Monday, February 8, 2010

How to write a Short Story.

Hi there! Recent happenings have been, as usual, giving me food for thought. With all these food for thought, you must think i have a burgeoning brain, but truth is, most of it is lays and Kurkure. Anyway, back to topic. Saarang 2010, the cultural extravaganza at my college, IIT Madras, had a short story writing competition. I toyed with the idea of turning up for it, but I let I dare not wait upon I dare as, Shakespeare tells me, cats do in adages and finally spent time "sight seeing". This whole exercise made me think how I would write a short story and led me into the researching the typical and characteristic Basil James short stories. Here are my findings.

1.Teenage boy in minority group who does not know what is going on around him, but takes on the world with a shrug. An example:

"Imtiaz strutted about the street, absent mindedly kicking an empty can of coke. In his T-shirt, three fourths, sneakers and baseball cap he looked the quintessential teenager in those parts. But of late he had realised that he was subtly yet irrationally different from the rest of the people of his age around him. The TVs and newspapers did not have good news to tell him. Events in far off lands startled him, but he did not know what he feared..."

I guess every one knows how that story pans out.

2. I'm stoned beyond description. After a blurry sequence of events, at one in the morning, I find myself in a room with some random thing in an LBD. This type of short story describes the hallucinations of yours truly while under weed coupled with sexual activity in colour purple.

"I put my hands up the fringe of her dress, onto her buttocks. Her hot breath descended on my chest. The lobsters were redder than ever and were making red faces at the white clouds. My helicopter zoomed into their line of vision and it was my turn to make faces. She shed her outer coverings and curved down like a supine snake. A gang of gangsters plants dynamite in a bank's locker to blast the lock. Come on bitch, I'm about to explode.."

I have no idea how that is gonna end. Whew!

3. The single father and three kids living in a suburban house story.

"Its Saturday. The smell and fumes of my still un-perfect art of making breakfast eased into the living room. My elder son, Arun, was reclining on a chair, gazing into the computer screen probably on facebook. I wandered into the room and was met by the raised eyebrows of Arun. 'You are still on the computer? Go do your chemistry homework', I said. 'I don't wanna do it, Dad. Chemistry is stupid'. What could I say, I agreed with him. 'Then go clean your room'. 'I have given Binny 20 bucks to do it'. 'Binny!!! He is only three'. 'So what? He knows how much 20 bucks is worth'.

4. If you think it is bad enough, wait until you see the fourth type of short story. This 'genre' is directly related to the profound 21st century prose poetry of Ron Silliman, Anne Carson and Sheila Murphy. Though the creative impetus behind this is usually expressed as novels, short stories of this type do appear. I shall not give an example of one because I am in a happy mood, a frail one, easily dispelled by contemplating the short story I refuse to contemplate.

5. And finally....
This short story is an amalgamation of various styles of various people I have read- from my friends to acclaimed authors. This type of short story has a bad habit of never getting completed as the author often runs out of ideas or is hit by a particularly heavy writer's block. But some stories of this type have managed to be born, albeit half-baked. It usually goes like this....

" S is fast asleep on his fluffy bed ignorant of the chatter of crows, cuckoos, mynahs, swallows and others of the ilk outside. The Asystasia, Grey Mangrove, Philippine Violet, Barleria, Mayurpankh etc smiled brightly in the morning sun. A ray of sunshine rushed into the room and played about on the well cut face of our protagonist, S."

The story goes on like that for another ten pages and even I don't want to read it.

There are many other varieties of writings which arise from my chicken brain, but those are the types which you shall find on this blog and so I shall not go into the details. I see 'junta' charging upon me like the Assyrian, who came like a wolf upon the fold. I had better rush. Cya. Happy Valentines...

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