So, the experiment is complete. With varying degrees of success (and discomfiture) I managed to explore three hitherto uncharted genres. However, to begin at the beginning…
A while ago, I had posted the ten word story. It was an exercise in trying to convey an entire narrative in ten words. Something that has been done to amazing effect by some vastly superior writers with far less words. One in particular stands out. Hemingway’s For sale: Baby shoes, never worn. In six words he communicates a plethora of emotions to devastating effect.
Mine was far simpler. It said: Thank you for last night. This should cover it. Kisses.
Now, even as I posted it, I began to wonder what might have gone on before. Which is when the idea of concluding three different, completely unrelated stories, at the same point, occurred to me. I omitted the Kisses at the end, as it jarred with what I was about to begin.
Rear View: Taking inspiration from my neighbourhood, and also the frequent reports of people dying, lonely and undetected, came the story of an old pensioner and his widowed neighbour, who become friends. It developed into a ghost story, but one I hope, that didn’t scare as much as sadden. Out of the three, this was the one that was the easiest to write, and evolved most organically. It was also the one that received the most appreciation, placing fourth in a competition.
Two Chevrons apart: The trickiest one to write. Erotica is not as easy as people may think. For one, I had to abandon all compunctions, and write as honestly and truthfully as I could. But the purpose was not just to arouse. It was to display the futility of an unrequited love, where the protagonist, time and again offers herself up to a man who is not worthy of her. I hope that the eroticism underlined this futile love. I noticed, after I wrote this story, that there was a lot of traffic on my site, yet very few comments. People who knew me, were perhaps jolted a bit by this uncharacteristic, almost voyeuristic display of bedroom antics. To them I say, to be honest to my craft, I must extend myself, and in this genre, I flexed muscles I did not know I possessed.
Central Reservation: Dystopian, dark and disturbing was the brief. I hope I fulfilled it, much as my hero did his. Set in the distant future, where mortals abandon morals in pursuit of longevity, I had initially imagined Robert as an unwilling assassin, who gets embroiled in a plot unwittingly. As the story developed, and quite another angle presented itself to me, Robert developed shades of grey. And so, he became a willing accomplice, who cannot wait to fulfil his mission of hijacking another’s life. The story within a story was a surprise even to me. Yet, strangely, that struck a chord with most readers, and I was complimented on the cleverness of it all. I must confess, there was very little cleverness involved. It was a sub conscious desire to bring a bit of realism to a very futuristic fantasy.
This concludes the post mortem on my experiment. I hope you enjoyed reading the stories, just as much as I enjoyed writing them. If you have any suggestions on any further experiments I should undertake, I would be happy to receive them.
Oh! And as a last word. Why were my titles all metaphors of driving? Quite simply because I see life as a huge metaphor for driving. Now, go figure that one out.