So on Friday, at Eurofurence 20, Kyell Gold held a brief panel on writing furry fiction.

The hyper-short version is that he gave a brief talk on how stories start out, with a focus on four major elements: A strong setting in mind; a character in possession of a strong defining element, like a vocation or (for furries) species; a specific desire; and a specific obstacle against acquiring that desire.

Then he handed out pens and paper and got the audience to try writing for forty-five minutes, with the idea that those who ended up with something they liked could stand up and read it out loud and get some brief commentary from him regarding those four elements.

Feeling desperately in need of practice reading stuff out loud in front of a crowd, I wound up writing the following. Apparently I did okay, which is cheering!



The Mask Maker

(by Malcolm Cross)


Without light, what use are eyes?

Occult put out his many years before, using his many years of skill to replace them with river-turned glass. The glass is cloudy, it turns the candles’ light into glowing orbs. He cannot see anything but their feeble mimicry of light within his prison.


The call echoes through the stone halls. Abelard is searching for him, but Occult never leaves his cell. Why would he, when there is nothing to see?

The candle crackles and spits in the draft, flame choking on hair-contaminated tallow. Abelard is coming.

He hammers on the door. “Where is my new face? I cannot attend the festival without it!”

Abelard does not wait for Occult to open the door. There is little that Occult’s kidnapper and prison warden waits for, these days. His patience matches his greed, as one falls the other rises.


“It is here.” Occult reaches within the tallow-vat, and pulls out the mask, still freshly stitched and alive.

Abelard tears off his face, throwing it aside, and pulls the new one over the blood that makes him.

As Abelard leaves, admiring his new, gracefully lined fox’s muzzle in a hand mirror, again Occult reaches for the flensing knife.

Again, he does not pick it up.

Abelard holds the keys, but Occult does not know where the door to his freedom lies.