neko_kirin3104: (nino_pyon)
[personal profile] neko_kirin3104


From Blank Page To 100 Words
[or how to make like elsa and just “let it go, let it go…”]




How many words does one need to tell a story?

Apparently, as little as six where Ernest Hemingway is concerned.

And as a handful of other established writers in print, tv, games and movies have further proven in this challenge.


In fact, taking his cheerful and naturally fun-loving personality in consideration, simply saying “Aiba snaps” is already a story in itself. ^^V

Imagine how much you can do with a drabble?



In fanfiction, the term “drabble” is now loosely used to refer to a fiction of not more than 500/1000 words in length.

Traditionally though, drabbles are very, very short works of fiction told in exactly 100 words. No more no less.

Why limit yourself that way, you ask? This is what Wikipedia has to say about it—


“The purpose of a drabble is brevity, testing the author's ability to express interesting and meaningful ideas in an extremely confined space.”


Writing a drabble challenges you to look at your story more closely, decide on what you want it to say, then say it in the clearest, most concise way possible.

It gets you thinking. It gets you wondering. Sometimes, it even gets you experimenting, trying out new ways to better tell your story, or give a much too overused pattern a brand new twist. All for the sake of keeping everything within the limited word count without having to give up the heart of the story you are trying to tell.

But it doesn’t always have to be so dramatic. Some of the best drabbles I’ve read are ones that are so simple and normal that the weight of their unexpected impacts have stayed with me to this day.

Also, since drabbles are super short fictions, it’s something you can finish writing in, say, a day, at the most. Plus, that feeling of accomplishment you get afterwards should inspire and motivate you enough to write your next drabble. And the next. And the next.

In a week, you’ll have written 700 words. And whether all or some of them turns out so crappy you can’t even admit to yourself that you wrote them, 100 words a day of crap is still better than not having written anything at all, yes?

That’s a good enough start.

But you shouldn’t just stop there.



Writing, just as life, is a continuous learning process. You are always only as good as your last fic.

It takes a lot of effort to write, just as it takes a lot of heart to tell a story that matters.

There is a whole lot of stuffs going on in the process of writing a story. But they don’t have to keep you from taking that first step.

Remember, nobody expects you to write the most exceptional story the world has ever known (not unless you’re in some contest for it or something). Just that you write the one that matters the most to you.

And that does make it exceptional enough, doesn’t it?



Writing drabbles can definitely help you get there.

Whether you’ve been writing forever and is currently stumped for ideas, or has always thought of writing that stubborn story haunting your head, but hasn’t gotten around to doing it yet for various reasons, you can start out by writing a drabble today.

To start with, you can check out this drabble writing guideline from the drabble hosting site drablr.com

And to help you get more of a feel on what a traditional 100-word drabble is like, here's some of my favorites~

by kzmorano

GOOGLE SEARCH HISTORY
On the House
When God Gambles


by horrorshow

The Meet
I heard my heart remind me
The Veteran


by cwalker

Chef
A Moon With A View
A Slap On The Wrist


They’re mostly horror/thriller psycho-killer stuffs with a couple of humorous gems on the side. But you know me, that’s just what I gravitate to the most. It doesn’t mean you can’t drabble in any other genres, because YOU CAN!

It’s just that horror/thriller/dark fantasy and comedy often lend themselves best to the unexpected end-twist and occasional gory vivid imageries that’s become quite a trademark of drabbles. But there’s definitely nothing stopping you from going all sweet, and fluffy and slice-of-lifey in 100 words.



I love to write drabbles, but I am in no way an expert in them.

However, this post, though it’s meandered on and on in various directions, is actually meant to be one where I attempt to share the long and tedious process behind each 100-word story I’ve been coughing up lately. (See, this is not me being lazy… At least, not all the time xD).

This is also how it usually goes with any of my other lengthy stories. Especially when I’m starting off from scratch with no definite story in mind.

It is my hope that by the end of this post, you’d have at least come up with a simple plot, if not an entire drabble (c’mon! it’s only 100 words! what’s there to lose?), to get you started.

I will be posting my own examples, too! So we can write along together~ (I will be keeping them under spoiler cuts, though, so you can do it yourself first without getting influenced by my twisted madness)


+++++

First off, here’s what I think a drabble is~

Aside from it being short and concise, the most important point is that it has to be interesting, dynamic, fast-paced, and/or mysterious.

A drabble is meant to tease the reader’s mind. Challenge her to come up with her own interpretations/conclusions.

I don't know about you, but when I'm reading a story and figure out that “a-ha moment” on my own, I end up feeling kinda smarter. And as a reader, that makes me feel good. Like I’ve suddenly just gotten up close and personal to the writer. (You know, because we share this little secret about this little story she wrote…)

But as with everything else, you should take care not to overdo this and leave the reader hanging too far out in the dark that she just loses interest and starts questioning your sanity (a writing crime that I am guilty of for far more times than I’m willing to admit xD).

Be sure to leave her enough clues to figure something out, a sprinkling of random descriptions to help her work out a concrete conclusion by herself even after you leave the drabble hanging at such a crucial moment.

Let her fill in the blanks. Examine the story the way she wants to examine it. No interpretation is ever wrong.

Another thing that you shouldn’t overdo when writing a drabble are the descriptions. If it’s not relevant to the scene you’re trying to paint, don’t bother with it.

Do we really need to know that the characters are sitting on a sleek, leather couch they found cheap in some second-hand store while talking about their exes?

No.

Unless sitting on that particular couch plays an important role in the story you’re trying to tell.

[Maybe the couch is a monster couch that’s going to gobble them up in the end? Ooooh, now there’s an interesting story…]

Also, do not forget that you’ve only got 100 words. Do not go wandering off in all sorts of directions trying to tell more than one story at a time in one single drabble.

Stick to that one scene.

What’s happening there that’s so interesting you just have to write it?

Stick to what the characters are saying and doing at present.

Stay in the present.

Finally, the most important parts of a drabble are the first line (The Hook) and the last line (The Punch Line).

The first line sets the tone of the entire drabble. The last line delivers the unexpected/twisty impact that makes a drabble memorable, hilarious, disturbing… whatever your goal for it happens to be.

Take all of these things into consideration.

Then put all of them at the back of your mind for now and keep moving forward.


+++++


So, now we’re ready to write a drabble. But you absolutely have nothing to write about. Don’t worry. Here’s how you can come up with a legitimate story from an absolute blank page~


1. PROMPTS

a. word/picture prompt
—sources include oneword, je-prompts, rainbowfilling (they have a 500-word minimum rule, so you’ll need to have a set of 5 drabbles for one prompt to post), tumblr, books, newspapers, magazines, wall graffiti, and just about anywhere else you can trip on words/pictures.


I’ll take mine from oneword~
kept


b. scene/concept/idea
—I’m sure you have these: scenes/concepts/ideas you’ve seen on the internet, in tv, books, news, movies, and real life, or a random one you’ve come up with for your own story that’s been nagging at your head and is just begging to be written/re-written. Choose the one that’s the most stubborn and list that down.

I just watched the 2015.05.31 episode of Nino-san, and thought this was interesting—

Nino learns how to open a window (the air came in)


c. word/picture + scene/concept/idea
—when one or the other is just not sparking anything, try combining them.

kept + Nino learns how to open a window (the air came in)


d. songs/poems
—song lyrics, song melodies, even the PV for a particular song, and a random poem you see online may all lend themselves as inspirations for a story.



2. EXPAND 1.0
Now that you’ve got a prompt, it’s time to expand on its many possibilities.

Regardless of anything else, just focus on your chosen prompt/s.

No pairs, no genres, no wondering whether or not the idea is interesting enough.

Just keep listing them down, no matter how crazy and impossible it may seem,

Whether canon or au doesn't have to matter at this point either.

Ask yourself WHO your character is and WHAT is he doing/is happening to him.

I usually do as little as five and as much as necessary to empty out all the random ideas from my head within 60 seconds.

The time limit is so that you are not tempted to think too hard about it and end up spending the entire day just on the list.


DO NOT THINK TOO HARD ABOUT IT, JUST MAKE THAT LIST~!
[Or as Queen Elsa would put it, "Let it go, let it gooooo~" ^-^V]


kept + Nino learns how to open a window (the air came in)

• nino's keeping a secret
• nino is a kept (sex) slave/he is or is not human
• nino is keeping a (sex) slave/pet/secret partner
• nino is dreaming
• nino is rapunzel/sleeping beauty/prince charming (he just woke up)
• nino needs to escape from someone/something
• nino's ac broke
• someone farted
• nino is missing someone (who may or may not have passed)
• nino just randomly thought out of boredom to try and open the window
• nino saw something strange outside/in the sky
• it's the end of the world, nino takes one final look
• nino has been lost in space for a long time, he finally lands on some planet
• nino has been cryo'd underwater,  ice melts, submarine floats back up to the surface,  he awakes, but is
he still human?



3. CHOOSE 1.0
Read through your list. Which one appeals the most to you? Which one excites you enough to want to write it?

You can combine concepts if nothing is working out


Example
nino's ac broke and someone farted
bored nino decides to open window and sees something strange, then the world ends


Try to keep it simple for now. Don’t get too ambitious and burden yourself with a complicated prompt (you can aim for that in the future). Remember, you’ve only got 100 words to work with.



4. EXPAND 2.0
Having made your choice, it's time to explore its possibilities once again.

If you have preferred pairings, this is when they will come in. Go for the more obvious one or the most unexpected one. It’s your story, so it's really all up to you.

Don't box yourself within the prompt, though, if it's branching out to a scene that has little or nothing to do with the prompt, just let it run wild and free.

Your ultimate goal here is to have a story to tell.

But again, don't think too hard. You can go crazy, silly, nonsensical with it, just don't complicate it.

Remember, you're writing a story, not a missive to inspire the entire human race. Well, at least not yet~

Some questions to ask yourself: WHO your character is, WHO he's interacting with (another person, his own thoughts), WHAT is he/they doing, WHAT happens that causes a sudden shift in the scene/in the character's way of thinking.

I’ve decided to go with this~

nino's ac broke and someone farted

• Aiba comes to play games, accidentally breaks ac, nino farts
• Sho comes to visit, learns to play games, randomly asks why windows are closed tight, sho farts
• Nino comes to j's place, j's ac is broken, j farts
• Ohno farts at nino's house to leave his mark, nino is amused but acts like he hates it
• Nino just farts a lot at home, guests are coming tonight
• Nino just killed someone, opens window to let out smell of person's final fart
• Nino is remembering Ohno. He thinks he smells Ohno's fart. Ohno is dead.
• Kaze trio left yama pair for a while and comes back to the smell of after sex musk and old men fart.




5. CHOOSE 2.0
Again, which scene appeals to you? Which one may lend itself to the most interesting ending?

The most unexpected, one with the most hilarious possibilities? Or the most gruesome depending on which genre you wish to aim for.


Since it’s J’s special day, I’ve chosen to do this~

Nino comes to j's place, j's ac is broken, j farts



Now that you finally have a story to tell~

6. BREATHE
Yes, take a breather.

Let that idea sink and settle in your head for a while.

Make yourself a drink, eat your meal, take a bath, open a window and smell the neighbors flowers...

Why, you ask? Well, it’s to give your mind time to relax and maybe to reward yourself a little since (heeeeeeey!!!) you’ve just come up with a story, see?! (at least part of it!!!). From having nothing, you’ve now got this one person doing this one thing and this one other person bearing witness/playing victim to it!! That’s quite an accomplishment, huh!

But, seriously. Don’t overburden yourself by going all the way through. Unless you’re feeling all pumped up and the words are just pouring out. Then by all means, write as much as you can down, and then take the break after.

Otherwise, you might end up thinking this is just too hard and lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. You’ll crush and kill your own motivation if you don’t pace yourself well (this is especially true when you’re writing longer fictions).

So, give yourself time to just be free from it all. Step away for a little while and busy yourself with a simple task. Maybe an hour is long enough?

Sometimes (especially when I’m writing longer fictions and am feeling a little short on ideas), I reward myself by watching one (JUST ONE!!) Arashi variety or an episode of a series I am catching up on. I often trip on more ideas to add to my prompt that way.


+++++


Now that you're feeling rested, read that prompt you chose again, and yup you guessed it~


7. EXPAND 3.0
But this time, delve much deeper into it by asking the who-what-when-where-how-why questions.

Write everything that comes to mind, whether or not you'll find use for them later on.

Even when they start getting all inconsistent down the line, just keep writing. You can make your choices/decisions later on.

Kept + nino learns how to open a window (the air came in)
nino comes to j's place, j's ac is broken, j farts


WHO ~ expand on characteristics you may wish to convey. Just try to limit them to the ones that are related to the current setting.


I have decided to keep it canon—

• Nino and J, friends and bandmates

• Nino - snarky, understands people's feelings, can read atmosphere, claims to have never opened a window his entire life, opens one today for the first time and feels the air blow in, tends to tease people he’s familiar with

• J - stoic, perfectionist image, health conscious, unexpectedly gets embarrassed easily, loves to cook but does not like cleaning up after self, eats/does something that triggers a fart.



WHAT ~ what happens, what's happening, what's it all about

• Nino hanging out at J's place, friends getting together for a random gaming session.


WHEN ~ when does it happen? what particular time of the day? is there any special occasions involved?

• On a day off, early afternoon to night, other members probably had to attend to something else (did they deliberately bail to give nino and j time to talk/just be together?)


WHERE ~ where does the story happen? is there any particular reason why this place? Include any other descriptions you feel may be necessary to the story

• @ J's place, I'm thinking it has a verandah instead of a window


HOW ~ how are they spending their time together? how is the story going to unfold?

• Playing games, sharing a little drink, jun just prepared pasta, made a wager on who loses will clean up afterwards


WHY ~ why does the story lead to where it is now?

• Why did J fart? Why did Nino open the window? Why did the ac break? Does the ac even have to break?

• Maybe J ate something, maybe it’s just a random thing. Perhaps it’s the tea? Something in the pasta? The beer?

• Maybe the ac doesn’t have to be broken in the first place




8. DRAFT.
Now that you have those details listed down, you should at least have a vague idea about the scene you’re going to write.

Don't be too hard on yourself at this point. Just let the words flow, don't look back. Not even to correct a typo.

Just type those words out, get those descriptions, dialogues down. Let your characters talk, let them move. Watch them. Take note.

Even when it starts to sound silly or out-of-character, it’s all going to make sense in a while. Don't worry about having to show this to people, because you are not going to. This is the unseen dirty work that comes with every good story.

Don’t bother with word count at this point. But do not complicate the story, either. Stick to that one scene, to that one idea. Keep it short. Keep it simple.


You can even go as mundane and silly as I did~


Jun is going to fart somewhere in this drabble. And it's going to smell bad. It's going to smell so bad a that nino's going to have to open a window to let the air out. What did Jun eat? What did he do to warrant such a heinous release?

The others are supposed to be there, but are did not make it there. What happened? Was it intentional? They had to do something for work?

Nino and J are left to themselves.

Nino sees the embarrassed look on J's red face, avoiding his gaze, prim and proper J fraying at the seams, mumbling an I'm sorry/Excuse me/That wasn't me in a small voice.

Nino turns to the window, takes a deep breath and says the punch line. (It's okay, I didn't smell anything) (It's okay to not be perfect once in a while) (Even your fart is a perfect 10).


***Looking at this, one possible route I can see myself taking is to contrast one of the possible last lines (Even your fart is a perfect 10) with J’s image of being a perfectionist/doing things to perfection.




If you have to write in the language you are most comfortable with just to let those ideas flowing freely, then by all means do so.

Your draft can be short, or it can be as long as it has to take for you to figure out how best to tell your story without making it too complicated. Find your goal. Come up with your intended outcome. What’s your last line going to say? What’s it going to be about?



9. RE-WRITE
Having found your goal/momentum/intended outcome, it’s time to re-write your draft around it, taking into consideration the details you’ve previously come up with to help you slap more flesh into the scene.

Don’t think too hard. Just write.



• Nino and J hanging out at J’s place
• The others bailed
• J has prepared pasta
• J farts
• J is a perfectionist
• Nino sees J’s embarrassed face
• Nino opens the window and says, “Even your fart is a perfect 10.”


It must be the tea.

Then again, the tea came from J so there can't be anything wrong with it.

Just as there can't possibly be anything wrong with the man of the house himself.

The pasta? Well, the pasta was superb! As expected.

Nino may have already forgotten what it's called, but what does that matter?

J cooked the pasta and Nino even lent a helping hand. Chopping the ingredients, draining the fettuccine, all while complaining about the other members bailing out.

All while trying to keep a semblance of cool, because he hasn't usually been left all on his own to for this long to fend Jun's caustic words, his searing temper.

Already, Nino can feel himself trembling beneath his skin at the sight of those distinct brows furrowing.

But when they got to gaming and drinking, everything seems to settle and calm down.

And it's probably because of that sudden change, from the tension to a sudden calm that J's bowels reacted the way they just did.

He opens the veranda, feels the balmy afternoon breeze hit his face, turns to J and feels his heart skip at his bandmate's unusually embarrassed face.

Nino smirks. "Even your fart is a perfect 10."



• This is what I wrote. It’s more than 200 words and seems to want to go in all sorts of directions. Doesn’t quite get everything up to the plate with that last line too, does it?

• But the first line works for me, so I’m going to be keeping that.

• Second line is good, too. I guess, I was going down the right path after all.

• The line about the pasta is also fine.

• But to give more of an impact to the final line, I guess I will have to lay it on thicker just how perfect Nino thinks J is.

• Maybe there’s a bit of an insecurity there? Maybe a discomfort since he’s got a bit of a crush on the guy, and the other guys bailed and there’s just the two of them now and Nino has only been once or twice left on his own to fend for himself in J’s immediate environment.




Take note of what works for you, what doesn’t. New discoveries. New questions. New possible routes to take. What’s lacking? What areas are irrelevant to your intended outcome? If you used a different language at some point, highlight those for reference later.

Keeping these notes in mind now, it’s time to take another breather.
Let these things settle. And prepare yourself for the final, most gruesome step~

Usually, I just go take a nap at this point xD.


+++++


10. EDIT
The expression “Kill your darlings” comes to mind.

No this doesn’t mean you have to kill your character off.

In longer fictions, this means chucking off as little as a line of dialogue to as much as entire scenes/chapters that do nothing at all for our story. Those parts that are just there to serve our own egocentric writing purposes.

We all have those, don’t we? It doesn’t always mean they are wrong. I personally find them quite okay with particular genres~♥

But when they start bogging your story down unnecessarily, trying to tell the reader a little more than they need to know, that’s when you need to start thinking long and hard about chopping these fillers off.

The general rule is that, if it’s not doing anything to move your story forward, it has to go.

If it’s serving nothing but your own self-satisfaction, you’re going to have to get rid of it.

The more in-love you are with something, the more you’re going to have to examine this particular part of your story for relevance.



This is especially true with drabbles. You have your scene. You’ve set your goal. It’s time to take out everything that doesn’t have anything to do with your expected outcome.

Don’t think that this will render your draft totally worthless and the time you spent on it wasted.

Remember that everything you’ve written in that draft helped get you here. If you hadn’t spent that time writing and expanding the way you just did, the story you have now would never have come up to the surface.

It’s just that, not all seemingly good things gets to stay. 

This is also how writing drabbles is going to help you a lot in improving your craft. You gradually become more conscious of which scenes, which dialogues, which descriptions matter. And in the future, even when you’re just drafting, you’ll tend to take note of these things quite naturally.

But for now, take a deep breath, keep a strong heart, and go hack your darling up…

Note: I usually use wordcounter.net to keep track of my words in real-time.




Goal: contrast that last line (Even your fart is a perfect 10) with J’s image of being a perfectionist/doing things to perfection.



It must be the tea.

Then again, the tea came from J it’s J’s tea, so there can't be anything wrong with it.

Just as there can't possibly be anything wrong with the man of the house himself.

The pasta? Well, the pasta was superb! As expected.

Nino may have already forgotten what it's called, but what does that matter? –no, it clearly doesn’t matter, so *hacks*

J cooked the pasta and Nino even lent a helping hand. Chopping the ingredients, draining the fettuccine, all while complaining about the other members bailing out. –unnecessary detail—does nothing at all for my goal

All while trying to keep a semblance of cool, because he hasn't usually been left all on his own to for this long to fend Jun's caustic words, his searing temper. –unnecessary detail—does nothing at all for my goal

Already, Nino can feel himself trembling beneath his skin at the sight of those distinct brows furrowing. ––unnecessary detail—does nothing at all for my goal

But when they got to gaming and drinking, everything seems to settle and calm down. –unnecessary detail—does nothing at all for my goal

And it's probably because of that sudden change, from the tension to a sudden calm that J's bowels reacted the way they just did. –unnecessary detail—does nothing at all for my goal

He opens the veranda, feels the balmy afternoon breeze hit his face, turns to J and feels his heart skip at his bandmate's unusual blushing face. –unnecessary detail—does nothing at all for my goal


Everything J does, J does to perfection.

Perhaps, it's the beer?

Or the fact that they've been sitting so close to each other that Nino's own anxieties may have already rubbed off on the guy--

"Sorry," J mumbles beside him, pausing the game.

Nino smirks and wordlessly goes to open a window.

Nino smirks. "Even your fart is a perfect 10." –rephrased to fit the changes
Even J's fart is a perfect 10.



I’ve just cut my darling down to 101 words. But there’s still something wrong with it, I think?

• Nino’s suddenly gotten anxious (Nino's own anxieties may have already rubbed off on the guy), but there’s no mention of Nino either crushing on J or feeling a wee bit insecure around him.





If another edit is in order, do it. Taking stricter note of the word count. Rewording, rephrasing to make it more concise without losing clarity and losing sight of your goal.

This is also the time to translate the parts you wrote in your own language (unless you meant to post in that language all along), but only if it's a relevant part of the story (like, a dialogue). Look it up, ask for help and take note of it somewhere so you can use it again later~


Also, take your characters’ personalities into consideration at this point and change whatever dialogues, gestures, reactions may seem a little off~

It's brutal, I know. But you only need 100 words for this, and it has to be done. T^T





It must be the tea.

Then again, it's J's tea so there can't be anything wrong with it. so it can’t be that.

Just as there can't possibly be anything wrong with the man of the house himself. –since the sentence before this changed, this is unnecessarily long now

The man of the house himself is perfection personified—

The pasta? Well, The pasta was superb, !  as expected!

Everything J does, J does to perfection—

Perhaps it's the beer, then?

Or the fact that they've been sitting so close to each other that Nino's own anxieties may have already rubbed off on the guy--

"Sorry," J mumbles beside him, pausing the game.-—what is J most likely to say being J and knowing how Nino is?

"Don't say it," J warns, scowling and pausing their game.

Snickering and blushing from an unbidden rush of man-crush jitters, Nino smirks and wordlessly goes to open a window.

Even J's fart is a perfect 10.




That’s exactly 100 words now. It’s simple and it all fits right in, I think?



It must be the tea.

Then again, J's tea can't be that bad.

The man of the house himself is perfection personified—

The pasta? The pasta is superb, as expected!

Everything J does, J does to perfection—

Perhaps it's the beer, then?

Or the fact that they've been sitting so close to each other that Nino's own anxieties may have already rubbed off on the guy—

"Don't say it," J warns, scowling and pausing their game.

Snickering and blushing from an unbidden rush of man-crush jitters, Nino wordlessly goes to open a window.

Even J's fart is a perfect ten.



• “Man of the house” clues the reader in that they are at J’s place.

• Mentioning “tea”, “pasta”, “beer” and “game” tells the reader what’s going on, what the characters are doing.

• I didn’t have to say that J’s fart smells really bad. Nino opening the window and thinking it’s a perfect 10 does that just fine.

• The anxiety is because Nino respects/admires J for his perfection. That he gets “man-crush jitters” just being with the man, eventually escalating into a very potent blush when J finally shows him an “imperfection”.

• I’d like to think that it reminded Nino that J’s just human, too. That the guy is not totally out of reach. And maybe, right at this point, he’s started considering dating J. (Heeeeh~! ♥)





Of course, I wouldn’t normally be discoursing my thoughts after a drabble. Like I said, it’s better to let the readers make their own personal interpretations. ^^V

And well, it has very little to do with the original prompt now, ain’t it? That’s okay. Prompts are there to jumpstart you. It doesn’t always have to be gospel truth. Let your story grow the way it wants to grow. You’ll have all the time to mold it into a semblance of order later.

Just always remember to focus on that one idea, keep it simple and don’t lose sight of your intended outcome, whether it’s to make people laugh, make them think, draw on those heartstrings and make them melt, or basically just disturb them.

It’s okay to go a little past 100 words for now.

The most important thing is that you’ve written a story and actually finished it. HURRAY!! ~

And remember those lists you made while trying to get to this point? That's a whole bunch of other prompts to expand right there! They should be enough to keep you occupied in the next few days.

Choose a different prompt/prompt combinations and come up with a different story (it doesn’t even have to be a drabble!).

Keep heart and write on~!! \(^-^)/


***Do post what you’ve come up with in the comments, or link me to wherever else you’ve posted your drabble/s. I’d love to read them~!! ♥***
***Post any questions you may have in the comments, too. I'll try my best to answer them and/or edit this post for clarity. ^^V***



Date: 2015-08-30 02:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flitterfly5.livejournal.com
You sure love your drabbles! And I'll admit that your concise nature is one of the best things about your work; it's poignant and concentrates all the emotions in what is often left unsaid. That's one of my favorite things about your writing.

I would love to participate in a drabble challenge, and I certainly think that these techniques you've shared are valuable references even when writing non-drabbles. Many of the points here have also been increasingly on my mind as I write some of my longer one-shots, and yes, they help tremendously to focus my writing and keep my imagination from running off-point (though I'll admit that I have not gone so far as to hone myself down to the stringent 100w/scene when it comes to Arashi fic). I'm very glad you summarized everything so neatly in this post!

I'm currently tied up in the middle of a long fic, and it's been progressing slowly (there's a lot of the "killing your own darlings" going on with me lately), so I won't make empty promises to drabble anything here. But I do promise that when I'm finally done with this long one, readers will see more elements of drabble-style subtlety in the various scenes, and certainly a lot less of the irrelevant details I like to throw into my usual fics (I am taking these techniques to heart!). But you know, Rin-chan, that I am never one to force a friend to sit through my amateur attempts at writing, so you do not have to feel obligated to dip into the strange fantasies of my mind when the time comes! Read what you want, when you want!(this is why I never dedicate fics, and partially why I resist participating in exchanges; otherwise, I think there'd be at least five one-shots in my journal that would have your name on them!) I just wanted to shower you with appreciation here and assure you that this post will be something I keep in mind as I write :)

Happy drabbling, my dear Rin~ ♥♡ I love it when you pop up in my newsfeed ♥♡

Date: 2015-08-30 11:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neko-kirin3104.livejournal.com
I don't think there's anything wrong with being an amateur, Mumu~! Hell, I wouldn't wanna be anything else~<3

Two things I try to watch out for with everything I do, not just in writing, is that one, I never give in to the errant screams of, "I'm so done with this!" in my head, and two, that I don't ever get to a point when I start thinking "I'm good enough."

You always gotta strive to be better, right? And we amateurs always have a stronger drive towards that goal, don't we? ^-^/

I am pretty stoked to know that you've read this post and are taking this advice to heart (looking forward to that long fic~! seriously, i am!).

I find that there are more than a handful of people in the fandom who say, "I want to write this" but just can't seem to find time, inspiration, motivation or whatever else it is that needs to be found in order to just sit in a quiet corner and get those words out.

This post is meant to make them know that they can so do it, if they only choose to. And if they only really want to.

Writers are always parodied for (supposedly) being the biggest procrastinators in the world. We tend to make all these excuses (*guilty as charged*) without realizing that all we really need to do is to decide whether or not we really wanna do it and either find ways to get it done or just stop fooling ourselves altogether.

I was contemplating about this for a long time. Did I really wanna write? Or was I really just fooling myself?

I realized that I did want to keep writing. No matter what's happening to me in RL, this will always be something I can get back to and know I can do right (not always good, but just right~*)

This is the process that works for me. And if it helps someone out there to get off their butts and just get writing, then I'd know that this post wouldn't be just a mere waste of lj space \^-^/

Also, I am such a slooooow reader~! There's no shame in it, I know, but it does take me longer to get through my tbr's (I've got a whole bunch of them saved offline, and I seriously suspect they've mated or something while I'm gone because I swear there's more of them now than I remember XD).

I always like it when readers comment on my fic and tells me how that particular story made them feel. That matters to me. And I always extend the same kind of appreciation to every fic I read. I know how it feels when my babies are appreciated in a way that makes "birthing" them worthwhile~! And I want to make my fellow writers feel that way, too~<3

So you see, I do read your fics, Mumu~!! And you do know that I fall in-love with each one~<3 So, if you ever feel like dedicating something for me, I would be SUPER HONORED~!! ~<333

And I do seriously look forward to that long fic, hun~! I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines~!! Keep writing~!! ^___^<3

Date: 2015-08-31 02:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flitterfly5.livejournal.com
Ah, first of all (and I feel like I must get this off my chest now otherwise I won't be able to write my fic in peace), I do feel obligated to dispel any expectations of my "long fic" being some paragon of brevity that models itself entirely after these guidelines posted here! Certainly, it's not going to be anything like the devastating Kitty Makes Three series you've recently shared, and I don't really intend it to be, either. After all, Kitty Makes Three was practically prose poetry! And perhaps that's kind of what drabbles are. It's certainly what Rin-chan your drabbles feel like! They're so compact, so dense with meaning and feeling, that they feel practically like free form poetry! Now having written 6000+ words of my long fic (most of which I will probably delete and rewrite orz), I think what I have in mind is something a little more towards the "prose" side of the spectrum. Naturally, many elements of the drabble guidelines here work just as well with short story prose, like the part about deleting phrases/adjectives/verbs that serve only to reinforce a motif that has already been established, and of course, the part about leaving the reader clues but refraining from stating the theme outright (Show, not Tell, right?). So you'll see that I'll have taken these points to heart in my fic, but obviously, I am not going to do away entirely with paragraphs of description (though I will shy away from purple prose) and I'm also not going to have an evocative "punchline" for every 100 words I write (though I always do try to end each scene on a line with some kick).

In fact, I responded to this post because so much of what you've detailed here are rules that I've been trying to impose upon myself as I get more practiced at writing, though of course, you've summarized them a lot more eloquently and systematically than I ever thought to. Like the two points I mentioned above. One question I've often asked myself during some of my more recent fics is: "What is the point of this?" Like, what is the point of writing "Nino glued his eyes to the ground." Well, it's to show that he's embarrassed. But I've already established his embarrassment when I wrote "he mumbled" in the paragraph right before! So do I need this sentence? Probably not. I'll admit that I've been guilty on several occasions of keeping these extraneous little bits simply for the sake of rhythm or flow. But I know that's my ego talking.

I like to look back on my fics every now and then, just to allow myself a good cringe, and to identify what isn't working. And though it may sound smug, I can honestly say that my writing has improved since I first started. It's still far from perfect, but I've improved enough to know that the guidelines you outline work.

What you say about the need to resist that feeling of "I'm so done with this!" is so true. It is easier to just throw in the towel, especially when the plot's already been wrapped up neatly and all that requires retooling is style. And have I done it? Yes, numerous times! I usually regret it. Ah, we live and learn, right? ♡

It might actually have been a good thing that we both went on this fic-hiatus for a few months. I think re-entering the scene now, at our own pace, with our own musings, in our own low-key fashion, is a pretty good way to get ourselves back into fic writing, ne? ^.^

Date: 2015-08-31 02:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flitterfly5.livejournal.com
(cont'd from above orz... so much for the lesson in brevity, eh?)

It's okay that you're a slow reader, Rin! ♡ I will agree that it's always nice to get comments and words of appreciation, but I like to "do unto others...", and I know that nothing ruins a fic as quickly or completely as the prior knowledge that the author is expecting you to not only read, but also leave some meaningful multi-paragraph comment on their work (luckily, I have not come across any of this in the Arashi fandom!). So I leave the ball in my readers' courts. And it doesn't matter if someone has kindly gushed over a previous fic or declared how much they've loved everything I've ever written, I will be forever grateful (and re-read those comments more times than I'd care to admit), but as far as future works are concerned, I think it's a kind of courtesy as a writer to relinquish any expectations of readership. And it's funny, but to this date, I still think that my best works are the least recognized ones! It just goes to show that my tastes don't always run with my readers' ^.^

I am so very touched (down to my heart, I am!) that you've found some joy in my fics! And since you've already commented on them, I can say this now, that yes, when I wrote Tease, I had various versions of your BAMF!Seme!Ohno in mind (would you believe that you were the initial factor in converting me to seme!Ohno?). And when I wrote Cotton Candy Retribution, I was very tempted to dedicate it to you, Rin-chan, as I know from your older fics how much you appreciate jealousy as a humor theme! The bittersweet in Himitsu-Man was something I wanted to see if I could pull off after reading your very poignant "Sugar & Salt" series (which, by the way, is still my favorite piece of work from you!), and there are more, lots more, that I've written, thinking in my mind, "Would this be something I'd like Rin to see?" Though of course, once I posted anything, I would find so many things wrong with it that I'd invariably feel relieved it seemed to have successfully escaped your notice. You are always so kind whenever you do comment, though. It thrills me, because you always understand, writer to writer, fan to fan, that all my clumsy words stem from a very simple (and very human) need for expression. And you're never snooty about my prose, even though writers with your level of mastery can (and definitely have) exhibited more elitist attitudes. I like your work, but I like you even more as a person ♡ For you, I would be proud to write and to improve.

My embarrassing admiration for you aside, I entirely endorse this lovely post of yours, and your even lovelier reply to my comment! Who are we fooling indeed? We're just two simple-minded girls who have way too much love for Arashi sitting idle in our hearts. I'm glad I reached out to you back then, and glad we've become friends since.

I'll work hard on that fic!♡♡

Date: 2015-08-31 05:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neko-kirin3104.livejournal.com

Aww,  Mumu~!! Please don't misunderstand~!! I want you to go about your fics the way you want to~☆ We all have our own unique styles, and guidelines are called such because they are there to guide our way, not stifle our voices. This post is just so people will (hopefully) find their motivation, and then eventually develop their own groove~♡ (I probably should make that clear somewhere ^^)


And I'm probably the most "unexpecting" person I know,  hahaha~! I may say I look forward to alot of stuffs, because I really do. But I don't want people to feel pressured by it. (^ω^)


And,  I don't really like to start reading with preimposed expectations in my head. This is probably also why I've found myself shocked out of my head waddling through many strange and disturbingly bizarre fics through the years. And that's okay,  because it helped me understand the many (twisted) possibilites and differences in each story and find something to appreciate in every one that I read~☆


And I really don't expect alot from people,  too. That's probably also why I feel cold and distant sometimes xD Just because I feel a certain way about something, it doesn't mean I expect others to feel the same or do the same for me. We all have our own different ways of viewing and going about things, right? And I perfectly understand that. I find it easier to appreciate life keeping that kind of mindset~♡


So don't ever feel obligated to leave me long and thoughtful comments on my fics, all right? Or limit yourself when you do feel like pouring your thoughts out like this. You can relax around me, Mu~! Seriously~☆


And thank you, really. But I hardly feel I've reached any kind of mastery in anything. It does warm me up to know that my own kind of craziness has inspired your own kind of craziness~!! ♡ Lol~ Ohno has always been seme in my head. And for a while, I did find it hard to see him as anything else (writer-wise). But Ohno's personality does have alot of possibilities,  doesn't it? (well,  everyone in arashi does). And I hardly ever get anal about keeping the boys "in character" when I read fics. I mean, why be so critical? That just takes the fun out of everything~!!☆


Also, English is not my first language, and I do still struggle a lot with it. So I definitely have no business being a grammar nazi (not that I ever wanted, too) xD


Again, why be so critical? Just read, and feel, and enjoy~! (^ω^)


(There is such a gap between the writer me and the reader me xD)


Write on, Mumu~!! I'm glad we've become friends, too! ♡

Date: 2015-08-31 06:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flitterfly5.livejournal.com
Oh trust me, Rin-chan, I'm hard to stifle! I write whatever I want, be it something completely trashy, shamelessly fluffy, or just downright pretentious. I just wanted to clarify any expectations, on the off chance that you were actually expecting something at all! And don't worry, you give me no pressure! We're both undemanding on others, which makes it easy to interact!

I don't think you're cold or distant. But I understand how it's sometimes nice to keep online friends at an arm's length. I do the same <3 Space is healthy. Space can be pleasant (as Ohno or Nino can attest!). We definitely all have our little quirks and POVs, and I pass no judgment on whatever floats certain boats (heck, i myself have some pretty racy fetishes, so I won't judge XP).

Haha, all right! I'm sure you've noticed that I'm not afraid to leave short little "kthxbye" comments on your fics at times! I know you, Rin. I know you won't mind ^.^

Ohno has been uke in my head forever, until i read your fics! It's just that passivity in him, and his girlish facial features... Ahhh... but I agree, once you try to imagine any Arashi member in new role (and you don't even have to try very hard), you can never go back to pigeon-holing them as strictly one thing or another.

"Why so critical?" Haha, yes, why indeed? Everyone in this fandom is out to have fun, show our boys some love, and share whatever wacky things our imaginations come up with! Bad grammar doesn't bother me when it comes to fics (it does in other circumtances). And I usually take content over style when I'm reading, anyways. After all, who am I to judge? It's not like these fics were written for me to enjoy or anything. I'm just glad there are writers out there who are generous enough to treat us to a hidden corner of their brains where wonderful things can happen to our beloved five boys!

(That gap is okay! Being hard on oneself, but lenient to others... there's some old Confucian proverb that endorses it!)

Date: 2015-09-01 10:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neko-kirin3104.livejournal.com
(Confucian?! I thought I got that from Ohno~!! xDDD)

Aaah, why am I not surprised? You're cool, Mumu~!! (well, I already know that, hahaha!) There's so much variety in us, and yet so much more that we understand. *kyuuuu~n*

Let's always keep the fun going~!! And all the "wacky things" coming~!! ♥♥♥



Date: 2015-09-08 01:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flitterfly5.livejournal.com
♥I'm just delighted that we decided to talk and exchange our intermittent emails for the past couple of years ♥ You are very cool, too, RinRin~~♥

Haha, yes! The wackiness will never stop!

Date: 2015-08-31 06:54 pm (UTC)
akhikaru: (Default)
From: [personal profile] akhikaru
I took my time to read this properly.
I'm really glad I did. I feel like copy-pasting it and printing it to keep it somewhere I can see it every day xD
Thanks for sharing this with us, it's great.

I think I've never written something that short... it'd certainly be an interesting challenge (especially now, that I don't seem to have time to write anything at all).
I might try it one of these days :)

Your drabbles are great btw~ The one you used for this example was really funny xDDD

Date: 2015-09-01 11:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neko-kirin3104.livejournal.com
That really means a lot, Aki~!! ~<3
I'll tell you, though. If you really want proper advice, especially one that's not just geared to writing drabbles, this entire guideline is just a variation of this more clearly explained process especially designed for novel writing (you won't need to purchase the book, though. i never did xD).

I've varied the process a lot through the years to fit my own kind of approach to writing. Just read through those ten steps and see if that works for you. I only use such guidelines when I get stumped for ideas, or when ideas are all over the place and can't seem to find order to themselves.

But when the story/ideas are just flowing right in, then by all means just write. Take care not to get bogged down by all the planning process. Just get that story written, and then edit afterwards. It's so much easier to edit a bunch of words that don't seem to make sense, than trying to edit a blank page. ^__^V

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this post, Aki~! And for always making time for my drabbles~!!! //hugs// ♥♥♥

Date: 2015-09-02 11:55 pm (UTC)
akhikaru: (Default)
From: [personal profile] akhikaru
Oh~ I'll take a look at that link :D

Now that you mention ideas being all over the place, that could help me, LOL! It tends to happen so much lately xD

I'll remember your words ^^ Thanks~
/hugs back/

Date: 2015-09-03 01:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neko-kirin3104.livejournal.com
Yay~!!! <333

And that does happen, lol~!!!
But you know you'll always find a way to make that story right. Just keep going at it~! Ganbare~! ^__^

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