Monday musings on Australian Literature: Social micro-story telling on Drabbl.es
Have you heard of a Drabble? Besides Margaret that is? It is, according to Wikipedia, “an extremely short [but complete] work of fiction of exactly one hundred words in length”. The concept was developed in the UK science fiction and fan fiction communities in the 1980s, with the word itself coming from a Monty Python sketch. Where else I suppose?
There are, I’ve discovered, websites out there for drabblers* (is that what you call the person who writes a “drabble”) but the reason for this post is a new Australian site – drabbl.es - which was recently launched in Canberra by writer Ellen Harvey. The site is in alpha testing phase so looks a little unfinished, particularly in terms of the Home Page and its navigation, but it looks like fun.
Harvey developed the site because she believes that
the idea of humans being storytellers is cemented in history, when cavemen told stories around fires. It’s part of our DNA to do this.
Her concept is a little more relaxed than the official definition. Her drabbles can be “up to” rather than “exactly” 100 words. She describes it thus:
Our site provides users the ability to write creative stories, document and record memories, create a life-stream, and participate in storytelling and creative challenges. Each story (which has a maximum of 100 words) is called a drabble.
As with other drabble communities, the site hosts challenges. For example, she recently asked contributors to write about anger. The project has other aspects too. She wants to encourage people to share and comment on each other’s writing. Authors, she says, have posted snippets of their novels, including works in progress. She is also developing a children’s app and would like to attract promoters to offer prizes to challenge winners.
In another departure from the tradition, entrepreneur Harvey is encouraging non-fiction drabbles. “Perhaps use it [the website] as a blog that gives you a 100-word limit”, she suggests. In fact, on the Home Page (today, anyhow) is a review of Melina Marchetta’s fantasy novel Finnikin of the rock. Now here’s an idea for we litbloggers: write a 100-word review and free up more time for reading. Or, will compressing our ideas into 100 words take as much time as writing an 800 word review? Somehow I think it might.
Regardless, all hail to 22-year-old Harvey I say … it’s exciting to see social media being harnessed in such a creative way.
Have you heard of drabbles before? Have you written one? (I considered writing this post as a drabble but decided I needed more words!)
* Just search on “drabbles” – unless you are already well across the form – and you’ll see what I mean.