A few days ago I read an interesting and informative article from a fellow blogger in which she described different types of prose writing. She introduced me to a term I’d never come across: a ‘drabble’. This is a very short story of exactly 100 words.
I love the short story genre but I’ve never tried writing any ultra-short piece. I have written quite a few vignettes though and thought I’d try reducing a complementary pair of these to 100 words.
Backstory: a middle-aged couple are attempting to persuade the man’s mother to leave her home of fifty-odd years to live closer to them. Ada is the mother, Bob the son, Linda the daughter-in-law.
A backfiring car punctuated Bob’s proposition: living closer to us would be the tonic his mum needed. Her silence was palpable. We’d tossed around ways of putting it to her and despite initial fears I’d agreed we could no longer fight through traffic delays for a few hours in her flat each week. And Bob’s anger at pressures to stay ahead of the game at work was growing daily.
“That’ll take some thinking about,” she said at last.
I squeezed Bob’s hand yet my smile belied this relentless round of work and duty that was killing him while I watched.
I sat there. Keep them waiting. Especially her. She’s behind it. My Bob’d never suggest moving. This’s as much his place.
“I’ll need time to think. Taken me back a bit. Moving at my time of life.”
“Gwen’s your only friend left now, mum. You’d be nearer.” Linda smiling like she does, all teeth, no eyes, calling me ‘mum’. She wants something. Doesn’t call me by name most of the time.
And how dare she tell me who my friends are. Gwen’s years older; isn’t likely to see out next year. Fat lot of company she’ll be, six foot under.
It’s incredibly difficult to keep your writing short and still get over what you’re trying to say. That’s what I’ve found. It’s not at all like the precis we had to do in school because that required getting over bare facts. These two vignettes (drabbles!) require putting across feelings.
Do you have any micro-scenes to share?
Please add them here if you’d like to.
Or do you have any tips to share?
Look forward to hearing from you.