QuickFic: Inter Office Memos (UPDATED!)

Hey, how about a bonus blog post tonight? In addition to my work over at CXPulp.com, I’m also a regular on many internet forums on various subjects, including the writer-focused forum AbsoluteWrite. A couple of weeks ago, one of the members of the forum offered a challenge for writers: sign up to attempt a “drabble” on your blog. A “drabble” is a super-short piece of fiction, 100 words give or take. While my students hear “100 words” and start weeping into their textbooks, they really have no concept of just how short a work that is.

Anyway, it’s my turn in the challenge, so this afternoon I dashed off an idea that bubbled to my head a couple of days ago. To my shock, the first draft was a whopping 173 words. This 100-word challenge isn’t as easy as it looks. So I looked at my idea, rolled it around in my head, and found a different way to compose it that allowed me to throw out a lot of words that, while necessary grammatically (I am an English teacher, you know) were not necessary for the story. And thus I present to you…

Inter Office Memos


As per specifications, I’ve synthesized compound discovered in the archives. Result has interesting properties, but concerned we are using last Cylesium to manufacture it. I’m also a worried that we have an order for this stuff already.


Another order?


Halfway through the Cylesium. Customer may want to start looking for another source. I have theories about compound.


Success, disaster. Sent rat back 12 days. Cost 12 milliliters of compound. No stores left. What good is device with no fuel?


As per specifications, sent the recipe and order to 2015. First shipment should arrive any second.


Eek! I totally forgot to post the links to the blogs of the other hellacool writers who are taking on this challenge. Check out what they did in just 100 little words:

9 Responses to “QuickFic: Inter Office Memos (UPDATED!)”

  1. 1 Bettedra
    November 11, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Ooh, nice! I love the “aha!” moment at the end.

  2. November 11, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    I confess I had to read this a few times to “get” it cause I didn’t know if the 2015 etc were years, military times, stardates or references to people’s identifying numbers, but think I finally got it. Problems of today are solved with 20/20 accuracy by solutions executed yesterday, eh? If that was the gist, then your drabble was very clever. If that wasn’t, then I was very clever. LOL Nevertheless, I enjoyed your unique take on the exercise.

  3. November 11, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    I was a bit confused at the end. I found myself asking if sending a rat back 12 days used up all the compound, how’d they send a message back to 2015?

    Cute concept though.

    • November 11, 2010 at 9:09 pm

      Curses — a victim of the drabbleization. My first go-around, it was clearer that it was the stores of Cylesium ran out, not the stores of of the fuel made FROM the Cylesium. I didn’t realize my editing cost that clarity. Ah well, live and learn.

  4. November 11, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    I had to read it through a couple of times as well, but I do so love time travel stories, particularly when they involve an expensive rate.

  5. November 13, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Good spin on your timings ;o)

  6. November 13, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Very interesting story, Bibbo. It made me wonder what life will actually be like in the year 2056.

  7. November 13, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    I’d be curious to read the longer version since a few things seem to have indeed gotten lost in the cutting. It’s intriguing and there’s definitely something in there. 😉

  8. November 16, 2010 at 10:59 am

    I see what you were trying to do there; a little bit of tweaking for clarity’s really all that’s needed. In the first paragraph, for example, you can easily ditch “as” in “as per,” “the” in “the archives,” “it” in “manufacture it,” “a” in “a worried,” etc. The terse, clinical style you adopted can be used to scrape off words like that, leaving room to fill in a little of the explanation that’s missing.

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