A drabble is commonly held to be a short fiction of exactly 100 words, excluding the title. Although succinct it is not an anecdote or a joke, it is a story. It should have a beginning, middle and an end, albeit that may be by implication. It is popular not only in its own right, but as a prompt or writing exercise; the short format trains the writer to be economical with words. The modern drabble is not restricted by its beginnings in science fiction and may be written in any genre.
Drabbles are thought to have been born in the UK science fiction fandom of the 1980’s, the 100 word format having been established by the Birmingham University Science Fiction Society. The term ‘Drabble’ is credited to Monty Python’s 1971 ‘Big Red Book’ in which Drabble was a word game of two to four players where the first one to write a novel won, the length of the novel having been agreed to be 100 words.
The following sites provide examples, across a range of genres.
And here’s one of my own.
Three Pence Each
He set three empty bottles on a counter he couldn’t see over. Each carried a three pence refundable deposit.
“I’d like a Rocket Icy Pole please; from the bottle money.” He spoke with confidence; he had rehearsed.
Old Clarence stared from beneath verandah eyebrows. “Where’d you get the bottles boy, your mother never buys soft drinks.”
“A red one please.”
“I reckon you stole those bottles from the crate out back. I reckon you’re a thief, boy.” Old Clarence slammed his fist on the counter and one of the bottles toppled.
The boy watched it fall; then turned and ran.
Posted by Gayle Marien. Posted In : Drabbles