Mind the Gap by Sue Dawes was published in ‘New writing’ in Mslexia. The judge said: ‘Mind the Gap’ managed to say so much about the taboos surrounding the empty nest syndrome in little more than 1000 words. From the first sentence (I will pull the construction apart, twig by twig so they cannot return) I felt I was in the arms of a brave and confident artist. Each platitude and assumption about the bereft mother (‘you’ll be lonely, what will you do’ ‘But what if they want to come home’) is matched by the exhilaration of a mother liberated from the selflessness of raising three boys.
Sue Dawes was one of the winners of a competition run by Horror Scribes, which is a relatively new Horror story website. The competition was to write a horror story using one of the ‘days’ of the poem, ‘Monday’s child’. The other conditions were that the short story had to be set in the time the poem was written and contain 100 words.
Hal’s Ladderwon the Mystery Women Crime Story competition in March 2011. The first sentence was provided: ‘Poor Hal. I knew him well – like a brother …’ The story had to be under 1000 words and crime. This was the first real monetary prize I won for a short story and it set me on the road I’m still walking. Find it here.
A ‘Drabble’ is a 100 word story, generally science fiction.
Like a Haiku, the best Drabbles have a twist at the end. The best way to approach writing a Drabble is to write a longer story, with the usual beginning, middle and end and pare it down (with a cleaver rather than a filleting knife). And finally, invest in (or bookmark) a thesaurus. It will help you to reduce your word count and yet allow you to say so much more.
Drabbles by Sue Dawes can be found on the Specklit website. For some prompts see here.
This photo was taken of the short-listed authors of the Debut Dagger competition in 2013. The creative writing competition was for the first 3000 words of a crime novel. Sue Dawes is the last author on the right.