1
Character1: dialogue
Character2: *action*
Character1: ...
Character1: dialogue

In the context of fanfiction, they're sometimes referred to as drabbles. But the official definition of drabbles is 100-word fiction and not usually in that format. In the context of Twitter or memes, they're used commonly as a way of recounting some funny exchange.

They're somewhat like scripts, with dialogue, actions surrounded by '*', no narration, no POV, no setting. Just a character/name followed by dialogue/action.

Is there an official term for this kind of written work? Thanks!

Examples:

Day-to-day context

Fanfiction context

  • 2
    Hi Kal, can you clear up if you are referring to patterns that are essentially jokes setting up a punchline? The two examples would indicate that you are looking at humorous anecdotes presented in a manner dependent on a relatively recent structural or formatting meme that probably doesn't have a term. If that's not what you meant, can you give an example from fanfiction that fits what you're looking for? – wordsworth Aug 1 '19 at 21:13
  • Hi @wordsworth. Yes, I suppose their main purpose is for humor. The fanfiction context is essentially the same, just that the speaker would be fandom characters, not real people (like first 2 examples) used in missing/alternate scenes in this format, with a "drabble" label/hashtag. It's the author's way of conveying to readers that the work is short (not necessarily exactly 100 words), simple, and not a full-fledged thought out idea. I'm interested in writing some of my own but unsure of how to define my work to avoid misleading others. But I think you're right that there's no term for it :) – Kal Aug 2 '19 at 0:20
  • Robyn's answer looks good to me! – wordsworth Aug 2 '19 at 1:29
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I would call it a chat log. Those samples are not literal chat logs but they are written in a style that imitates a chat log.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chat_log

The web form for posting in this style on Tumblr is at the address https://www.tumblr.com/new/chat so clearly chat logs are what Tumblr's developers had in mind.

People imitate the style of chat logs for convenience, humorous effect, or because that's just how conversations are commonly written in the part of the internet they like to hang out (or where they hung out ten years ago... aren't chat rooms a bit retro now?).

  • 1
    Thanks! It sure does remind me of a chat room which is a little strange to wrap my head around for the context of storytelling, but it seems like a good fit. I wonder if, for the purpose of creative writing, eventually there'll be an "official" term to refer to it as, the way drabbles, flash fiction, etc. came about. – Kal Aug 2 '19 at 5:34

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