Sunday Writing Challenge

Last week’s Sunday Writing Challenge was the first one without an official assignment. We’ve been writing and doing exercises and commiserating for two months. This was an exercise in seeing how we did without formal structure and accountability.

Personal confession time: it was a productive week for me! I do wonder if that was in spite of the lack structure rather than because of it, but I won’t look a productive horse in the mouth. My current fiction project didn’t see a lot of forward momentum, but I worked out some plotting issues, finished some research, and found an interesting bit of Old Hollywood gossip that fit perfectly into the plot. I’m very happy with the week’s work.

Leave your updates in the comments below.

At the moment, there are two standing challenges to participate in:

Linotte is doing a NaNoWriMo over the course of Lent, with an end goal of 50,000 words written in 40 days. New projects or old – anything is on the table.

Brynn was inspired by Linotte’s challenge and issued one of her own on a slightly smaller scale -– write 100 words a day, every day, for forty days.

This week:

Kortney Thoma donated three of her own photographs to our project. We completed a challenge based on one of them several weeks ago. This week we’re tackling another.

Write a minimum of 500 words inspired by this photo. Bonus points will be allotted next week to those brave souls who are willing to share.

That’s it! You have until 10 p.m. next Sunday to check in and tell us how you did.

Friends new and old, don’t forget that our writers’ group is open 24/7 for commiseration and support, as well as helpful links, contest submission information, and tips.

By [E] Slay Belle

Slay Belle is an editor and the new writer mentor here at Persephone Magazine, where she writes about pop culture, Buffy, and her extreme love of Lifetime movies. She is also the editor of You can follow her on Twitter, @SlayBelle or email her at

She is awfully fond of unicorns and zombies, and will usually respond to any conversational volley that includes those topics.

13 replies on “Sunday Writing Challenge”

I don’t mind talking about it.

A couple of months back I went to see The Devil Inside, which is a found footage exorcism movie set partially in the Vatican run exorcism ‘training’ school. (This is a real thing.) Anyway, I started thinking about the concept of ‘training’ exorcists and went to an idea that the school trapped demons, forced them to possess people, and then the priests had practical experience driving demons out. But the demons didn’t get banished, they were stuck in the school, possessing and being cast out over and over again. So the jump off is a demon who has been trapped there for decades and is basically 2 steps away from just ‘dying’ because she’s been so injured by this process. She gets out and just wants to go back home, but can’t because she’s so damaged. So the story is basically her trying to leave the human plane.

I’ve been running into some issues with mythology, because I need to the character to be sympathetic, but she is, you know, not human, and she’s so weak she can’t manifest a body for herself anymore, and has to hitch rides on humans. Which means she’s possessing them, which can be hard to be sympathetic to. I want it to be a sort of ‘YA Horror’, as opposed to straight up blood-and-guts horror.

As for the Hollywood gossip, I was following some links around the other night and ended up on a Hollywood gossip board that seems to run by fundamental Christians who truly believe Satan is operating in Hollywood, which seems like a fantastic thing to incorporate into the story somehow.

Ohh, that sounds fantastic! This is just my kind of thing! The book I just sold is about demon possession! But it’s an evil demon, not like yours, and it’s totally different. But still!

You are so smart to try and get the mythology worked out sooner rather than later!

Did you ever see the BBC show Hex? It’s got demon and paranormal stuff and it’s set in a high school…kind of over-the-top and very entertaining, I thought. You might like it.

Anyway, it sounds like a terrific project.

That’s awesome. Sometimes when I describe the story idea I get weird looks. And my poor friends at the library have  been processing a ton of my devil book requests. Luckily they know me.

I’m afraid I’m letting the mythology get in the way of writing the story — I went whining about that to Myss Worded last week, just to get an outside perspective on it. I think once I hit a few more nails in I need to just write and go back to suss out the world building after I get a solid draft done. I have a tendency to procrastinate.

I looved Hex. Did you know that Fassbender was the devil? Someone told me that recently and I hadn’t even realized it.

Last week went well. The only two days I didn’t write 500 words was when (social) life got in the way. The competition story which I’m writing is  nearing its end and like beginnings, endings are hard.

After that I can pick up my novel/collection of stories again. And tonight I’m part of a rp-craze which I’m looking forward to (shortly put: role playing with a time limit, therefore giving you much more interaction and much less time to think about what to write. It keeps you sharp and giddy).

I haven’t really been writing regularly…or at all…but I ended up doing one of the past challenges this week! I was very happy! I did LeGuine’s and it really was a pain in the ass. I cheated a tiny tiny bit, but only a bit.


Sun beamed through the window, and a breeze played through the curtains and into the room, bringing with it the scent of spring. The two women sat across from one another, their pinkies curled around their teacups as they sipped the brew. One sip. Two sips. They sat in silence, their eyes averted just below the other’s face. One smoothed her skirts. Amanda coughed.

The other woman stopped toying with her skirts and drew herself up, placing her teacup on the table.  She snapped, “Why did you do it?” Her face twitched into a half-snarl as her gaze shot upward to the other woman’s face.

Amanda glanced up, then down again, burying her face in her tea. She could feel the other woman’s eyes boring into her.

After a pause, she said, “He said he loved me.”

“You’re wrong.”

She slammed the teacup down on the table with a clang. “You don’t know that!”

The other woman’s face morphed into a sneer. “You think you’re the first one he fucked? You think you’re special?” Her hands gripped her legs through her skirts; her knuckles jutted through her skin. “You were just another one of his playthings.”

“That’s not true!”

“Oh, is that what you think?” her teeth bared like an animal’s. “I’m his wife. Me.”

Amanda opened her mouth and closed it again. She could feel her body drawing back into her chair, shrinking away from the woman before her.

“I- I’m sorry,” she said.

“Sorry? Sorry? Don’t come in here and tell me you’re fucking sorry!” she slammed her left hand, clenched, into the chair’s arm. Her head twitched to the side, her lips twisting. Amanda could hear the other woman’s breaths as they rattled through her chest with the fury of one on the verge of a breakdown.

When the woman spoke again, it was not a shout but a whisper. Her voice cracked as she said, “Why did you even come here?” She buried her face in her hands.

It was in that moment that Amanda looked at the other woman for the first time. The anger that had lashed out at her moments ago had cracked, the wall had shattered. No longer was she the product of words, of an afterthought Brett mentioned after their second night together. No longer was she a cobra spitting in her face. Now before her trembled not a figment but a person. Now she was flesh.

A sickness rose in Amanda’s stomach. It was as if a poison spread through her veins, sliding its tentacles around her heart. She realized what she had done.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “Truly. I am.”

The other woman didn’t respond.

“Is…is there anything I can do-” the words stuck in her throat as the other woman snapped her head to look at her. Her eyes were knives.

“You can go,” she said.

Amanda stood. The other woman buried her face in her hands again. Her shoulders shook. The breeze followed Amanda through the room across the foyer and out the house. As she shut the front door behind her, everything went still. She straightened her blouse and touched her cheeks. They were wet.



Thanks! :) I think having to keep out the adjectives and adverbs really challenged me to cut out a lot of my typical verbosity. It made things a lot more direct, for sure. When I start to push myself into writing again, I might try to take a few cues from this exercise.

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