Friday, June 8, 2012

Blog Free Drabble

After a lot of deliberation, I've decided to stop writing drabbles on a daily basis for this blog.

There are three main reasons for this decision.

Firstly, drabbles bore the shit out of me. After writing quite a few - not as many as Nathan, but plenty - I can now say with confidence that I don't see the merit in them, at least for me. Drabbles have a very distinct meter that they all share, and it's getting repetitive. I don't even enjoy reading or listening to drabbles anymore.

Secondly, I am no longer convinced that drabbles have much to teach me. I'm already reasonably good at what I call "evocation" - implying the existence of a larger world or story in several very small brush strokes. I certainly know all the tricks of shaving off a word or two - I think every writer does, after a point. Drabbles can sell, though they don't sell for much, and they can be a fun way to get the dead leaves and squirrel skeletons out of the writing gutters, and I'm glad that I spent some time exploring the medium and expanding my repertoire. However, I don't think I can learn much more from them.

Finally... let me elucidate this point with a story. Recently, the ever-prescient Abigail Hilton wrote, in a comment to one of my posts about writing drabbles:

I kinda wish you'd write a novel instead of drabbles.

My response was "you and me both, sister."

That got me thinking. I haven't had a lot of time to work on my novel, or my other novel, or the short story I'm writing, or the other short story I'm writing, or any of the five short stories that I've gotten feedback on and need edits and rewrites. Why? Because I spend all of my (highly limited) writing time on these God-damned boring-ass drabbles!

So, I have come to a crossroads. Will I continue to write in a form that bores me, or will I break my oath and continue to search for a way to blog and write that inspires me?

Screw drabbles, man. I'm moving on.

I'm going to keep up the blogging momentum that I've developed here, so watch this space for more game material, reviews, links, and, yes, drabbles. I'm also going to keep up the writing momentum that this project has produced, though you will no longer see the results posted here every single (God-damned) day.

That's all for now. The future is bright and full of new and better ways to make stories happen. Till next time.

1 comment:

Scattercat said...


You do realize that I've been doing daily drabbles since 2008, right? And that your post basically posited that I have been unable to grow beyond them?

I mean, it's cool not to like the form. Not everyone likes poetry, for example, and of those who do, some people prefer terse, concise rhyming poems while others like long, rambling free-verse. I don't think there's any one "thing" that a given form of expression has to offer, and that once one learns that lesson, one should discard the form and move on to (by implication) bigger and better things.

Honestly, I'd agree with you that you are much better suited to novels than to microfiction; you like big ideas, sprawling narratives, and complex characters with involved and layered internal lives (and who tell us about them in the grand Shakespearean tradition). Your style was an awkward mesh at best for microfiction (which tends toward the spare and abstract, favoring the striking image over the internal monologue) and that's not a problem. In fact, I think it's great that you're refocusing your energies on something that you feel suits both your taste and your talents better. But casually framing it as a putting away of childish things kind of rankles, you know?

For me, microfiction continues to give me joy and satisfaction, and I strive to provide a variety of tones, rhythms, and structures within the admittedly stringent limits of the form. I don't think one can ever learn everything one needs to know from any given form. There have been poets who worked exclusively with haiku, a rigid, almost ritualized form, and who continued to find new things to say and new ways to express them within that form throughout their lives. It's the work that matters, the creativity and the strive to communicate on a level other than the pragmatic. One finds the tools that suit one best and one uses them as well as one can; the individual tool doesn't signify. You tried a new tool, learned some things, and decided you liked some other tools better, but that doesn't mean that microfiction is only about mechanistic word-shaving and exorcising half-finished or unworkable ideas.

I don't think you intended your post snidely, but I do think you chose unfortunate words to express yourself. Did you still feel like you were "failing" by not keeping up your promise, and thus had to denigrate the form to justify it? I don't think that's an issue; from the outside, you thought the microfiction gig would be something other than it was, and when you got into it, you found it didn't appeal. It's not a marriage vow, here. (Though honestly, if someone married someone else based on impulse and a vague desire to try new things, I'd be okay with granting a divorce to them, too.) Anyway, I'm just saying: maybe your two-week bride isn't actually a shallow gold-digger or an irredeemable slob; you don't need to make an excuse to separate yourself from a course of action you now perceive as unhelpful for your own journey.