DaguerreoTyped #21: December 2018 Photo Prompt Writing Challenge

Each month, Alternating Current Press presents an ekphrastic challenge (photo prompt) for writers and lovers of history: We feature a different public domain historical photograph or illustration, and ask writers to respond to it. There is no wrong answer, and no set style guidelines. Poetry, prose, hybrid, fiction or nonfiction, experimental — anything goes that has a history bent. The best responses will be published on The Coil two months after the challenge ends. See all past challenges and responses.

We present to you: DaguerreoTyped #21! Go write!


1.) Write a piece about or evoked by the photo above.

2.) The piece can be any style or genre. Poetry, hybrid, and all sorts of prose are welcome, including flash, short stories, essays, or creative nonfiction. Soft word limit of 2,000 words.

3.) The piece should have a history bent to it. Use the historical nature, setting, and atmosphere of the photo to evoke the sense of history in your piece. If we can’t find anything historical about it, we won’t accept it. But that doesn’t mean it has to be stodgy. Surprise us. Wow us. Make us laugh. Make us cry. Make an alternative history. Be bold. Take risks.

4.) Deadline for #21: December 31, 2018.

5.) Submit your piece(s) HERE. All pieces should be submitted blind.

6.) You may submit as many pieces as you’d like, but you must submit them all at once, in one submission, with only one free submission per month. Do not submit through any free category to our press more than once per month (all free categories combined). If you mess up on your submission, please request to edit it; do not withdraw it or resubmit. (And if it’s just a minor error, please just leave it alone; minor errors don’t count against you, and you’ll have the chance to edit later if it is accepted. Requesting to edit for a misspelled word is a disruption, not a help.)

7.) If we like your piece, it will be printed on The Coil in February alongside the photo. All pieces published on The Coil receive a token payment.

8.) We reserve the right not to pick any winner and not to print any pieces if there aren’t any that grab us; likewise, we may also choose more than one.

9.) Being familiar with what we publish increases your chances of winning and being considered for print. You can read past finalists and winners of the Charter Oak Award for Best Historical online for free, or you can support our press by purchasing print or ebook copies of our current history journal, Footnote #1 or by preordering #2. We promise you will not be disappointed.

10.) Please share on social media! Use the hashtag #DaguerreoTyped. (Make sure you spell it correctly, or we won’t find it!)