Sunday, March 12th, 2017

Hermes Steals Things: Win $300 for Your Short Story!

This contest is closed. Thanks to everyone who entered! I’ll announce the winner May 10, along with the next contest.


Write an interpretation of the myth below in 5,000 words or less.

Deadline: April 30, 2017, by midnight.

Entry Fee: FREE!

Prize: $300


Apollo is the god of the sun, intellect, logic, and peak perfection in the mental and physical states. Apollo likes order and discipline. He likes to have his shit together.

Hermes, Apollo’s baby brother, is the god of communication, transformation, and moving from one state to another. He’s also Olympus’ resident Trickster.

So when little baby Hermes was born, guess what was the first thing he did.

He simply could not resist pulling a prank on big brother Apollo. He snuck out of his crib and stole Apollo’s herd of glowing sun cattle. Just to be extra confusing, he turned the cows’ hooves around backwards, so their tracks made it look like they were all walking the other way. He accomplished this big prank pretty quickly, too. Before he was finished, Hermes even had time to invent the lyre out of a tortoise shell.

Hermes hid the cattle in a very secret place (a cave) and then snuck right back into his crib, making goo-goo-ga-ga baby noises at his mother Maia and his father Zeus.

Apollo was not fooled for a moment. (Ugh, baby brothers are so annoying!) He went to Zeus and complained about the cattle.

Hermes made big innocent baby eyes and was like, “Who, me? But I’m just a baby!” His mother Maia totally bought the act, but Zeus and Apollo saw through it. Zeus was amused, but still ordered Hermes to return the cattle.

In the end, Hermes and Apollo made a deal—Apollo would let Hermes keep the cattle, if Hermes would give him the lyre he’d invented, which had captured Apollo’s imagination. (I always wonder why Apollo, who has the lyre as one of his signature totems because he was the god of poetry and music along with like a million other things, couldn’t just invent his own damn lyre?)

After that, Hermes and Apollo were close, sharing respect and affection for each other and their work.


The Contest

Write an interpretation of this myth as a short story of 5,000 words or less.

Deadline: April 30, 2017, by midnight.

Entry Fee: FREE!

Prize: $300

I’ll judge entries based on:

— Word count. Please stick to 5,000 words or less. It can be much less, if you want. (I only have so much time to read entries, and it would be a shame to toss yours out because it’s too long!)

— Writing prowess. You don’t have to have the poetic powers of the God of the Sun or master language as well as the God of Communication, but give it your best shot. An understanding of how to structure a story, how to use dialogue, and all that jazz will work in your favor. Spelling, grammar, and typos count.

— An understanding of the myth. You don’t have to agree with my interpretation of the archetypes, but your Apollo shouldn’t be an ignorant couch potato, and Hermes shouldn’t be a stuck up librarian with no sense of humor.

Send your entry to my email: Please paste your entry in the body of your email, since I won’t open attachments. The subject line should be “Hermes Steals Things Contest.” Please write your entry in English and in prose. You can email me any questions at the same address. I’ll have a winner by May 10. Subscribe to be notified of the winner!

Have questions? See if your answers are in the Writers’ FAQ.


Mythic Inspiration

You don’t have to set you story in Ancient Greece (but you can). You can set it in modern times or on a spaceship. Turn it into a Western or steampunk, or even do the Jane Austen regency version. Your Apollo and Hermes can be gods, or they can be a CEO and mail delivery boy in a big corporation.

You don’t have to tell the whole story. You can write a quick vignette, or get as sweeping and epic as you can in 5,000 words. You can focus on Hermes or Apollo, or another character. Be creative!

Good luck arche-typers!


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