Writing an amusing blip of fiction in one hundred words can be a strenuous task. For the writer who thrives on endless tangents, long-winded sentences and paragraphs big enough to house five immigrants, the drabble is my natural archenemy.
So what’s the big deal? It’s only 100 words, after all. Well, in the space of these 100 words, the writer is required to tell a complete story, introduce a fully rounded character and put him through the emotional meat-grinder, be amusing and clever, AND end on an ‘awww’ or ‘ooohh’ climax.
Screw this. The drabble boils down all I despise about airport fiction: the constant reader fellatio. Leaping through hoops to keep the reader grinning like a willing fellatee. Of course we must please the reader, but we should make love to them slowly, not tongue them to climax in one great über-lick.
So, I ask thee: what is wrong with looooooooooooooong sentences that jab the reader repeatedly like a boxer pummelling through the sallow face of his opponent until tears and blood ooze out in gloops of cathartic horror? Must we embrace this obsession with miniaturisation, conciseness and teensy-weensy Twitterpated blah-blah?
What's next? Shrinking novels down to the size of peanuts or stories imprinted on the bodies of centipedes? Isn’t there a danger literature will get so small, we won’t be able to find it?
In Japan, the top ten bestsellers are nano-books – novels delivered in instalments through text messages. Is having a one-second attention span to be applauded? Do these pocket-sized burps of feel-good fiction help disseminate good writing to a wider audience? These are the questions. What are the answers?
I dunno. For now, so long as I have a flash fiction assignment, I will retain my prejudices against the humble drabble until someone enlightens me as to their purpose with a strong argument in the comment box.
While we wait, here is a picture of a nice lady holding a flan.