If you like supporting creative projects directly, whether by donations or giving people ideas, see if there's something of interest here. It's a collection of projects that caught my eye, particularly fiction Fishbowls where you leave prompts for someone to use as basis for writing. At the end you'll find links to stories written to my prompts in January, as well as my activity last month.
Pueblo of Acoma Storytelling Studio - the goal is to build a small recording studio to preserve the Acoma language Keres, as well as orally passed on stories, both of which are at risk of being lost.
Plunge Magazine - building a genre fiction (e-)zine focusing on queer women.
The Arkh Project - working on a professional quality videogame that stars people of colour and queer characters, rather than tokenising them.
Looking for Submissions
Torn world is a collaborative writing an art project around a science fantasy setting. They're always looking for new contributors, but just now they started a contest to the theme Critters of Torn World, with categories fiction, poetry, art, and meta-fiction (articles about the setting).
EMG-Zine (Steampunk-themed issue out now!) is a fantasy/scifi zine and looking for art, fiction and nonfiction for upcoming themes. The next deadline is the 1st March, for the theme "Plants". (No payment for art, payment in credits redeemable there and on a few other sites for fiction and nonfiction, so that's somewhere between no payment and token payment. On the plus side, reprints are accepted. Submission Guidelines)
Mostly people looking for writing prompts, but occasionally jams open to anyone. Sorted by date.
10th-12th - Sketch Fest: people leave prompts. People draw sketches based on those prompts, spending at most 1 hour on each sketch. (This may be cancelled for family reasons by maintainer Ellen Million)
Starting 16th: Flash Fiction Fishbowl: I will be looking for flash fiction writing prompts to the theme "Law and Order".
Starting 18th - Giraffe Call: Lyn Thorne-Alder will be looking for fiction writing prompts to the theme "Wine and Roses".
19th-20th - Garden of Prose: Clare Dragonfly will be looking for fiction writing prompts to the theme "fountains, statues, and gazing balls"
Lyn Throne Alder wrote Breaking Ground from the prompt "Building freeze after a find during excavations". And Thicker Than... from "family of choice", I think. And Warning Buzz from "Someone with the minor magic gift of being able to talk to insects and spiders".
That little kerfuffle last summer? Yes, I had my part in that. I was a bit down on my luck and squatting in an old house down towards the river, and one night I wake up to yelling and banging - sounded like someone was trying to take down the door, which made no sense since it was not locked.
So I take the big flashlight and check, and find some girl leaning against the door from the inside, holding up the handle trying to keep folks outside from getting in. She looked at me, eyes wide like anything and glowing, close to a panic, and when a racket started up in one of the rooms, I didn’t blame her. Sounded like quite a few, so if half circled through a window…
“Move aside a bit.”
“They want me dead.”
“I noticed. Move aside, and get ready to follow me that way.” I pointed to the back of the house, and she nodded. I wedged one of my hair sticks under the door - it was the closest to a wedge I had on hand, see? It bought us a bit of a head-start.
She could have outrun little old me, no problem, but she followed me, poor little thing. That house was a really old one, with a root cellar with a heavy trapdoor, and it seemed like the safest place to me.
“There’s no way out!”
“Stay calm. We’ll just wait them out.” It wasn’t all that easy. We had to both hang from the ring on the trapdoor, but the weight of the three of us was too much. Folks from the mob gave us a break sometimes, when they needed it, but we had to pay attention.
“We’ll die here. We can’t wait them out forever.”
“Not from here, eh?”
To that she shook her head.
“We don’t have to.” Just then another attack on the door distracted us. I’m glad gravity was on our side, really.
After a long while we could not hear anything going on outside any more, but then, as I said, the door was thick and heavy.
“I’ve been running and hiding for days; they just won’t give up.”
“And what day is it now?”
“Tuesday.” No idea, the little pup.
“No, in moon-phase.”
“Waning, half moon.” After a moment she added, “Only just past.”
“Thought so. See, werewolf hunting season is only half of the month, half-moon to half-moon.” She didn’t look like she got my point, so I said, “Between waning half and waxing half, you are a person, even here.”
“But not yesterday? That’s crazy.”
“Yep. But useful, right now.”
We waited a bit longer, just to be sure. But we did get away without a problem. I just had to find a different place to stay.
Based on the prompt "Waning Moon" by Eliza Gebow, combined with the prompts "eccentric" and "deadline" from origfic_bingo
“Thank you for seeing me.” Oneida bowed to Talaeshin, knowing that elves shunned skin-to-skin contact.
The foremost expert on orc history being an elf was unsurprising. Their long lifespans had made elves lore-keepers long before there had been historians. This one answered in a tone of cool disinterest, “Yes. You were very persistent.”
“This is important. May I…?” She waved a folder into the room and after getting a nod of permission slid past a big box standing partly in the was to the nearly empty desk. On it she laid out notes and photos of old human bones taken on site of an archaeological dig.
While she worked, Talaeshin said, “Few people treat matters of an extinct species as urgent.”
“History is important,” she answered without thinking. “And I wonder if history is wrong. These photos—”
“And wherever did you get those?”
“The dig at Crane Mountain, where they wanted to build a new hotel,” Oneida evaded, “but the important thing is that that there were toothmarks on those bones much too narrow for orcs, no matter what the press spreads already. Someone else needs to review this, of course, but if it’s true, it’s a strong argument for examining remains from older sites.”
Nodding, Talaeshin said, “No respect for the rest of the dead.” He raised his hand to forestall Oneida’s protest and continued, “Do you have any speculations what creature left these toothmarks?”
Forcing herself to not shrink back, she said, “One set at least is definitely elven. It seems… interesting.”
“No? But don’t you see—”
“You fail to see, naturally, that this is not news.” Talaeshin’s tone grew sharper. “History is what we allow to be written down, and this we won’t.”
He made a sharp downwards gesture and Oneida found herself mute and rooted to the spot. She had never believed the stories about elves wielding magic. She thought she should panic, but her heartbeat was slowing down.
“You are right. Orcs were, in fact, mostly herbivorous.” He laid a hand on her shoulder and lowered his face to hers, smiling. “I, on the other hand, have inherited a recipe from my grandmother I would love to try on you.”
Based on the prompt "What if elves were actually horrible, and orcs were decent, but the elves have better PR so they've just managed to convince people of the opposite? " by Elizabeth Barette aka ysabetwordsmith
The Torn World Muse Fusion is looking for prompts for a bunch of people to create fiction, poetry or art for the Torn World setting. You don't need to be familiar with it; general prompts are welcome. If you'd like a theme as a springboard, the current and upcoming contest themes are "Fashions and Fads" and "Critters of Land and Sea".
Commuting by bus had a big advantage in addition to not having to look for a parking space which Elsa never mentioned, in case other people would consider her selfish: It gave her privacy for a while. Between heeding “no cellphones” signs and being surrounded by strangers, she had twice twenty minutes each day to relax, usually without being bothered by anyone.
She had heard of friendships started on the bus, but of the few people she recognised most belonged to the group of punks loitering at the main station. A boy with a hooked nose who changed hair colours more often than his clothes, a girl with the rat riding on her shoulder, and their half-dozen friends, drinking in broad daylight, talking loud enough their voices carried to the office three streets away sometimes, littering, and generally acting as if they owned the world. Some days Elsa carried her briefcase as a shield between herself in her business suit and that crowd, other days she switched it to whichever hand was farthest from them, as if they might snatch it. Only occasionally she even noticed what she was doing, and even more rarely she realised that they had never taken notice of her.
Hyper-aware as she was of their imagined threat, she even noticed a newcomer with her head swimming from a monster of a meeting, frustrated at being mostly ignored by her colleagues. Two hours late, and the last bus of the day gearing up to leave, Elsa hurried through the fry-fat smell of biodiesel behind the bus, and missed her footing on the high curb. There was a crack and a crunch, and she found herself dizzy and on her knees on the platform, suddenly close to tears. Oh god, it’s backed over my briefcase and I skinned my knee like a little girl and it’s all so embarrassing.
She pushed herself up, wiping her hands against each other to get rid of the grit. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the punks staring, and the newcomer, a guy with bright green hair and so many tattoos on his arms there was barely and skin in sight, approached her with long steps.
Looking to the left at the bus, she saw more people staring, and the driver getting out, looking... almost sick. Elsa hoped it wasn’t too obvious that his discomfort made her feel better, less awkward and alone.
“Hello! Are you ready for an adventure?”
The voice made Elsa jump, and when the words registered, she answered the punk with a hostile stare. “Go away.”
He smiled down at her -- what was it with kids these days being so awfully tall? -- and answered, “Sorry, ma’am, just doing my job.”
“Oh, go find someone else to mock. Or an actual job, even better.” Elsa raked a trembling hand through her hair and looked at the ground, left and right. Where had her briefcase ended up?
After a few moments the punk asked gently, “Why haven’t you looked behind you yet?”
The dread this suggestion evoked stopped her breath for a moment. Her voice was a tiny squeak. “I can’t.” She stared at the ground. Old glass shards glittered in the cracks between the cobblestones. A hand rose into her field of vision. Only now she noticed the tattoos on the punk’s arm didn’t consist of abstract swirls of colour, or feature flames and bones and knives, like she had unthinkingly expected. Those sleeves were made up of nothing but butterflies, wing-edge to wing-edge.
“You know what happened.” His voice was soft and sympathetic.
“I’m not... Do I have to?”
“Knowing is better, and seeing helps knowing.”
When she took the offered hand, Elsa finally became aware that the bus driver and a few other people were milling around, but ignoring her completely. She turned and looked over her shoulder, for a glance at her body. The bus had backed up right when she had fallen backwards.
She sighed. “Typical. When you think things are at their worst, something’s going to prove you wrong. I’d expected something like a water pipe or major appliance breaking.” It was a rather feeble attempt at humour, but helped steady her. She was glad for someone to hold her hand, even a rather alarming-looking stranger. “So, what now?” She squelched worries about what this would do to her colleagues and friends, deciding right now it was time to be selfish.
“You need a rest, and a change. A chance to become more yourself.” His warm smile widened a bit, eyes narrowing in amusement. “You seem to be more optimistic in your soul than in your habits, for instance.”
“Or I wouldn’t have pitched forward?”
“Exactly.” He offered his other hand, too, and Elsa took it.
The colours of his tattoos seemed to become even more vivid, the grey concrete and cobbles around them fading to nothing. Elsa felt light and warm, and watched with delight as the world broke into fluttering shards of colour, jewel-bright. Her last giddy thought was that a riot of butterflies was prettier than angel wings.
The candle lantern was a heirloom that woke bittersweet memories. It had belonged to Kat’s grandmother, whom she loved. The loss still hurt, after all those years, but this little memento helped her remember the good times.
Kat would light a beeswax candle, its light still warmer through the yellow glass, its honey-fragrance mixing with the smell of hot metal and taking her back to evenings spent listening to her grandmother’s stories.
She would sometimes nod off. It was those occasions upon which the spirit of the lamp entered her open mind, mining for memories of lullabies and embraces.
The spirit brought them forth into Kat’s dreaming mind, rebuilding a shadow of the utter safety she had felt as a child.
It kept her seeking the lantern out for company, more when she was in need of support, vulnerable. Singing old songs no-one else would hear, the spirit took wisps of Kat’s life for itself, feeding its own essence. Knowing there was a risk the lamp would disappear in an attic or worse, it resolved to be careful, make her last, but she tasted so, so sweet.
Mary froze at the edge of the clearing. There really was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! Her bare feet slipped on damp leaves as she rushed towards the prize, until the ground gave way.
The pot hid the bottom of the pit with a dull thud close to her head, spilling its contents, big, glittering discs. “Fool’s gold”, she whispered, and unsteadily reached for the closest.
“Actual gold is quite useless, you know.”
She looked up at the gnome who was grinning down at her from the edge of the trap. “You sure like your jokes.”
“I like catching friends of shinies. You will be happy to mine them, yes?”
“You’re only coming out if you agree.” The gnome sounded like an older sister giving a toddler an ultimatum.
Mary snorted and stood up. Her hip hurt from the fall, but the pit couldn’t be that deep.
The moment she took a step towards its edge, the gnome lifted a gun she must have had next to her, and aimed it at Mary. Still grinning, still sounding cheerful, she said, “Or you come out dead. I am all kinds of hunter, you know.”
This round was quite a success. Thanks so much to anybody who took part!
Special thanks go to Lyn Thorne-Alder, who got several of her friends to take part, and Meeks, who plugged away without having requested anything herself. (Meeks has a standing offer for sketching story illustrations whose refinement can be crowdfunded.)
21 people asked for art, and tipped enough to get us past the third tip threshold, meaning:
All images will be coloured unless otherwise requested. (1 each for 21 participants)
Anybody who tipped at all can request two additional files of different sizes.
Anybody who tipped at least $5 will get the original mailed. (That's 15 people)
Anybody who tipped at least $10 will get a second image. (5 people, including one who got boosted here by a smaller tip plus multiple referrals.)
A random participant gets a 5x7 request in addition to their regular one. (This one goes to jjhunter)
That's 27 images for my to-do list.
So far work has been done on 20 - the first requested images for all comers but the one person who is still gathering references. Most are only rough pencils at this point. For the very curious there are badly lighted, grainy cellphone photos I posted to my Twitter account: last batch - second batch - first batch
I'll first work on the images for two people for whom I have other things to mail (Eliza and ysabetwordsmith), and later on the rest. It will take a while to go through everything.
Shobha Kaur enjoyed the view out of the window of the sparsely furnished office she was a “guest” in, while her “host” prattled on. Outside looked darker than it should be — some foil applied to the glass maybe — but since she did not think she would get out again, she might as well.
“Doctor Kaur, are you listening?”
She made an apologetic noise and turned to the bureaucrat.
The other woman’s skin was pale, almost grey; her hand when she greeted Shobha had been cold. Vampires not hiding themselves anymore was one of the recent developments.
“Well, then let me sum up,” she said with a sigh. “Our organisation is very grateful for your part in lobbying for vampire and lycanthrope rights, and would like to thank you with a grand gesture. Even if the ‘until they’re healed’ codicils were not all that popular.”
Her chipper tone grated on Shobha’s nerves. If Shobha could go back in time, she’d rather shoot herself than let her spread those ideas.
The vampire continued, “Your choice now: would you rather turn into a vampire, or a werewolf?”
A bloodthirsty monster either way. “I’d rather die.”
“That, my dear, is part of the process.”
Based on the prompt "A human key to allowing werewolves, vampires, and other fantasy monster types to go public is 'rewarded' after they go from hiding, to being in the open, to seizing control." by LilFluff
This call is closed, please don't leave new requests.
Want me to draw one of your characters, or anything else?
You can request it here, and I'll draw a postcard-sized sketch. This project is crowdfunded, so I accept tips via paypal, and if you tip, or even if you don't but other people's tips crack a certain threshold, you may get an inked or coloured image instead. If you'd like to request something, please don't refrain from it on because you can't or don't want to tip. :)
Requests will be open for a few days at least; I'll change this message when I close them.
What I will draw
I'm best with humanoids and portraits, but I also draw furries and animals (or plants, objects, abstracts, whatever). Full figures are likely to be semi-chibified, like so.
Topics/requests for a character doing something are welcome in general, as long as it's not too complicated.
I'm not comfortable drawing sexual themes or gore, and may default to a vanilla portrait if you ask for another theme I find I'm not comfortable with.
I'll default to drawing on A6 cards (the size is close enough to 4x6 inches that in my experience it works in pre-cut mats for 4x6 photos). Requesting other small formats - exactly 4x6, 4x4, tall and narrow "bookmarks", ACEOs, etc. is no problem, either.
For colouring I use markers, possibly combined with coloured pencils. "Coloured" may mean greyscale if what you request is naturally grey (or if you tell me you'd prefer that).
I'll upload scans 450 pixels on the longer side, default "delivery" will be via reply to the comment in which you made your request.
I retain the copyright to the image. When I post it in an online gallery, I will include your name and link to your website (or LJ or DW account), unless requested otherwise.
You may repost the scan wherever you want and it doesn't break site policies, if you credit me and link back to ankewehner.de.
You may also crop and shrink the image to use as an icon. In places like LJ or Dreamwith that provide a space to do so, please credit me as the artist, but you can use it elsewhere.
Tip- and Link incentives
Progress (updated by hand, so it will lag)
I'm leaving the button up since someone wanted to tip later, but please don't leave new requests, this call is closed.
If you spread the link and someone mentions they found this page through you, I'll count that as a $2 tip from you, but not towards the total.
Anybody who tipped at all will get their image inked, and can request one additional file of a different size (eg original 300 dpi scan, or a cropped and shrunk icon)superseded
Anybody who tipped at least $10 will get their image coloured, and I'll send the original in the mail.superseded
Everybody else will get a pencil sketch.superseded
Total tips over $30 - MET
Anybody who tipped at all will get their image colouredsuperseded
Anybody who tipped at least $7,50 will additionally get the original mailed.superseded
Total tips over $60 - MET
Anybody who tipped at all can request two additional files of different sizes (for example both original 300 dpi scan and a cropped and shrunk icon)
Anybody who tipped at least $5 will get the original mailed.
Everybody else will get their image inked.superseded
Total tips over $90 - MET
One random participant wins a 5x7 (13x18 cm) request/commission.
Anybody who tipped at least $10 will get a second image. (Level of finish is up to me. I may go more experimental with the style.)
All images will be coloured.
And my next order of marker refill inks will be paid for.
Total tips over $120
One random participant wins a full format (A4 or 8x10 inches) request/commission.
Anybody who tipped at all will get a second image. (Level of finish is up to me. I may go more experimental with the style.)
One request per person. I'm making no promises when I finish images, because I think without such a promise I might finish them faster. If you'd like to request something, leave the following information in a comment:
Whom or what would you like me to draw? (Please note that with characters, it's really helpful if you don't only give an image reference and/or physical description, but also mention something about the personality, to avoid getting an image of a stern/serious character grinning like a loon, or the like.)
Any style or format preferences?
If you tipped, or are planning to tip, what bonus would you like? (dimensions of additional file, text on icon, different request for second image)
If you found this through somebody else spreading the link, who was it?