Because I like to write stories, people tend to buy me notebooks. Oh, not all the time, but occasionally, here and there, for birthdays and Christmas, I’ll be given a beautiful notebook. Don’t get me wrong, I actually love notebooks. I don’t know if this is true of all writing people, but I do have a love of stationery. The only problem is that I don’t actually use proper, old-fashioned stationery all that much. I have notebooks for my writing, of course: one for plot ideas; one for research questions, things-to-do lists and other random things that jump into my head; a journal which I scribble in sporadically. Unfortunately all three of these are big, boring jotter pads, which suit me perfectly.
So what to do with all those lovely notebooks that people buy me, or I see on a shop shelf, staring whimisically at my wallet and begging me (in the rustle of 120 thin ruled pages) to pick me, take me home, keep me? Well, normally I do nothing with them. They get tucked away, waiting for something special to fill their pages, and end up cultivating their own dust garden on a shelf somewhere.
So last December, when my sister bought me a gorgeous little notebook with swallows escaping a cage on the cover and butterflies on the inside, I thought No. I will not forget about you.
Which meant I had to think of something. I don’t write by hand — partly because I write a lot and I write fast, so writing by hand hurts and I also can’t keep up with my thoughts — it’s much easier to type. I didn’t want to use it for notes, either. Mostly because I already have things for that, and I’m not nearly out of space in those places yet. I also wanted it to be special, to mean something.
Then I thought of drabbles. A drabble is a story in 100 words, no more, no less. 100 words exactly, or it isn’t a drabble. I first stumbled across drabbles a few years ago with a bunch of writing friends. In those halcyon days when we all seemed to have way too much time on our hands, and a plethora of characters needing things to occupy them, we would play the drabble game. Basically someone would come up with a prompt — anything from a word, to a quotation — and it was up to the others to write something, anything, so long as it was 100 words long. Then you had to leave a prompt. Simple.
Well, not always. 100 words can be a tough limit to stick to, and some prompts are definitely easier than others, but they’re fun. When they stop being fun, it’s probably time to stop playing.
Anyway, back to the Christmas notebook. It had been a while since I’d last played with drabbles, and since I knew this year was likely to be full of Aekhartain stories, I thought that perhaps drabbles would be a way to keep myself sane. To keep writing in all those other worlds that I’d end up neglecting because of my narrow Aekhartain focus. To make the most of this opportunity and ensure I filled up the whole notebook I decided to make this a real challenge. It would be no good if I could just write the occasional drabble here and there — I know myself too well, so I know that I probably would have forgotten all about it in a couple of weeks.
But if I had to write a drabble a day, what then? All right, so I might not make it through the whole year, but I could probably get a couple of months of drabbles at least…
So here we are in June and I’m still going. Admittedly, I don’t write one a day. I cheat quite a bit, because my writing friends made the mistake of wanting to read them, so I post my drabbles each week, always making sure I have at least seven. Since for some reason I don’t write drabbles on Saturdays, I tend to write two on Sunday. Or, as of the last few weeks, I don’t write any on the weekend, so double up on Monday and Tuesday. Yet I’m not quibbling too hard, because this is just a silly challenge for myself, and I’m still going, so I’ll take what I can get.
I also made the mistake of asking my friends to suggest characters they’d like to see drabbled about. Sure, some of them have managed to scrape up characters from the olden-Becca writing days that I’d practically forgotten myself, but by and large the requests have been for Aekhartain — so much for taking a break. About half of the drabbles I’ve written this year (somewhere over 150 by now) have been Aekhartain, and only because I’ve made it a rule to write a non-Aekh drabble for every Aekhartain one. But again, I’m not complaining too hard. I love my feathery-Aekhs, it’s just a shame so many of the drabbles are spoilers for people who haven’t been reading my stories for the last ten years.
With this in mind, there aren’t many I can actually post here without including huge explanations and/or spoiler warnings. But, I’m pretty sure I can scrounge at least one up a week, even if it comes from a non-Aekh world. No doubt the introductions and explanations will all wind up longer than 100 words, but as long as the drabble itself keeps to the word count then everything should be fine.