Sunday, May 8th, 2016

The Cassandra Contest! Win $100 in a Short Story Contest

This contest is closed. Thanks to everyone who entered! Check back to see the winner by July 10, and check out our current contest: The Niobe Contest (for $300 this time!)


The Contest: Write a 5,000 word or less short story about the archetype below.

Deadline: June 30, 2016, by midnight

Entry fee: FREE!

Prize: $100 Visa eCard


You probably already know the story of Cassandra. It’s one of the most famous ancient myths involving the god Apollo.

There are different versions of the story, but in general it goes like this:

Cassandra was one of the daughters of King Priam of Troy, and was incredibly beautiful. The god Apollo took a fancy to her, and gave her the gift of prophecy. However, when Cassandra refused Apollo’s advances, his vindictive streak came out. He didn’t take away his gift—he did something much worse. He cursed Cassandra so that no one would ever believe her prophecies.

When she tried to warn everyone in Troy not to bring the Trojan Horse inside the gates, everyone in Troy ignored her. And in the dead of the night the Greeks came out of the Trojan Horse and destroyed Cassandra’s home and the people she loved.

So she was gifted to see the future, but cursed to be unheard, ignored, and overlooked.

In some versions, Cassandra tricks Apollo into giving her the gift of prophecy, promising to sleep with him or love him, then fails to follow through on her end of the bargain. (I can’t help but wonder if she saw something about her future as Apollo’s lover that made her change her mind . . .)

In other versions, Cassandra goes to the Temple of Apollo and his sacred snakes lick her ears, giving her the gift that way. So in this version she doesn’t trick him; he’s just bitchy about being refused.

(I can see Apollo being bitchy about her rejection whether she “tricked him” or not.)


In modern times, we have something called the “Cassandra Complex,” or the “Cassandra Syndrome,” which happens when someone in the know gives us information or a warning, and we ignore them.

This is what’s happening when climate change deniers ignore climate change scientists.

Just like when Tim the Enchanter tried to warn Arthur and his knights about the killer rabbit. (Okay…that’s not exactly modern times…)


The Contest

Write a 5,000 word or less short story about the Cassandra myth.

Your Apollo doesn’t have to be a god (but he can). He can be an institution, a partner, a parent. He can be a sleazy boss who offers a new employee a big raise if only she’ll keep her mouth shut about the insider trading she’s caught onto.

Don’t forget to include the outcome of the situation. You can include dire consequences for everyone because Cassandra wasn’t heeded, or you can turn the situation around—redeem Cassandra and give her a way to finally make her voice heard. Give her vengeance on Apollo, or give her a way to finally get him on her side.

Maybe Cassandra starts a conspiracy theory blog, and her theories turn out to be right so everyone turns to Cassandra for guidance as the world collapses.

Your story doesn’t have to be set in Troy or ancient times. 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.

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 Cassandra’s point of view or Apollo’s. Be creative!


The Specifics

Deadline: June 30, 2016, by midnight

Entry fee: FREE!

Prize: $100 Visa eCard

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 be Shakespeare, but just 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 Cassandra and Apollo myth.


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 “Cassandra 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 July 10. Subscribe to “Contest Announcements” at Mythraeum to see the winner.


Mythraeum currently hosts six of this short story contests a year. In 2017, one of the winning contest entries will be chosen for production as a short film.

We’re already well into preproduction for our first short, titled HEAT. We’re shooting in June! Read the short story being adapted here.

And be sure to enter your short story to have a chance to see it developed into a film!

Have fun arche-typers, and good luck!


© Mythraeum LLC 2016. The content of this article, except for quoted or linked source materials, is protected by copyright. Please contact the author at the above links to request usage.



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