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!
Last year I wrote 100,000 words of fiction (that’s on top of all the non-fiction writing, mothering, wife-ing and general living I got done).
In this episode I show you how to use word count logging to boost your writing output and to keep yourself accountable.
I also invite you to join us at the Serious Writers’ Accountability Group (SWAGr – we’re ‘serious’, not ‘sombre’!) at http://storyaday.org/category/swagr/ on the first of every month, to set your goals for the coming month and review how you got on last month.
Decorate your calendar with a sticker every day you write.
At the end of the month, step back and gaze at the ‘heat map’ of your work progress. Hopefully there’ll be enough ’stickered’ days to make you smile. If not, make a commitment now to do better next month.
KEEPING YOUR GOALS REALISTIC
If you can make an unbroken chain of those days that’s great. But bewarE! Setting so high a bar can backfire. What happens the first time life gets in the way and you miss a day? You feel terrible. You get demotivated. You quit.
Rather, I’d suggest setting a goal to write on a certain number of days a week.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE INFORMATION
At the end of the month, look back at your log see how much you achieved and if any patterns emerge (are weekends good or bad for you? Do you write more when you’ve had more sleep? When the kids are in school?). You can see where you might make changes or improvements.
Again, try to not use the log as a weapon to bludgeon yourself with guilt. Use it to analyze and study (and to face) what’s really going on. Try to increase your goal a little from what you actually achieved this month (not some abstract and possible unrealistic ‘ideal’).
Whatever type of log you choose, use it to keep yourself accountable, spur positive changes, and reinforce good work habits.
Because all of these things get you closer to where you want to be: writing.
Are you logging your writing days or word count? What methods do you use, and how do you use it to help you progress? Share in the comments, below!
How I used the StoryADay Word Count Logging tool to write 100,000 words last year, and why you should be logging your progress too!
Do you log your word count?
I’ve been logging my word count (on and off) for the past couple of years. Last year, without really trying too hard, I managed to write 100,000 words of fiction. That was the end of one novel, several short stories (a couple published) and the first half of a second novel.
If I’m so productive, why bother logging my word count, you say?
Come closer and let me whisper into your ear…I’m productive because of the word count log.
I know you lot are always up for a challenge. A significant portion of the crew here takes on NaNoWriMo each November.
So I have a gift for you.
A Month Without Math
I’ve created a word-count tracker that dynamically calculates how many words you need to write every day to hit your targets. It works whether you faithfully write 1667 words every day, or whether you binge-write 5,000 then sleep for 48 hours before writing again. Just plug in your numbers and the spreadsheet will tell you your remaining daily average number of words required to hit the magic 50,000.
But That’s Not All
If you hit the minimum daily number of words required to stay on track, the spreadsheet rewards you by turning the ‘Words Today’ cell a happy bright green.
When you hit the magic 50,000 words, all the remaining “Words This Month” boxes turn green too.
(It’s silly, but it is incredibly motivating to see those little green boxes stack up!)
(as long as you can access Google Drive, that is).
This is a Google Sheets document. That means it’s stored in the cloud and you can update it from anywhere you can log in to Google: on your phone, in the coffee shop, in bed, from your laptop, during meetings (ahem!)
Easy To Use
This comes with foolproof instructions including “Where to type” and “Where not to type” and “how to use this again next year/for other projects”.
Download a copy now, (DO NOT REQUEST ACCESS. INSTEAD, CLICK FILE/MAKE A COPY) to your Google Drive (you’ll need a free Google account) and use it with my best wishes for a frantic, fiction-filled month of creativity!
Ever have one of those lessons that you know, but you need life to kick you in the face with again and again, because you can’t make yourself learn it otherwise?
I’m currently letting life kick me in the face with this one:
Write First. Then Let Life Happen.
It’s hard to make time for writing. It’s harder when you’re worrying about all the other things you have to do as well.
Do you peek at your email before you sit down to work on your current writing project?
Do you do a survey of all the projects you want to work on?
Do you check Twitter, because, c’mon each tweet is only 140 characters long?
And do you end up finding it harder and harder to start work on your actual writing?
Join me in my new pledge: Write First.
As much as I possibly can, I pledge to Write First.
The rest of life will catch up with me as soon as it possibly can, whether or not I invite it in. So when I sit down to write, I will write first, email later.
To help me with this pledge, here are some things I’m going to do
Plan what I’m going to work on before my next writing session begins – I don’t want to sit down and think ‘hmm, what will I work on today?’. I want to sit down, knowing that I’m working on that scene where my main character is doing this thing. Or that I’m going to take this story idea and turn it into a first draft. If I have to plan this the night before, fine. If I have to plan it while I’m driving home from a day of Real Life, that’s OK too. But I need to be ready to go as soon as I sit down.
I will not have any social media windows open until after I have reached my goal for the day.
I will not give up until I have reached my word count or project goal for the day. Even if I’m feeling stabby.
How about you? Will you join me? What will your ‘rules’ be?
A lot of people aim to write Flash Fiction because they think it’s going to be quicker than writing a longer story. Don’t they know their Blaise Pascal? (“”I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter.”)
It is possible to write a good story in 55 words (the title isn’t part of the word-count, but must not exceed seven words), but it’s not necessarily a quick thing.
Still, Saturdays tend to have more ‘running around’ time than ‘sitting at a desk time’ for many of us, and that might equal ‘thinking time’ if we’re lucky.
So grab your idea right now. Then, while you’re folding laundry, or taking the kids to soccer, think about how you can deliver a punch in 55 words. Think about which elements of your story you can strip away to cut it down to 55 words. What is essential in your story?