This month’s Short Story 12×12 involved a blind review, i.e., participants submitted their stories without a byline.
So, during the critique process, each one will review stories without any preconceived opinion about the author’s style or mastery over her craft. I had advised everyone to write something different and make it tough for others to guess.
It’s a brilliant idea, because this link says so. And also because I had participated in a similar experiment a few years back at IIT Kanpur, and it was so much fun … what other way to flabbergast your fellow writers!
Here’s a sneak preview on how I ended up writing Angel – my March story for SHORT STORY 12×12:
1. I had a clear plan – I wanted to write a proper fantasy story, because until now my co-challengers (is that a proper term?) had only sampled my contemporary stories for young adults. So I was determined to write an “adult” and surprise them.
2. Mahaaaaaaaaa…….baaaaarat (that’s how the title song went, you’d know if you woke up every sunday morning hearing that from the idiot box). It all starts with Sage Vyasa. I was not in the mood to write titillating stuff (all you who know the real role Vyasa plays in the epic, you will understand my apathy), so how about… Bheeshma? THE Bachelor. Long white beard. Mukesh Khanna. Kids love Shakthimaan. Arrrrggggghhhhhh. Must. Not. Write. Children’s. Story.
3. Hmm, a different angle. King Santhanu, that old geezer who was always falling in love with stipulating women… Ganga, especially, you know, the women drowns her own children? Darn it – I am back to “children” again!
4. But Ganga’s story… hmm, let’s see, can a woman do that today? Even the most besotted might not agree to be quiet while his wife murdered theirchildren! But perhaps, “murder by drowning” should not be so literally interpreted in 2014. It may be an act like.. an abortion. Or even birth control (yes, really, if you think about….!!!). So how about a case where the husband wants a baby and the wife does not and he can do nothing about it, since he agreed to respect her wishes?
5. Now where is the fun if the story ended there? In the myth, Santhanu was a mortal and Ganga was a river goddess. So I made my heroine a supernatural and the hero, a muggle who works in an IT company. Can anyone be more mortal than a software engineer?
So there you go. The genesis of a short story. The guy’s lurrrvvveees the girl, but the girl says no can do unless he agrees to zero kids, guy says yes without thinking, only to change his mind later; meanwhile, he also discovers that his wife is a clairvoyant. But still, he loves her but he loves to have a child more, he wants one RIGHT now, and he is willing to go to any lengths to have one…
Want to know more? I will send you a link when it gets published 🙂