Showing posts from October, 2008


The real problem is how you keep a drabble from becoming a musing. There’s meant to be a story. There’s meant to be a kick. So editing drabbles mean’s you’re constantly asking the questions—where is this going? Has anything changed? Is the ending clear enough? Obscure enough?

If I’m writing a book, I want to keep the reader turning the pages. With a drabble I want them to carry on churning the thoughts. Something should stick in the reader’s mind, and if I can learn to find that something, maybe my book will stick to their fingers one day.

100 words


I got worried when the Lulu uploader said it wanted Acrobat. But I’d missed the small print. Preferred doesn’t mean essential, and Word would do.

I edited my document—set the page size, learned about margins and gutters, and finally loaded it up. The button said “Convert,” then offered to let me preview the results. Somehow my 32 pages had grown to 54, Word’s formatting not carrying over quite the way I’d planned.

Still, five or six tries later I won. An Acrobat version of my picture book, downloadable to my own machine, and looking just as planned. Incredible!


So, you’ve written a drabble and your word-processor’s counted the words. It’s time to cut. First, check you’ve really written only one detailed scene; if more, turn the extras into telling. Then count words again.

Next look at adjectives and adverbs—everyone always says we use too many. Where there’s two, pick one. Where there’s one, ask if a better noun would work.

And the phrases—“She was walking and stopped when she saw” becomes “She stopped when she saw.” Contractions—“She had counted,” “She’d counted.” It’s amazing the ways you can tighten things up; using less to write more.

100 words


My first step with Lulu was choosing the size and style for my book, which determines cost. Unfortunately I really wanted colored pictures but at least it’s do-able without them charging the earth up-front. My book’s priced close to $10 for now, and $11+ when the prices go up. But that’s just for printing… postage, profit, who knows what other fees will lurk?

Different page sizes, different bindings, different choices if you’re selling through book stores or Lulu or just to you; it wasn’t too hard to navigate though, and the next page said “Upload files.”

Getting scary. Getting fun.


How do you drabble? Remember, your story's going to be seriously small, one scene, one event. If there’s backstory, it’s short and sweet. If there’s a happy (or otherwise) ever after, it has to be written in as few words as you can get away with. But you have to “show” the scene.

Telling—that’s where you say what happened. And you’re short of space; don’t bother with long descriptions. Showing is where you connect with the reader, where you drag them in so the telling can really tell. And that’s the scene.

Drabbled—shown and told in 100 words.

100 words


I swore I’d never do it; said it was cheating – where’s the achievement in seeing my name in print if it’s me that put it there? Besides, if I can’t persuade any agents and editors to read my stuff, how should I expect to persuade anyone else?

Then there’s the money thing. If I’m not earning, what right do I have to spend what I’m not earning on continuing not to earn?

But Lulu said they publish free; they even give you a web-site to sell what you write. So I’m definitely tempted – I’ll let you know how it goes.


I drabble, though technically, since drabble's a noun, I guess I should say I write drabbles.

Wikipedia defines a drabble as “an extremely short work of fiction exactly one hundred words in length…” So why drabble?

A short work of fiction is still a story, of course, with beginning, middle and end. Every scene’s important, though there’s probably only one, so select it well. Every word has to count and repetitions look bad. Every detail reveals character or forwards plot, or else gets deleted.

There’s no room for waste in a drabble. I drabble daily. And then I write novels.

100 words