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Cracking the short

My first tryst with a short story happened recently before writing Reyansh. This was the first time I opened my laptop and penned down a lazy short. I intended to submit to literary journals abroad. I still remember the embarrassment.

It was not from my heart. Let alone from my mind. It wasn’t even a complete story. And I had the gall to make a submission. It was the generosity of those journals to kindly refuse publishing. When I went back to the story years later, I was horrified. Not only by how bad it was, but what dishonesty it displayed.

We are all complex, deep people. We have value systems and beliefs. No one is a bad writer. But a lot of us are dishonest.

I was guilty as charged. I dug deep within to extract shorts from that point on. That I was rewarded only months later for an honest piece left me jubilant.

The short as much as the long form is just as challenging. I always reminded myself a set word count was not limiting, it was liberating. I most often understood writing as mathematics. Even as a screenwriter one writes to a predetermined time frame. Because, imagine a story that never ends?

A few tips: Set up the characters and the setting – remember conflict is character – have the character confront outer and inner obstacles – let him or her lose terribly at first – and then let them resolve to take you and your story to its logical conclusion. Allow your characters to rule the page. As someone wise once advised me: Just Write.

Happy writing and reading!

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