The Strength of Drabbles

I’m not sure how well-known this word is outside the world of fan fiction, but the concept is simple enough: a story told in one hundred words. No more, no less. The story can be complete with a beginning, middle, and end, or it can be just one scene left open-ended for interpretation. Some drabbles are just dialogue, to let the reader fill in the blanks. Other writers push it further still and will write entire stories in drabbles, sometimes called drabble sequences: each “chapter” or “scene” is a drabble.  Instead of a verbose deluge, one reads a healthy trickle.

The above paragraph, for example, is exactly one hundred words (YMMV depending on which processor you use).

Even still, there are many variations on these micro-sized pieces. There are double drabbles, ficlets, microfics, flashfics, and a host of other in-betweens. The best part is that as a writer you can do whatever you want with them. They’re yours!

Something I have taken to recently is simply editing any of my work in drabble-style. I don’t cram all of my work into just one hundred words, but I will edit so that I make a point in exactly as many words. With more, or less, room than you anticipated, it’s a fun exercise in syntax and word economy.  We write 50-word bios and summaries, but doing that with actual prose…not so much.

This is especially helpful if you’re in any type of academic setting and have any word count limits (minimum or maximum). Or, if you’re stuck in writers block and just need something, anything to get moving–taking an excerpt and working it into that frame is a strong “inside the box” type of thinking that can get the juices flowing. It works for me, anyway.

Alright, with that being said, and my attempt to make this entire post in drabble form lost, I’m going to actually go write some!

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