“The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” – Muriel Rukeyser.

“Nothing exists except atoms and empty space, everything else is opinion.” – Democritus

What is Psychedelic Stories?

Everyone is welcome. We always strive to prioritize diverse storytellers in-person and online because we know diversity brings power to learning, understanding, and opens our minds to different ways of being.

 

We’re create platforms and encourage people to share stories that often go unheard.  In Psymposia Magazine and at our live storytelling events (and in everything we do) we encourage an optimistic-rebellious attitude and stretch the medium of opinions, stories, and ideas by highlighting all kinds of people including women, people of color, parents, elders, law enforcement, entrepreneurs, and people of different professions.

 

We focus mostly on drugs: psychedelics, the war on drugs, positive uses, healing, experimentation, exploring the mind, dangers of psychosis, encounters with police, drug abuse and addiction, medical use, recreational use, scientific and underground research, activism, sex, peak experiences, or other often taboo topics. We present honest and well-balanced stories, and we talk about the good, the bad, and the in between.

 

We think an experience that’s psychedelic can be independent of drugs. So, had a psychedelic experience without drugs? Have you climbed Mt. Everest? Had a near-death experience?  Been in a shark cage and the bars broke? Tell us.

Giulia Rozzi, Psychedelic Stories Brooklyn

Please read our guidelines and tips before submitting.

We're looking for powerful stories

…of deep personal meaning. The story only you can tell that fundamentally shaped your life, or left you with a profound or novel insight. 

Show. Don't tell. 

Convey your experience to the audience through your words and actions. This isn’t a classroom seminar! Be visual, think sensory details, show your feelings, omit the obvious, use metaphors. Be quiet, be loud, get high, go low. Take us there.

OK, you can tell a little bit to move things along and fill in the gaps, but keep it minimal.

Fuck censorship.

You have complete freedom of your story. Sometimes we have a theme and sometimes we don’t, but generally stories can be funny, sad, terrifying, sexual, high, low, transformative, shocking, or all of the above. We encourage them all. You never know, your story may just contain the jewel someone in the audience simply needs to hear.

How is your story unique?

How is your story one of a kind? What did you learn? How did you come away changed? How did you integrate the experience into your life? What were the consequences?

Your story is the map.

Your plot is the path. Take the audience down any path of your choosing. All of our combined plots lead to you reading these words right now. Which plot will you choose to share?

But don't wander too far off the path. 

We love open mics. BUT, the audience falls asleep and we cringe when storytellers go on and on and off the path and open a door and walk down the street and take a right and take a left and forget where you are. Phew!  Eyes wander, heads nod, attention spans snap, and phones come out of pockets. Keep your story as short as it needs to be and no shorter. Stay on target and stay on the path!

What shape is your story?

Stories come in all shapes and size. The shape of history only makes sense when viewed in reverse. So what’s the shape of your story sideways or in reverse? Our favorite story was 10 seconds long.

Duncan Trussell, Psychedelic Stories Brooklyn

Just remember, all stories have...

…a beginning, middle & end

But you can begin anywhere. Paint the stage with your set and setting. Find the story’s tension and its turning point. Why are you doing what you’re doing?

Build it up. Take us down the rabbit hole. Finally, how does the story resolve itself?

And do you have a mic-drop line to leave them on a dime?

..a set

Put the audience in your shoes. 

Your set’s your mental state at the time – your mood, thoughts and emotions. Make physical your inner landscape and let us ride its fluctuations.

…a setting

Be visual. 

What was your physical and social environment? Concrete nouns & colorful adjectives. Stimulate the listener or reader by painting the scenery and composing the characters.

How did they sound? What were you wearing? What images pop out of your mind’s eye when you recall that day? Think of the senses & take us there.

Meaning

Most stories follow this basic formula:

A Character leaves the Safe Place, to go out into the Scary Place, to find the Good Stuff, and then Returns home with the treasure.

Think about what each of those things relate to in your story. Who is the Character? Where is the Safe Place and Scary Place? What is the Good Stuff? What happens when they Return?

For example, if you’re a farmer whose crop has been stolen, the “safe place” could be staying on the farm, calling the cops and letting them solve the crime. The “scary place” could be going out on your own to look for clues, even though you know it could be dangerous. The “good stuff” is when you finally find your stolen crops… or maybe you discover that it was your long-lost son who stole it, just to get your attention, in which case the “good stuff” could be a new relationship. Then you “return” to the farm with the good stuff.

In a tragic story the character doesn’t bring back the good stuff. They bring back the bad stuff, or they don’t come back at all. In those cases, it’s the Audience who receives the good stuff… they can learn from somebody else’s mistake (or bad luck). The Good Stuff now is wisdom and learning… or maybe we’re morbid people and sometimes we just enjoy the Bad Stuff.

Other characters in the story often play the roles of allies, enemies, and mentors. Each of these roles also carries meaning, and ultimately each one may be a reflection of your deeper consciousness, since we’re all made of the same material and are all variations on a sensory-subjective theme. Some monsters have to be defeated, while other ones can be turned into friends, but they’re all an image of what we might become. It’s good to identify what role each character plays in each scene.

Structure

There are endless structural elements that can help you build a strong narrative, but one of the most important ones is Value Changes. Most stories will have one major Value Change at the end, but the whole narrative will be built on the fluctuating fortunes of the character. Even at the smallest level, each word and sentence will either convey some Value Change, or hint at an upcoming one.

When you leave the Safe Place to enter the Scary Place, that’s a negative value change because you’re leaving behind safety to enter danger. But it’s also a positive change because you’re pursing the Good Stuff, and showing that you’re brave. But if you lose your compass and get lost, that’s a negative change. You find some wild strawberries… positive.

Stories usually use Rising Action, too. The first value change might be a big one to set the stage, but after that you’ll use smaller ones which build up to a climax.

As a final note, it’s probably smart to use Short Sentences. It’s easier to read long paragraphs than it is to listen to them. Some long, rambling sentences sound great and poetic. But for the most part you want something that’s easy for people to interpret so they can follow the story. For a sense of rhythm you can mix it up between smaller and longer sentences, but if your wording is too long the audience will have a hard time paying attention. Speak loud, speak clear, and keep the sentences short and concise.

Submit.