Drabbles have been around for decades and have recently regained popularity. They must have exactly one hundred words, not including the title and they are a means of trying out little story ideas and making the writer aware of the value and importance of every word. They have to be a real story, not merely one hundred words of description, for example. I remember my first drabble very well. I’d been reading them on the daily free newsletter BOOKHIPPO. We were away for a long weekend and my husband, having set the Satnav, proceeded to ignore it because he knew a better way. There's the result.
“I don’t know why you bought that bloody Satnav,” I complained to my husband. “You just ignore it!”
“It’s giving me the fastest route,” he said. “Mine’s a better one.”
When the voice said “At the next exit, take the turn,” and he blithely sailed on, I finally flipped. “Oh, for god’s sake, turn the sodding thing off if you won’t take any notice!”
He pulled onto the hard shoulder, undid my seatbelt, leaned over to open the door and pushed me out, then drove off.
I rang the AA. “I need a recovery vehicle. My marriage has broken down.”
I followed that up with several hundred more over the course of the next year. My production of drabbles only slowed when I began to write longer fiction. At its height, I contributed to a book of 120 drabbles Beyond 100 Drabbles by my friend Jonathan Hill. You'll be hearing more about this later in the week on Jonathan's blog.
I still write the occasional 100 word story. If you ever feel you've got a short story you'd like to tell, give it a go. Most writing software will count the words for you and it's amazing how much you can say in that short space. It's a lesson to authors not to waste words.
And here’s a more recent one –
James took up painting in his retirement. 'Paint from life,' they told him but he soon ran out of flowers in his garden and trees in the park. 'Use your imagination,' he read. His dramatic picture of racing cars crashing was followed by a news report of a similar collision resulting in a fatality. His colourful 'Burning Building at Sunset' presaged a local hotel fire. His work seemed to predict the future. Terrified, he was about to consign his materials to the bin when inspiration struck. He painted himself handing over the winning lottery ticket. Must remember to buy one!