A good friend of mine and aspiring writer, Melissa Grabowski, recently wrote an interesting article about a type of writing I’d never heard of before called a ‘Drabble.’ I found it quite interesting. These mini-stories remind me of the traditional Japanese ‘Haiku’ form of poetry, and I love the examples in the article. Way to go Mollydee!
Check out the feature below, or see it in all its original glory on GERM Magazine, whose Editor-in-Chief, Jennifer Niven, is also a dear friend.
HOW TO WRITE A STORY IN 100 WORDS, By Melissa Grabowski
I was introduced to author Michael Brookes through one of his horror stories. He is an excellent writer, and he was doing something on his website I’d never seen before: Drabbles. Little did I know that Michael and I would become friends. Through him, I met Jonathan Hill, the king of drabbles. He has written many books, among them 100 One Hundred Word Tales and Beyond One Hundred Drabbles.
So what exactly is a drabble? To quote Jonathan Hill, “A drabble is a piece of writing precisely 100 words long. A challenge to write, but fun to read, they often tell a tale with a twist or encapsulate an idea or emotion.”
As I read both of Hill’s books, I became a huge fan. His stories run the gambit of emotion from hysterically funny, to sad, to make-your-blood-run-cold, to better-look-over-your-shoulder, to make-you-stop-and-think. With Jonathan’s encouragement, I began to write drabbles on my book blog. I’ve written thirty-five to date.
It’s challenging work– you need to tug at the heartstrings or inspire terror in a short time to really pull off this kind of writing. It’s also a great exercise in editing, in getting to the heart of what you’re trying to say by trying to say it in as few words as possible. You could even use it as a tool when writing a short story or novel– first create a drabble as an exercise to figure out the core of your story.
And, as with almost anything, the more you do it, the better you become.
I encourage you to give it a try. (Note to writers age 12-22: see Germ’s Week One Writing Challenge to submit your drabbles!) But beware: drabbles are like potato chips. You cannot write just one.
Here are two of mine:
“Do we talk now?” she asks him. “What is there to talk about?” “Us.” “I don’t trust you anymore. I just exist. I hate life. I pray to sleep late. I do not enjoy television. It is like watching a black hole. I want to… the only thing I can count on is going to work and coming home.” This breaks her heart because it is all her fault. She knows his job has a high suicide rate. She is scared. If she never leaves the house, she can count on what he says, going to work and coming home.
It’s Your Call
She watches the snow fall. It has a calming effect on her. But she does not know how her night will progress. Can she make plans? Sure! Lots of books to read. She can watch television downstairs and play with the dog. It is very quiet and still here. Sometimes comforting to her, sometimes unnerving. She thinks about him. How her night goes always depends on him. With all the arguing lately, she is looking forward to a one-person slumber party. She looks at the snowfall again. The phone rings– he will not be working. She is happy and sad.
Melissa Grabowski, or “Mollydee” as her friends call her, is a Registered Nurse who had to stop working due to medical reasons. She was not able to read for fourteen years because of her medications, which made her lose focus and concentration. Last June, she was blessed with getting better, and was able to read once again. This led to blogging and meeting many wonderful authors (such as Jennifer Niven!). When she is not reading or blogging, Mollydee is working on her own book. She has been a Steelers fan since the age of eight, loves the winter, keeps a garden in the summer, and loves crafts. She has been married for thirteen years to the best man in the world and hopes to return to Nursing one day.