Quiction Prompt – Beyond the Failing Light

Hello! Welcome back!

It’s been *checks notes* TWO FUCKING MONTHS since the last quiction prompt and shit’s gone so sideways for us in that time that it’s done a damn barrel roll back to almost normalcy. Summer’s going out with a bang and the world is on fire. Time for a little bit of enjoyment.

That’s right, it’s time for a long-overdue Quiction Prompt! This one was suggested by friend and fellow writer Ghost Goat back in July. (Thanks, brother!)

The aftermath of a great calamity
The calamity may be a localized natural/man-made disaster or a global apocalypse.
– 1,500 word target
– Author’s choice of point-of-view 

– Author’s choice of narrative voice
– Any Genre, Any Subgenre

Soft Deadline:
Sunday, 7 September, 2019

For those of you who aren’t familiar with how quiction works, basically these are opportunities to practice writing in a rapid, carefree format. The aim isn’t to produce a polished story (although, the fruits of the exercise may certainly grow to become one later on) but to flex narrative and pacing muscles. A quiction story will be rough, written in one pass, and not edited. Full guidelines below, if you aren’t in a linky-clicky mood.

But, Pines, what of my shame? Anyone will be able to see my shaky grammar, dicey spelling, and the way my initial ideas meander like a dog whose lost a scent trail!

Yeah, I mean, that’s the whole point. Beginning writers look at the finished works of accomplished authors beside their own struggling works-in-progress and despair of getting to that end point. Part of this project of mine is about helping new writers (like myself) see that the first fruit on a story’s vine aren’t always lovely. Sometimes the vine is wild and the fruit are small.

I can’t help folks learn how to prune the vine; I’ve barely figured out how to use the shears myself. I don’t even know with any certainty if these exercises help anyone (including myself). Still…fuck it. They’re fun.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for participating, and thanks for being fantastic!

~Old Pines


  1. Story must be single-draft
    1. One writing pass
      • The point here is speed, not perfection. If you’re artistically-minded, think ‘thumbnail sketch’ versus ‘fully rendered drawing’. Be anarchically free in your writing. Discard your cuffs and the seat of your pants: write from what’s left. Go nuts.
    2. No edits.
      • As mentioned above, the aim of this is not perfection. If anything, showing beginning writers what an embryonic story looks like can only help them feel more comfortable as they stare at their first written words. (I know it helped me.)
  2. Maximum word count is 2,000
    1. Anything up to 2,000 words is fine, but this is the upper limit
      • Again, the aim is speed and wordcraft, not some polished gem. A solid story can easily fit within 2,000 words.
      • If you hit the specified word count exactly — without buggering up the story — you get bragging rights. Nice work.
    2. A specific word count may be mentioned for a given prompt.
      • If you hit the specified word count exactly — without buggering up the story — you get bragging rights. Nice work.
  3. Content
    1. Genre is flexible
      • Sci-Fi, fantasy, Western, romance, noir, horror, thriller, etc., etc. Hell, mix and match. You get the picture.
      • Prompts received from Twitter, directed at Old Pines, may specify the genre of a given piece.
      • Furry isn’t a genre, but it is valid and encouraged as a theme.
    2. Can be “clean” or “NSFW”
      • No minors involved in sexual situations
        • No. Minors. Involved. In. Sexual. Situations.
        • NO goddamned MINORS involved in goddamned sexual situations, goddamnit. Prettiest of pleases. Sugar, cherry, and another ‘goddamn’ for good measure on top. Thank you.
        • Fucking don’t.
          • Minors do not understand the act and cannot give consent. Seriously, don’t even fucking go there. I don’t give one wet shit what manner of youth pastor, touchy uncle, “back in my day” excuses you want to foist upon me.
          • The only possible exception I’ll personally allow is a “So-and-So molested me, so I bit through his spine and now he’s fucking dead. Good riddance,” with zero explicit detail. I am, however, a bit biased toward that one.
      • Same applies to non-sapient animals.
        • Exception: if the animals are fucking one another and someone’s just casually noting “Hey, those crows are really going at it!” and no one’s, like, obsessively narrating the wanton clashing of the birds’ cloacae, fine. Animals fuck, whatever.
        • Non-sapient” is the kicker. I’m a (not exclusively) furry writer, some of you are furry writers. Sometimes, you’ve got an intelligent dragon with a thing for soft, willing humans. A sapient animal can communicate a) maturity, b) understanding of the act, and c) consent. If the animal in question cannot do these things, as mentioned above: fucking don’t.
      • Try as best you can not to make the story just “Person A exists. Person(s) B – Z exist(s). Person A and Person(s) B – Z do a sex. fin.” It isn’t an art film, but try to at least have a story in there somewhere.
      • Also, this is just a personal note about my own personal taste: maybe don’t do non-consent/rape? Please? More sugar on top, sprinkles and pine nuts too. I understand that sometimes the story must have these things. Sometimes they belong to provide context. But, ugh.
  4. Sharing
    1. Post the story to your website, your personal blog, your Tumblr, a community website where you commonly share stories, or something along those lines.
      • If you haven’t got a space of your own to share it, DM me on twitter and we’ll figure something out. If nothing else, I’ll post your story on this site as a properly-attributed guest submission.
    2. When sharing via Twitter, please tag your post with “#quiction” and mention @old_pines and/or @quiction_prompt.



    • The long-form answer is here, but to summarize:

      Quiction is a writing exercise format that’s a bit more involved than flash fiction and a bit shorter than the average short story. The general idea is to work on pacing and narrative flow in particular, bypassing concerns for polish. Each exercise is intended to be a one-sitting, single draft story.

      The hope is that inexperienced authors (of which I am one) will be able to see fellow authors’ process and just how rough most stories really start out. For those of us who struggle with confidence in the face of our initial drafts, maybe something like this can help show the ubiquitous roughness of rough drafts.

      Or…something like that. :/

Feedback encouraged, critique appreciated!

Back to Top
%d bloggers like this: