Article by Senorita Baral (Guest Blogger)
It happens to be a free land with closed boundaries and the game’s got to be quick. We are, indeed, discussing about the short stories genre. Literature is identified with the philosophies of creativity and liberty, among several others. While the category of novels gets it hands down for the liberty aspect, wherein the author can even talk about the hair colour of his characters at length; on the flip side, it’s the short story genus which substantiates the creativity character on a pronounced platform. This is precisely because it’s often difficult to fit in a small mesh rather than dwell on a giant couch. In the same breath, the song of a short story shouldn’t miss out on the liberated flight of imagination that it guarantees. It is utterly democratic, so there’s no space for any condescending tyrant to dictate out any set of rules or regulations, which also implies that the ball is in your court.
Scripting a short story is like going on a blind date, but with a difference of the number of partners; as a writer, one ‘dates’ several people, even irrespective of the gender. Since a short story can be portrayed as an evening’s rendezvous, consequently, it is more appropriate as a date rather than a novel. And just as one cannot ‘teach’ you how to date, no one can tell you how to ‘write’ a short story but as a sidekick, perhaps, can voice his advice and suggestions. So, let’s get the ball rolling:
One could get things started by pondering over the theme he/she wants to write on. This is an essential pre-requisite for any genre and specifically a short story since it delivers their work in a concise manner and hence the message that the writer wishes to convey should be clear and prompt.
One could argue about the clichéd nature of theme and premises but the fact that several variants of the same theme can be developed into diverse stories is not alien to us. For instance, working on the age old themes of courage, friendship and love, J K Rowling was able to create an astronomical phenomenon with the Potter series. Although they fall in the novel’s catalogue, there’s a lot one can learn from them, specifically the art of transforming simple notions into magical wonders.
• Plan/Plot well
Schematic progression in any endeavour helps to wipe out incoherence and disarray. And writing is not an exception in this case; any budding writer who aspires to attempt inking a short story must think of a storyline, its protagonist and other characters and its scheme of events. Imagination cannot be directed but only be triggered and nothing can match the benefits reaped out of a first-hand experience which is simple enough to gather by reading a few of them at the outset.
Reading short stories will not just clarify their structure and format but also will give you insight about how to actually conceive its formulation and the flow of events. For instance, the debut work of Jhumpa Lahiri ‘The Interpreter of Maladies’ and the collection by the same author ‘Unaccustomed Earth’ are good samples of this genre. One could also opt for the extraordinary classic ‘Malgudi Days’ by R.K.Narayan which is an anthology of stories based in a small South-Indian town.
• Use the tools of language
Writing creatively within a small frame with the intent of captivating the readers is the crux of the matter here. Even if penning the words is solely your prerogative, one could suggest being selective about them. The story, after all, depends upon the choice that a writer is making and using apt words will culminate the job efficiently.
• In the process
After one has started the story, it might happen that different ideas start appearing so it is best to jot them down and organize them into slots and phases. It is not advisable to be averse towards thinking of different directions of writing; although one should avoid getting confused between them. A thorough thought process could put chaos to rest.
After finishing the first draft, one should always narrate it to the family or a close friend to gather opinions and reviews. After that, getting it edited by a professional would be advisable.
• Keep the kettle boiling
This is a post-script advice: Keep it going until you’ve achieved your target. Although a short story is brief and technically should not be time-devouring, it is crucial that the writer remains determined and firm towards his venture. Many people, including budding writers, do not appreciate an understated fact that writing is a tiring and demanding work; so it is strongly suggested that if you’ve started working on a short story, you only take a break after you’ve drawn the conclusive line.
Writing short stories is less taxing, rewarding and pertinent for beginners. It is actually a self-practice ‘How to’ guide for writing. Hence there is no question of doubt about its simplistic elegance. All that is required as a pre-condition is genuine fervour and dedication towards literature. After that, the stage is set; it’s time to unleash your mind to the world.