upon submission.

Artist #1
Artist #2
Artist #3
Artist #4
Artist #5
Artist #6

Example References for Submission
14-year-old with a height of 5ft 5in (165cm)
Hair: Dark Brown with braids (,,,
Eye Color: Gray (
Dress: Earth green (,
Alternative Dress References:
Facial Expression:,
Pose: Walking with arms outstretched, face is looking off in the distance:

Final submissions are due March 1st, 2022 at 11:59pm Pacific Time. I will select the best story out of the submissions within 1 week of the contest's closing and announce the winner here! Best of luck to everyone out there!  8)
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Suuper-san on January 30, 2022, 11:12:25 AM
nice one!!
Being an artist myself I don't particularly have need of art, but I might enter for the spirit of competition rather than to win. In the catastrophic unlikelihood I actually win then I concede my prize to the 2nd place.
I do have a couple of sacrificial stories to burn for practice.

What are we being judged on? (what are your favourite genres so I can skew the odds in my favour??!!)
Does the format have to be a novel format? I typically write in manga script format.
Actually can I do a comic?
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on January 30, 2022, 12:36:01 PM
There are several criterion that will be used to judge the best story, but in general think about what makes a good story and write based off that. I want to ensure that whatever you come up with is truly the kind of story you would want to make, and so I won't be revealing any strict criteria that might bias the way the story is written.

As for comics, I suppose that could be permissible if you are the artsy type that prefers storytelling through that medium. Just ensure you can complete it by March 1st. I might decide to hold a contest specifically for your group in the future if this takes off.  :-\
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Suuper-san on January 30, 2022, 02:20:33 PM
it depends how much free time I can set aside as to whether I can actually make a comic or not, but it's definitely doable within a month. as always, we'll see what happens :P

we haven't had a contest with a prize for absolutely ages XD
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on January 30, 2022, 02:37:36 PM
All the more reason to jump in! If I get a good amount of submissions, I'll consider it worth the effort to do this more in the future  8) So spread the word and let everyone know this contest is up! The more, the merrier! And of course, the more prizes I'll give out!  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on January 30, 2022, 04:26:40 PM
Last minute update, a new artist had opted to join, so I'll be including their artwork as part of the draw (some of you might recognize the style  8) )
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Richard Scepton on January 31, 2022, 02:54:12 AM
Duh. I already have a 20k+ word story posted. It's called Final Frontier, and is a Halo x KanColle crossover.

I'll send the link over Twitter.
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: MistyRPhillips on January 31, 2022, 09:49:17 AM
I am interested! I am wondering how you would like the submissions formatted. Just post the whole story as a reply, or link to a google docs, or add attachments?
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on January 31, 2022, 10:39:11 AM
Welcome MistyRPhillips!

The answer is whichever way you most prefer to send the story! Some people prefer to keep their story only between themselves, and so they PM me a link. Other people don't mind sharing their stories with others, and so they might post here for others to see. It's all up to you on how best you want to submit your story! :D
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: MistyRPhillips on January 31, 2022, 12:30:37 PM
Great! I have a story made, just gonna clean it up a bit then post it. Thanks!
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 01, 2022, 12:55:51 PM
Day 3 is here! We're 1/10 of the way there! If you're hoping to make the bare minimum for the story, you should be at 500 word count at this point. Looking forward to all of your submissions come March!  8) And of course there's nothing stopping you from submitting something early. I do allow resubmissions as long as it meets the 5000 word minimum criteria before the deadline.
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Suuper-san on February 02, 2022, 12:09:37 AM
Yikes, nothing like some early pressure eh?
I'm probably gonna dish out an entire story in the last couple of days lol
My skill is too low to rely on actual planning and pacing I think XD
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 02, 2022, 06:29:40 AM
Well, of course Suuper! A slacker will never get things done if they put it off to the last minute!

I assure you, 500 words is easy to grind out in just 3 days. There's actually a Reddit post detailing how professional copywriters have to plan out 1000 words in a single day and have it ready for publishing ( That's 1-2 hours of research, 4 hours of writing, and another 2 hours of editing. If there are people out there doing that kind of writing as a job, then 1 hour of you putting out just a little over a 100 words should be nothing! Especially if what you're writing is completely made up  :D

I've decided on short stories as part of this writing contest since I know it's something completely doable for most people in a month, as opposed to writing an entire novel. It only seems daunting because you only see the "5,000" number. Trust me, when you start typing things on paper, you'll see just how fast 100 words can go by. If you really want to put into perspective just how little the writing per day actually is, I've torn out a piece of my writing from Project Cairlann over here, and included an excerpt from a short story titled "The Lottery".

Battle of Garagil Pass (173 words)
Lord Cuthred had a devilish smile upon hearing the news, and while any sort of joyful reaction from him would’ve been welcomed by now, Captain Halan and Chaplain Master Gebhart could sense the unease around the table.

“So the man wants to fight,” Lord Cuthred chuckled rather insidiously as he turned to the knights gathered before him. “That goat-sucking idiot thinks he can take us all on in an open field! I’m going to enjoy riding into Graehinstel with his head mounted on my banner.”

“We’ll send the heathen and his vile scum to Hell, my Lord!” a knight proclaimed. The others likewise concurred, though only through halfhearted cheers and nods.

Halan exchanged glances towards his master Gebhart. It seemed the others would not confront Lord Cuthred about the glaring issue of his overconfidence: they too were cutting eyes back at Gebhart to answer for them.

Gebhart cleared his throat. “My Lord, if Olvek is presenting himself to fight us here, then it is clear he intends to strike us with an advantage.”

The Lottery (171 words)
The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock; in some towns there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 26th, but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took only about two hours, so it could begin at ten o’clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.

The children assembled first, of course. School was recently over for the summer, and the feeling of liberty sat uneasily on most of them; they tended to gather together quietly for a while before they broke into boisterous play, and their talk was still of the classroom and the teacher, of books and reprimands.

Quite frankly, hitting that 5k word mark only becomes a problem if you allow the deadline to approach without any real work done. Trying to mash out 5k words in a single day is much harder than 5k words for 30 days, so don't procrastinate!  8) You most certainly have the power to finish this story!
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Suuper-san on February 02, 2022, 02:24:54 PM
aye I got a fair bit of writing done in my manga scripts I did a while back, I documented my time quite meticulously and got some nice stats from it. One such being that I type 12 wpm for final script (i.e. words/total time writing & editing). In total I wrote 52k words over about 12 weeks, so I'm not too bothered by actual output, it's more just doing it that's the issue. as I'm in an art phase at the moment :P

One trouble is I'm only used to manga format, so it's scrappy quality. Writing an actual story/novel is more poetic and neatly written, you have to be quite careful with word choice for descriptions and so on. That's not really bothering me but I'm not confident in it tho.

I've been coming up with plot ideas the last couple of days, I'm generating a bunch of ideas from random prompts and then I'll see which ones have the potential to actually become a story. Also difficult is keeping the entire story short, I'm used to thinking of long running manga plots so it's hard to constrain an idea down to stay a short story. Half of my ideas are failing because their scope is just too large to shrink down. I think if I had more experience all these steps would be a lot easier like it is with art for me.

That's amazing how short 150 words really is looking at it like that, I hadn't really realized.

Also very interesting about the daily breakdown of time into the different aspects of writing. Research in particular interests me as I know very little about all the things I want to write about but also don't know how to research effectively without it just becoming a random Wikipedia binge. I've got a sort of idea on that but haven't tested it out yet.
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: MistyRPhillips on February 02, 2022, 03:18:34 PM
Question about the art prize. What exactly does $100 cover? Is it one person full body, or can it be a couple busts, or multiple people's headshots? I have a couple things in mind, but not sure what would be included.
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 02, 2022, 03:41:27 PM
Good question! The $100 art prize will cover either 1 full body, 2 busts, or 4 headshots. You may pick however combination best suits your needs. Great ask Misty!
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: NO1SY on February 03, 2022, 11:15:17 AM
Awwww man, this is a really cool initiative Op, good on you for organizing. If only I had any free time at the moment, I have a short story I really want to write that would be perfect for this... You've caught me in the middle of an assessment period though.

I hope this goes well enough that there might be another in the future. Good luck to everyone who is participating!
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 03, 2022, 01:01:17 PM
I'm certain you have a few minutes out of your day to type out a few hundred words, No1sy! Heck, you could very well grind out a thousand words in just a weekend! If you're really serious about storytelling, now would be a great time to get involved and see your character come to life! It might give you motivation to do it again the next time around  ;)
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: MistyRPhillips on February 03, 2022, 01:35:20 PM
Alright, here is my short story. Let me know if I should change anything up format wise for the site.

The Tangled Mirror
by Misty R Phillips
Word Count: 5027

The Diary of Chase Burke, age thirteen.

Sunday, July 24th
Dear Diary,
My adventure began today.
As always, whenever we went sailing, I was up at the bow, letting the ocean spray me and get me soaked. I wasn’t going to miss a feckin’ moment of this adventure below deck. The priests rarely took me out on their adventures ever since Ma died. I don’t know why. I hated being cooped up in that stuffy old temple. I needed to explore. I needed the wind in my face.  I needed other people.
According to Father Moumou (or as he is stuffily known as Father Valérian Moulin) we were heading to an island that was ravaged by a savage storm a few weeks back. We were heading out there to help rebuild. Obviously I felt sad for the poor buggers, but by the gods was I bloody excited!
As soon as we docked, our ship was bloody swarmed. The wave of desperate people surprised me, but the priests were expecting it. After all, we were flying Artemis’ flag, and people around here always knew what that meant. Help from the Angels.
I wasn’t complaining about the people. No way. Over the last two years, all I’ve had to talk to were priests and priestesses, and they are feckin’ boring! So, as people waited for their turn, I tried to introduce myself, make some small talk.
Everyone ignored me.
It feckin’ sucked. All that time practicing how to talk properly, and now people are just ignoring me. Why would anyone want to talk to me? I was just a freak.
“No, come on mate, you can’t think like that. Ma wouldn’t like you being so negative on yourself.” That’s what I told myself, and I was right. I couldn’t make this all about me. They were suffering. I needed to help. Not bothering to ask for permission, I decided to head out to help in the village instead.
This place was brutal. The houses were mostly gone; the ground was just mud, and everyone seemed so miserable. I wished I could change that.
As I walked, I noticed a girl who looked about my age, and I got pretty excited. I made sure my bandana was covering my hearing aids—didn’t want her thinking I was a freak already—and went right over to her.
Bringing up my friendliest grin, I stuck out my hand and said, “Hi! My name’s Chase Burke, what’s yours?”
She looked me up, and down, looked at my hand, then at my pockets. “Do you have food?”
“Uh, no.” I pulled my hand back, feeling a little awkward. “But the priests of Artemis are at the dock with a bunch of food.”
Her eyes went wide, and she hurried off down the streets without even a thank you. I sighed. I mean, I wanted to help, but a small smile would have been nice.
The wind guided me to the edge of town, where I saw some people going out into the woods, probably gathering supplies. I wasn’t super strong, but I figured I could help a bit there. Maybe then someone would actually talk to me.
I got out there, and right away started asking what I could do to help, but no one would stop and look at me. There were so many different noises; axes chopping, trees falling, people yelling. I didn’t know what anyone was saying.
I should just tell them I’m deaf.
I shook my head at the thought. No way I’d tell them that. Then they’d all treat me like a freak. I just had to figure it out. I—
I ran into someone as I was scrambling about, trying to figure things out. I swung around, but not in time to catch them as they fell. They fell face first into the dirt, scattering the load of wood they had been carrying. I apologized over and over again, but the words stopped in my throat as the boy turned and glared at me.
He was bloody gorgeous.
“What in Gaia’s name are you doing?” he shouted at me, and there was no mistaking what he said. “Watch where you’re going!”
“I’m so sorry.” I held out my hand to help him up, but he slapped it away and got up on his own, picking up the loose wood. I bent down and started to help, but he just scowled at me again.
“I don’t need your help. Leave me alone!”
That bloody hurt, but I didn’t say so. I just stood up, nodded, and left. I wasn’t needed here. I was just some freak that wasn’t any good to anyone.
The wind led me deeper into the trees and then stopped. I looked around, hoping to see the town, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t see anything, I couldn’t hear anything, I had no idea what to do.
Where was the wind?
I closed my eyes and strained to feel for any little wisp. Nothing. It had never done that before, and then I realized… I was lost.
I screamed out for it, begging it to come back, and it did, but this time it was anxious, just like me. It started whipping about in every direction, blowing up leaves and dirt into my face. As I coughed and spluttered, the trees around me groaned and cracked. My feet were frozen in place. The wind had never betrayed me like this before. A loud crack sounded, and one of the trees started to fall. Not just to the ground. It was falling on my head, and all I could do was stare at it in shock.
Suddenly, I wasn’t on my feet. I was falling to the ground with someone wrapped around my chest. The tree came crashing down, but I was safe. I looked up into the beautiful eyes of my hero.
“You… Why are you here?” I asked. I thought he was mad at me.
“I’m sorry,” he said, standing to his feet and offering his hand. I took it gratefully. He pulled me up and my heart fluttered as I got close to him again. I wasn’t sure if he felt it too. We only met eyes for a second, then he bowed his head in shame, I guess. I wished he hadn’t. I couldn’t tell what he was saying.
I tapped him on the shoulder, and as he looked up at me, I said, “Sorry, could you say that again? I couldn’t quite hear you.”
He seemed confused, but he repeated himself, now keeping those gorgeous blue eyes on me. “Oh, uh, I said I was sorry for snapping at you. It’s been a really tough couple of weeks. We lost our house. My mom’s really sick and my little sister is covered in burns.” He shook his head, and I could see those eyes shimmering with withheld tears. “But then I was a jerk, and I made you sad. I saw you run off into the woods. I felt bad, so I came to look for you. Are you OK?”
“I’m… a lot better now.” I couldn’t help the grin on my face. Then he smiled back, and my heart almost burst through my chest. I was so excited, yet a little nervous. I stuck my hand out. “My name’s Chase, by the way.”
He took my hand, and my heart leapt again. “My name’s Desi.”
Desi. My heart took that name and kept it safe.
His gaze slipped past me to a point behind me, and his eyes went wide. “What is that?”
I turned to see a huge mirror caught between a couple of trees, rimmed in tarnished silver and foggy gems. The glass was cracked, and there were vines and weeds wrapped all around it, but it was still a beautiful sight.
“Wow,” Desi breathed, coming in close to inspect it. “That weird wind must have blown some of the junk off of it. I’ve never seen this before. Why do you think it’s here?”
“I don’t know,” I said, standing close beside him, pretending to inspect it as well. “The gods do work in mysterious ways.”
He laughed. “You think the gods put this here? No way. I bet this thing is magic. Like magic from the old world. None of that Blessing’s crap.”
“You… don’t like people with Blessings?”
“Well, not really. It’s not like they care about us. ‘The Blessed’ are too busy being important than helping people like us. Besides, I’ve read about old magic, and it is way cooler.”
I smiled. “I’d love to hear about it.”
That was all he needed. He started rattling on about all the things the mirror could do. Like it was a portal to another dimension, or a way to speak to the dead, and a bunch of other amazing, crazy ideas that I loved. He was so passionate about it. We ended up staying out in that forest until the sun started to set. That was later than either of us should have been out, so Desi hurried us back to town. We split ways at the tent he was living in, with the promise that we would meet back at the mirror tomorrow.
Of course, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Friday, July 29th
Dear Diary,
This was—without a doubt—the best week of my life. My hands are raw, my stomach is empty, but I have never been happier. Every day this week I helped Desi out in the woods, and afterwards we would visit that mirror. Desi brought a few things one day to help us clean it up, and it looks a lot better now.
While we were cleaning it, he did the cutest thing. I just have to tell you what happened.
Desi was down on his knees, working on clearing out some more vines and wiping away the layers of dirt. I was working on the top, standing on my tiptoes, reaching as high as I could, when I felt Desi bump against my leg. I looked down to see his shocked face, and right away, I figured he had cut himself or something, so I knelt down beside him.
“Are you alright?” I asked.
He was staring wide eyed at the mirror. He got closer to it, squinting those dazzling blue eyes, then looked around at the forest behind us.
I laid my hand on his arm. “Desi? Are you alright?”
He looked at me, then his eyes flicked to my hand on his arm, but didn’t linger. I could have imagined it, but I thought I had caught a slight smile on the corner of his mouth.
“Did you see it?” Desi asked.
I looked around the area, then back at him. “See what?”
Those eyes sparkled with excitement as he gazed into the mirror. “There was a ghost!”
I stared at him for a bit, tapped my hearing aids to make sure they were still working right, then said, “I’m sorry, what?”
He looked right at me, getting just a bit closer in his elation, and my heart skipped a beat.
“A ghost,” he whispered with intense urgency, and I absolutely loved his excitement. “I just know I saw a ghost in there! Maybe that’s why it’s out here! Maybe this is a portal to the underworld. Maybe some witch was using it to talk to the undead! Maybe this could bring back the dead!”
Something about that idea didn’t sit well with me. A sadness washed over me, and Desi must have seen it. He sat back—though I wished he had stayed close—then said, “I–I’m sorry. Did I say something wrong?”
I shook my head. “No. It’s not that. It’s just… the idea of bringing back the dead… even just talking with them… It feels… Wrong. The dead shouldn’t linger in this world.”
His face softened, and he laid his hand on mine. I basked in that warmth.
“Did you lose someone?” he asked.
I nodded slowly. “My ma. It’s been about two years now.”
“What happened?”
“She got sick.” I felt the sting of tears in my eyes, but I blinked them back. “I uh, I did something bad and my ma took the blame for it, so they sent her on a ridiculous journey. When she got back… She was so sick. I stayed by her side as much as I could in her final days.” My gaze wandered up to the clear blue sky, trying not to let the tears fall. “I miss her so much. She always knew what to do, what to say. I’m feckin’ useless without her.”
Desi squeezed my hand and shook his head with vigour. “Don’t say that. You’re not useless at all. After everything that’s been happening this last month, I’ve been so angry, and sad, and… I don’t know. All I know is having you around has been the best thing that could happen to me.”
I felt a couple of tears roll down my cheek, but I didn’t care. “Really?”
He nodded. “Yeah. Definitely.”
“Thanks Desi. You have no idea how much that means to me.”
As we gazed at each other, something caught the corner of my eye in the mirror. I snapped my head to look at it, my heart racing.
“Ma?” I could have sworn I saw her. I swear I saw her bouncing orange curls right next to me, but when I looked, there was no one but me and Desi.
I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. They all came spilling out, and Desi—the absolutely amazing person he is—let me cry on his shoulder. He didn’t judge me; he didn’t scold me. He just let me cry, offering a kind word now and then. I let all of my sadness out on him, and after what felt like forever, my heart felt a little lighter. I hadn’t done that since mom had gone.
I wiped the tears from my face and gave him a grateful smile.
He smiled back. “Feel better?”
“Much. Thank you.”
“Did you see your mom?”
“I thought I did. I don’t know though. It was probably just my imagination.”
“Well, whether or not you saw her, I bet she’s watching out for you.”
I chuckled, held back the second wave of tears, and gave him a light punch on the arm. “Ah, enough of that, mate. How about you tell me about your family?”
He smiled and complied. He told me about his sister getting better, but everyone was still worried about his mom. I assured him she would get better, and I think I helped a bit. He seemed to appreciate it, anyway. He even walked me all the way back to the ship for the first time.
You should have seen his face when he saw that flag flying.
“Wait… this is your ship? You… you live with priests of Artemis?!”
I chuckled. “Yep.”
“But… everything I said about Blessed people… and you were raised by them?”
“Yep. But don’t worry, you’re not completely wrong. There are only a few of us that actually go out and help people outside the Divine Ring. My ma had a Blessing too, but it wasn’t super strong or anything. She was one of the rare people who actually liked helping people with her power.”
“That’s… so awesome.”
I fiddled with my jacket. “And… uh…” I leaned in a little closer. “Can you keep a secret?”
He nodded. “Of course.”
“I have a Blessing too.”
“What? But you’re so young! I thought you had to be sixteen to eat from the Garden.”
“Yeah… Well, I snuck in the one time we were in Olympia.” I hated lying to him, but my ma made me promise before she died to never tell anyone where my powers really came from.
“You are a freaking badass!” He gave me a stinging punch on the arm, and I chuckled.
“Thanks, I guess.”
“Can you show me?”
I looked up at the ship, where Father Moumou was watching us. We were far enough away that he couldn’t hear us, but he would definitely know if I started using my powers, so I shook my head. “Not here. Tomorrow at the mirror.”
He grinned. “It’s a date.”
My heart leapt at that notion. I wasn’t sure if he had meant it like that or not, or if he was just goofing around. I didn’t get the chance to find out for sure, since he had already started walking away with a wave.
I walked up onto the ship, and Father Moumou blocked my path, looking down his long nose at me.
“Who’s the chunky boy?” he asked, instantly making my blood boil.
Through gritted teeth, I said, “His name’s Desi, and he’s not chunky, he’s perfect.”
Father scoffed. “You always have had interesting ideas of beauty, haven’t you?” He thought for a moment, then shook his head. “No matter. Off to bed now. You have work to do in the morning.”
“Yeah, I know. They still have lots of wood to haul.”
As I started to head below deck, Father Moumou said, “No, you will be staying on the boat tomorrow. Your help is needed here.”
“What? Why?”
“Because I said so. Now to bed.”
I grumbled a “yes, father,” then sulked off to bed.
I have no idea why he’s trying to keep me away from Desi, but I will find a way to see him again. The wind brought me to him, and it will take me there again.

Saturday, July 30th
Dear diary,
I just had the best day of my life. Nothing can bring me down today.
Let’s start at the beginning.
The day didn’t start great. As soon as I woke up today, the priests set me to work. It was so boring. All I got to do today was hand out the rest of the rations. No one wanted to talk. They just took their food and left. I knew they were suffering, but I just hated not being able to make them smile.
That, and all I had on my mind, was Desi’s face.
I guess after not meeting up at our usual time and place, Desi must have gotten worried about me, because he came to the ship to check up on me. I saw him come aboard the ship, but bloody Father Moumou blocked him off and sent him packing. Why was he being such an arse?
I excused myself to the loo, and while I was there, I scribbled out a note to Desi, asking him to meet me at the spot at sundown. I folded it up into a paper dart, stuck my head out the porthole and gave it a throw. Now, for most people, that dart would have ended up in the ocean, but not me. The wind came to my aid, and I knew it was taking it to my Desi.
After hours of suffering, sundown finally came, and I was free. I raced to the edge of that ship, my heart racing at the thought of seeing Desi.
“Where are you going?” That was Father Moumou’s voice. I stopped in my tracks and turned to see him looking down that long nose of his.
In the interest of speed, I bowed low. “Father Moulin, I was just going for a walk.”
“You are staying here.”
I snapped my head up. “What? Why? You were fine letting me explore the rest of this week. Why are you keeping me here now?”
“Because I do not believe that boy… what did you call him? Desmond? He is not a good influence on you.”
Through gritted teeth, I said, “His name’s Desi, and you have no right to keep me here.”
He glared at me. “I have every right. You are to remain on this ship until we return home. Is that understood?”
It was not understood. I was right pissed off, and I was going to let him know it. I started screaming at him, calling him every horrible word I knew. Even the wind had my back, rising up and causing a right mess.
Father wasn’t impressed. He just clicked his tongue and said, “Look at you, throwing a fit like a child. What would your dear mother say?”
That took the wind right out of me. He knew exactly how to hurt me. I slumped down, letting the tears silently run down my face, then quietly went to my room.
But I wasn’t done.
I grabbed the sheet off of my bed, tied two corners tight around my ankles, then gripped the last two in my hands. I squeezed out my window and got a little nervous. The waters below looked cold and uninviting. Still, I couldn’t stay here. Not if we were leaving soon. I had to see Desi again.
So, perched on the edge of the porthole, I took a deep, calming breath and felt the wind on my face. Without another thought, I leapt out. Things didn’t go quite as planned. The sheet on my back sprang open, but there wasn’t enough wind.
My heart was racing. There was nothing I could do, so I just closed my eyes and thought of Desi’s face. His perfect face, with those sparkling blue eyes.
The winds changed.
A draft came from under me, caught the sheet on my back, and sent me soaring into the sky. That wonderful breeze embraced my whole body, like a soft hug from my ma. My body was weightless, my heart was racing. I had never felt so alive. As I gazed at the world beneath me, soaring up above all the sadness and strife, I felt so calm, so free. This was where I was meant to be.
I saw the woods ahead and asked the winds to take me there. They complied, and I arrived at the woods far faster than I would have on foot. I saw Desi sitting at the mirror from above the trees and yelled out to him. He jumped to his feet and looked behind him, and I could see the confusion in his body language. I couldn’t help but chuckle.
As best I could, I aimed downward, calling out his name again. Finally, he looked up, and his jaw dropped. I kept gliding, surprisingly graceful for my first flight. Except when the sheet around my ankle loosened. My sheet failed me, and I started hurtling towards the ground. The world started spinning, and I couldn’t figure out how to stop it. I saw Desi scrambling below me. Was he trying to catch me?
As the ground came close, so did Desi’s face. Another huge gust sprang up from underneath me, and I ended up only lightly falling onto Desi. We tumbled to the ground, Desi’s arms wrapped tight around me, and I was home. As we became still, I pushed myself up and looked down upon Desi’s face, scratched and covered in dirt, but otherwise just as wonderful as I remembered.
I smiled sheepishly. “Sorry about that. That was not planned.”
His eyes were wide with wonder. “You… you were flying! Honest to gods flying! How did you do that?”
“Just a little help from the wind.” I rolled off Desi and laid close beside him. With a flick of my hand, I asked the winds to put on a show, and they complied. A breeze drifted around us, picking up the leaves on the ground, making them lightly fall on our heads.
He rolled to one side and propped himself up on his elbow to look straight at me. His eyes sparkling with excitement, he said, “You are so amazing. That is so cool.”
“Yeah, well, I’m still getting the hang of it.” I reached my hand up to his cheek to wipe away the dirt. “I’m sorry I hurt you.” I suddenly had the realization that I shouldn’t be touching him like that, so I moved to pull away. Just as I did, his hand came up and kept it there.
My heart raced as I gazed into those sparkling blue eyes. They came closer, and closer, until his lips pressed lightly against mine, and I relished in his taste, in his scent. I felt like I was flying again. It was the best feeling in the world.
He pulled away suddenly and scrambled away. “Sorry, I’m so sorry. I don’t know why… I just.” He was rambling, and it was adorable.
I sat up and gave him my largest grin. “Why are you sorry? That was amazing.”
“B–but we’re both boys…”
“So?” I sidled closer to him. “I really, really like you, and… I think you like me. What does it matter what gender we are?”
“I… I guess. But… Why do you like me? You’re… you’re so good looking. Your skin, your hair, your…” He blushed a little. “Your body. It’s all perfect. I’m just… I’m just the basic dumpy kid with bad teeth…”
I shook my head and took his face in my hands, looking him deep in the eye. “You are the most beautiful soul I have ever met. To me, you are absolutely perfect.”
He kissed me again, and this time I could feel the passion. It flowed through my whole body and warmed my soul. I wrapped my arms tight around him, pulling him in close, and he did the same. It was like we didn’t even need to breathe. Neither of us wanted our connection to stop. We ended up rolling in the dirt again, this time with our hands all over each other. I loved the feel of him. Everything felt so right.
Everything was perfect.
We stayed intertwined until the sun had fully set. We decided to get back to our homes before people started worrying about us, though neither of us wanted to be apart. He asked me to fly us back home, but I told him I wasn’t ready for something like that yet. I did promise him that he could be my first passenger once I figured it out. He loved that idea.
So, instead of flying, we walked down through the forest and into town, hand in hand. Both of us were sweaty and dirty, but neither of us cared. We wanted to stay as close as possible for as long as possible. I could tell Desi was a little nervous going through town, especially after the occasional nasty glare sent our way, but my perfect Desi kept holding on. He walked me all the way back to the ship, and I gave him one last goodbye kiss before he went home.
I watched him go, feeling like everything in my life was finally right.
Until I stepped back on that ship.
Father Moumou was waiting, cross armed and red faced. I knew he was angry that I snuck out, but I was in too good a mood to let him wreck that. I just waved, said, “Evening, Father,” and headed towards my room.
He glared. He wanted to say something, but surprisingly, he didn’t.
So, to my room I went, my soul soaring above me, high up in the clouds.
Nothing could bring me down.

Wednesday, August 3rd
Sorry I haven’t written in a while diary but… everything went wrong and well… I just didn’t have the strength to write about it.
We’re back in Royal Derry now. Back “home”.
This isn’t home anymore. It’s a prison.
But, let’s go back a little. What Father Moumou did was unforgivable. I need to write it down so I will never forget.
I went to bed Saturday night as happy as can be, as you might remember. When I woke the next morning, however, things weren’t right. My hearing aids were gone, and the boat was moving differently. We were sailing. I tried to get out of bed, but I was chained down. I yelled and screamed until someone came into the room. I strained my head to look over at Father Moumou. He wasn’t smiling, but he seemed damned pleased with himself.
“Oh, I see you’re finally awake,” he said, making sure to stand over me so I could read his lips. He also signed a little, but he was pretty bad at it.
“What are you doing? You haven’t let me say goodbye to Desi! I don’t want to leave!”
His face twisted into a sneer. “I saw you with that abomination. What you did was unnatural. You will be educated otherwise.”
“Unnatural? What are you talking about? There’s nothing wrong with me liking a boy!”
“You are wrong. It is not what the gods wish of us.”
“What the *censored* are you talking about?” I screamed. “The gods hooked up with everyone and anyone. Angel Zeus was notorious for sleeping with men and women.”
He sneered again. “You dare put yourself on their level? They are perfect beings, free to do what they will. Our duty as humans is to work, breed, and die. To do otherwise is a sin.”
“Bull*censored*! Let me go! This is crazy! I hate you!”
The winds whipped around the room. All my things went flying about. I was screaming every curse at the top of my lungs, and again, he looked at me with no fear.
He nodded, which was when I realized someone came in with him. Sister Anna. She gave me an apologetic look, and I felt something prick my neck.
The world went dark.
I woke up a day later, back in Royal Derry, in a section of the temple I had only visited before. The cells. They locked me up down here, only with some of my comforts and a stack of books telling me how to live without sin.
This is all wrong. Ma always told me to be comfortable with who I was, to embrace love when I found it. She would never force this *censored*e on me.
Ma… I miss you so much.
Desi… I will find you again one day. My beautiful soul. Wait for me.

The End

Hope you enjoyed!
I have other short stories as well, but not sure how everyone feels about self promotion here. This is my first short story with Chase, though.

Commission Submission - Artist #4 or #6 - Four Headshots for my four main characters of the novel I'm working on.
(not actually spoiler, just didn't want all the hyperlinks taking up all the room and don't know how to title it.)
Chase: Twenty-one year old man. 5ft 11in (180cm) Irish, fair skin with freckles and orange hair. Medium build.
Hair: Orange, up do with a red bandana around the ears to hide hearing aids
Colour: (
Style: Very first one. Top left. (
No facial hair
Eccentric coat, something like the one on the right, but more colour. Whatever works with orange hair. Button up shirt underneath with loose (or undone) tie. (
Eyes: sky blue (
Pose: Charming, toothy smile. Similar ( (

Lorelei: Twenty-seven year old woman. 5ft 9in (175cm)
mediterranean woman with olive skin and auburn hair. Toned body
Face and skin:
Wears a necklace like this
Hair: dark auburn (dark reddish brown)
Style like this, but with a chunk of hair down to cover the right side of her face.
Silver dagger hairpin in the ponytail. Kind of like this. Simple but with feathers carved in it.
Eyes: Golden
Shirt: Red and black kung fu outfit
Pose: Dangerous and seductive. Kind of like bottom left, but the bangs of the top middle

Astrid: Twenty One year old woman. 5ft 6in. (167cm) Scandinavian. Fair skin. Blonde side braid. Thin.
All around similar to this
But a little more strawberry blonde
Eyes: Emerald green
Clothes: Purple dress
Pose: sweet smile, mid giggle. Kind of like this.

Xin: thirty year old man. 6ft 4in (193cm). Medium skin tone. Muscular build
Hair style and colour:
Colour, style, facial hair and tattoos similar to one on the right
Tattoo coming up the neck:
Eyes: steel blue
Clothes: Fur lined leather jacket with undershirt
Pose: small smile. Has a toothpick in his mouth. Similar,small,507x507-pad,600x600,f8f8f8.jpg

Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 03, 2022, 01:56:31 PM
Thank you for the submission, Misty! Yes, this forum doesn't quite like paragraph tabs, as it ends up with everything meshed together. As an alternative, I split my paragraphs by lines instead. Otherwise, I very much look forward to reading your short story! :thumbsup:

Best of luck!
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 04, 2022, 11:59:26 AM
Day 6 is here! For those keeping to the bare minimum, you should have now reached 1,000 words! A grand milestone! Now that you've established a rhythm, the next 1,000 should be a cakewalk. Do that 3 more times after that, and you'll have a 5k story ready for submission!

Best of luck to everyone participating!  ;)
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: WhiteCrow on February 05, 2022, 09:47:06 PM
This is a very cool idea. Who are the artists?
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 06, 2022, 12:42:49 AM
The artists are part of my team working on Project Cairlann, mainly creating promotional pieces for our developing stories. We're always looking for more ways to grow our reach and give back, and so this contest is our way to inspire the community that's been so supportive of us over the years 8) If enough people submit stories to the contest, we'll definitely be looking to do a 2nd round later in March, so spread the word!  :thumbsup:

We might even consider 2nd and 3rd place prizes... (No promises)
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 07, 2022, 05:16:16 AM
Day 9 has arrived! You should now be at 1,500 words to be on track to finish before the March 1st deadline.  8)
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 10, 2022, 12:24:47 PM
Day 12 is here! We're now counting 2,000 words, almost halfway to the finish line! Be sure you're keeping up with your story, as now we're at the point where things will become quite difficult to catch up on. ;)
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 13, 2022, 01:13:36 PM
Day 15 is here! We're officially at the halfway point! You should now have 2,500 words for your short story to be on track for submission.

We've only received a handful of submissions up to this point, so right now there is a very high chance you could win our $100 prize if you submit! Don't wait. Only 16 days remain before the deadline on March 1st.

Best of luck to everyone!  8)
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 16, 2022, 01:08:12 PM
It's now Day 18! We're at 3,000 words and counting now. You have 13 days left to submit the 5k minimum word short story to qualify for the contest by March 1st.
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Suuper-san on February 16, 2022, 01:26:14 PM
well in terms of output I've done 10k words in the last week, but only for random fragments of random projects I'm working on.
I think my analysis skill is much higher than my actual writing skill so whenever I approach a larger project, I'm aware of the massive lack of skill I have such as giving characters depth, interesting plot etc.
Not to mention every time I imagine a scene I see it in manga format in my head, not words. Like I can show suspense, but I can't write it.
I was deliberating for a long time I'm thinking I'll spam out a 5k story right at the end of the deadline. Apart from being ill at the moment, I think I need absolute pressure to write something without worrying how it turns out at the moment.
we'll see.
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 16, 2022, 02:52:09 PM
I'd say if you really want to break out of your procrastination, just get started. Even just writing down the first sentence will help break you out of your writer's block as you continue. Every story is built word-by-word, and just focusing on laying down that next word one at a time will eventually get you to where you need. It's very much like building a house. They tell you it'll take two years, but that's assuming you've been at it everyday consistently. It's the 730 days you do that make it to two years.

Ask yourself how much do you want to get done in 5 minutes. One sentence? How many words is one sentence? 10? 20? Then you do the math and you realize you need 500 sentences to finish your story. How many sentences do I need to put in to meet the deadline? Say you're starting at 10 days left. That means you need to have 50 sentences a day to hit that goal. How much time is 50 sentences? 250 minutes, or a little over 4 hours.

But what if you only had 3 days left? How much time would you need to really finish this story? Assuming 1 sentence at 5 minutes, that would mean you'd need 834 minutes, or a crazy 14 hours each day to finish!

However, had you started the day the contest was announced, you would essentially only need to clock in 84 minutes, or an hour and a half each day to meet the goal. And that's assuming you're very slow and only write 2 words a minute.

It might be tempting to push a big task until the very end to finish it, but what really happens is that you just run out of time. There's no real benefit to delaying something just to "Force" yourself to do it. You're essentially training your brain to work on stress rather than passion. Instead, train yourself to be consistent with work, and you'll find everything to be 10x more enjoyable and productive than if you were to do it in a high-stress environment.

While we're fairly tight with the contest at this point, I recommend starting with the outline. It's not necessarily writing, but it gives you a roadmap on what you need to do when you sit down and start writing. Any kind of writing is better than no writing at all.  8)
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Suuper-san on February 16, 2022, 03:35:01 PM
That's an interesting breakdown of number of sentences, I've not thought of that before. Although sentence length varies quite a bit depending on its content.
I've worked both with daily little-by-little workflows, and I've done massive blocks of get-it-all-done workflows too, and to be honest, I don't mind either. I enjoy working under pressure (as long as it's my own pressure) because I see that as a challenge to beat the clock (which fuels my competitive level focus)
but true I'll need to get something down at some point, thanks for the kick to get started we'll see what I manage :D
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 16, 2022, 09:04:31 PM
Right on, Suuper! Even if you don't finish by the deadline, it's always a good exercise to know what your limits are. Perhaps you'll learn just what a good story takes  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 20, 2022, 07:37:17 AM
Day 21 has passed and we are now entering Day 22! You should be at 3,500 words at this point and nearing the finish line. Be sure to submit your story to me before the March 1st deadline to qualify for the $100 Art Prize at the end of the contest!
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 22, 2022, 12:27:38 PM
It's now Day 24! The last stretch of the Writer's Short Story Contest! You should now be at 4,000 words with only 1,000 words to go. You have exactly one week to complete and submit your short story for a chance to win free art of your own design!
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: maddecipher on February 23, 2022, 09:20:01 PM
this looks cool!
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 25, 2022, 03:24:57 AM
Day 27 is here! We're very close to the finish line now! You should now be at 4,500 words and now looking at the last 500 words to wrap up your short story. Be sure to submit by March 1st to qualify for the $100 art prize by the end of the month! Best of luck to everyone participating!  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Suuper-san on February 27, 2022, 04:37:11 AM
Gonna give it my best shot today and we'll see what happens. Picking a story idea that I actually figured I could write was pretty much the biggest hurdle. But I don't get the feeling the quality will be any good, it's going to be like it was written by a little kid /(T_T;)\
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 27, 2022, 02:13:05 PM
Any progress is better than no progress, I'd say! Even if the story is not as good as you'd like, a first draft is a first draft. You can always change it to make it better in the future. It's having finished the story that sets you leagues ahead of anyone else  8)
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Suuper-san on February 27, 2022, 05:28:17 PM
It's having finished the story that sets you leagues ahead of anyone else
I like that, sounds super braggable.
Especially since I have written and completed my story (at least the first draft)
I got there in the end (^u^;)
Stay tuned as I'll submit it tomorrow after rigorous and tearful editing I dare say.
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 28, 2022, 10:03:00 AM
Tomorrow is the last day of the contest! Turn it in before March 1st, 11:59pm PT for a chance to win $100 worth of art from an artist of your choice! The winner will be announced within the week.

Best of luck to everyone participating!  ;)
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Suuper-san on February 28, 2022, 03:43:22 PM
I humbly submit my short story of 5.5k words, The Choice in the Mirror,20815.msg308993.html#msg308993
Best to read the google doc otherwise the formatting is missing all my italics XD
Here is the link (

Was definitely worth giving it my best shot to completion as it'll help me when I write future works.
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on February 28, 2022, 04:52:11 PM
Thanks for the submission, Suuper! Best of luck to you  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize
Post by: Operative13 on March 01, 2022, 03:31:44 AM
Today is the last day of submissions! Post your short story here or PM me by 11:59pm PST to be eligible for a chance to win $100 worth of artwork from an artist of your choice!
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize (Concluded)
Post by: Operative13 on March 02, 2022, 03:00:44 AM
The Writer's Short Story Contest is officially over! Thank you everyone for participating!

We will have the winner announced by the end of this week, in which their chosen artist will create $100 worth of art of their choosing. Best of luck to everyone!
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize (Concluded)
Post by: Operative13 on March 05, 2022, 05:16:04 AM
After considerable consideration, I am pleased to announce the Winner of the Writer's Short Story Contest is...

Suuper-san's "The Choice in the Mirror"

Congratulations! :clapping: Riveting tales with intriguing plotlines and thematic questions are what I look for! We will now begin the process of gathering the winner's requirements for their art prize to be created.

Of course, let's not forget the many people that have so kindly submitted their stories to the contest. You all deserve a round of applause for completing a story of your own, an accomplishment few have the honor of claiming.

We will hold another contest for this prize in the near future. Precisely when that'll happen, we won't know for sure. But when it does, you can stay up-to-date on the latest news on contests and prize pools by joining this email list here (

You'll also receive new updates on both Project Cairlann and our team's newest storytime venture, Project Octavian, where we gather a collection of amazing short stories to compile in our anthology! We are on the lookout for any promising writers eager to add their stories to our collection, so if you're interested, PM me to discuss details.  ;)

Thank you so much everyone for coming together for this amazing contest, and I hope to see you all again in the next one!
- Op
Title: Re: [Project Cairlann] Writer's Short Story Contest - $100 Art Prize (Concluded)
Post by: Suuper-san on March 05, 2022, 06:34:55 AM
oh! how marvellous and surprising XD
it was certainly tough to work outside of my comfort zone so I was glad for the opportunity to challenge myself.
well done to everyone that entered!!