Don’t expect this to be a super-quick exercise…
Today you’re going to write a were a story in 100 words. This also known as a Drabble.
Write a story in 100 words
- With a story this short, you have about 25 words to open the story and about 10 words at the end to wrap things up. The rest of the words hold the meat of the story.
- Often it’s easier to write the story a little longer and cut it down.
- Being concise doesn’t mean leaving out detail. You just have to make sure (probably on a rewrite) that every word is doing double duty. If you’re describing something make sure it reflects the mood of the character as well, for example.
- Don’t expect this to be a super-quick exercise. A hundred words is not many and it can be difficult to shoehorn a story into such a small space. You are going to need to build in time to revise it.
- The good news is that writing a 100 word story and revising it still takes less time than writing a 3,000 word story.
- If you need some inspiration check out the site 100 Word Story. Read a few to get the idea of what can be done with so few words.
Post a comment to let us know how you’re getting on, share your story, share tips or ask for help!
Today I’m challenging you to share your story on the new Anchor App (only available for iOS just now, sorry).
Write A 100 Word Story Containing A Reference To Grandparents
- This can be a story about grandparents, or it can have the most tangential reference to grandparents (see my story on Anchor)
- Even if you don’t remember your grandparents, the idea of grandparents saturates our culture. I’m sure you can find some way (syrupy or sarcastic) to write about this!
- 100 word stories (also known as Drabbles) take some finessing, so I’m going to recommend writing something a little longer, then cutting it.
- A good way to think about a 100 word story is to have 25 words to set it up, 50 words for the meat of the story and 25 words for the wrap up. It’s not that neat, of course, but the formula is just a ‘way in’.
- Dribbles often come across almost like form-less poems. The descriptions and characterization certainly owe more to poetry than to novels.
- If you’re new to Anchor, download it from the app store and go through the introductory ‘first wave’ instructions, then just mash the big red button to record your story. You have two minutes, so you might want to fire up a stopwatch. When you’re finished, you can listen to the finished ‘wave’ and then click the ‘next’ arrow to move to a screen where you can give your wave a caption and a hashtag (use #storytelling and #storyaday so that I can find it and listen). Then listen to other people’s stories and hit the ‘reply’ button (you’ll have one minute to reply. When you’re listening, the app will keep playing content until you
- If you don’t have Anchor you could always record your story and upload it to your own blog or another audio hosting system.
Today you’re not just going to write one story. You’re going to write three!
Click on this photo.
Flick through the gallery and pick the first three pictures that catch your attention. Now, write a short, 50-100 word story for each. No more than 100 words each.
- Your stories can link together or not.
- You may discover a theme that ties them together as you write the stories. You may discover it afterwards. You may never discover a common thread among the three pictures you write about. (Your readers might.)
- Try doing something different for each story. Make one a monologue, one a fragment of conversation, another a more traditional narrative telling the reader something about the incident/person in the story.
- Do this as quickly as you can. Don’t spend any time wondering why you picked the pictures or whether what you’re writing is strictly a ‘story’. Just work fast and move on.
- You don’t have to write about three. If you find yourself writing a longer story inspired by one of the pictures, feel free to continue.
- You don’t have to tell the story of the person in the picture. The key is to write something ‘inspired by’ the picture. It could be someone telling the story of his grandmother (pictured) or it could a story that evokes the emotions you felt when you looked at the picture.
- You can write more than three if you feel inspired. Just keep them short. I’m interested in seeing what ideas pour out of your heads, after three full weeks of writing a story a day.
- Try to let us know which pictures you used for which story, if you’re sharing your stories online.
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.
Write a story in exactly 100 words
- 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.
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.
So how did you get on yesterday?
Did you write? Did you leave a comment on the blog post, or do your Victory Dance?
Whatever you managed yesterday, congratulations and I’m glad you’re back for more!
Continuing the theme of ‘assuming you have more than one idea of a time’ this week, I’m giving you another length-based writing assignment.
Write A Drabble (A Story Of Exactly 100 Words)
- Just because you’re limited to 100 words, don’t think this is going to be any less a creative exercise than any other story you write this month.
- Allow as much time for this as you would for a longer story.
- Don’t be surprised if you find yourself writing more and then paring the story back.
- It’s very common to cut out lots of words from the start of short stories. Sometimes we have to write a lot to figure out where the story really starts. Don’t be afraid to ‘start late’.
- You can’t explain much in a 100 word story. Allow the reader to fill in some blanks. Stories of this length are very much a collaboration between reader and writer.
It’s almost Thanksgiving here in the US (for those non-US people: it’s a Big Deal with lots of travel and turkey and non-productivity).
So, in an effort to keep you writing but not overwhelm you, this week I’m assigning a Drabble, a 100 word story.
Write A 100 Word Story
- 100 word stories sound like they won’t take up much time but they will take more than you think.
- Remember that you don’t have much time/space to create your story. This stops you from including too much backstory, any rambling, or losing your way in the middle. Keep your mind firmly on the end.
- Do write more than 100 words if you need to, then trim.
- If you find yourself writing fewer than 100 words, look back and see if you can beef it up with pointed dialogue, expressive description or more of your main character’s emotions.
- You can make the theme of the story ‘Thanksgiving’, ‘gratitude’ (or lack thereof), or something completely different if inspiration strikes.
Welcome to StoryADay May 2013!!
Well done you, for deciding to take on this challenge. Check out the community and all the support you can find in there. But first, let’s get started!
Write A 100 Word Story (“Drabble”)
I’m starting the challenge with a Drabble because although a 100 word story will probably take longer than you expect, it’s still going to take a manageable amount of time.
Many people who sign up for StoryADay are looking for a creativity boost. Plunging into a 3,000 word story on the first day is a bit intimidating.
To make a drabble work,
- Choose one or two characters
- Take one single moment/action/choice and show us how it unfolds
- Give us one or two vibrant details in as few words as possible
- Show us (hint) how this moment/action/choice is more significant than the characters probably realize in the moment
Write A Drabble (100 word story)
Write A Drabble
A ‘drabble‘ is a short story of exactly 100 words. We’ve already done a 55 Fiction day, so this drabble day should be a doddle!