An Experiment in Very Short Writing

So with this month’s attempts at the 30-word Blogshorts stories, I’ve been a Friday Drabble slacker.  Recall the drabble is like a blogshort, only longer, it’s 100 words exactly. I had a little time today to try an experiment – the same idea crafted into both forms.


The bushes shielded the coyote from view as she surveyed the house from the hillside. She watched with fascination as that other padded through its lighted interiors.

Even from here, she caught the aromas of many different foods from inside and yet that other didn’t even try to feed. That other just followed the humans around, up flights of stairs and from one room to the other, content. That other didn’t roam, didn’t hunt, didn’t kill. It let the humans touch her.

As the coyote turned to slink back to her hollowed out den, she pitied that other – that dog.


Fascinated, the coyote watched that other inside the house – it didn’t roam, hunt, or kill – content where it was, touched by humans.

Turning away, she pitied that other – that dog.

Do you think one works better than the other? Or do they both have their own merits?


11 thoughts on “An Experiment in Very Short Writing

  1. I think I like the even shorter one better. But, I must admit that it may be because I have grown accustomed to the Blogshorts and knew what to expect by reading the long one first.
    So, actually, I guess I am saying that my opinion is worthless.


    • Lauri — it’s funny, I wrote the long one and then edited it down to the short one. I wonder if the effect would be the same if I went in the other direction?

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  3. I think they both have their own merit.

    In this case, I like the 30-word one better … but the 100-word one does ‘flesh out’ the story a little more.

    Personally, I’m finding the 30 words easier to come up with, but harder to edit (if that makes sense).

    • Thanks — it’s funny I wrote the 100 word one and then pared it down (and down some more) to make the 30 word one, so maybe it’s more distilled. I wonder if the effect would be the same if you started with 30 and worked up. I guess there’s always next Friday. ;)

      And yes I totally know what you mean about how tricky they can be to edit. No room for fluff.

  4. I came back to your blog this morning specifically to review this post. I hadn’t given it the attention it deserved the first time I stopped by.

    During the challenge I occasionally wrote without worrying about the word count, then whittled down to 30 words. Sometimes that was a real chore but it was educational.

    For some reason, my first read of the long version implied “cooking.” But I see that was never expressly indicated. Either way, food and/or cooking didn’t make the cut in the short version. That changed my interpretation a skosh.

    I enjoyed figuring out who the “other” was. It was clever how you provided us the clues to make the identification. In the end, you had to make a choice to feed us the answer on a silver platter or leave it more ambiguous, taking the risk that some readers might not get it. I generally try to take that risk. I don’t think you needed those last two words because you had already done your job.

    • Tom — thanks! It’s funny, because I wrote the long one first (prompted by some coyote howls the other day) and so had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted. And yes, the food aromas and cooking were definitely supposed to be there. After that, I pared that down to the blogshort and tried to keep the spirit of it the same. It’s interesting to see how they both turned out.

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