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6 April 2009

Drabbles are stories that are exactly 100 words long. They provide some interesting storytelling challenges. One hundred words is just enough to set up a situation and resolve it. Eighty percent of the time writing one is spent getting the word count exactly right, and hence making tortured decisions about word choice. It’s an excellent exercise in brevity.

I can’t think of a drabble I’ve written that isn’t set in the Doctor Who universe. It’s not that I don’t like other universes; I’m partial to the Firefly ‘Verse, for example. But Doctor Who is my first TV show I fell in love with, and I’m still quite partial to it.

Some of my stories are character vignettes…

Happy Family, with the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane

Sarah Jane turned the postcard over and over: a battered photo of some teepees on the plains. On the back, a faded lilac stamp and elegant scrawling: “Sarah Jane, missing you today. To be killed at dawn, the usual, but rest of the day free. May I drop by? Regards to K-9. — The Doctor”

Her chopsticks fell. Where? When? Was he okay?

Happy Family untouched, her bill came. The fortune cookie: “Get away from home awhile to restore your energies.”

She wanted him safe, near. Crunch, chew. Stale. How bloody typical!

She looked up, found a toothy grin.

“Jelly baby?”

Other stories are humorous…

Pursed Lips, with the Ninth Doctor, Rose, and Jack

A gentle breeze blew through the forest, tinkling the leaves of the trees as it passed. But all else was silence: the birds in the trees, the chattering of squirrels. Even the moose stared, paused mid-butt in their ritual combat.

Jack stood aghast, hands over his mouth. The Doctor stood across from Rose, hip cocked to one side, arms outstretched in a defiant gesture.

“Oy! What was that you said?!” She started walking towards him. Instinctively, he retreated.

“What is it with you humans, anyway?” To Jack, he added, “So touchy.”

The laughing duo ducked Rose’s purse and fled.

And yet others are macabre…

Torquemada, with the Eighth Doctor

“Doctor, be reasonable.”

Flame darted out, touched his bloody cavity, afraid. Then, a daring tendril tasted the salt inside him. It bade its brethren join him, and soon fire spirits held a frankfurter roast in his bosom. Tingling, wincing, searing, charring, yet not a whimper. The torch withdrew.

“Ignorance of Christ is heresy, no?”

With ten fingers gone, limbs shattered, intestines at his pulped feet, he remained silent. Even rats gnawing his skin could not best him.

Late that night, as guards buried him in the blue coffin from which he came, he heard their never-ending question:

“Are you guilty?”

I encourage you to take a look at my other drabbles and explore the site. The world of fan fiction is vast.

For those of you who think this sounds fun but are looking for a different spin on the idea, I’d recommend the games Nanofictionary and Once Upon a Time.

Disclaimer: Of course, Doctor Who is © BBC 2009, and no copyright infringement is intended. I write and share drabbles for fun, not for profit.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 14 January 2010 9:23 am

    I’m an anime fan and some of the best fan fiction works I’ve read are in the form of drabbles. I myself prefer to write extremely short pieces than longer ones but that’s probably because I find it hard to lengthen my works. ^_^
    I think there’s something magical in the way a couple hundred words tell a whole story, don’t you? 🙂

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