Holding down the shutter button, she heard the whir of the motor as the lens tried to focus on the object in front - a man clutching a bloodied knife and moving towards her rapidly. She felt the tracks vibrate as a local train rumbled somewhere nearby. She knew this image would make it to the front page of the paper, but she needed to be quick. An audible click confirmed the image capture and she quickly glanced down at the LCD screen. A loud gasp escaped her lips as she realised that the man was missing from her photograph.
Ajay watched carefully as Ramu's nimble fingers darted across the chessboard. He could almost sense his friend's excitement. He slowly raised a finger to his lips and prayed for Ramu to make a wrong move. But deep down, he knew that his friend would finish the game. He had lost the bet. Sighing, Ajay slid his right hand into his pocket and fingered the crisp 100-rupee note that his mother had given him to buy rations for the house. As his friend yelled 'Checkmate!', a tiny tear escaped Ajay's left eye; his family would go hungry today.
If you're a regular reader of this blog, you're probably wondering about this sudden foray into 'Very short story' category. After all, I've harped on and on about how often, the beauty lies in the tiny details of the story. And I still continue to believe that. A plot is important, no doubt. But what I've observed is that the at times, we tend to get too carried away by the plot, that we forget the execution - the narration and the tiny details.
I'm relatively new to this 'VSS' phase; and to be honest, I know my strengths - they do not lie in flash or micro fiction. But one of the most difficult things that we often have to do as writers and wannabe-authors, is to make sure that we regularly challenge our writing styles and work on different types of genres. And that's the biggest 'single writing tip' that I can give you.
You're all aware that there are probably plenty of sites offering free prompts as well as images to encourage you to write. I often search for these - after all, you never know when inspiration strikes. It was during on of these searches that I stumbled upon a relatively new site called One Frame Stories.
I'm going to quote them here :
"One Frame Stories is a concept initiated to showcase how different people have varied perspective about the same thing.
With One Frame Stories, we also intend to encourage people to write and share stories with us and by people we mean anybody and everybody who can write, want to write and are hesitant to write.
A photograph will be shared with you based on which you will write a story in 99 or less than 99 words. The stories should be based on your perspective of the photograph which is shared with you.”
The process is simple. Check out their weekly frame image - all of which are absolutely stunning by the way - and write a piece in 99 words or less. The team at OFS pick a few stories to be showcased on their site, as well as their Top 4. The frames are published every Friday, when both the selected stories as well as next-week's frames are put up.
While challenging yourself to write in different styles is certainly important, it's also important to realise that above it all, you need to write. And that's what innovative sites like OFS aim to do - give you that little virtual nudge to help break that mythical writer's block.
So, when you get a moment, head to One Frame Stories. You may well find your next story there.
PS: This is NOT a sponsored post. It's more of a public service announcement of sorts. I genuinely enjoyed writing for some of the frames they put up. They're refreshingly different and encourages you look at an otherwise 'normal scene', in new light.
PPS. Story Two was first published on their site on 18th March 2015. I have republished it here with their permission.