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'Bright Mirror' Story 2025

Participate and maybe your story will be published!

Stories for the Future

“What can I expect from the future... my future? There is only misery in the news... it seems like nothing positive ever happens anymore. Will the many wars, famine and climate change ever end? These kinds of thoughts are not strange, if you look at the world today. In the Netherlands, more than one million people now take antidepressants. Many hundreds of thousands of young adults are not feeling well and see their future bleakly. Our question is therefore: how can we prevent more and more people from sliding further into despair?

Why this challenge?

With the 'Stories for the Future' we want to give people who are struggling mentally inspiration, meaning and hope. We want them to see again that they are worth something and to get excited about tomorrow again. Give them a mirror in which they can discover that the future has not yet been determined. That's what this challenge is about. And that really needs you and your pen!

Open Book

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Write one of the inspiring, meaningful and hopeful 'Stories for the Future'

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Challenge Explanation

Write your 'Story for the Future' to inspire others and let people feel that, even with headwinds, there is always light in the distance. A personal story, an exciting fictional scenario or a social commentary or new philosophy based on your own world view? Everything is allowed. All stories are judged, published on our website and published as an e-book. A selected collection of short stories will also be published as a book, including ISBN number.

 

This can help you with your writing

We have insights and tips for every writer that can help you write a story so that it can really help people. When you read them, you will understand why we haven give them. These items come from our own research among young adults, youngsters with mental health problems and some (mental health) professionals:

  • 'Write from your heart' - a strong wish from experienced experts. It doesn't have to be smooth and slick, a little messy is nice.​

  • Overly positive stories often set the bar too high. A happy ending doesn't feel real, life has setbacks and you don't have to brush that aside. That gives false hope.​

  • Acceptance of one's own vulnerabilities makes life livable. The perfect world does not exist here either. But real people... they do exist.​

  • Social ideals are nice, but they must also be credible. Stories can encourage you to see new paths and bright spots and contribute to the feeling of 'it is possible'. Reality helps with that.​

  • Philosophizing is allowed, but reflective texts inspire less than stories. A good and 'effective' story stimulates fantasy and imagination. Help your reader with this and prefer not to provide solutions yourself.​

  • As said: a story that is too good misses the mark. Here are some words that were mentioned and that could be valuable for a good Story for the Future: desire, resilience, uncertainty, fear, courage, trust, connection… you see that you can go in any direction.​

  • Regarding 'connectedness': many people with mental problems experience a feeling of loneliness. Stories with/about one person therefore appeal less to the imagination than stories with multiple characters who are connected to each other.

Finally: scientific research shows that writing from the heart has a strong healing effect. So take that chance and enjoy it yourself!

 

 

Challenge Approach

Who can participate? Everyone of course. To immediately give this Challenge wings, we will first collaborate with a number of academies, schools  and universities in the Netherlands. Writing plays a primary role in these institutions. The students of these institutions are challenged to write inspiring, meaningful and hopeful stories for the 21st century. These can be inspiring philosophies, meaningful views or hopeful personal stories.

 

 

We expect that short stories of about 2000 to 4000 words will be an excellent format for this. But other forms, such as screenplays, sonnets, poems and graphic novels, are also more than welcome. It is important that these stories have the potential to inspire thousands of young adults, provide meaning and exude hope. No small feat.

 

The stories are judged. There are two juries; a professional jury consisting of a number of well-known writers, poets and professionals from the mental health field. The other jury consists of a number of young adults and experts. A number of these experts are affiliated with MIND. MIND is the largest umbrella patient organisation in the Netherlands.

 

After this jury selection and the presentation of a selection of these stories, selected writers will have the opportunity to work with an editor. The story can then be further refined in a number of editing rounds. After this, the final correction and galley will take place and the collection of stories will go to the printer. We will also focus on the typography and styling of this book.

 

This collection of hopeful stories will subsequently be published as a bound softcover book (selection) and ebook (expanded version). We will also offer the option to record the story as an audiobook.

 

In order to reach the largest possible audience, we will distribute the bundle through various channels, such as larger patient associations, mental health institutions and as many other channels as possible. ​Each writer will receive four copies of the collection. One for themselves and some for friends and family.

Challenge Timeline

 

When is it going to happen? This Challenge will start in the first semester of the 2024/2025 school year. Training courses can also start earlier, if that suits the schedule better. In any case, the assignment must be completed on Friday, January 31, 2025. The judging will then take place in February 2025. The presentation of the stories will take place on Monday afternoon, March 3, 2025 in the Utrecht Public Library.

 

 

A number of editing rounds, a correction round and the typesetting test will take place in March and April, after which the collection can be printed well before the summer holidays. The stories will then be distributed in bundled form, so that they can be read during the summer holidays - and far beyond. Naturally, we also try to generate as much publicity as possible in online and offline newspapers and (relevant) magazines.

Challenge Impact

 

What difference will this collection of stories make? MADE-Life will map out what social impact these 'stories of the future' actually have. The impact of this bundle will not be easy to measure, because many aspects influence someone's mental health. But not everything of value can be measured, just as not everything that is measurable is of value. In this case we will keep track of how many of these short story collections are downloaded and ordered.

 

To reach the largest possible audience, we will distribute the ebooks free of charge, and we will distribute the physical books at cost price. We will also keep track of how much this will be shared across the various social media platforms.

 

In addition, we also want to offer this 'challenge work method' free of charge to secondary schools, mental health institutions, community centers and other organisations in the social domain. After this initial challenge, we will also create a workbook that supervisors can use within these organisations. We can well imagine that 'stories for the future' are given to students as an assignment or as a profile project during social studies or other subjects. This not only involves writing, but also reciting and discussing the stories.

 

Furthermore, these stories can also function as a springboard to even more forms of expression. If the content of these stories resonates, we can imagine that this initial challenge is only the beginning. You could imagine that this will lead to various spin-offs, such as comic strips, spoken word performances and perhaps even a TV series (think 'bright mirror' instead of Netflix's dystopian 'black mirror).

 

 

Stay up-to-date!

 

Challenge Conditions

 

Under what conditions are these stories published? These stories are published under 'Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0' license with attribution (syntax: "<school name>, <author name> in collaboration with the MADE-Life 2024 foundation". These stories may be freely distributed for non-commercial purposes , but always with attribution. The Creative Commons licensing terms can be viewed here.

 

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