Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

The Niobe Contest! Win $300 for Your Short Story

This contest is closed. Thanks to everyone who entered! Check back to see the winner by September 10!

Niobe Contest


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

Deadline: August 31, 2016, by midnight

Entry fee: FREE!

Prize: $300 Visa eCard


The Myth

Amphion and Niobe were king and queen of Thebes. They had a lot of children—let’s go with 14. (Some sources say 6, some say 14, some say 20 . . . there are a lot of potential Niobid children out there.)

Niobe was pretty impressed with the fact that she was a queen and had a beautiful royal family.

So she started “reforming” the religious rites of Thebes and changing laws and things to honor herself and her family’s power rather than the gods.

The people of Thebes were not entirely on board with this. So she tried to convince them by showing them a family tree of her illustrious house, telling them how much money was in her palace, and pointing out that even Leto, the mother of Apollo and Artemis, only had 2 children, while Niobe had 14. So that proved how much more awesome Niobe was.

Apollo and Artemis themselves were fully convinced by her arguments, and decided that Niobe was actually awesome, and they would step down from their godheads. They raised Niobe and Amphion up to god status in Olympus and made demigods of their entire gorgeous brood.

Just kidding, Apollo and Artemis killed all her children!

(You didn’t believe they really gave up their godheads did you? You silly goose!)

Greek Mythology Link points out that historically, this probably meant the entire royal house of Thebes was stricken with plague. Apollo was the god of plague (as well as the god of healing) and he and Artemis were both archers, so this makes sense.

Anyway, that’s the basic myth.

You can read a nice, fuller version of it at Greek Mythology Link.

And here’s Theoi with several versions of the myth from historical sources.


The Contest

Write a 5,000 word or less short story about Niobe, Apollo, and Artemis.

Deadline: August 31, 2016, by midnight

Entry fee: FREE!

Prize: $300 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 Niobe myth and the archetypes involved.

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 “Niobe 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 September 10. Subscribe to “Contest Announcements” at Mythraeum to see the winner.

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


Mythic Inspiration

The core of this myth is about a woman who got drunk on her own ego. She was like Donald Trump, strutting around with her chin in the air and talking about how great she is, and how people should worship her instead of the gods—that is, instead of the natural order of the universe, and instead of their own internal guiding forces.

Apollo represents the organizing power of civilization and knowledge, and Artemis represents the harmony of nature, with all its inherent ability to create and destroy.

Apollo represents intellect, Artemis intuition.

Niobe wanted people to follow HER instead of these forces.

So how does this egotistical woman offend these people who are more powerful and capable than she is? And how do they punish her? Your Niobe doesn’t have to be a queen, and your Apollo and Artemis don’t have to be gods. Get creative! Set your story in modern or ancient times, or in the future. Turn it into a Western or steampunk, or do the Jane Austen regency version. Maybe Niobe is running for president and Apollo and Artemis are running an anonymous organization that brings down self-serving assholes.

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.

Here are a few things I’ve written about the archetype of Apollo.

And here are a few things I’ve written about the archetype of Artemis.

You don’t have to follow my interpretations, but your story should reflect an understanding of the basic aspects and attributes of the gods.


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 in post-production for our first short, titled HEAT. Read the short story being adapted here. Be sure to enter your short story to have a chance to see it developed into a film!

We also just launched a new Facebook page where we’re giving away mythology-themed prizes. To see the current contest and have a chance to win, just like us on Facebook and leave a comment under the contest post.

Have fun arche-typers, and good luck!




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