Mystery Event Kickoff and Prompt #1

IT’S TIME! Are you ready?

We have accumulated a LOT of prompts, y’all. You were amazing and creative. The Mod team reviewed and categorized everything that was submitted! Each week, we’ll release three prompts for you to choose from. You only need to use ONE for your fic to qualify, but if you’re feeling ambitious and want to go for more than one, well, we won’t stop you.

Let the Mystery Begin!


  • Renaissance Faire (as suggested by Inevitablethief)
  • Include Mr. Trick (as suggested by JayeMaru)
  • Spike listens as Buffy Vents (as suggested by a member who wishes to remain anonymous)
Prompt 1

The game is officially afoot, Watson!

How and when do I post my story?

Starting at midnight on July 1 (site time, which is Eastern US time - it's listed under the ShoutBox), you'll see a checkbox on the page where you add a new story. 

***Please note: After July 7, the option to join the event will be removed. This is a TIMED event with strictly enforced deadlines.***

How do I find Challenge Stories?

Want to keep up with the fun? All Mystery Month fics will have a little pipe icon in the byline. Every detective needs a pipe!

You can also find all of the Mystery Month fics as they are added by visiting the Event Page.

What should my chapter include?

Aside from the prompt of the week, each chapter MUST include a line in the endnotes that identifies the prompt itself and a copy/paste section of the fic where the prompt was fulfilled.

EXAMPLE: Gone Switching by bewildered

This can be a single sentence or a paragraph, depending on the nature of the prompt and how you addressed it. Authors will have until the end of each week’s posting window to include this note. Fics that fail to include this will be removed from the event in real time, so put this at the top of your to-do list. The Mods REALLY don’t want to remove any fic from the event because that just sucks for everyone involved (and makes us feel crappy, even if you had plenty of advance notice). So do your part to make sure we don’t have to. We don’t wanna play Bad Cop (but we WILL). 

What happens if I don’t post my chapter within the time window?

All chapters must be posted within the allotted time window to qualify for the event. Fics that don’t will lose the little pipe icon and be ineligible for author awards. For the first chapter, that means between July 1 - July 7.

Anything else to keep in mind as I start writing?

Unlike other EF events, Mystery Month Fics have a HARD cap of five chapters. In addition to fulfilling each week’s prompt, all fics MUST be complete by the event’s end (August 4th, at 11:59:59 pm site time) in order to qualify for author awards and remain listed as an event fic with the icon.

We know this will be difficult for some of you, especially since you don’t know what we’re going to throw at you next week, but it’s part of the challenge. And, we hope, also part of the fun.

What about betas, sensitivity readers, and artists?

If you have people helping you complete your Mystery Fic (either through beta/sensitivity reading or banner art creation), please use EF’s credit system to mark their contribution. And seriously, they need to be recognized. Think of all the work you’re going to throw at them over the next 5 weeks. They deserve all the accolades.

Is there an event skin?

Yes. The Mystery Month skin (called “Undercover”) is now live if you want to make it your default. Scroll down to the skins on the main page or in the footer and select the one labeled “undercover” to switch. If you want to keep it, make sure you change the selection on your preferences page. And if you haven't seen it, the skin looks like this:

Spuffy has set up shop just down the road from Detective Holmes. And we know Holmes is good and all, but our money’s on Spuffy to crack the case first.

Will you be featuring regular stories while the challenge is going on?

Following the first week of the event, the area where we usually have featured stories, we're going to highlight stories written as responses to the Mystery Prompts. 

The Mystery Month challenges authors. What about the readers? Won’t you think of the readers?

Obviously, readers deserve all the love. If you write at least 15 comments in July that contain at least 5 words (for any stories here on EF, not just the challenge ones), you'll meet the requirements of the commenter challenge! You'll see a link to the comment challenge leaderboard on the homepage under the Members of the Month where the all-star commenter list is usually located.

Besides an amazing sense of pride, do we get anything for participating in the event?

Of course you do! As always, there will be awards for participating authors, artists, betas, and commenters. Please note, only authors who SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE their fic will receive the author award. Beta and sensitivity readers, commenters, and artists will be awarded regardless of whether the fic in question was completed (they did their part, after all). So authors, if you want one of these pretties made by our good friend Trevor Carlee, on your page, get ready for a fun five weeks.


I’m exhausted. What was the prompt again?


  • A Renaissance Faire
  • Mr. Trick
  • Spike listens as Buffy vents 

When will the next prompts be announced?

Prompt #2 will be announced in a new News Post on July 5 and on our EF Discord server.

That's it! Go forth and create!

--Holly and the Mods on June 27, 2024 10:26pm 6 Comments

Can the first part of the first chapter be a prologue for the story? And then move into the present. It would all be in a single chapter just divided. 

-- Roboticghost on June 29, 2024 12:10pm

The fic must have a hard total of 5 chapters. So if the prologue and the first chapter are posted as one, that's fine. They just can't be two separate uploads.

-- Holly on June 29, 2024 12:13pm

Ok, Thank you!

-- Roboticghost on June 29, 2024 01:00pm

Is there a maximum or minimum word count for each chapter?

-- Tasha on July 07, 2024 06:44pm

Hi Tasha, there is no minimum word count for the chapters. Maximum word count per chapter is 15k (keeping in mind that word processors and the site sometimes have different word counts), as always. The first chapter must be posted by 11:59 pm site time today to qualify for awards, so you have just over four hours left!

-- cawthraven on July 07, 2024 07:41pm

Thank you, Cawthraven.  My first chapter will be shorter then.  Hopefully there will be more.  If not, I know I'll get dropped next week.  I had a hard time pegging down what season to go with because I wasn't sure which type of Spike I wanted to have to go with.

-- Tasha on July 07, 2024 11:03pm