A chance to have your fiction published in Writer’s Digest magazine

Every month, the editors of WD head to a conference room and break out a hulking box. In it, we find thieves, murderers, brothers, lovers, leprechauns and everything in between—the usual (and often incredibly unusual) suspects. From among the cast of stories, five are selected to be posted on our forum for voting and a shot at the lone fiction spot in WD: the Your Story competition.

Wanna give it a go?

In 750 words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring, send your entry to yourstorycontest@fwmedia.com, or post it in the Comments section below and I’ll enter it in the competition. By posting below, you’ll also be automatically entered in our occasional around-the-office swag drawings. (If you’re having trouble with the captcha code sticking, feel free to e-mail your story to me at writersdigest@fwmedia.com, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll make sure it gets up.)

The latest prompt, from our March/April issue, follows. Good luck!

* * *

WRITING PROMPT: Your Story No. 25

Two boys attempt to pull an April Fool’s Day joke on a female classmate, only to find out that she’s the one fooling them.

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12 thoughts on “A chance to have your fiction published in Writer’s Digest magazine

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  2. Dakota Franks

    My name is Jack Peckinpaw and I’m convinced that my fourteen year old sister’s heart is as raw and empty as a Bulimic’s stomach after a fresh purge- she couldn’t possibly be human. The last time sweet Amber pulled an audacious deed, stealing my parents car, I was the one arrested. I was arrested for finding and driving the stolen car home while she cajoled the officer into believing she had nothing to do with it. That’s the way its always been with her and I. She’d do something stupid, swear up and down that I did it, and I’d be the one in trouble. A little evil troll wearing an angel’s guise she is, however things are about to change. Tonight is the night that my sister will see a whole new meaning to April Fools.

    My best friend, co -captain, and fellow basketball teammate JJ is rounding up the guys at his house, where we will be planning a little late night prank for Amber and her friends during their secret slumber party. The girls have been whispering and sneaking around all afternoon like little rats although I haven’t noticed. I’ve been a cool cat, sitting at the kitchen table, playing with the empty aspirin box while planning my pounce. I grab my back pack full of predator goodies, an eight pack of Gatorade for the game and  my car keys.

    “Mom I’m heading to JJ’s for a game of basketball with the guys then we’re hanging out for awhile, I’ll be home at midnight.” I yell to her through the bathroom door, hoping she can hear me over the shower.

    “Did you take the trash out like I asked you too and where is your sister?” she yelled much louder than needed.

    I rolled my brown eyes across the ceiling and couldn’t resist being glib.

    “I threw her away with the garbage Mom, see ya later.” I bolted to my car before she could respond.

    JJ lives in the same neighborhood, a five minute walk but I chose to drive.

    “Hey guys Peckerhead is here” yelled Peter upon my arrival.  I inherited “Peckerhead” because of my last name -lucky I guess. Peter is as funny as his looks, bright orange hair and ears so big, his head looks like a steering wheel.

    “Wad up my Homie G’s ? ” I asked.

    JJ, Alex, and Chris all made their way over to me.

    “What’s in the back pack?” asked JJ while swiping it out of my hand. He unzipped it to find Halloween masks, rubber knives, fake blood capsules,  along with a few other things needed for the killing spree I was going to create during my manic episode tonight.

    “This stuff is for later on ” I said collecting the items that they were passing around.

    I smacked the basketball out of Peter’s hands and started the game. The next two hours were spent in a fierce competition. The score stayed back to back throughout the game. We had polished the eight bottles of Gatorade which meant we were not only hungry but dehydrated too. We all smiled when JJ pulled out thirty bucks for pizza and announced his parents were out for the night.

    The house was cool from the air conditioning and the plush sectional couch was heaven.  JJ had ordered the pizza and I ordered a movie on Demand to watch while we waited for it to arrive. Alex and Peter’s voices  were  lulling me while they slurred highlights of today’s game. We were all exhausted.

    My eyes felt groggy and my mouth like cotton, when I noticed I was looking up at the white ceiling. I was rubbing away sleep and  I realized that I must have dosed off, as I was half lying on Alex. I sat up and looked at my still sleeping friends-out cold.

    “Come on guys get up.” I shouted while I took turns shaking them.

    As each one woke and sat up, I saw spots of white on their faces. I looked around wildly. Something was wrong- I sensed it. "Amber couldn’t"  I thought but then I remembered the Gatorade and the empty box of TylenolPM.

    It wasn’t until Peter sat up, that I noticed the can of shaving cream next to him and the grey shadow where his eyebrows used to be. Instinctively I ran to the bathroom where I  shrieked in horror, my eyebrows had been completely shaved off, and I am Amber’s fool again.

  3. Zac

    Hey Candy,

    The MWF prompts can be posted whenever you’d like, although to be included for a shot at the Promptly swag they just need to be in before I announce a drawing for the last month or so.

    For Your Story, I should have included that in the post — the deadline goes to April 10.

    Thanks for writing and visiting the blog!

  4. Summer Hall

    Riley, Bell, Rafe and Nadette are igs, powerless beings unworthy of Noble abilities, clumsy, nampy-pampy, dreary sorts, with no talent whatsoever. That is what everyone thinks, but not them. Together they set out on a mission to break the Curse of the Ignoble and release the dormant powers that dwell within each of them.

    From Chapter 21: Scoundrels to Scrolls

    ‘Winij said you were expecting us. How did you know we’d come?’ Riley asked, before Rafe could say anything else insulting.

    ‘It’s quilled in the records. All the events of the past are quilled on these books that line my walls,’ the Historian answered.

    ‘But it hadn’t happened before?’

    ‘True, but it was prophesied by King Galahad.’ She pulled a book from the shelf next to her, flipped over to the pages near the middle and read. ‘Maezo Leemzoulurok pidd komakaeg ig maezo zugwous ex Iygetdoz – The Soothsayer will return in the hands of Ignobles.’

    Riley saw some of the pages that followed, they were blank. ‘Why’s there nothing on those pages?’ he asked.

    ‘For history to be quilled. That’s my duty, my power. Now let me see my friend,’ the Historian said smiling. Riley handed the orb to her. ‘It’s been too long Qadr.’ She held it up high then removed her hand. The orb stayed suspended.

    Defying gravity, it rose into the air. It’s centre swirled a rainbow of colours, before smashing into thousands of pieces. The glass evaporated into smoke, which dispersed throughout the entire room. When it settled, a man had joined them. It was the Soothsayer. He was a tall man, dressed in a grey robe, with grey hair in a long plait and goutee that curled like a pig’s tail. He stretched his entire body. It’d been four-hundred year since he was able to stand.

    ‘Boy do I need a time on a torture rack. A good stretch out would do well about now. They never shined to that here did they?’ The Historian shook her head. ‘Oh to be back in the old country. Am I shorter? Blast those warlocks, but I guess I must submit myself to destiny. Things must be as I see them. It’s so good to see you again Penha,’ the Soothsayer said. The two exchanged smiles. ‘So where’s the boy?’

    The Historian pointed to Riley. ‘He has brought you to us.’

  5. Martha W

    Mark, Wow. LOVED that.

    Zac – this was sooooo much fun. I had a hard time trimming down to 750 (which I hit right on the nose).

    **************

    "Hey Annie," Jon jogged toward her, pulling her out of her thoughts.

    She sighed, frustrated. He was persistent, that’s for sure. "Hello."

    He pushed her bag off the chair next to her, dropped into the seat. "Why are you studying? It’s a long weekend, with Easter and all."

    Annie snatched her back pack off the ground and sat it next to her lunch. Jerk. "I’m working on a presentation. Not that you care."

    "True. Have you thought about it some more?"

    "My answer is still no. Now leave me alone."

    He quirked a blond eyebrow and cracked a smile guaranteed to make girls swoon. "Scott will be there too."

    Her heart picked up pace. "So?"

    "So- he loves this stuff as much as you do." Jon leaned over and grabbed a fry from the napkin in front of her.

    Annie snatched it back before he popped it in his mouth. No manners. "Why would that matter to me?"

    He laughed. Hard. "Little sister, feed that BS to someone else."

    "Shut up."

    "C’mon. It just the Slave House."

    Her breath almost stopped. The most haunted location in Illinois. Just thinking of the paranormal hotbed sent her adrenaline skyrocketing. "I realize you don’t believe in ghosts, but don’t be flip."

    "Just one night, Annie. You know you want to."

    Yeah, she did.

    And she knew it was April first. Knew it was a setup. But she couldn’t resist the lure – of the Slave House or Scott.

    #

    "Are you sure we should do this?" Scott looked at his best friend, gauged his mood.

    Jon slapped him on the back. "Oh yeah. She’s gonna scream like a girl."

    "She is a girl."

    "You know what I mean. I can’t pass this up." Jon pulled the rope another inch to make the noose the perfect height before tying it off on the door knob.

    Scott shook his head. Looking around the rundown plantation house, he shuddered.

    #

    Annie stood, shrouded in darkness, alert for any signs. It was close to three in the morning. The best time for any activity – if there was going to be any. Jon and Scott hung back to either side of her.

    "How about we go upstairs?" Jon whispered.

    She rolled her eyes. He was so obvious. "How about you guys stay here. I want to check the Master Bedroom on my own."

    Jon quickly masked the smile. "Are you sure?"

    "Yep."

    Scott touched her arm, tentative. "Be careful, okay?"

    She stepped toe to toe with him, practically touching but not. "Worried about me?"

    His breath fanned her face as he searched her eyes. "Yeah."

    She turned, headed for the stairs before she gave in to the obvious. "Right. You think I’m chicken."

    The low growl from behind her made her smile. She flung her best sassy look over her shoulder, met his stare. "Who knows. Maybe we’ll get lucky."

    #

    Her scream filled the air then broke off as suddenly as it started.

    Jon bolted for the stairs, matched step for step by Scott. They raced to the open door of the bedroom where her lifeless body hung from the noose they put up earlier.

    "Oh my God!" Jon rushed for the knot now around the foot board of the bed.

    Scott wrapped his arms around her to ease the tension on the rope. "You idiot. Couldn’t just open the door and say ‘boo’ like other brothers. No. Have to take it one step too far."

    She fell slack in his arms. Not breathing.

    Jon tripped in his haste to get to her, landed on his knees at Scott’s feet. "Put her down. Maybe try CPR."

    Scott lowered her, saw her eyes flicker open, just caught her shallow breath.

    Jon fell stone silent, tears coursed down his cheeks.

    She reached a hand to touch Scott’s face. "Just once. For me."

    The wispy tone to her voice chased a chill down Scott’s spine. "No. No, Annie." He was close to breaking.

    A gentle tug drew him down for a soft, lingering kiss. He started when her tongue flicked the seam of his lips, pulled back when her fingers tightened in his hair.

    She sat up without saying a word, grace in every movement as she stood.

    Scott watched in bewilderment, not sure what was happening until he saw her shaking shoulders on her way out the door. He turned to Jon. Glared at his best friend.

    Jon stared back at him, shrugged. "And you say I’m bad?"

  6. Mark James

    “June 1, 2016, they made their last stand right here, ladies and gentlemen. Twenty men, thirteen women and eight children. One child walked out alive. They came here to escape – -”

    “Cut. You’re walking under a wire. It’s like you’re hanging yourself,” Kat said.

    She ran a hand through her hair. I looked at Tyler and knew we were both thinking the same thing. Shouldn’t have pulled this one on her.

    The Smart Cam hovered by her left shoulder, dipped slowly before it said, “Video input discontinued. Power Conservation enabled.”

    Kat slapped at it like it had said something bad about her mother.

    Tyler leaned in close to me. “This could all go bad,” he said.

    She rounded on us. “What? You both think I’m losing it?”

    Tyler backed off, both hands up. “No. It’s getting late. We’re losing daylight.”

    “Long drive back,” I said.

    “Then we don’t go back.” Kat swooped down on the Smart Cam, flung it in her back pack and took off through the empty house.

    “Kat.” Tyler went to go after her.

    I grabbed his arm. “Let her go.”

    He tried to shake me off. “We can’t stay here. What if she can’t recover from the flashback?”

    “What if your geek search was wrong? What if she’s not that kid?”

    Tyler’s voice was low, bitter. “But if she is, it’s all about the digital copy, right?”

    I let that go. “It’s about the scholarship. It’s about the edge we have that no one else can touch. We need to win.”

    “Leave him alone,” Kat said. She was leaning in the doorway, her eyes on me. “You’re right.”

    I made myself take a deep breath. “We’ll never win with day time footage.”

    Kat slid down the wall, ignoring the puffs of dust that came up around her. She pulled out the Cam, rolled it across the floor to me. “And we’ve got the edge on everyone.” She looked up at both of us. “Don’t we?”

    “Kat, you don’t have to – – ”

    I grabbed the Cam. “Shut up, Tyler.”

    The Cam knew Kat’s signals better than any of ours. In the falling dark, I flipped it on, let it hover. “You ready to do this?” I said.

    Her voice was low, far away, like she was on the other side of a gulf of years that yawned across the wooden floor. “No.”

    “Where are you, Kat?”

    She looked around, but her eyes were dull, blank. She was seeing somewhere inside her head. “A dark place. Candles on the table, people sleeping on the floor.” Her voice sank to the whisper of a little girl. “Quiet. We have to be really quiet.”

    “Oh man,” Tyler said. “This is so wrong.”

    I dragged him close, whispered in his ear, “You want this scholarship or not?”

    She was crawling around on the floor, her hands filthy with dust, looking for something.

    I watched for a minute before I said, “Talk to me, Kat. What’s going on?”

    The Smart Cam tracked her with a blue laser beam that made a cone of eerie light through the dust. “Daddy says we have to go, but I can’t find her. Where is she?”

    Tyler rubbed the back of his hand over his mouth. I could see why. We were looking at a twenty two year old woman, but we were hearing the voice of a kid, maybe eight or nine.

    I kept my voice low, soothing. “What’d you lose, sweetheart?”

    “My doll,” Kat said. Her hands sifted around on the floor, made low scraping sounds. Suddenly she looked up, eyes wide. “Oh no.” She sounded like a kid looking into the monster’s eyes under her bed. “They’re here. I came in the closet to find my dolly and they’re here. Men in green clothes with guns.”

    She stuffed both hands in her mouth, made a low keening sound, and even with all the years between the little girl and the woman I’d come to love, I could hear the little girl’s stifled screams.

    “Kat,” I said. “We need you to come back. Can you do that? Can you come back to us?”

    She pointed at the Cam and said in that strangely haunted little girl voice, “Turn it off. It’s watching me.”

    I grabbed it out of the air, flipped the switch.

    Kat blew hair off her face, smiled. “What did you guys think? Scholarship material?”

    We won, made it through film school. All these years later I’ve never had the guts to ask my wife about the doll, the one I found in her back pack after that shoot.

  7. Robert McCartney

    Darkness filled the auditorium, as two young boys huddled close together behind the stage curtain. Fellow students populated the seats, each waiting for the next contestant to appear on the stage. Some grew restless, stirring in their seats, antsy, longing for something to be more entertaining than the bore that had been plaguing the stage all afternoon.

    A voice boomed over the speakers, “Next up! Please give a warm welcome for, Lynaly.”

    A rat-a-tap clap roared throughout the auditorium, as if it were raining heavily inside building to a flood.

    A young, tall and slender girl appeared on the stage before her peers. The spotlight shining brightly upon her radiant face, and luscious curves. Her long flowing dark hair swayed gently as she readied herself. Her bright green eyes sparkling from the spotlight, lightly breathing, as one should not be in front of such a crowd. Lynaly was the most under appreciative, and ignored individual socially, but held… special talents in her being. She beamed a smile, as bright as the light that shined on her, her shadow beneath stretched upon the floor and curtain.

    Laying in waiting, the two boys behind the curtain patiently plotted for when the lights dimmed, and the poor girl was defenseless. It would be a day that would go down in history, not only in the schools, but in mankind.

    Lynaly began singing a opera song, the same one she stumbled upon days ago for when she wandered into the old relic shop. Recalling the words, and then reciting, her angelic voice dominated the silence and roused her peers to their feet, as if a siren. Jaws dropped, as the beauty and elegance that was bestowed upon them all.

    The boys nudged one another in the shadows, shaking their heads of the awe that struck them.

    “Now! Let’s get her now!” one boy mocked the other as they stood in awe still.

    “I-I don’t know man, I mean… listen to her.” the other boy reluctant on carrying out the plan.

    “Dude, what are you? Stop being a pansy and grow some balls! We’re going to go down in history man! Think of all the chicks we will get from this!” the slightly older boy pounded his fist in his palm, making a mockery of his comrade.

    “Alright, let’s get this over with quick.” the reluctant boy agreed.

    Slowly they peeled back the curtain more, exposing more of a view of Lynaly.

    While the boys readied their ploy, Lynaly became entranced as she sung. Her shadow fluttered beneath her and upon the curtain.

    The boys opened the curtain and dashed onto the stage, as the familiar voice boomed over the speaker again, “Stop! Get off the stage!”

    The boys displaying their agility dashed behind Lynaly screaming “April Fool’s!” The shade beneath Lynaly grew, and warped up her feet and then legs. The boys stopped behind her, as they noticed what event was taking place. Lynaly spun around, still in a trance, and singing her siren melody. Where as then a seductive and foreboding voice emerged, as the shade shrouded Lynaly.

    “You like to play tricks do you? I have a trick for you…” the shade erupted from Lynaly and consumed one of the boys, ridding him of his flesh and bones, leaving only ash.

    “April Fool’s!” the voice cackled maniacally, as people began to shriek in horror.

    “It has only begun my friends, please be seated or…” the shade erupted again from the once angelic appearing girl, swirling around in the room high and low, severing those from body and soul draining them into the darkness that laid beneath Lynaly.

    “You… I have a special place for you… Open your heart for me, won’t you?” the voice cackled once more, as the young man looked down in horror to see his chest gap open and his heart still beating removed from his chest.

    The sinister voice subsided, as did the shade. Lynaly returned to normal, snapping out of the trance, and gazed upon the horror that laid around her.

  8. Albert Debusschere

    She’d actually come, and they couldn’t believe it. It had taken them all month to convince her that she had a secret admirer and he wanted to meet her after school.

    She glided into the empty class room, flipping on the lights and sighing in disappointment almost at once. Her jet black hair brushed long down her back, same with her dress and skirt, with frills of black lace ensconced along the edges. Black lipstick and eye liner marked her face. In essence, she was just the typical cute goth girl in class.

    This made it all the sweeter to them, nothing like further disappointing the already downtrodden! This simple excitement was too much and their giggling immediately gave away their position to her.

    She clenched her eyes shut and spun around hissing "I know your there" at the office door.

    Solemnly, they filed out of the office and into the classroom, eyes down turned, prepared for a harsh tongue lashing.

    Her eyes shifted from one to the other, then, cleared her throat.

    "You think its funny to toy with peoples lives?"

    "Look, it was just a joke…" the boy on the right croaked out.

    "I’ll show you what its like to play with peoples lives" she snapped back. Her right hand reached into the small purse slung low on her side. Once it had found what it was looking for, it shout out causing the boys to jerk in fear simultaneously and then relief when they realized it was a deck of cards.

    "Ooo, are you going to tell us our future with your fairy cards?" the boy on the left chided, his face now lit up in a stupid grin.

    "Yup! But these are no ‘fairy cards’ as you put it, these are the real deal."

    Her hands began to dance, shuffling the cards rhythmically as if in a intricatly rehearsed ballet. Once they were satisfied, her hand rested on the top card and she rapidly drew four cards.

    "First card, King of Diamonds, but thats not important."

    "Playing cards, what, are you gonna poker us to death?" One boy chided

    She couldn’t help but smirk at that little comment. "Next, Two of Clubs, but that’s not important. Next, King of Clubs, not important. Three of Clubs, but that’s not important either, you see its always the last card that important!"

    "Shes lost it, the goth girls gone loony, shes…" His voice was cut short, what was happening now was beginning to make him question his own sanity.

    The top card of the deck was moving, but no by her hand, all by itself rather. It slid up till it was standing upright on the deck, its back to the two boys. Slowly it began to turn towards them. As this spectacle occurred, neither bothered to notice the girls blank face was turning into a sadistic grin, her eyes beginning to glow a dull green.

    As it hit halfway, the boys found they could no longer move, feeling had almost completely left their bodies. The card was almost completely facing them now and sparks of lightening lept from its corners. This card was wrong, in the corners was the number 13, and across the center was a series of spades.

    "Black Thirteen, boys, this is where we part" she exclaimed.

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