Liz (amidala_thrace) wrote,

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Drabble or ficlet? The eternal debate

Just for the record, it's somewhat embarrassing when you happen to be working on a particularly smutty scene in your multichapter AU and one of your old Journalism profs walks up and engages you in conversation while simultaneously peering at your notebook. *headdesk* I guess I should have expected it considering I was sitting in a relatively public area near the Journalism and Mass Comm department, but still. Heh. This guy's pretty open-minded, but I don't generally parade in real life my prediliction for writing about fictional characters having sex. So, I have to admit, my answer to "Hey Liz, you working on your next news feature?" was a muttered "Uh - um - well - uh - sort of - HEY I REALLY LIKED THAT ARTICLE YOU WROTE FOR THE CITIZEN LAST WEEK, IT ROCKED!" Without the capslock, of course. That'll teach me to write smut where my old professors can just randomly happen upon me. *facepalm @ self*

Anyway, so not the point of this post, but I wanted to mention it. Heh. ;) I've been musing tonight on the nature of drabbles vs. ficlets, these ruminations mainly having been prompted by a comment to last night's edition of jedi_news. There were a few cases in the post where authors of linked fics hadn't provided titles and word counts for those fics, and so I classed them according to my own personal classifications: anything under 500 words without a title gets linked as an "untitled drabble," while untitled fics over 500 words receive the designation "untitled ficlet." And although I obviously won't lose sleep over this next question, as a journalist who imbibed "avoid personal biases" right from first year, I'm now idly wondering whether I was wrong to impose my own classifications.

Of course I didn't go through every one of those fics and perform actual word counts myself. It's not my responsibility to do so, and I'm often tired and/or pressed for time while completing the JN updates. So I use my own system, as is the case in other areas of the update. (I don't want to puzzle over whether something's news or miscellaneous, if a pic belongs in "Pictures" or "Graphics," what indications should appear for SW icons in multifandom posts, etc., so over a couple years of doing JN I have developed the aforementioned system.) And it works fine for standardized stuff. Not work-safe posts are always going to be not work-safe, multifandom posts will remain multifandom posts, and once I've made up my mind that an item belongs in News I usually leave it there. With the possible exception of News/Miscellaneous, these things don't have multiple interpretations so far as I know. But the drabble vs. ficlet thing does, and so that's why I'm wondering a bit about it.

When dinosaurs ruled the earth and I last wrote a drabble, it was most definitely over 100 words, but I still marked it as a drabble because in my view, it wasn't long enough to be a ficlet. By comparison, the stuff I do for TM (or will do, if they ever get around to accepting me) is usually 500-600 words, and Kara!pup has a "ficlet" tag on her journal for just such occasions. No one has yet questioned this, although that could simply be because no one pays attention to her tags. (And they should! The pup's tags are entertaining! *whiiiine* XD) But I definitely realize that some people have different definitions of what constitutes a drabble and what does not.

So, this brings me to my questions for you, the writers on my f-list. What, to you, constitutes a drabble? Where does one draw the line between a drabble and a ficlet? At 100 words? At 500 words? At 1,000? Do you get annoyed when you see a "drabble" or a "ficlet" defined as something you don't believe it to be? If you need to make an executive decision about what to call a drabble and what to call a ficlet, what would you say to people who hold the opposite viewpoint?

[A few notes: 1) Although this post is public, I will in all probability not be linking it on JN simply because I don't want the person who commented to me to feel singled-out or picked upon. 2) Similarly, while this might have been a good topic to address solely to my fellow editors, I'm looking for wide-ranging opinions on this, so restricting the discussion wouldn't really be appropriate. 3) Now I really really want to do that drabble request meme again. Sigh.]
Tags: thoughts, writing

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