The Kwan Factor

Sunday Photo Fiction prompt courtesy Al Forbes.

This week’s prompt was so inspiring, I wrote a 96,000 word novel about it. Then, through rigorous editing, I whittled it down to 199. I haven’t done Sunday Photo Fiction for awhile, mainly because my writing time has been consumed with this crazy novel. First draft is officially behind me and I’m presently rolling up my sleeves to tackle revisions.

So, contrary to literary agent advice, here’s an excerpt.

My Kwan factor was 55, which wasn’t awful. I mean it’s not like I scored 19 like some reclusive gamefreak nerd boy. And I could’ve just changed it, if that sort of thing mattered to me.

So you know in all those zombie movies, how the undead shuffle around all slow-motion, in some otherwise normal setting like a mall or airport? Well that’s what the Westdale cafeteria is like at lunchtime. Anyone with prospects goes off-campus. What’s left in the cafeteria are The Damned: loners, underclassmen, otherwise toxic untouchables. And today, Dug and me. Me, because I’d spent twenty minutes after Practical Programming talking to Mr. Dozer, and Dug because he was nice enough to wait around for me.

“Go ahead, download it Dug. Everyone else has,” I said.

‘Everyone’ was really only 112 out of the eighteen-hundred students at Westdale. But, considering all the other student apps had a grand total of eight downloads, 112 was practically viral.

“What’s it do again?”

Kali Walker’s Acclaim Numerator, aka the Kwan app, was many things: extra credit for Practical Programming. My own secret spy utility, for another. But for everyone else, it was simple: “It tells you your popularity rank.”

199 words. Many kind thanks to Al Forbes for hosting Sunday Photo Fiction & thanks readers for stopping by. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, or to submit your own, click here.



  1. oooh I wonder what my Kwan factor is … wait … spy utility? Nooooo!

    1. Oh yes! If you download her app, better put tape over your camera lens 😉

      1. She’s a clever one. 🙂

  2. And I caught the enter button while I still had hold of the shift so it sent.

    That’s a good story, and I wonder what she uses it for.

  3. Good luck with the revisions and the novel, an intriguing excerpt.

  4. michael1148humphris

    I knew app’s were so how not good, unlike your story.

    1. They can been dangerous indeed. Thanks for reading!

  5. peterkirsch

    A nice taste. Consider me hooked.
    Good luck, and let me know how those revs go.

    1. Aw very kind of you. Keep me posted on your novel!

  6. Popularity? Egad! I hated high school.

  7. I too was friendless and alone in high school, which is why I now write stories where people are slaughtered and/or tortured. But I try to write them well, which is something.

    This is great, by the way. You capture it beautifully

    1. Meh, it’s no ruthless slaughter and torture. Or actually it is, but that comes later. Spoiler: beware the sonorous-voiced coach 😉

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