Shapeshifting 13 #76 Kickoff

October 19, 2016

Well, howdy, Ghoul Friends!

I love this time of year. I’ve said that a lot, but the statement stands true. One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to watch specific television episodes and movies that celebrate this time of year. I’m talking Halloween and Thanksgiving episodes of Friends and The Big Bang Theory alongside The Nightmare Before Christmas, Hocus Pocus, Halloween, Child’s Play, The Purge, Ghostbusters and more.

It’s a very modern way to celebrate anything, but it’s been that way for years. 

One thing that I’ve noticed over the years is how the same stories are so often told again and again. For example, the Ghostbusters franchise was recently redone with an all female cast. I, personally, loved this movie–I just watched it a few days ago–and I saw so many references to the first film. There were so many references, in fact, that it felt like retelling of the original movie at times, but it definitely stands on its own in my opinion. When you look at television shows, especially those that center around this time of year, you typically find a similar set up each time. Maybe there’s a spunky sarcastic child who knocks on the door expecting candy and then hisses when they don’t receive what they wanted. Maybe there’s a party where a supporting character has too much to drink and the main character has to help them. Maybe there’s a moment when one of the main characters is “haunted” by something “supernatural” only to realize it was a prank by one of their friends and they try to play it all cool, but we all know they nearly wet themselves because they were so frightened. Have you seen these episodes? Yeah, I thought so. It got me thinking about the art of retelling something. I have often looked at past stories that I’ve written and thought, “Hm, I wonder what this story might look like today–now that I’m older and wiser, at least figuratively.” I’ve considered revisiting old ideas and trying them anew, but part of me believes that I’ll either destroy what I originally crafted, or the retelling simply won’t do it justice. On the other hand, retelling other people’s stories can be quite interesting. Though I’ve never done it, I’ve seen where other authors have taken well-known material and turned it into something new and all their own. Take the story of Dorothy in the land of Oz. We all know the original tale, and I’m sure you’ve at least heard of the broadway sensation, Wicked. The musical is based on the novel of the same name by Gregory Macguire, and it takes the Wicked Witch of the West, identifies her with the name Elpheba, and journeys through her life, detailing what events made her “wicked” in the eyes of others, and leaves it up to the reader to determine for themselves if she was truly wicked, or if she has wickedness thrust upon her. I’ve read the book, and I have the second in that series, though I’ve yet to read it–I’ve also seen the musical and I was absolutely floored by the story. It was so gut-wrenching and beautiful, and it made me look at this vicious character in a whole new way. Retelling something in such a way that it makes the new take unique and interesting is something that I think could be truly captivating and awe-inspiring to do as a writer. But where to start? This brings us to our discussion questions today: If you could retell a known story (notice that I didn’t say well-known), what do you think you might tackle and how do you think you could make it unique and fresh? Do you find retellings of stories interesting, whether in fiction novel form or through the movies and television episodes many of us watch religiously? Do you think retelling undoes some of the splendor of an original piece or do you think it is more of a celebratory flattering? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below and let’s start a conversation!

Now, the past few weeks, I’ve given you classical and/or orchestral instrumental tracks as your audio prompts. This week, we’re going in a more modern direction with the audio and a broader view in the visual prompt. Check it out below!

Before we get to this week’s prompt, though, here are a few important reminders:

  • On the last Friday of each month, we will celebrate a fellow writer here at Grammar Ghoul Press, in a segment we’re calling “Celebrating the Ghouls”! If you’re interested in being a part of this project, please email out past celebrations here
  • Our Lair is currently taking a hiatus, as is our Mutant 750 challenge. Should either one open up, we’ll announce it here!
  • The Shapeshifting 13 goes live every Wednesday at Noon ET. The grid will stay open until Sunday at 8:00 p.m., after which voting will open. Voting ends on Monday at 8:00 p.m., so you get about 24 hours to read and vote for your favorites pieces. Winners will be announced in a separate post on Tuesday at Noon ET. Further details can be found here.

This week, our latest challenge series continues!


During Ghoul Festival, you will be provided a picture prompt and an audio prompt. The prompts should create an atmosphere for you that (we hope) will elicit some amazingly creative writing that is incredibly diverse. Our Ghoul Festival this year is all about the SOUNDS AND FEELS OF FALL! Let the image and the audio guide you through your imagination. Our suggestion? Plug in some headphones or turn up the speakers, close your eyes, and listen after staring at the picture for a bit, and see where your creative genius leads you!

Last week for THE SHAPESHIFTING 13 challenge, you were tasked with creating a story or poem in just 39 words. This week, in exactly 52 words, your challenge is to write a story or poem inspired by the following prompts:

Visual Prompt:

Audio Prompt:

“Andare” by Ludovico Einauldi from Divenire. (Retrieved from David Ballard)


The General Shapeshifting 13 Rules:

  •  Challenge submissions must be fiction or poetry.
  •    Submissions must be exactly the number of words specified; no more, no less.
  •    Submissions must use the prompt as directed.
  •    Submissions should be written in response to the challenge, so they shouldn’t pre-date the kickoff post.
  •    One submission per person.
  •    Please put lengthy explanations at the end of your post, not at the beginning.
  •    Don’t forget to add the code for the challenge badge to your post.
  •    When voting, you are on the honor to not vote for your own piece.

Now, while you’re getting ready to post those wonderful words, don’t forget to grab the Shapeshifting 13 #76 badge from the right side of the page, and insert it into your post. Remember, you have until Sunday @ 8pm Eastern Time to submit something. Have fun!

Until next time, au revoir, and SHARE THE GEEKDOM!

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