Quarantine Quanta: A Drabble Contest

woman wearing face mask on mountain
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Why Quarantine Quanta? Thanks to COVID-19, many of us will be cooped up at home, trying to retain some semblance of normalcy amid incessant reports of the pandemic.

To that end, I decided to do something to get our creative juices flowing and cheer us all up…


A drabble competition!

But why quanta? Is this for sci-fi only? Not at all. A quantum is a packet, generally the smallest meaningful amount of something. In physics, it might refer to a tiny quantity of energy or information. Here,  I am looking for quanta of fiction: drabbles.

Sure, a drabble — a story of exactly 100 words (without the title) — is not an indivisible packet of fiction, because you can write even shorter pieces, but ‘quanta’ alliterates with ‘quarantine,’ and I’ve never been one to pass up a good alliteration.

Do the stories have to be about the virus/quarantine? No, absolutely not. The contest isn’t themed. Write about anything you like.


1) Realism and slipstream (submit here)

2) Science fiction and fantasy (submit here)

3) Horror (submit here)

Prizes: There will be three winners in each category and several honorable mentions. The winners will receive:
1st place: $30; 2nd place: $25; 3rd place: $20; honorable mention: $10.
Payment via PayPal within 24 hours of posting results.

(Names of shortlisted authors will also be posted, along with heartfelt kudos.) 

Entry fee: None.

Submission period: March 17-March 31 (11:59 pm PST).

Results posted: Monday, April 6 (8 am PST). Winning stories will be published on the website.

What to submit: Drabbles (stories of exactly 100 words, not counting the title).

Multiple submissions: Yes, but a maximum of three total across all categories. It’s just me reading, and if you submit more, I will a) know and b) become annoyed, which should worry you because c) I’m the one who opens pickle jars. Seriously, no more than three. Don’t be a/an <insert favorite expletive>.

Simultaneous submissions: No. I am a big fan of simsubs in general, but this contest is open for two weeks only and the results will be up shortly thereafter. If you haven’t made the shortlist, you will hear from me even sooner. No simsubs because the timescales are short and I don’t want to be in a situation where a winner withdraws last minute.

Reprints: No. Original fiction only.

Rights: If you are among the winners, I ask for first North American publication rights and to post your piece on the website. Upon publication, all rights revert back to you. Be aware that other venues will treat the piece as a reprint after it’s been published here.

How do I submit?

1) Realistic and slipstream (submit here)

2) Science fiction and fantasy (submit here)

3) Horror (submit here)

Formatting: There is a text box into which to paste your submission, so keep your formatting simple. If you want something italicized, enclose it with two underscores.

You should receive an automated response email shortly after submission. If you do not receive it within 24 hours, send me an email at quarantine dot quanta at gmail dot com


Quarantine Quanta is a contest soliciting 100-word stories (drabbles) in three categories (realism & slipstream; science fiction & fantasy; horror). No entry fee, subs open March 17-31, results April 6, three winners (paid, pro level) in each category. Yes multiple subs (max 3), no simsubs, no reprints.

Questions/contact: quarantine dot quanta at gmail dot com

If you use the Submission Grinder, the market page for Quarantine Quanta is here.

Added 04/07/2020: 

The contest is now closed and the results can be found here.

Free eBooks with the winning stories can be downloaded at the links below:

Contest eBook PDF

Contest eBook EPUB

Contest eBook MOBI

Thanks to everyone who entered!