Writing 100-Word Stories
For Magazines and Contests
A Self Study Tutorial
Michael A. Kechula
Copyright 2014 by Michael A. Kechula, all rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated, transmitted, or stored in any form without the express written permission of the publisher.
Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
Getting published and winning contests are based on a number of unpredictable factors which are out of the author’s and publisher’s control and are associated with the vagaries of the publishing industry. The author and publisher can’t guarantee that readers of this book will ever get a drabble published, or win a drabble-writing contest even after learning and applying all the techniques in this book. Further, because of individual learning differences, the author and publisher can’t guarantee that readers will be able to comprehend and implement everything contained in this book.
This book is dedicated to my life-long guide and illuminator, THG, and to the late Dr. B. F. Skinner, Psychologist and Harvard Professor. Dr. Skinner’s extraordinary book, “The Technology of Teaching,” profoundly changed the author’s life.
CHAPTER 1: Drabble Basics
Definition of Drabble
Characteristics of Literary Drabbles
Characteristics of Genre Drabbles
Characteristics of Anecdotal Drabbles
CHAPTER 2: Drabble Development Process
Step 1: Decide What to Write
Step 2: Use Minimalist Approach
Step 3: Create First Draft
Step 4: Count Words
Step 5: Read Drabble
Step 6: Edit Drabble
Step 7: Repeat Steps 4 through 6
Step 8: Check Spelling
Step 9: Count Words in Final Draft
CHAPTER 3: Before You Begin
Be a Storyteller
Tell, Not Show
Make Stories Plot-Driven
Avoid Mundane Plots
Write Clear Sentences
CHAPTER 4: Minimalist Openers
Changing the Subject
CHAPTER 5: Minimalist Characters
Repetition of Titles
Watching, Glancing, Glaring
Entrances and Exits
CHAPTER 6: Developing Minimalist Dialogue
CHAPTER 7: Developing Minimalist Narrative – Part 1
Facts of Existence
“The and That”
CHAPTER 8: Developing Minimalist Narrative – Part 2
Telling Then Correcting
Passive to Active
“There” or “It”
CHAPTER 9: Anatomy of a Prize Winning Drabble
What We Developed
The Drabble that Won
Questions on Structure and Content
Minimalist Techniques in the Story
Scenes and Events
Word Economy Exercise
Answers for Word Economy Exercise
Books by Michael A. Kechula
Are you eager to get published in magazines as quickly and often as possible? One way to do that is to learn how to write 100-word micro-fiction stories called drabbles. There’s a continuing demand for them by editors of online and print magazines. Besides that, writing contests that specialize in drabbles are held regularly. Why not exploit the demand by developing and submitting some drabbles?
Perhaps you’ve never tried to write such tiny tales, and don’t know how to craft them. One way to learn is to review all the topics in this book and complete all the exercises.
Here are some things to know about this book:
Chapters and topics vary in size, depending on their level of complexity. We suggest you repeat any topic any number of times until you feel you’ve mastered the contents.
As you proceed through the chapters, we’ll present some information, show examples, then ask questions about what you just read. All questions begin with Q followed by a number. If you have the eBook version, have a pencil and plenty of paper available to answer the questions. If you have the paperback version, write your answers in this book.
Answers for all questions within each chapter are available at the end of the chapter. Answers for the Word Reduction Exercise are at the end of that exercise.
Most questions are drill-and-practice exercises to reinforce what you just learned. They allow you to monitor your progress in absorbing the tutorials and putting them into practice. The ultimate goal is to prepare you to develop drabbles that will attract the attention of magazine and contest editors.
If you’re ready to learn how to write drabbles the minimalist way, let’s get started…
This chapter covers the following topics:
A drabble is a complete story that’s told in exactly 100 words, not counting the title. A drabble is the only form of fictional story-telling prose that has such an exact, rigid, and enforced word requirement.
Q1: What is the allowable word count for a drabble? _____
Q2: A story containing exactly 100-words is called a ______________.
Some authors erroneously think the word drabble is just a new name for a vignette. However, three notable differences distinguish drabbles from vignettes:
Q3: Name one of the differences between drabbles and vignettes.
Magazines and contest editors seek 2 kinds of drabbles:
Let’s take a look at the characteristics of literary drabbles…
Literary drabbles tend to be lyrical, focus on characters and have little or no plots.
Q4: Literary drabbles focus on characters, don’t have extensive plots, and tend to be ____________.
Q5: Literary drabbles tend to focus on__________________.
Here’s an example of the opening sentence for a literary drabble:
I always thought naming girls after flowers was antiquated and ridiculous, but as I lay here, watching her sleep, I stroke the alabaster skin of her shoulder and think that perhaps this once, the comparison is appropriate.
Notice how this 37-word sentence focuses exclusively on a character. The remaining 63 words showed even more about the character, and didn’t include a plot.
Although a number of magazines seek only literary drabbles, this book doesn’t discuss how to develop them. The focus here is on genre drabbles, because they are in far greater demand by contest and magazine editors, world-wide.
Now that we’ve discussed some characteristics of literary drabbles, let’s move on to genre drabbles…
Genre drabbles are considered the opposite of literary drabbles, because they don’t focus on characters. Instead, they focus on events, plus they have developed plots.
Q6: Genre drabbles have plots and focus on _______________.
By events, we mean the noteworthy things that happen in a story. For example, if you’re telling about a man who’s on his way to a bank to rob it, you’ll probably focus on what happens when he arrives. You wouldn’t expend words describing his motivations, what he wore, and the color of his hair. Instead, you’d establish the fact that someone wanted to rob a bank, tell what happened when he arrived at the bank, and if he succeeded or not.
Most stories published today are works of genre fiction. Here’s a partial list of genre names:
This list isn’t complete, but it’s large enough to help you understand how genre fiction stories are classified. To learn more about fiction genres, search Google with these keywords: fiction genres.
We hope you enjoyed this excerpt from MICRO FICTION by Michael A. Kechula. You may purchase the entire guide, in multiple eBook formats, by clicking the Buy Now button below. MICRO FICTION is $9.99.