Apocalypse Madness. I’ve written a few blog posts about it, and about writing stuff for it. But I thought I would give an actual run-down on what it is and how exactly it works.
I started Apocalypse Madness in August 2008. At the time I had come across the Icatian Crier Magic card, which had the following as its flavour text: “A thousand years removed from her home, her news of war had lost its context, but not its relevance.” I remember being blown away by that quote, thinking it had so much story potential. So I talked to a couple of friends and got them to agree to write stories inspired by that quote. The idea was that every month, someone would post a new quote, then everyone who contributes to the blog would have to write a story inspired by it. I didn’t want to be the only one choosing the quotes because I didn’t think that was fair; if it were always me it would probably be the same kinds of quotes that caught my attention. Taking turns posting quotes would make it a more interesting experience for both writers and readers.
During its heyday, Apocalypse Madness had stories of all kinds of lengths, from super short poetry to multi-post epics. For some reason that I’ve never figured out, the stories tended to have a dark tone. This was true even when we were writing about the most lighthearted quote we could find. Check out “Problems,” “A Love Story for All Time,” and the always popular “Explosion” if you want to see what sorts of things everyone was writing.
The blog had a core of about five writer who contributed regularly until 2011, when the blog petered out. It was in March that the beginning of the end happened: there were five quotes in a row with no stories written for them. Finally, in August of 2011, I stopped asking people to come up with quotes. And so Apocalypse Madness died.
But then at the end of 2014, a funny thing happened. My brother was set to run a workshop for the Northern Ontario Writers Workshop (NOWW). And in his bio for that workshop, they listed him as still contributing to Apocalypse Madness. I spoke with him about it (after making sure he hadn’t actually been writing stuff on Apocalypse Madness for years without me knowing about it), and he didn’t really care that it said that. But I made the decision at that time to revive the blog. For one thing, there would at least be fresh stories and content if anyone curious came looking. And for another thing, Apocalypse Madness was a great excuse to keep me on a writing schedule (this was decided before #WriteFriday came into being, by the way). Sure, it’s not making me write something daily. But having a story a month is a great place to start. And really, there’s no excuse for failing to write some form of a story on this schedule: even if your daily life is too busy, surely you can fit in at least one microfiction a month?
But of course, Apocalypse Madness isn’t really the same without the community. In its heyday, the authors didn’t just write stories – they also commented on other people’s stories. When I revived the blog, I told the original core authors about it. A few of them contributed stories and quotes for the first few months. But now, just five months in, it’s only me. But I’m not giving up. I made writing a story a month on Apocalypse Madness one of my goals for the year (which I am happy to say I am keeping up with).
If you would like to join, leave a comment on this post, or shoot me an email at inkscribbler (at) gmail (dot) com. This month is actually a great time to start – I made the decision to have no quote for the month of June. Instead you can write a story inspired by any of the previous quotes! This is going to happen in December as well.