Stories for Very Busy People
December 8, 2008 12:48 AM   Subscribe

Like short stories but just don’t have the time to hang around for ten, five, two, or even one thousand words? Try some drabbles, stories precisely 100 words long. There was a bit of a craze in the early 90s, but some enterprising websites (including the successfully-published Brendan Adkin at Ommatidia) are still updating today (Previously). Write your own! (For the terminally lazy, automatically generate one instead.)
posted by Scattercat (11 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
First post. Please don't hurt me.

posted by Scattercat at 12:49 AM on December 8, 2008

tl; dr.
posted by orthogonality at 1:03 AM on December 8, 2008

that auto generate one reminds me of an old Sci-Fi book by Fritz Leiber The Silver Eggheads, wherein authors where merely tenders of gian machines that produced novels after parameters where fed in... IIRC all the machines get smashed in the end.
posted by edgeways at 1:37 AM on December 8, 2008

Quickly Tripping

Franz tripped along shamelessly. He was on his way to meet his lover, Cynthia, for Valentine's Day. He smiled to see a gerbil hopping along, carrying a ball in its mouth.

Franz was almost in a boat when he came across a shimmering cake, lying alone on a glowing plate. "That must be a treat from my flaccid bear," he said to himself, and tripped over to it. The cake looked tenuous, so he ate it.

It gave him the most glorious tingling sensation in his face. "How unusual!" he said and continued tripping to see Cynthia.

When Cynthia came out to meet him, she took one look and fell over.

"What is it?" Franz cried sensuously.

"Your stomach! And your bosum!" Cynthia said. "They're dappled! Can't you feel it?"

Franz felt his stomach and his bosum. They were indeed quite dappled. "Oh, no!" Franz said. "I'm a woman!" He, or rather, she started to cry. "It must have been that shimmering cake you left for me. Did you know what it would do?"

"I didn't leave you any cake," Cynthia said. "I got you a shaft. It must have been that black man who lives nearby. He acts a little tentatively, ever since he licked a gym."

"But how can you ever love me, now that I'm a woman?" Franz sobbed.

"Well, I never knew how to tell you this," Cynthia said breathlessly, "but I actually prefer women. And I think your stomach is really wet like that."

"Really?" Franz dried her tears. Franz kissed Cynthia and it was an entirely fast sensation, like a smooth wet rock that shines in the moonlight.

They spent the night having entirely fast sex, until the cake wore off suddenly.

Everything was rather awkward after that.
posted by no1hatchling at 3:57 AM on December 8, 2008

Nice, thanks for posting.
posted by RussHy at 5:39 AM on December 8, 2008

Interesting. I came across an anthology on flash fiction in a store a few months ago and completely forgot about it. Thanks for posting this and reminding me!
posted by Bearded Dave at 6:56 AM on December 8, 2008

Obligatory holiday posting of Neil Gaiman's "Nicholas was":

Nicholas was…

older than sin, and his beard could grow no whiter. He wanted to die.The dwarfish natives of the Arctic caverns did not speak his language, but conversed in their own, twittering tongue, conducted incomprehensible rituals, when they were not actually working in the factories.

Once every year they forced him, sobbing and protesting, into Endless Night. During the journey he would stand near every child in the world, leave one of the dwarves’ invisible gifts by its bedside. The children slept, frozen into time.

He envied Prometheus and Loki, Sisyphus and Judas. His punishment was harsher.




(mp3 here.
posted by yellowbinder at 8:45 AM on December 8, 2008 has been up for at least seven years -- the idea being that you write 100 words every day. Not 97 words, not 102 words. 100 words.

It can be anything -- your shopping list, the words one two three four etc to ninety-eight ninety-nine etc but it's got to be one hundred words. And you write your 100 words every day or you don't get your month posted online, a cool incentive, an inventive incentive.

I use it -- when I do use it -- to attempt to encapsulate the largest piece of my day. Or pieces. In 100 words. It has taught me about editing, big time. And it has taught me about writing every day, the importance of that.
posted by dancestoblue at 9:33 AM on December 8, 2008

I've been doing a similar writing project myself, which is how I came to research and read about the history of the 100-words-precisely form.

I wanted to put up some stuff about the alternate forms of microfiction, but the post started to get a little long and presumptuous. 369 is a weird one (three complete stories with a common thread, each one 69 words long), and I know Penny Arcade did a Ten-Word Story contest (which I entered and failed to win.)

It's interesting to try to fit an entire story into such a small space. It really does teach you about economy of words; it's helped (and is helping) to wean me off of my beloved adverbs.
posted by Scattercat at 11:41 AM on December 8, 2008

When I was in third grade, my entire class did this. Not because we were trying to challenge ourselves, or were trying to be creative. Because nobody wanted to ask exactly what the "100" on the blackboard meant. Did we have to write a story of at least 100 words, or more than 100 words? Don't ask, just write those 100 words. Ah, kids and the fear of the Rage of Grown-Ups.
posted by Xere at 1:15 PM on December 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Drabblecast by Norm Sherman has some really weird scifi/fantasy/horror type drabbles mixed with other strange short fiction.
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 6:06 PM on December 8, 2008

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