Tip #33 Write a Drabble

What’s a Drabble you might ask? It a flash fiction story of 100 words. It’s not 99 words or 101 words, but it has to be exactly 100 words. Difficult. It’s the slam dunk of flash fiction writing. I haven’t written one yet, but could you write one? Jake Bible’s Dead Mech is written in a Drabble structure. 100 words per chapter. Here’s a link to Jake’s story: Dead Mechs.

Here are some examples:

If you are interested here’s Jake Bible’s Friday Night Drabble Party:

Here are some examples:

If you are interested here’s Jake Bible’s Friday Night Drabble Party:

Tip #32 Don’t Let Your Story Exceed 6 Words

The goal. The touchdown. The homerun.

Do you have chops like Hemingway?

Is it out of reach for you?

Write your six word story quickly.

Don’t look back. It doesn’t bite!

Here’s Hemingway’s famous story:

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

Link to stories from the Huffington Post:

Tip #31 Don’t Let the Title Exceed 6 Words

Your title should be he best one. Ever! But don’t make to too long.

Your title should be the start of your story. These words are the first words of your story and first words your reader will see. But use too many words.

Limit your to six words. Long titles are great for doctoral thesis, but not for flash fiction.

All these stories have less than six words:

‘Dinosaur’ by Bruce Holland Rodgers:

‘The Outing’ by James Baldwin:

‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson:

Here is a wonderful writer discussing titles, Bruce Holland Rodgers. I have been lucky enough to include him in two anthologies: 

Here’s another article about titles from the University of Minnesota’s Center For Writing about titles: 

Tip #30 Write Shorter and Shorter Stories and then try Longer and Longer Stories

I am going to try to make a story by just make it shorter and shorter each time (Yes, I’m making this up on the spot…forgive me).

‘I dated him yesterday, and he’s love is gentle and kind,’ said Mary

‘Love is gentle and kind,’ said Mary.

Love is normal and kind.

Love is kind.

Love is.

Love.

Now, I’m going to change direction and add to a word. Of course, I picked the word hate because it’s the opposite of love. Now expand on a word. (I am making this up as I go.

Hate.

Is hate hurtful and unkind?

Just ask the….

I’m stuck

That didn’t work. Okay, I’m try another word off the top of my head.

Alligators

Alligators bite at my ankles. I could cry out in pain, but instead I make them exotic boots.

Okay, I really don’t like the story the way it is right now. One more attempt…

Alligators bite my ankles. I cry out because I now have exotic boots.

A little better, but it still needs work…not too bad for two minutes of my time. Give it a try. I know you can write better alligator story than me.

Tip #29 Loss the Speech Tags – ‘He Said/She Said’

These tags are invisible to the reader. For most of the time a reader’s eye will just skip over them. If the reader doesn’t notice them then don’t put them into your story because they will just add to the word count.  

I was going to place on here from classic literature, but I discovered how few of them were used by great authors. Go to Project Gutenberg.

See for yourself. Maybe we use too many he said/ she said nowadays.

He said, “Hand me the rifle.”

She said, “No, today is the day I’ll get my revenge.”

He said, “He killed my brother.”

She said, “But I get to shoot him first because I’m married to the snake.”

He said, “You win.”

Here’s a good article about speech tags from Grammar Girl:  

Tip #28 Write on Your Smart Phone

Write on your fiction on your Smartphone. It doesn’t have to be only your phones, and it can be on many other devices. Like your iPads, watch, or. Electronic keyboards. I still like writing micro-fiction with a notebook and an ink pen, but there are so many other ways of writing down your words these days. The tool I always have with me is my phone. It’s always on me. It’s also next to my bed. I don’t have the career any longer where I need to have a laptop with me all of the time.

But your phone works in a pinch. 

I have two apps for writing on it. Since I have an iPhone I use Apple’s Page application on it. It always works on my Apple laptop where it synchs with it automatically and uploads anything I write from the phone to the laptop. That is handy. If you have an iPhone like me, you might want to try one of these other ones. 

Microsoft Word: I like this app. It works on types of platforms. It’s good. It has many features. It’s drawback, Microsoft Word charges a monthly fee to use it.

Scrivener: By Literature and Latte. I keep trying this app, but it really doesn’t work for me. But many writers swear by it…it has a free trial so given it a look for yourself. It also works on many different platforms.

iA Writer: I swear by the one. I purchased it for $9.99, and I haven’t looked back. It also works many platforms, and it’s simple. It doesn’t take away from writing the story.

Google Docs: Google wants to be available everywhere and to anyone. Google docs works great if you have an internet connection, and it’s free. 

My iPhone also has a note-taking function if I don’t feel like using one of the other programs. I’m sure the other smartphones have this ability and it will save a little bit of money. Finally, when all else fails I can just open the phone’s email and write my story there. 

Currently, writing on my smartphone and it has been a God-send because I can use it anywhere. I often find myself writing in bed. The current story I’m working on, Mech Troopers, each of the chapters are only 500 words, and the phone works well when I write it. If I was trying to edit War and Peace, I would go back to my laptop, but for smaller works its great.

If you are looking for a fancy version and it’s expensive you might want to look at Freewriter: 

It’s $550 but it’s the Rolls Royce of the story writing machines.

But if you would like a cheaper version try an Alphasmart. They were first made for younger students, and they are no longer made any longer, but there were so many made they are easily found. I picked mine up for $25 on eBay. 

You can also dictate into your phone using Dragon Anywhere. It has a monthly fee. Some like it very much, but I didn’t like it. 

Nowadays there are so many choices to get those words down. Look around you will find something that will work best for you.

Here’s article about apps for the Android platform:

Tip #27 Here’s another Warmup for Flash Fiction: Take One Person from Before and Write a 50 Words Biography, a 5 word bio, and 1 Word bio About Them

Okay, here’s my attempt at this exercise. I hope your own will turns out better than mine.

-Take same person write a 50 word biography about them. (I’m at a coffee shop in downtown Denver, and pick the closest person to me.) Exactly 50 words. Not much story, but I wrote in 3 minutes and maybe it will lead to something else later on.

He’s waiting for something. Maybe he’s waiting for a class to start because he’s young and we are across from a college campus. It’s 8 am so the early section has already started. He’s waiting for a later class. It’s time. He checks his phone and leaves. Time for school.

-Take same person write a 5 word biography about them.  This took a couple of tries

First sentence:

He left me with no else in view.

Getting it to 5 words.

Alone, no one in view.

-Take same person write a 1 word biography about them. It’s sad. The young man entered my story and left me on my own.

Alone

To be honest I thought about including a 500 word biography in this tip section, but let’s face it I’m a flash fiction writer and the idea of writing 500 words seems like writing a novel to me. 

I liked doing this exercise. It’s a harmless exercise to do in a coffee shop. Now, back to my hot chocolate, and I have a few more ideas for a new story.