General Rules for All Submissions
- Format all work using MS Word (doc or docx), 12pt., double spaced serif font (Times New Roman, Courier, Garamond).
- Title only on the work.
- Do not put your name or contact info on the work. Instead put your name, contact info and title of the work in the cover letter. This is so we can maintain a blind submission process.
- A short bio or blog/website links may be submitted at time of submission in the cover letter. If your work is selected then Creative Colloquy will ask for a picture and bio (if not previously supplied) to accompany the work in the printing.
- Creative Colloquy accepts submissions from all writers, poets, and essayists throughout Western Washington with a special emphasis on work originating in the South Puget Sound. Please note your location in your cover letter.
- Only submit one short story or poem per month.
- Breaking any of these rules will result in automatic rejection.
Burl Battersby sent us the beginning of a story titled "As a child, I found The entrance to hell to be a real place". You're going to finish it. Simple as that.
Step 1) Read the story beginning of the story below.
Step 2) Complete the story.
Step 3) Send in your conclusion to the story.
Step 4) Wait - Our unpaid editing staff (forced labor) will be evaluating the work.
Step 5) On October 17th read the completed piece.
General guidelines apply. Finished stories need to be in by 10/12 for publication on 10/17.
As a child, I found the entrance to hell to be a real place
Torino, Italy, has its own entrance to hell - located in the middle of a broad square in Piazza Statuto.
There are other places that have been identified as passages to the underworld. There is a triangle formed by Turin, San Francisco, and London and each is purported to be have an access point to the underworld.
As a child I found the entrance to hell to be a real place too, across the street from my house under some bushes. It wasn’t hidden. It wasn’t a place that we feared. It wasn’t guarded by evil fallen angels or scary gargoyles.
It was where we went to meet with Gerrymønd, a toad-like being who smoked from a hookah and had crystal decanters of dark-milky liquors on a shelf. We would go there after school and the dimly-lit, smoky antechamber was always hot with a crackling fire down below. Some of the kids told us to stay away - that we would be sorry if we spent too much time with Gerrymønd as he would slowly steal our souls away from us no matter how much we tried to resist the temptation. The Priest in our neighborhood told his congregation that beings like Gerrymønd could never be trusted, that he would burn in hell and would take any unsuspecting souls with him if he could. We didn’t listen.
The antechamber was small - we could only get in by crouching down and shuffling in - and there was never more than two or three of us in there with him at a time. He never came out and no one ever saw anyone bring him anything. Everything he needed seemed to be there in the bushes, or deep underground, and his eyes were pale grey with small pupils. The sound of his voice reminded me of rasping wood, gravelly and almost hoarse from the tea and the hookah. Because it was hot all the time the place smelled burnt, like wood and flesh, and there were shimmers of heat from the back of the chamber where we never went.
I had read somewhere that a fly has between 3,000 and 6,000 simple eyes in each of its compound eyes. Although Gerrymønd had but two human-like eyes he had the ability to look at you in a way that made you feel like a big fly was sizing you up for a place to lay its eggs. Like if you weren’t paying attention it would land on you and slip maggots in your open wounds. I would dream that Gerrymønd had a long curled tongue, like a fruit fly, that he would uncurl and slip into your ear and lick the brains out of your skull if you fell asleep in his presence.
Among the elixirs that Gerrymønd would imbibe, by far his favorite was a smoky tea that he would sip for hours while drawing on the hookah pipe. One day when we were there he offered a cup of the tea to us and no one accepted it except me. I took one sip and immediately slipped into a dreamy state. I had mild hallucinations of the dark antechamber becoming a large mouth that held me in, with pursed lips and teeth, but this vision didn’t cause me any anxiety. A few days later I woke up from the spell with a sore ear and trouble remembering things but otherwise everything was fine.
***You have your start, now finish it.
Please read the following guidelines before submitting your work for consideration.
- All genres and styles of work will be considered with the exception fan fiction and erotica. Keep in mind that short stories, memoir/novel excerpts and essays are encouraged but other work, such as poetry, will also be considered.
- We are looking for submissions that are 300 to 3,000 words in length. However, to be considered as a performer for our reading events, pieces must not exceed 5 minutes stage time (or about 1,000 words). Larger stories will be considered, within reason.
- Please only submit your final draft, no other drafts will be accepted. As much as we are looking forward to reading your stories, we are a small team and want to invest a fair amount of time and consideration into each story submitted. Those who send more than one piece of work for consideration each month will automatically be disqualified for not following directions.
- Did you read the "General Rules for All Submissions" on our website?
We will contact you if your story will be featured on the site. If your story is not selected for one month we may still intend on posting it a following month. This will be determined by how many submissions are received.