Stylist writing contest!

Chatterbox: Inkwell

Stylist writing contest!

Stylist writing contest!

My little well of creativity is running low, so I thought I'd hold this little contest to hopefully inspire my dry mind, and everybody else's of course. For this contest, the judge will set a topic either about a location or a item (not something too abstract like hope, love, or wish, please, but I think that 'dream' would be ok), and everyone else will submit a descriptive scene written with this topic in mind and of reasonable length, i.e. 100-1000 words. 

Note the 'stylist'. What you submit does not have to be a story with a beginning and ending, it can be nothing but a simple scene without detailed background, intentional pacing, or too much character interaction. I'll be rating your works based on how vivid it is and the how captivating the scene is in general, and the next judge to set the topic will be the winner of the previous round, like in most other contests. 

Ahem. I hope I made that clear enough. The first topic is: Metro, judging August 4 (depending on how many people enter) 

Just some plausible scene settings if you guys need some, which I don't think you will since you're all so creative when coming up with unique ideas, but, meh, whatever: 

+Funny how we live lives on the ground, unaware that there's a network of tunnels beneath us, with metros rushing people here and there and everywhere, every day, nonstop, 24/7. Do you ride the metro? Have you ever been on it when the cars are empty and you are alone, late, speeding through the tunnels, or have you only been in the crowds of people flocking in, trying to find a seat, or simply trying to get in before the doors close, as the light of neon advertisments shines through the windows that don't face the platform...+

I got this idea from those CGI/Unreal Engine rendering competitions on the internet, because I was startled at the way that people can tell the whole story of a world in a few seconds of image, just like how good writing can pull you into the moment effortlessly. I would suggest checking some out because they're a incredibly good creativity stimulant, and plus, the music is really nice.

submitted by Zealatom
(July 26, 2023 - 8:47 am)
submitted by Bottom
(July 26, 2023 - 9:14 am)

Good idea! And no plot!! ACK this is coming out as a poem sorry. I can write it again in price if you want.

I am standing
While on either side of me, life moves on.
I am still
As all around me life keeps on. 
Buildings blur the windows,
Gone and past.
I lock them away,
Turn away.
I am still standing
And standing still
Like a rock, a fixture
With no breath, no beat,
No life. 
But then...
The metro's doors slam open,
People streaming in, streaming out,
Jostling me
As I fight to keep my place, make my way, keep my head held high
Where I can breathe.
And I realize
I can still fight.
And I realize
I still fight.
Because I still have a life, and this isn't what I want to do with it,
Still still still while everyone everything else moves
Still still still
Surrounded by grief and sorrow
Until I am just a memory
For others to look back on.
I still have a life,
And I'm gonna live it.
The metro's doors slam
There's no going back now.
The only way to go is
Ok... so Ig that wasn't rly about the metro... anyways!
submitted by CelineBurning Bright, age As Needed, The FireMist Sea
(July 26, 2023 - 12:10 pm)


submitted by CelineBurning Bright, age As Needed, The FireMist Sea
(July 26, 2023 - 8:06 pm)

Also sorry the spacing came out weird


btw, thank you admins!! You guys have been posting stuff at a record-breaking speed! 

You're welcome! I try to keep up when I can!


submitted by CelineBurning Bright, age As Needed, The FireMist Sea
(July 26, 2023 - 8:08 pm)
submitted by top
(July 26, 2023 - 11:17 am)

I'll join!

Amidst the chaos underground,

bustling with sights, smells, and people,

the metro is a safe haven.

It's where crowds of people roam

and amongst them one is myself.

It's where I can hide my face among the shadows,

and no one will notice.

It's where the people won't scorn and accuse me

of things I've never done.

For I am hidden as one of them,

similarly hearing the blaring of the announcements

and scanning for the right stop.

As I push my way through the crowd

and onto the right tram,

I sit down on one of the seats

wondering where I can start afresh.

Somewhere no one will notice me

or where no one will say anything 

bad about me. 

The signs blare neon text

that all seem like a jumble of colors

as I stumble off the tram. 

I scan the place I have just entered

as foreign and alien as a different planet.

I see a man, playing the accordion

a merry expression on his face.

He sings along to his accordion,

looking joyous, if not a little

tired of the world, as if it had worn him.

The soft plink of a coin

as it lands in the jar from my hand

and his smile and twinkle in his eye

is enough to make my day

and make me think

that maybe there is a chance

I can start new, afresh

as I exit the metro,

a sudden smile on my face,

the first in a while. 

submitted by Moon Wolf , age lunaryears, A Celestial Sky
(July 26, 2023 - 6:00 pm)

This kind of got away from me, but it was fun. 


Beneath the city — the city of steel and cement, of glass and polished stone, of open-topped tour buses and taxis as shiny as beetles, smudging the streets with streaks of yellow and maroon, of old cathedrals with spires reaching skyward and tracery windows like lace turned to stone, of red-brick townhouses all in a row, with concrete stoops climbing up to their front doors and wrought-iron fire escapes clinging to their sides, of scintillating skyscrapers reflecting back the sun and of those not yet built, those still inhabited only by iron workers and steel beams and welders’ sparks, of bodegas on street corners with shelves of glassed-in candy beneath the checkout counters, of tiny halal carts plastered with brightly colored signs and surrounded by the savory smoke of street meat, and of dirty-winged pigeons painted every shade of gray, their necks glittering with iridescence, splashing in dark waters on the side of the curb and cooing from their perches on the wire skeleton underside of faded shop awnings — yes, beneath all that, lies another realm. It’s an interwoven gossamer of subway lines, knitting together the very soul of the city, like arteries transporting crimson blood to an ever-beating heart. Signs hang from the ceiling of the station and are fixed to the green-painted support columns dotted with quartets of bolts, ivory lettering against ebony backdrop, proclaiming the street name in bold letters. Fluorescent lights flicker above, illuminating the filthy concrete tiles, speckled with dots of black chewing gum, and the yellow strip on the edge of the platform, textured with uniform bumps, and the mosaics on the walls depicting everything from daffodils to polar bears to top hats, the spaces between the colorful glazed ceramic tiles dark from cement and years worth of grime. Between the rails, where putrid water and bits of trash collect, the occasional rat scurries by before vanishing once more into the darkness. Whether the early-morning sunlight has not yet cast the skyline in gold, or the only nighttime illumination are the screens on buildings that flash bright and colorful advertisements, or any time in between, the subway is teeming with movement and light. It’s crowded with every single person in the world; little girls with shiny red raincoats still glistening with droplets who clutch their mothers’ hands, ladies with kind eyes and graying hair pulled back in a bun who sell hot churros in paper bags from tiny carts, iron workers with creased and paint-splattered steel toed boots, teenagers with dark clothes and bright hair who hop turnstiles, tourists who hold maps and point and walk too slow, businessmen in ironed suits and shiny shoes who pocket their flimsy plastic MetroCards after swiping to pay their fares and rattling the turnstile bar as they walk through, and the man playing the saxophone, the hat at his feet full of wrinkled dollar bills, the music — at once lively and haunting — echoing around the station. The train comes roaring like some massive stainless steel serpent, squealing as it slows, a gust of warm wind blowing hair back from a thousand faces and sending day-old newspapers skittering along the gray cement. The doors shutter open and people clamber off while others scramble on, grabbing onto the grimy metal poles a thousand other hands have touched or trying to fight their way to a seat. Those standing shed their backpacks to save space, holding them like pendulums between their legs. The people sitting pull out a phone, their faces illuminated by the screen, or a newspaper, its backside proudly announcing news to the rest of the subway car — or, rather, to those who thought to look. Some people merely glance around; at the bright advertisements behind warped clear plastic, promoting everything from cosmetics to pet food to dating apps, at the other people in the car, eyes passing over the variety of faces with a tired, detached fascination, at the poems printed behind that same warped plastic panel and plastered to each end of the subway car, just a few lines, something to mull absentmindedly over as they wait for their stop to arrive. Others look out the window, though there is nothing to see but an endless abyss, the darkness only shattered by the occasional brief, floating light like an angler fish’s luminous lure. Three million people perform this elaborate dance through the darkened tunnels every day, three million people weaving in and out in harmony. Do they ever stop and think about how incredible this feat is? Or do they just hold onto the grimy subway pole, sway to the rhythm of the train rattling on the tracks, and let their minds drift away aboveground?

submitted by pangolin, age she/they, Outskirts of the Galaxy
(July 27, 2023 - 7:53 am)

is this about NYC? it sounds exactly like the subway stations I've seen there and reading it brought it all back to me so much and I MISS NYC *cries*

despite the fact that I've never lived there, only visited

It's also kind of interesting to see how we both included certain things? like the rats and the dirt and the MetroCards. And I also included the mosaics in my first attempt at describing the subway, but then I started on a different description and didn't manage to work them in :/ Anyway, I really liked this piece of writing! It's very vivid :)

submitted by Poinsettia
(August 1, 2023 - 2:28 pm)

Yep, it's about NYC! It's cool that you were able to pick up on that :) 

Yeah, it is interesting how we both featured certain things - I guess some things (rats, dirt, MetroCards) are just what you think of when you think of the NYC subway system?

Thanks! I really like your entry - it very well captures some of the thoughts and feelings that I've when riding the subway. :)

submitted by pangolin, age she/they, Outskirts of the Galaxy
(August 1, 2023 - 5:52 pm)

Thanks! I don't think it's my best work, but it was what i could come up with :)

submitted by Poinsettia
(August 1, 2023 - 7:38 pm)

Ah, I think I get the jest of things- I usually tend to write scenes without plot, just random characters minding their own business in picturesque little enviroments when I become tired of pacing stories.

I'm rather confused at the poetry, though. Should I write a poem or submit a scene? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I'll still go with a scene from one of my stories since I'm not feeling very poetic right now. As long as there's a metro in there, it should be ok, right?

*Please forgive the unrealistic announcements- It's been ages since I've been on any public transport- so just take them as announcements from a very intelligent metro forecasting system that may or may not be somewhat badly translated  from a exotic language originating from another planet, which is the setting of the scene and the story that it has been extracted from.


“Metro five will be departing from the station shortly. May all assigned passengers board within three minutes.” The robotic female voice from the overhead speakers advised.

Cyanwind Castone hugged her school backpack closer to her chest and leaned into the plexiglass side of the cold metal bench she was sitting on, trying to keep her distance from the fellow commuters sitting beside her. She hadn’t needed to try, really. They were all trying to stay away from her as much as she was trying to keep away from them.

“Doors closing. The next station is Cannel Avenue, expected arrival in five minutes.” The speakers said. Cyan picked up the metal sliding sound as the doors closed, and hissed into a locked position, and then the dim rumbles and a rough sensation of movement as the metro picked up speed, throwing her home and her city behind her.

She stared glumly into the glass of the windows. There was nothing to see apart from the blackness of the tunnel they were travelling through, and all her gaze met up with were the blank eyes of her hooded reflection, distorted slightly by the curvature of the glass and the sporadic white flash of fluorescent lights sprinting past the windows.

Stations passed, one by one. At each, some people would file out and new people would file back in, talking on the phone, chatting with each other, or just reading a newspaper in nonchalance. That nonchalance would vanish as they passed her seat however, and Cyan would catch that familiar glance of recognition and doubt in their eyes, and they would wordlessly glide into a different car or try to find a place on the spot, giving her a wide berth as they did so.

Cyan chewed her lip and kept her face straight, the fly of irritation beginning to crawl around in her head once more. So much for her first day to school. Silently, she popped her earbuds in. 

A gentle, calming tune filled her ears, drowning out the suffocating silence around her. She sighed inaudibly, shut her eyes to block out the glare of the sterile lights, and concentrated on the beat.

And the metro thundered on all the while, ever closer to the last stop...


Not my proudest work, but it's the best I can squeeze out of my head now. I hope I got the idea of the contest right?

submitted by Ultimatium
(July 27, 2023 - 8:04 am)

Sorry, I think the contest was supposed to be a written scene, but my words just kept coming out as a poem, and when that happens... well, y'know. So I just wrote it as a poem and Ig others followed? But I think you got it right. And @Pangolin and @Ultimatum, I feel like I am forever saying this, but really. Wow. Pangolin, especially. You've written pages it seems of description only, and I was like, ok, I'll read some, just to see how it is, and before I knew it, I was done and wanting more. HOW DO YOU DO THAT?!? It's like some robot takes over my brain and erases all thoughts but Read More. I'm supposed to be packing for a trip right now... so bye!

submitted by CelineBurning Bright, age As Needed, The FireMist Sea
(July 27, 2023 - 10:04 am)

I only did it in poem style mostly because it fit better, btw. Also these entries are absolutely AMAZING, like @Celine said.

submitted by Moon Wolf, age lunaryears, A Celestial Sky
(July 27, 2023 - 4:01 pm)

Uhh, I don't know what this is, exactly. Like, at all. But here it is?

(If you couldn't tell, I despise taking the metro)


Humans are not meant to be underground. We are creatures that thrive on light, photosynthesising with the grainy orange glow of a flickering street lamp or sunlight filtering in from smog-frosted skies. The sky, indeed, is the map from which all of humanity, past and future, is written in; the constellations draw stories from our mouths and paste them above us with the intent of immortality. With the knowledge from the stars we created beasts, large and clad in metal, though they vary in species. Planes are large and docile, soaring through the air lazily with little instruction. Cars are also somewhat tamed, although they sometimes act up in fits of gasoline exhaust and skidmarks. The trains aboveground are dutiful in their work, holding fast to the tracks. The Metro trains, though, are different. They exist where people are meant to be buried: underground. Roving, brooding beasts that hiss and slither through their tunnels and stop only to let more people into their bellies. Their eyes: bright and unnerving in the shadows, kicking up that foul-smelling wind as it rushes past. The passengers cling to poles and to each other, blasting the newest carbon-copy pop song to distract from the feeling that they can see nothing but darkness melting together when they look out the window. No matter how often they take the Metro, there’s always that feeling (albeit buried deep for some) that this is unnatural. They all have that moment of relief when they reach the top of the escalator and realize they can see the sky again and their lungs are no longer full of stale, unmoving air. Humans are not meant to be underground. Not while they’re breathing. The Metro trains know this, and they do not care. This is what they were designed for, and it’s not as if they could thrive in any other environment; they don’t even know what the sky looks like. 

submitted by Silver Crystal, age Infinity, Milky Way
(July 28, 2023 - 10:02 pm)

This was inspired by the NYC subway, which I really like riding. There's just something about subways that's so much fun (don't even get me started on the wonders of public transport that I experienced when I visited Portugal :) )


The subway was nothing more than a case containing a seething mass of people, and it wasn't a very comfortable case at that. Every car was always crammed. Yet there was something fascinating about it. The descent into the hot station. The long wait for the subway to actually arrive, spent in noticing little details about the building. The floor was pale tan, mottled with dirt ground into it by the feet of thousands of New Yorkers. Little gray balls of fluff, that were actually rats, were running about on the forbidding tracks, carelessly traversing a place which humans, for all their pomp and glory, could never set foot on safely. Sometimes your little yellow piece of cardboard, the seemingly magical MetroCard pass, would turn out to be a dud when you ran it through the turnstile, and then the wait would be frantically spent in shelling out more money for another pass and complaining to the unsympathetic ticket seller, while the shrieks of passing metros heightened your sudden sense of panic. Then back to sitting on the hard wooden bench that seemed as cold-hearted as the ticket seller, checking your watch and occasionally marveling at the rats' audacity and wishing the mayor would start a program of introducing cats to deal with them. Only then what could be done with the cats once they'd eaten the rats?

After a few minutes a mighty scream would fill the tiny station. Peering along the track, you saw two glaring lights rushing down at you out of the gloom. The next second the rattle and screech of the train shook your very eardrums. But you philosophically gathered your possessions and stood up, used to the seeming apocalypse you'd witnessed a hundred times before. The gray blur whizzing past clarified into a sharp image of a shiny subway car, its great doors sliding reluctantly open.

You stepped into an air-conditioned room lit by white electric light. If you were very tired, you would make for a seat; the best ones were at the ends of the car, where you could turn around and look into the car behind you. Such a little time in your own car, and already the people in the other one felt like foreigners, people who inhabited some world strangely removed from your own.

Observing the people was the best thing about riding the metro - and there was a curious difference here with the rest of the world. Everyone was temporarily equal. Poverty-stricken young mothers, their faces lined and strained, sat next to comfortable well-off grandmothers who passed the trip reading nursery rhymes softly to their wide-eyed toddlers. A government official might be in the same car with a convicted ex-criminal. Sometimes positions were even reversed. A dour woman with a pearl necklace was clinging to a handrail, while a man in a baseball cap and ragged clothes, who hadn't shaved for days, had gained a coveted seat. He was probably homeless - then again, if he was homeless, how did he have the money to pay for a subway ride? you wondered, and fell to musing over another insurmountable mystery of NYC.

The subway governed everyone's lives. You remembered all the stories you'd heard - your aunt met the man who would become her husband, simply because chance threw them into the same car. Your cousin was inspired to be a gymnast when she saw a group of
acrobats swing on at the station and perform their tricks all over the
(moving!) car. You made one of your best friends when you saw a young man give his seat to an elderly woman, thought how pleasant he looked, and struck up a conversation with him. The list went on. At every station the group within each car shifted like a kaleidescope being turned. But for a few moments, the world of speed and noise and outer darkness had made these people
your only companions. Both you and they were dependent on the subway
for your fates. The subway roared on through the darkness, carrying a random group of humans toward their destinations, towards the next step in whatever they were doing in life. That was the magic of the metro.

submitted by Poinsettia, a sea of crystal waters
(August 1, 2023 - 2:20 pm)