Ramanand passed me the 55-word-limit-short-story baton and here is an attempt:
Am a ten pointer. Doesn’t mean that it’s been easy. My neighbors (let’s call them ‘R’ and ‘P’ for now), cheap scorers, but so popular still; seen everywhere, unlike me (sigh). Me, gotta wait for you to complete me. Ah, there you are! come now, lets append ourselves to ‘art’ near that double word score.
My love affair with short stories began with Doordarshan’s Mitti Ke Rang, which used to adapt the best short stores from the likes of Chekhov, O’Henry, Maxim Gorky, Guy de Maupassant, etc. into 30 minute episodes. This was when I first heard that short stories were a different genre altogether.
Earlier, I had tried my hand (or rather, Akka had lead my hand) into some Panchatantra and other Hindu mythological tales. Later, when I did venture into the world of short stories myself, I was amazed at the depth, creativity, storytelling, philosophy, characterization, and everything else that makes a great short story, not to mention the proverbial twist in the end. I am still to see a short story which anticipates that the reader is expecting a twist in the end, and comes up with a double twist, or no twist at all. To top that, this story must be a part of a compendium which has twists/no-twists in a calculated order to snare the reader throughout the book. Just a game-theoretic idea.
Of all the authors I have tried, I have been most impressed by Roald Dahl, Maxim Gorky, and Jeffrey Archer. Rahl is black, dark, and creates an air of eerie pathos that kind of tells me what horror writing is all about. Gorky, the few stories I have read: they were abstract, and created visual images that were beyond the ordinary. I find it very hard to capture that imagery into words now. As for Archer, he is the master of feel-good cheesy stories with his standard elements – wine tasting, courtrooms, bankers, good looking men and women, Oxbridge, etc. Have read all of his, and liked most of them.