Tag Archives: Drabble

Practicing the art of writing microfiction: The drabble

Microfiction seems to be popular these days with early 21st century writers.

Maybe it’s because of the shortened attention span of multitasking modern readers using smartphones and tablets. Or, maybe it’s simply because writing microfiction is a challenging way to sharpen concise writing skills.

As much as I love writing concise compositions of polished prose using precisely 336 words, I also occasionally enjoy dashing off even more concise compositions of fifty words (a mini-saga) and a hundred words (a drabble).

A drabble, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, is a vignette of precisely one hundred words.

The word was coined by the silly persons in Monty Python’s Flying Circus—described in Monty Python’s Big Red Book (1971) as a word game for 2–4 players.

The first player to write a novel is the winner.

Since it would be absurd to play the game in the real world within such a short period of time it was determined that a drabble would have to be a very short novel in order to play the game in real time.

Aside from the text of the drabble, the author is allowed up to fifteen additional words for the title and the inclusion of the author’s name.

My spin on the drabble is to use an image with the story, like the following piece inspired by a Chagall painting:

PARIS THROUGH THE WINDOW 2013-1913

By Richard La Rosa

I rush into my SoHo apartment, glancing briefly at the clutter of masterpieces bathed in murky light, before fixing my gaze on the Chagall on the bricked-up window.

Stolen for my art-forger brother a hundred years ago it was created, like all the other paintings, with an extraordinary oil paint made by a Hungarian witch.

A witch whose genetic imprint is stamped in my own art-thief eyes.

Focusing my eyes on the painting, actually my escape hatch, I reach into Chagall’s 1913 Paris to take my brother’s hand.

The past becomes present just before the future unbecomes.

***

Richard La Rosa is an American writer.

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