The Mad River
Published in

The Mad River

13 More Days (and nights) of Dark & Weird

A wild, weird, and gruesome writing challenge with our beloved Midnight Mosaic Fiction

Photo by Alejandro Salazar on Unsplash

On this Friday the 13th, the year begins to turn its back to look toward a new, darker, horizon. We wait on a breath to see what the falling leaves will bring as they bustle through the forest, the foothills, and the rain-splattered streets of eerie towns that hold their echoes in dark puddles.

Last year brought us many tales both weird and wonderful.

This year we are extra hungry, this year we want more.

As darkness creeps on All Hallow’s Eve, as badly disguised children run in the streets, knocking on doors and extorting candy from innocent householders, we want you to turn down the lights, shine torches on your faces, and tell dark tales, speak weird words, let turmoil, torture, and terror protect us from the dark.

Make them delightfully dreadful, or dearly dark, or whimsically weird — make us taste them and close our eyes on a sated sigh.

Also, Daphelba has promised pizza (but not necessarily to share).

The Challenge

Write, edit, and submit up to 13 dark and weird tales by end of day Midnight, October 22nd (IDLW).

13 optional prompts will be released by the editors between 14 September and 16 October. (Be sure to follow both publications so you don’t miss anything!)

Your stories may be classified as horror, sci-fi, fantasy, weird, new weird, romance, or mixed-genre, but should be tinged or tainted, stained or stirred with the dark or weird or both.

Poetry, flash, short story, and experimental form — all welcome.

Max 2,500 words, unless you’ve written the best story in the history of stories and it’s 3,000 or less.

The Prizes

You mean aside from the glorious sense of pride and accomplishment you’ll receive from writing as many dark & weird tales as you can in a single month? And the tender love and care they will receive as we place them gently and adoringly in the publications?

Well, while all the details aren’t yet nailed down, you can expect the following:

You’ll receive Newsletter Shout-Outs for ranking-up as we publish more of your poems/stories: 6, 9, 13! The more you submit the more we shout.

We’ll select [a number] of winners based on participation, quality of submissions, and possibly even a reader’s vote. The talented winners will get to choose pot-luck from our mystery prize bag (it’s a mystery as even we don’t know what’s in it yet — feel free to leave suggestions in comments below).

Some prize possibilities (the especially possible in bold) …

  • The Editor of your choice will write a piece in dedication to you — (we may ask you for some direction).
  • Your story audio-recorded and shared on Medium.
  • An electronic image of Julia’s demon dog doing something cute or savage (depending on its mood).
  • Your own featured prompt in either publication.
  • Daphelba gets to have her pizza and eat it.
  • Your name spoken at least three times with awe at the next joint editorial meeting.
  • We all promise to ask, beseech, and beg for your protection from wolves, bats, and spiders.
  • Write collaboratively with an Editor of your choice.
  • edh will bake a cake in your honour and tell you how delicious it was.
  • J. Brandon will recommend you personally to a neighbourhood tree or the new moon (as per your preference).
  • Free beta-reading with light editing and consultation from one of our Editors (up to 8,000 words)
  • Your secret name added to our secret list of secretness.

We’ll also send 3 random participants a $13 Amazon giftcard!

Submitting your Stories

Selected* submissions will be published in either The Mad River or Midnight Mosaic Fiction during the 13 days leading up to Halloween. The editors will duke it out over your stories, add you as a writer to the chosen publication, and ask you to submit your story appropriately.

Use the following form for submissions**

(also available in the Midnight Mosaic Fiction announcement):


*Submission does not guarantee publication. To increase your odds of publication, please include a rights-free photo in your draft, edit your work to the best of your ability, and pay attention to notification for private notes or emails from the editorial team
**Please do not submit your draft directly to the Medium publication until asked to do so.



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Peculiar Julia

Peculiar Julia

Writer of poetry, prose, and the occasional rant. I like to feed the monsters under my bed with story cake and poem pastries. Is peculiar (Julia)