Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Drabbles and Twabbles and... and... and I can't think of a 3rd thing, Oh MY!

I've been participating in a writers forum. The Drabblecast is composed of brilliant writers that weave tiny little fictions together for your free enjoyment. That's right. FREE. However, they will gladly accept much needed donations, which go towards putting together a very high quality podcast of short stories. You can find both stories to listen to and links to help donate here.

I've been having a blast with the project. There are two different style writings I try to participate in; each challenging and potent in their own way. The first, is the "Drabble." A one hundred word story, no more, no less. An entire story, conveyed in the space of one or two small paragraphs.

The second, is the "Twabble." Yes, "twabble." Inspired by Twitter Fiction. A story conveyed in exactly one hundred CHARACTERS. (excluding spaces.) And so often I have heard remarks about this particular genre. Some people hear "twitter" and get all frenzied. They HATE twitter for some reason. ...Or love it.

Let’s squash a couple of arguments right away. First. Twit-fic is killing “real” writing. Take a moment to explore that thinking before siding on this one. You have a favorite novel, right? In one sentence or two sentences, can you tell me a basic plot to the story? Novels start as an idea. Nothing more. A random thought that flits through an author’s head. Sometimes, they are lucky enough to grab a slip of paper to jot it down before it skips away again. I don’t recommend bashing a tool that helps exercise the ability to recognize when and how to jot down a fickle thought.

Another argument? "You can’t convey an entire story in that short a space." Gasp! Quick! Inform the Sunday papers! Tell them it is imperative to pull all of the comic sections immediately! For the stories must have no plot and are a blight to the creative process! -Oh please. Since I have begun writing twit-fics, my writing has become more concise and poignant. Sure, I have a long way to go but the leaps and bounds I have taken in weaving together a string of words is fantastic indeed. When you have a limited number of characters, you are forced to find synonyms, and new creative ways to convey the same mood and message after the need of removing a word you once thought imperative.

Besides, many say that Hemingway did it.

“For Sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.” --Six words. Six. And yet it makes you think, wonder, and evokes emotion. There is a story here.

Now whether or not Hemingway actually wrote this is debatable. Or, undetermined, to be more specific. This is what Snopes has to say on the subject. But does it really matter? I don’t think the “who” wrote it is important nearly as much as it was written, and written well. It’s existence is the important thing. After all, a story by any other Byline would smell as sweet, right? Why should adding or subtracting “Hemingway” make a difference if you like it or not?

The point still stands. It IS possible. And believe me, when you are just ONE little letter off of the 100 character guideline, there is a great sense of accomplishment in figuring out how to adjust the words to compensate for it. You suddenly discover there were 20 different combinations of words that all told the same story.

So, don’t hate the art of it, just because you have a grudge to hold against the twitter-fad for some reason.

Now for a few “Twabbles” and “Drabbles” of my own. I’ve decided I will post a few of these each week and open them for discussion. Please feel free to choose a favorite to comment on or ask a question about if the mood so strikes.

*disclaimer. Some may have disturbing imagery or suggestive content.

Modern Cult

Winged and feathered things hushed, watching from jagged branches above. Sharp needles of pine rustled in a symphony as the figures marched over forest floor debris. In dark hooded cloaks, they met once a month, plotting nefarious doings. The fire they gathered around is blessed by the ancients, and burns always, waiting for their return.

Each steps into reach of the flickering light. “Gentlemen, we…” the leader stopped, eyes landing on a charcoal cloak in midst of black. “Damn it, Chad! What did I say!?”

“I couldn’t help it! My kid threw a white sock in with the wash again!”

A Cloudy Future

Tommy and George often came here to sit, stare, and find shapes in the clouds. A peaceful little hill.

Tommy pointed toward the heavens. “Rabbit!”

George’s turn. “Mushroom.”

Tommy looked at him. George just shrugged.

“There’s an elephant!”

“Mushroom.” George pointed to another puff.

“This isn’t fun anymore!” Tommy complained. “All you ever see is mushroom clouds now!”

“All you ever see is animals.” George argued.

“But I want to be a vet someday,” he replied. “What is it you want to be?”

“I’m going to be President.” George smiled, something dark glinting in his eye. He pointed again. “Mushroom.”

A Killer Solution.

He would take long walks to distract himself. It was driving him mad. The more he thought on her, the more it hurt, and the more it hurt, the more he thought on her. His feet turned toward her apartment.

“What are you doing here?” She opened her door. “You’re soaking wet… What… WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

“Sometimes… You have to grab hold with both hands, to let go of the one you love.” He told himself, feeling her windpipe crush beneath his fingers.

Home. He crawled into bed. At last freedom.

…A glowing apparition manifested at his footboard. …Shit.

A Natural Downfall.

His gaze hovered up to the fragile barrier; all that lay between them. He could hear the grinding scrape of metal on metal. It wouldn’t be long. The machines had found their last place of sanctuary at last. He hadn’t thought it would be so soon. Years of planning.

A comrade mumbled in despair, “There’s nowhere to hide. It’s over…”

“Oh, I’m quite aware,” he answered. His face twisted into a half crazed smile.

“How can you be so calm? We’re going to die.”

“Yes,” he continued, “and finally the world will be rid of all us unnaturally cloned heathens.”

Bite Back.

They told me my three year old had a biting problem. His day care called me last week and said they wouldn’t be able to take him anymore. Seems irrelevant now that zombies crawl through the streets. While other hack in vain at limbs, hearts, and heads… I know the real cure.

It was so simple. Why hadn’t we thought of it before? If a bite could turn you into a zombie then… So simple.

It was clear. My son was chosen to save the world. “Human” was contagious too. Only a three year old isn’t afraid to bite back.

TWABBLES (they have no titles.)

He took their pictures, watching them grow eerily thinner. He swallowed hard. Maybe his cameras stole souls after all.

He played in my imagination, until I wanted to see his. "No, It's not safe," he told me. "You don't often survive in mine."

Wanting to make my new father proud, I mimicked every action. But no matter how I slither, my skin won't shed away so easy.

Second star right, morning. Simple enough. The complex constellations back aren't as friendly. Yet another lost boy.

"What was this witch's crime?" He poked the ash pile. "The usual; walked on water, raised dead, turned water to wine..."

Hope you enjoyed. Click in for more in the future. I have plenty, and am happy to discuss all. Just leave a comment. But this post is long enough as is already. I will be posting some cover art which Drabblecast has accepted for an upcoming B-sides episode soon as well. :)

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