Dribbles, Drabbles or Droubbles?

Those of you that visit my other blog ‘Short Stories’ will know that I have recently become addicted to writing very short stories of just 140 characters (or less.) Just as I was getting used to this new, or at least new to me, form of story writing I go and discover ‘drabbles’. It’s entirely my own fault. I read about these in a writing magazine and couldn’t help but go to my computer and google ‘drabbles’, I don’t think life will ever be the same again!


For those of you that don’t know, drabbles are short stories of exactly 100 words. There seems to be some confusion as to where the term originated. It appears to have links to Birmingham University’s SF Society, the British author Phil Drabble and a Monty Python sketch. Check out the Drabble Project, you will see that some well-known authors have dabbled with drabbles (sorry about that.) At this point I should have been contented, turned off the computer and gone off and written a drabble or two, instead I continued to search and found ‘dribbles’ and ‘droubbles’!

In a way the names speak for themselves – dribbles are short stories of exactly 50 words and droubbles are short stories of exactly 200 words. Some might say that this is not story writing in its purest sense but I would disagree. For me writing is all about being able to tell a story – how long or short the ‘telling’ is is irrelevant, what really counts is what your audience think. Do the people reading your story enjoy it, does it move them in some way, do they want you to ‘tell’ them more stories? One of the most famous short stories that I have come across is by Ernest Hemmingway who, apparently, was challenged to write a story of just six words, he came up with this:

For sale:baby shoes, never worn.

To me that evokes all kinds of thoughts and questions and is extremely clever. Others may argue that it is impossible to tell a story in just six words. What do you think? Anyway I’m now off to see if I can write a dribble or a drabble or even a droubble – watch this space.

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7 Responses to Dribbles, Drabbles or Droubbles?

  1. JennyD says:

    Loved the Hemingway and yes, I think he did the story. But you know what, Mike? I like the ones you have been posting even better. I don’t know how you do it, but in your 140 words, you get even more of a story across than he did. I think it’s a gift, and a hard one at that.
    I ran by to read but also to tell you and Ann Happy Valentine’s Day! Write her a 140 word love story; oooooo, that would be so nice!

  2. Mike says:

    Hi Jenny.
    Thanks for your supportive words.
    I am enjoying writing the 140 character stories but also fancy trying out writing drabbles. Just posted my first one on my short stories blog – not great but, hopefully, they will get better.

  3. aquatom1968 says:

    Would a 300 word story be a tribble? 😀
    I quite like the idea of writing these short stories… in fact my mind is running away with an idea right now.
    I haven’t visited your other site yet, Mike, but I will do. I’m slowly filling up all my spare time with sites to visit – it’s all good though!

  4. penpusherpen says:

    HI Mike,
    for shame. I never even thought about JD for my sketch in a lift poem..sheeesh!
    anyway, beside the point, to get to the subject here, I’d read about Hemmingway’s six worded story, and was bowled over by how much could be inferred, a whole wealth of heartbreak in those few words… a simply amazing feat…
    I hope you’re writing more of your shorties…and I agree with you…a story can be short or long…but insofar as it’s able to awaken your imagination, the possibilities are endless.

  5. Richard says:

    Here’s a new website that’s been set up just for nano-fiction. http://droubbles.com You should post your shorties there.

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