Drabbles & Microfiction

KEEP CALM!  Some are probably wondering what micro-fiction actually is.  Here is a useful overview:

Until about the year 2000, the term “short short story” was the most common term in use until “flash fiction” overtook it as an umbrella term for sudden fiction, micro fiction, micro-story, short short, postcard fiction and short short story.

Distinctions are sometimes drawn between some of these terms, e.g. 1000 words is considered the cut-off between “flash fiction” and the slightly longer short story or “sudden fiction”.

Unlike a vignette, flash-fiction often contains the classic story elements: protagonist, conflict, obstacles or complications, and resolution.

However, unlike a traditional short story, the limited word length often forces some of these elements to remain unwritten in the actual storyline.  instead they are either hinted at or implied.

“Micro fiction” and “micro narrative” apply to those with less than 300 words.

There are a number of word count cut-off points for various groups.  I happen to like the ‘Drabble’ which is  a 100-word piece, with the title of the piece being limited to 6 or 7 additional words.

Fans of Monty Python’s ‘Big Red Book’ will recognise “Drabble” as a word game where the first participant to write a novel was the winner. In order to make the game possible in the real world, it was agreed that 100 words would suffice.

Although the drabble format challenges writers to express meaningful ideas in confined spaces, there is no need to be concerned with developing writer’s claustrophobia.  Think instead of the art of the miniature – like bonsai.



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