“A Bouquet From India”

We now have just a week to go before we blast off for NaNoWriMo 2012. The objective is to write a novel of 50,000 words during the calendar month of November 2012, starting from scratch. Some choose to be “rebels” and do short stories instead. I have chosen to be part of this rebel band this year.

At this stage all that I have fixed is the title! yes, it’s to be called, “A Bouquet from India” for that’s where I live and work. I expect it to be an anthology of short stories which have one thing in common by way of a theme. They are all set in India. Apart from this hazy outline, there’s hasn’t been much I have done by way of planning.

I saw some of the ideas people, fellow Wrimoes shared in the forums. One is writing a series of short stories set in a particular village with each story taking place in one of the twelve months. I thought this was a smart idea. I know one thing for sure, my stories will have liberal use of different emotions and this in itself can be part of the theme. There is so much to see and hence write about in India. It’s a fascinating country, even if I say so myself, with so many apparent contradictions and paradoxes.

The reason I chose to write short stories this time is also to challenge myself as a writer. To make myself more clear, let me say that I hold short story writing to be very much more difficult than the writing of a full novel. In present times, I would imagine something like 5000-7000 words is a good fit for a short story. I am working on this basis. Setting the tone and context, building the story and taking it to a climax within this word limit is not so easy! In a forum I am active in called “The Fans of P.G.Wodehouse” I mentioned how masterly Wodehouse was in penning short stories. The Mulliner series comes readily to mind. They are delightful reading and have all the elements of a great read.

For some interesting tips and perspective about short stories, see this page from Fish Publishing. I loved these lines about the famous writer James Thurber. “His use of his spare time is interesting: I never quite know when I’m not writing. Sometimes my wife comes up to me at a party and says, ‘Dammit, Thurber, stop writing’. She usually catches me in the middle of a paragraph. Or my daughter will look up from the dinner table and ask, ‘Is he sick?’ ‘No’, my wife says, ‘he’s writing something’.

I visualize “A Bouquet from India” to have 10 stories of about 5000 -6000 words each. I have a week more to think of plots. I am sure once the contest starts the adrenaline will pump away and the words will flow. Let’s hope so!

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