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Drabble This, Tweet That

April 30, 2009

After publishing last week’s post, I came across a new market. Tweet the Meat is a Twitter-based horrorzine. You have 140 characters to write something scary. How can anyone bring on the fear in 140 characters or less? I didn’t think it could be possible but after reading a few tweets, I guess it is.

I’ve had a few people on occasion tell me the idea of writing short stories is considerably challenging for them. I find myself in the same boat with drabbles and now tweetzines. How can you get your message across with such restrictions? Can a reader be truly entertained with less details rather than more? In English, we may see it as confining. However, with languages exhibiting polysynthesis (one word meaning an entire sentence in English), it’s less restraining.

With the invention of Twitter, tweetzines were sure to pop up sooner or later but where did the concept of drabbles originate from? The idea began in the 1980s with the UK science fiction fandom. The actual 100-word format was established by the Birmingham University SF Society. The word “drabble” comes from the Monty Python’s 1971 Big Red Book, applying to a game where the first person to complete a novel wins. The term now is used a little looser. Some consider drabble as short stories of 1,000 words or 500 words. Personally, I think it should only apply to the 100 word limit. Then there’s half-drabble (50 words) and double-drabble (200 words).

Can it be done? If it weren’t possible, no one would be doing it. I challenge you to tweet a story today.

Andrea’s Tweet Story: Footsteps paced outside her room. “Who’s there?” The air grew cold. She pulled the sheets over her head. “Why did you abandon her?” he said.
  1. Giulia permalink
    April 30, 2009 3:36 am

    Hey Andrea:

    I agree that sometimes it’s difficult to evoke emotion in so few words/letters, but I think Twitter can become one more way to separate the truly outstanding writers from the simply good ones.

    I work for a website that has just launched its first writing contests. Perhaps the readers of this blog would be interested…they’ll have a lot more than just 140 characters to write in, though!

    Best wishes,


  2. April 30, 2009 4:53 am

    wow! thanks for this – I will def be following this along … and may even try my hand at it!

  3. April 30, 2009 5:49 am

    So that explains what you’ve been doing!

    Tweet the Meat is an interesting concept, they started following me over the weekend, and I’m looking forward to trying my hand out at it the next time it opens for submission!

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