As the shabby chic door of the past slams shut on 2015, yes I know, that was so last week – the newly painted doors of fresh opportunity open on 2016.
I have used the image of a typewriter to illustrate that I have been engaged in the noble pursuit of writing.
A more accurate account of the writing process would be a bedraggled partially pyjama’d miscreant slumped over a laptop weeping and pouring coffee into their ear. But unfortunately, I couldn’t find any pictures to represent that.
I have quite clearly not been very active on the blogging front, mostly due to the festive season and the inevitable distractions (damn that insidious duck), I have however turned my semi-idle hands to flash fiction: in particular, the 100-word long drabble.
Yes, I was equally shocked and surprised to learn that drabble is the correct term, it sounds like the collective noun for unruly drunk Scotsmen.
I am not sure how many of you have given this a try, but from my perspective, there is a certain allure to working within the restrictive confines of a strict 100-word format. It certainly gets you to conform to the brutality of a succinct writing style and, as a consequence forces clarity in conveying your message. At least, that’s the fun of it.
So what have I found out during this?
As of now I have joined two sites dedicated to the 100 word short story.
The whole is a part and the part is a whole. The 100-word format forces the writer to question each word, to reckon with Flaubert’s mot juste in a way that even most flash fiction doesn’t. At the same time the brevity of the form allows the writer “to keep a story free from explanation,” as Walter Benjamin wrote.
This is the first site that I found whilst searching specifically for anywhere that would showcase 100-word fiction.
There is a very useful photo prompt section where, on a monthly basis, a random photo is displayed as inspiration for narrative. This is the section that I have been making the most of as, lord knows, we all need a little inspiration at times.
You can freely submit your piece in the comments section at the bottom of the page, and there appears to be no restriction on the amount of content that you can submit (you must adhere to the 100-word format, however).
I have also noted with interest that, in the short period of time I have been a member, there appears to be quite a number of submissions which implies that there is an active audience.
100 Word Story also post some interesting articles celebrating and promoting the flash fiction genre, such as this article from Lit Hub: A Crash Course in Flash Fiction.
As an extra incentive, every month the best story is chosen to be featured in the next issue.
If this is of any interest to you I would strongly urge you to submit something. Who knows, it may even get featured on the site.
Drablr is a real-time self-publishing platform connecting readers and authors.
At the heart of Drablr are works of flash-fiction called Drabbles. Each Drabble is exactly 100 words long, but don’t let the small size fool you, authors are clever folk and can express great ideas in just a few words.
To be honest, I have only joined the Drablr family today, and as such can’t really give it the attention that it deserves.
From first impressions, Drablr appears to be very simple and intuitive to use. Much like 100 Words – it is free to join and submit your work.
My initial step was to create a profile under the ME section. I knew some stuff about ME, so this was relatively simple to populate.
Once you have created your profile you can submit your first Drabble.
Again, Drablr appears to have an active community, and as such your hard work will be seen – and rated. The rating comes via a voting system to keep track of just how (un)popular you are becoming.
It looks as though the Discover section is Drablr’s bread and butter. As with most sites of this nature, participation is the key. The more participants that you follow, vote for and comment upon, the more likely they will be to reciprocate.
I have not had much of a chance to test this theory, as previously mentioned, this is my first day as a contributor.
In closing, I would love to hear from anyone who may have advice, or who has any information on similar sites.
I am also extremely keen to hear of your trials and tribulations if you have, as a direct result of reading this blog, taken some positive action to submit a cheeky 100-word vignette to either of the aforementioned sites.
And as for me? I may, in future, branch out with my flash fiction and write something with 101 words – I know it’s a massive stretch of the imagination, but I am sure that I am equal to the task.