Writer's Workshop Submissions. Cycle 1, Week 1 - Why is everything cube shaped?

So here it is, round one of our first ever Writer’s Workshop, and the theme for this week, thanks to @olaf_randel5, is Why is everything cube shaped? So, go for it. You can submit any story related to the theme.

Just to go over the rules once more:

  • You can only submit one story per week. And in the interest of making this manageable (for the community to read and review), we’re asking for submissions to be no more than 500 words.

  • Vote for as many stories as you want - simply ‘like’ the associated post by clicking the heart at the bottom of the submission.

  • Keep all discussion of this week over here, as anything in this thread that isn’t a story will be moved or deleted.

Story submissions will close on the Thursday July 18th, and the winners of this cycle will be announced alongside the following weeks new theme.

We want to see all stories regardless of ability as we’re thinking about the possibility of having future awards such as ‘most improved writer’, so don’t feel like you can’t submit!

p.s. Don’t forget to stop by the Qubicle Competition, Week 2, and vote on your favorite!

In the beginning, or the future at this point, everything was as it seemed in the modern world. Humanity was at the pinnacle of innovation. Humans harvested the Earth for all of its resources. There were no plants. What they knew, now forgotten, was Earth’s vivid plants. The Earth was a desolate wasteland, except for the huge cities. The minuscule bits of wasteland patches were filled to the rim with rubbish and toxins, making life there hopeless. As for humans, their machines were all that mattered to them. Humans now evolved with obese stomachs and larger brains. Lazier and lazier generations would be, for machines took over every aspect of life. But unbeknownst to the humans, a deep secret slumbered beneath the ground. The year 3084, all mankind had to do was live, to sit down and breathe, eat, and sleep. Machines built and thought. The machines were made to expand, to adapt, and to evolve. All was lost to Earth since the machines built and polluted the Earth. When the final acre was finally lost, a deep tremor shook the planet. Rose from their deep hibernation, stood the Titans. They invoked the spirit of the Earth and all of its life. Made from ancient magic from a powerful elemental wizard of creation who predicted this catastrophe and toxic sludge, the guardians sought to wipe out all of mankind’s gashes upon the Earth. The machines quickly adapted to the situation they were in and merged with the Titans to protect their human masters.But the magic of the Titans was completely alien to them. The Titans knew that now that they were merged with the machines, they had to use them to recreate the world with the “tools” given to them. They used voxels and pixels and recreated the world in cubes. They created a lively world with plants, animals, and most of all, magic! The new humans became blocky and used primitive tools because the forgot all about their past. Having used all their energy, they went back into hibernation, waiting to kill the next wave of humans.


Treatise on the nature of matter

Dear colleagues, time and again we are asked why things are what they are.
How is a substance soft or hard, what defines if it burns or not?
And why is everything shaped as a cube?

These are the questions that an educated mind is seeking answers for.
From the commonly agreed upon explanation I derived a proposition some of you mind find to be outrageous, but please let me reiterate concisely exactly what we have agreed upon.
Some of you filled books about this, but its just this sentence „The universe is filled with matter and void and because matter is more attracted to matter than to void it tries to seamlessly fuse in any way possible.“ So what we are looking at, is that the ideal geometric shape to guarantee this, is the cube.

But I dare say that this explanation is – while not completely untrue – just a small fraction of the truth.
My research and the work of others established beyond doubt that other geometric shapes are not only possible in theory but also appear in the natural world.
Alongside pyramid shapes and the very rare sphere every imaginable composition is possible, some would even offer a more seamless way for matter to connect.

This trail of thought led me on the search for an alternative answer and I believe the truth lies within the matter of things.
Imagine, what if things are not just what they seem to be? What if every thing is made up of many small parts?
Then the answer would be: everything is is cube shaped, because the composition follows the form of its tiniest parts!

So get ready to light the torches, grab your pitchforks and burn me at the stake, but I propose a new substance, which is tinier than you can imagine and which provides structure to all matter.
I give this substance the name elvox and from now on my research is dedicated to find a way to proof its existence.
Just imagine – if we understand how it works we even might find ways to alter the very nature of things!

With all due respect
Anthony Levois


My heartfelt greetings fellow stoneheartharians I am here to recount an epic struggle to you, a true story, a story that answers all questions. This is a story about …

Long ago my fellow dwellers of the voxel lands when our world was just void its entirety a figment of imagination in the mind of the radient, an evil stalked the many planes as it still does now it is truly nameless but it knows many names but it is a shadow slinking in the darkness so I shall call it thus.

I know that the shadow numbers my days as the archmage of the hearth of stone but I have to tell you the truth behind the voxels… and why there are no other shapes.I shall start my account with where I came into this endless saga, I remember that ill-fated day long ago…

Chirping away the birds fluttered around my tower in the heart of my enchanted grove in the very heart of our great citadel, chasing my baby mammoth riding kitten around my little dragon whelp woke up the bleary eyed lagomorphs from their comfortable slumber. Engineers, geomancers and magma smiths alike raucously conversed to the backdrop of mighty dwarven hammers. It was looking to be a peaceful day and all my incantations were ready to converse with radient.

But alas no, this could not be, peace would never last for so long. On this terrible day in our history it was the dreaded ninjas of the O.A.E, they had reversed the spell you see instead of summoning our divine protectors and guardians of Radient, I had summoned… the Shadow.

That was a dark day… that malevolent dark shadowy orb I had called forth wreaked chaos and destruction razing our glorious citadel to the ground leaving behind naught but ravaged wastelands in its dreadful wake. Us survivors… we ran, me protecting the group with my magic drawing energy from the hearth of stone itself but still it came picking us off one by one…

Just when we all thought it was all lost a divine light filled the sky, Radient themselves had come to cleanse our lands of this corrupted blight. The divine light obscured everything… there was silence.

When I came to there were only 4 others left, they had all forgotten what had happened and I had lost my magic but I know one thing, Radient themselves have entrusted me to guard against the spheres and do this I shall…

They will come again…






1 Like

Talking about the past, you will recognize a twinkle in the eyes of the old, followed by a void glance. No matter if you talk to the cold hearted Northmen, the vain Ascendancy-tribe or the brats of Raya. Although now our nations are so different, we share one history and, what some tend to forget… one legacy.

Could we have foreseen the past? In the days when all believed that Raya was sent from heaven to guide us? We all must have been blinded by the rays of the light as she descended. I cannot think of any other reason why our eyes have been so wide shut.

After years of prosperity and peace, something happened to Raya. At least I like to believe that she changed while the hands of time have been moving. Decisions, which in the past have never been giving any reason to be questioned, started to plant disturbance among ourselves. The actions of our empress begun to be driven by a mad chase for… what was it at the end? The lunatic desire to control magic? Whatever it was, it took control of our beloved leader and it took control of us.

It was a cold night. The fullest moon I can remember was illuminating the scenery. Raya’s last sacrifices of our best knights, in an insane attempt to recover a relict from an ancient tomb, was just a day ago. This was the day when Raya was overcome. Ancient trees have been chopped down to suit as a final altar, a bag of linen was prepared as her last crown. Ignited through the hands of that ones who adored and finally condemned her, her destiny was written.

With the thought in her mind that she has been deceived by her own blood, Raya whispered some last words. If her followers where so limited in their understanding of Raya’s vision, they should be allowed to throw a glance into a mirror and realize what they did. In a matter of seconds, Raya cursed her kingdom into physical restriction. Every wheel, which made the work on the fields easy, turned instantly into a square. Every pillow, so round and inviting, turned into an angled block. Curves turned into sharp edges, round forms into chunky cubes. A supposed limitation of the mind was followed by a real limitation of the body.

Try to understand what happened these days to all of us. After this night, some have been departed to the north, to find a cure and to lick their wounds in the frozen valleys and windy hills. Others started to adapt and rebuild the kingdom, considering themselves as the chosen ones and the new restrictions as the price which had to be paid. And finally the few who could not believe what they have seen and done. The last ones might be the most desolate as they are still considering themselves as the true children of Raya, on a quest to disprove the truth.

Update: Text shortened to fit into the rules (no more than 500 words). Sorry for ignoring this at the first place.


“Papa! Papa papa!! Tell me about the cubes again!” Mer insisted.

“He is your son.” Mer’s mother said, smiling as her husband seated himself on the families old couch.

“Indeed he is, but perhaps with a little more fire than I ever had so young.” Mr. Burlyhands replied with a proud smile. “And so big too!” He exclaimed as he hefted Mer up on his leg. “Now the cubes you say. What cubes?” He asked with a mischievous smirk.

“The cubes papa! You know!! Voxels!”

“Haha! Oh of course, those cubes! Well let’s see here… you want to know about the cubes? The first thing you must know about is the Vox, from which all cubes began. The Vox was great and powerful, but without shape, without light or form. The great Vox grew tired of its pointless existence, and desired to create something. Something simple and elegant, something useful, that could create new things itself!

"Well creating something that creates is no small task, and for two long eternities the Vox thought. And thought and thought. Until one day, he made his decision, he would create Voxels. And from himself he took the shapelessness and created the endless Voxel cubes. From which all things cube begin, as you well know.

“He began crafting these Voxels into crafters themselves. Able to chop wood, and build tools, Mining was these Voxel’s Craft. But the Vox was not satisfied, his Voxels were without purpose. So again he created. Taking his Voxels ability to modify the world in which it lived, he created new Voxels, adventurers in a world filled with all manner of Voxel creatures. He was proud of the Cubes in this World of his, but remained unsatisfied. They were dependant on cities for all things, and he desired more of his Voxels. The great Vox would not suffer his favorite Voxels to depend on any but him.

“So again he created, one last time, in an attempt to capture all that he so loved into his dear Voxels. This time, the Vox was successful. He created a world in which his Voxels thrived like never before. Building, crafting, and adventuring. Carving out their own place with massive cities of grandeur unlike any other. In which the citizens worked in harmony and with divine purpose. It is said that all these great cities begin with a small band of settlers not unlike yourself my little Mer. A small band that left the warmth of their Stone Hearths intent on carving into our Voxel world their mark, and being known throughout the land for the greatness they built by the sweat of their brows, and the strength of their backs.”

“I’m going to do it one day papa!” Mer exclaimed with confidence. “I’m going to build the biggest and greatest city ever!”

“Of that, my little Mer, I have no doubt. But first, you must sleep. Now off to bed before your mother fetches the switch, and you can tell me all about this city of yours in the morning.”

That night Mer slept soundly, and he dreamed…


Because if everything was made if Spheres it would be very hard to stand up.

In quotes: naration.
After : would be a description of an image.

“In the beginning, as with all good stories, there was a spark. A whips of creativity in the inky void of desperation for something, somewhere to happen.”

: A small white dot appears.

“While this spark is all well and good on it’s own it needs some help from you the author of this tale, why don’t you give it a pat so we continue.”

: The white dot vortexes out in a spiral into a static screen.

“With help from the creative director the spark explodes in a flurry of ideas, without form or direction however our story won’t get very far. Try giving our story a happy horizon to look upon.”

: Expect the user to move horizontally with the mouse or joystick. Further prompting for horizontal movement.

“With guidance the first line was drawn in the sands of thought, an idea forming a ridged framework a line to draw upon to make our work come to life.”

: the static clears into a single line across the middle or where the user drew a line.

“With more assistance we could advance this tale further adding height to the horizon in front of us. Nudge some vertical development into our story.”

: Again prompting the user to draw a vertical line if they don’t.

“With a grand sweep height met width, Lines could form lands, and seas, It’s a bit sad however this story needs more depth to be really interesting. why not pick something that interests you and bring it into form.”

: When the user draws a line up/down from or through the horizon it expands into a grid, like graph paper. As the narrator speaks objects like trees, lakes/seas, mountains take form. When he asks to pick something interesting the races in 2d pixle form emerge from behind trees, mountains, etc. Prompt them to pick one of the races from the screen if they don’t pick one right away.

“As your creative thought has gone from an tiny speck, just the spark of an idea, to pixle perfect creation. Your creative powers push it further adding depth and dimension to the outline of an idea before you.”

: The world fades away the race selected is slowly zoomed in on… as it moves it’s head turning it it takes a 3d shape. It’s limbs move and they too take the shape.

“Your world lays before you to shape as you desires. You’ve shaped the height, width, and depth. All that’s left is to shape the path of time your denizens and followers take how long they survive, it is all up to you.”

Not really a god story but that’s how I picture it starting out.

“Where are we exactly going?” I asked. “To the beach!” answered my friend Drakonos,
“Venelutio, some mathematician from the wizardy, has discovered something great they said in the village”.
“Everyone is going… Why were you sleeping behind the crates?”
“I don’t know”, I answered, “I was just hiding from woodcutting duty, but feel asleep”.
“But what is it exactly for discovery?”
Drakonos: “I don’t know exactly, they were talking about a new discovered shape or something”
Me: “Whats that?.. A child of an ape and a shee…”
“NO” interrupted Drakonos “It is… I dunno… Let’s just hurry up!”

We stepped up pace and four minutes later we arrived at the beach. A large part of the village was already there watching Venelutio sitting on his knees.
“They already started?” I yelled anxious.
“Yes, but sshus…” whispered the village elder annoyingly while watching Venelutio drawing something in the sand. Fourturns and cubicles…

Then he finally began revealing his discovery.
“Look at the 3 fourturns!” Venelutio yelled while pointing at the left drawing
“If you put them in a specific construction with the smallest amount of fourturns possible they enclose an area. But since it is enclosed this is never been seen with our eyes, today I reveal what is inside.”
“This area is a threeturn instead of a fourturn” he spoke emphasizing the word threeturn. “I call this a shape, just like the fourturn.”
“Now look at the other drawing. It needs six cubicles to enclose the area, twice as many. Which means there must be 2 threeturn inside. Cubicles are made out of 2 threeturns.” He made new drawing in the sand.

“Cubicles stick together by the big area they share, we know that. But we can separate them with special tools. The shared area of the threeturns is much larger. Therefor we are not able to separate them. But someone strong might be able to…”
“Magmasmith Baldemar?”someone shouted and others where nodding in agreement.
“No, much stronger” disagreed Venelutio.
“A mammoth?” voiced the hunter shy.
“Mammoth is strong, but we might need something stronger than a mammoth”
“A Titan?” Said the village elder.
“Yes, Titans are the strongest creatures on the world and those are so strong they might almost certainly separate the 2 threeturn” continued Venelutio “And if they can separate those it can destroy the cubicles, the building blocks of life!
Meaning no more rocks, no more trees, no more houses, no more us, completely destroying our world”
“This can’t be true” Someone yelled. “Sounds convincing” others mumbled.
Questions raised up from the crowd after some minutes when the people calmed down. “But why is everything made out of threeturns? Are there also twoturns?”
“That is not a question asked by the wise Steveadamo and fifth olaf randel of the wizardy” Venelutio answered. “Therefor they shall not be answered” “We also have an urgent matter to do now!”
The last words I heard from Venelutio before the crowd went insanely loud from the war cries were…
“We shall fight the titans so our world is safe! DEATH TO THE TITANS!”


So, I wanted to take a bit of a different spin on it, maybe it’s too distant from the theme but hey, just wanted to get something out there!

“Every day you sit here old man, and every time I mean to ask you why?” remarked the fisherman as he delicately perched himself on the second largest root of the tree; the first being occupied by the spindly old man. “I mean, you pay no heed to the seasons, no concern for the weather, and every day you sit on that same root just … watching … why?" Uncertainty laced the fisherman’s words as he waited for a response.

Some time passed and a lone gull drifted overhead, squawking for company in the cloudless sky. As the fisherman went to stand the old man extended his mahogany cane gesturing to the horizon.

“I’m not watching, I’m waiting … well, I suppose a part of waiting is the watching” riddled the old man “waiting for the Water Runners”. The corners of his wrinkled lips turned upwards at the bemusement dancing across the young fisherman’s face. “Now, by the titans who are the Water Runners? Well, I’m sure you’ve heard the story of how this fair village began, and the lives those first folk left behind in the hope of finding a better one. Well, not all of us got here by land.”

Before the fisherman could question, the old man continued “Ya see, I came here shortly after the first folk felled the forest. The Water Runners were a large mercenary band far away from here that lived on the sea in their boats, and they owed me a favour. Let’s just say I had made a few unsavoury acquaintances and wronged the sort of people you don’t want to be wronging.” The old man paused letting his words float on the wind. He knew that everything he had just said would mean nothing to the fisherman, but, the fisherman had asked a question that he wasn’t going to ignore.

The old man started once more “we found that new life, and this place it’s special. You see son, everything here is different to what lies beyond the horizon. When we were journeying to this place it was like we had crossed a threshold, everything changed. The world across the ocean calls them ‘cubes’, and it seems to be the very structure of everything in this place. To put it plainly, this place looks different from everywhere else I’ve been.”

The bemusement on the fisherman’s face grew stronger, and he seemed at a loss for words so the old man continued to fill the silence “why is this place different? That’s an answer for greater forces than you or I son, but it’s enough to know that it is and there are those who would exploit this land. I’m waiting for the Water Runners to come back, maybe they’ll take you with them and you can see for yourself”.

The sun was close to setting when the fisherman had found some words of his own, the bemusement long vanished “I see. Well, I know exactly what you mean old man, but the Water Runners won’t be the ones confirming your words” unsheathing his dagger, the fisherman spoke the last words the old man would ever hear. “The Blood Drinkers never forget Caleb, consider your debt fulfilled”.


just a reminder, submissions will close on the Thursday July 18th:+1:

excellent content so far everyone! and just as an FYI, i think we’ll be shortening the full cycle for the next (and all subsequent) rounds…

another reminder… we’re heading into the home stretch for the first week of the writer’s workshop…

voting for the next theme has already begun here as well…

FINAL REMINDER … voting will end at 6:00AM CST / 12 noon GMT on Thursday…

This week has now finished. A fantastic effort from everyone involved, even given the difficult topic. :smiley:

The two people who have earned themselves a position in the 4th week of this cycle are:

@cablex17 with this submission

and @PDanford with this piece

So congratulations to you both! Enjoy your well earned new titles… :smile:

The threads for the next challenge will be up soon, so keep an eye out!