That was pretty much my view on drabbles, until I started trying to write them. This was in 2012, when BookHippo (formerly Indie Book Bargains) started including a 100-word story in its daily email listing free and discounted eBooks. Indie authors saw this as a new platform for writing and it quickly took off, leading to a drabble renaissance over the last few years.
I decided to have a crack at this and that’s when I discovered how tricky it can be. It’s not just keeping your story to precisely one hundred words, it’s making sure there’s a proper story in the first place and not just a random piece of writing. There has to be some kind of plot, some degree of characterisation and, most importantly, an ending with impact. All much easier to achieve in novel form!
I was still pleased with the first drabble I wrote for BookHippo. With hindsight, I can see it betrays my obsession with the self-publishing phenomenon which I had become part of only a year before. I had thought I was being original by making it dialogue-only, only to discover this was a standard trick for drabblists!
“Babe, open the handcuffs now, I’ve had enough for one night.”
“I found out about you and that bitch off the forum.”
“Wh-what? Who do you mean?”
“But… she’s just a fan of my erotic poetry eBooks!”
“And your bedroom. She left her Kindle behind.”
“Babe, she means nothing to me, she’s just helping with my writing!”
“I’ll bet she is.”
“Look, these handcuffs are hurting my ankles, let me go and we’ll… um… why are you putting lube on that Kindle?”
“They say everyone’s got a book inside them, don’t they?”
Since then, I’ve had a lot of fun writing drabbles. I’m certainly not the most prolific drabblist, but every so often it’s a joy to craft something short and punchy, especially as a way to take a break from longer works. I was very pleased when one was chosen to be featured in an online drabble magazine in both Polish and English, and I’ve even experimented with writing a five-part drabble story.
This post is part of the Festival of Drabbles 2015, a week-long celebration of drabbles and the art of drabble writing including some of the finest drabblists in the world.