The prospect of writing short stories stumped me during my early years at the Flame. My burgeoning vision of BEING A WRITER did not include the concept of "short". I wanted to write sweeping trilogies! Two thousand words for an entire story ... are you kidding me?

Of course, in my beginning at the Flame I couldn't compose a paragraph shorter than half a page. I was the sloppiest of newbies, but often admired for my enthusiasm.

My first honest-to-goodness short story totaled 1800 words. How was I able to finally manage such a triumph? Drabbles were introduced in a mini-contest, and it was if a foppish little upstart had slapped me across the face with a white glove. I had been triple-dog dared on the playground.

Some challenges just can't go overlooked.

I sweat blood writing that first drabble. Then I wrote dozens. Then I wrote dozens of flash-fic. Then I wrote thirty days worth of the tightest poetry my sloppy little notebooks had ever witnessed.

All this background is not intended to lead you to believe that I am a fabulous writer. In the grand scheme of things, I'm just not. Regardless of how someone out there may rate my writing today, I know I am miles away from where I started. Miles!

After I left the Flame to concentrate on school, those drabble muscles I'd developed saved my bacon countless times for countless essay and review assignments. I never once shouted aloud in class, 500 WORDS! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

The drabble is, in my opinion, the most amazing writing exercise ever invented. It's a tease, a dare, a sweaty, bare-knuckled boxing match with the imagination.

Agree? Disagree? Tell me about some of your favorite writing exercises, and the triumphs they yielded. Feel free to share quotes from your favorite pieces, and/or, share lists of other daunting writing butt kickers.

Speaking of Drabble Dares, February is chock full. The Week Three Challenge is "Heart-shaped Paper". Your stories should consist of no more than 100 words, and be submitted by 11:45 EST 2/22.

Meanwhile, Go read, comment, vote & love the Week Two Drabbles! RicoChey won over some amazing tiny tales last week. Who will prevail over the PB&J this week?

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