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The Countdown to New Years

Updated: Jan 18

As 2020 comes to a close, the Quill and Pint wants you to picture the final moments of the year and turn that into a scene. A little like a Mad Lib, we'll give you a paragraph with several variable points. Each point gives you the opportunity to pick an option that creates narrative momentum. A little bit of background, a little bit of foreshadow and... poof! You have have a paragraph to guide writing a scene.

The Paragraph..

Your character is a [PROFESSION] and [IS/ISN'T] working on New Year's Eve. This last year has been [GREAT/ROTTEN], and as the clock ticks away, they [ARE/AREN'T] looking forward to what the future has in store. As the Ball drops and the crowds chant the countdown, the character sees [SOMETHING WEIRD/SAME OLD STUFF]. At the stroke of midnight, [NOTHING HAPPENS/ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE]…

20 Minutes. Aaaaand GO!

A Little Help Here...?

All the possibilities! Too much!

That's okay, we're here to help. For each variable, here are some suggestions. Feel free to pick your favorite, randomize it with a roll of the dice, or just let the option wash over you a moment and let them inspire your own creativity.

So, in order, our suggestions for your perusal...


  1. Off-duty cop

  2. Doctor

  3. Mall Santa

  4. Shepherd

  5. Apprentice wizard

  6. Asteroid miner


  1. isn't (because just a week ago, on Christmas, people tried to kill him)

  2. is (because they're conducting an experiment)

  3. is (because everyone else asked for the night off)

  4. isn’t (because that jerk Rudy took all the hours this week)

  5. is (because if they don’t the universe will collapse)

  6. isn’t (because they have an important task at home)


  1. rotten (because 2020)

  2. both! (because they've lived through 167 versions of 2020)

  3. great (because they invested in Big Pharma)

  4. great (because they saved so much money from not going out all the time that they’re planning their dream trip for after the pandemic)

  5. rotten (because a wormhole opened in their living room)

  6. rotten (because the mysterious metal obelisk in the park was not the sign of aliens but rather the clever workings of a fourth grader’s science project)


  1. are (because it's got to be better than this dumpster fire)

  2. aren't (because the outcomes have become increasingly dire)

  3. are (because they reached the age to access their trust fund next year)

  4. aren’t (because it will be the year foretold by the prophecy)

  5. are (because they will buy a new vehicle with the low interest rates)

  6. aren’t (because the army of the neighboring kingdom has decided social distance be damned, we’re going to war)


  1. weird (because never heard of "Gruber Bros. Freight")

  2. normal (totally normal. nothing strange at all, which is really weird)

  3. weird (because a solitary shining silver dragon is streaking through the sky)

  4. normal (because they see their slippers and sweatpants attached to themselves because they haven’t gone anywhere in ages)

  5. weird (because they’re seeing people’s maskless faces)

  6. normal (because everyone around them is pinging off their invisible social bubbles 12 feet in diameter)


  1. Boom! The Times Square Ball explodes!

  2. Nothing happens. Literally. Time just freezes.

  3. All hell breaks loose and mosquito-sized lizard people rain down from above.

  4. Nothing happens and the TV keeps going but you fell asleep on the couch.

  5. All hell breaks loose and they bakes 40 loaves of sourdough bread

  6. Nothing happens and they reach the end of the Netflix list.

Okay: 20 minutes on the clock... aaaaand go!

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