How do I craft my Short Stories and for whom?
When ideas strikes me, I get excited and try to quickly cage that idea and hold onto that whiff of excitement. Knowing well that ideas are volatile and excitement are transient, it will disappear if not anchored in words and written thoughts.
The problem is that ideas can strike anywhere and anytime.
Mostly it strikes me while I’m travelling and peeping outside the window of the moving vehicle, ideas keep coming to me while I am seeing the world outside; the way a young guy assisting an old lady in crossing the road to seeing a beautiful girl enjoying the freedom, zooming past my vehicle in her new two wheeler bike to a young child perplexed at the cramming crowd and commotion of cars from his father’s shoulder to another guy honking behind me as if the world has come crumbling on him, he is trying to push everybody and fly past the stream of vehicles stuck in front of him…as I look at each of the scenes, I see through a hidden story behind each such face and an unfolding storyline with the movement of so many scenes.
As I cross the section of busy streets, these plethora of ideas hits me hard and I keep wondering on each one and quickly get immersed in everything, not able to fathom and figure out the frame. The frame to capture and convert those potent ideas into beautiful portraits, it is about mentally painting those thoughts in the canvas of imagination till I get the keyboards to catch those ideas into meaningful sentences and paragraphs. Though on the mobile platform I try to get it captured but I never find the space comfortable and the writing zone to get the words weaving.
I need an anchor.
I wait for the time to get to my place where I get the writing flow. It is the corner space in my creative room. The moment I sit down in front of my computer to convert those street scenes into smart themes, engrossing plots, memorable characters and intriguing conflicts which my story shall represent and present.
My mind get caught in the web of clutters. Mind is a free floater and it keeps floating around and keeps hitting with these eternal flow of waves, and things that comes its way and it has no shore till I temporarily anchor my temptation.
It has to be irresistible.
Mind needs constant temptation to get back to the shore otherwise it will always keep wandering in the vast ocean. When I sit down to write, I keep the distraction out of my zone, I know slight attraction can get my thoughts wavering and my story can go haywire, it has happened my times, I get all the scenes mixed up and keep moving in all possible directions and ending up writing something having now beginning, no middle and of course it never ends. It so happens that I cannot always keep the distraction at bay, these diversions keep coming my way and keep taking me out of way. Still I keep the flow going without getting caught in the logjam and not letting the idea to flow freely. The free flow of thoughts is what really matters to me and I try my best to allow the flow and not get trapped in the bumpy hurdles and the unpredictable hiccups.
While I get into the character and try giving the character a distinct voice and a personality, I consciously ignore the rules of language, grammar and punctuation gets the back seat, and the flow of thoughts and the formation of idea gets the driver’s seat. It is not that I throw the rules out of the window permanently, though these rules keep knocking my door, I keep it out of my room till I get my story get the flow, the form and the shape to get going by itself. Once I get the confidence that my story has acquired the wings to fly, I land on the ground and give my mind a break.
The break is to get the mind shift the gear, while the mind was flying high in the world of imagination to get the characters develop their voice heard and the plot get the glue to give the reader the hook. Surfing in the sea and silently sitting on the sea-shore and watching the waves rocking the sand dunes cannot go together; writing and editing are two ends of the spectrum. I never attempt bringing them together knowing well that by doing so I am just trying to kill the very idea that I gave birth to and was nurturing.
I allow the mistakes to flower, I allow the flowery language to fructify, I allow the grammatical errors to grumble at me, I allow the limitation of language not to get my thoughts lose its flow and form.
I have seen that I have long way to go in trying to master the language and very few people have done so and they are truly gifted and others have invested enormous amount of time to get the grip. I know that it is a parallel process and I cannot stop the process of creative writing and crafting stories till get the other process in full control.
There is nothing called as perfection in my dictionary and every time I write a story and get excited about the outcome, the readers keep me grounded. There is always something better the other side.
I quickly realize that I was trapped in a prism of my own imagination and I feel I have done everything to get the story well crafted and fire the engines to fly high and wide.
This has happened so many times, I keep participating in a short story writing competition and after putting my best foot forward I find myself no where in the list of winners. I am back again to the writing board, I keep writing another piece of short story and as the process ends I feel I have given the best shot but once again it ends up in the flop show.
It is agonizing.
It is frustrating.
It is demoralizing.
I find myself in a state of helplessness and restlessness.
Helplessness because where do I get the motivation and inspiration to lift myself and restlessness because where is the anchor everytime I go to the sea I am thrown out by the waves and not able to get the space and place.
I feel displaced and I feel disturbing.
Is other’s writing so well that my writing just doesn’t stand the test of comparison or the judge and jury wear a different lens that my pictures don’t get captured. I read the winning pieces and they are good and but what I have written was not bad either, sometime I have better appreciation from readers than the judge and jury. After writing so many stories and participating in many competitions, I realized that each story has their own little space and these stories needn’t get caught in the commotion of jury’s evaluation framework.
It is crowded and there are hundreds of stories that keep floating in the market. The pricing and prizing the stories in the hands of judge is good to give a competitive space and a brand to the work of writing, but not good enough to give all creative writing and stories a tag to optimize the reader’s search engine and hashtag to search in microcosm of so many readers.
I write for myself and if I am happy what I have written matches my expectation, then I allow my stories to meander the corridor of crowded streets and if it is good enough it will some day definitely find it’s anchor in the shinning sea-shore. For my short stories my readers are my judge and jury, and their appreciation or criticism is what really matters to me and my stories.
One thing I have learnt that the ideas of writing good short stories resides in the minds of reader; the writer’s craft lies in the art of reading the minds of readers.