May 13 – Limits: 100 Words or “Drabbles”

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Ready for another break? This exercise is ‘easier’ than writing a 5,000 word story, only because it takes a little less time. It does, however, take a lot more time than any average 100 words in the middle of a longer story.

Crafting a complete story in 100 words is not easy. It is, however, quite satisfying.

The Prompt

Write a story in exactly 100 words

Tips

  • Super-short stories have to pack an emotional punch in very few words. Concentrate on one moment, one incident, that holds huge significance for a character: the moment they first made eye contact with their baby; seeing the first crocus of spring after a hideous winter full of drama and despair; standing on stage in the moment of silence before the applause starts…
  • You’ll want to save the majority of your words for the build-up to the climax. Think about how many words you can afford to spend setting the scene (maybe 25?) and how many you want for the resolution (10?). Can you create a resonant story in 65 words?
  • Choose adjectives carefully. You don’t have much room.
  • Make words do double duty. Instead of saying ‘he walked across the room, shaking with rage’, say ‘he stalked away’, saving five words.
  • Don’t feel you have to hit 100 words on the first pass. Write the story, then go back through and intensify things by making your verbs more active and pruning as much dead wood as you can.
  • Imply as much as you can. Leave gaps. Let the reader work a bit.

GO!

Post a comment at the blog to let us know you’ve written today, or join the community and post in the Victory Dance Group.

8 thoughts on “May 13 – Limits: 100 Words or “Drabbles””

  1. I love this exercise and I like to create one paragraph stories for fun, but they don’t make much money!

    Thanks for this as it got me back on track with my days and I loved, loved, loved the fun of this (and it didn’t take me long!).

    1. So glad you’re having fun with this. Isn’t the challenge of writing every day starting to seem like something you can do, now?
      I bet there’s a niche for someone to make money with a specialty in 100 word stories. In fact, I think the current Exec. Director of NaNoWriMo has a site/book about that…

      1. Really? I have to look for that book – I’m giving mine away for free on the blog because I thought there’s no money in them…

  2. I shocked myself – my first attempt came in at only 92 words – and I am rather infamous in my writing circles for going long!

    I played around a bit, slipping in more powerful words, until I had my 100 word drabble, which I’ll post in the Victory Dance.

    I love this chance to think short, but not necessarily small. =D

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