“Excuse me, Dave, I don’t like to bother you when you’re writing, but what’s a drabble?”
Good question, whoever you are mysterious voice in my head. I’m glad you asked because I’m going to be posting some occasional drabbles called “Horror In 100” on the Haunted Pen blog in the coming weeks.
A “drabble” is a fictional story – regardless of genre – of exactly 100 words (not including the title). No more. No less. Exactly 100 words. That being said, it’s not uncommon for people to label any short piece of writing a drabble. Damn those people and damn their labels…
The term has also spawned a number of related terms to represent variations on the 100-word theme, such as “double-drabble” to refer to fiction of exactly 200 words. Don’t confuse this with a “double-double” or “triple-double” in basketball. Cool as it would be, I don’t see Steph Curry bouncing the ball down the court while reciting a 100-word short story about vampires any time soon. That might get me watching the NBA, though.
Along with being a lot of fun, this short-form style of fiction can also encourage people who have never written fiction to give it a try. Writing a coherent and engaging story in just 100 words is a challenge that tests an author to express interesting and meaningful ideas in a confined space.