Short Stories 1.0 + The Best Announcement!

short stories

Announcement Time!

Before I start — A very Happy Diwali to everyone.

A few months ago, Codex Publishing House was formed and to give a chance to new authors in getting published, they conducted a search for the best short stories to be included in the anthology — The Midget Allegories!

It gives me immense pleasure to announce that 6 of my short stories have been selected in the anthology! YES, I still can’t believe I’m going to get the tag of being a published author. *Heavy Breathing.

Here’s the first look at the cover, the details of buying the book would be posted as soon as the link is available:

short stories


Recently, I faced a writer’s block. Weird enough, the writer’s block was only limited to tales and poems! Why? Because all the time, I continued to write short stories and now seems a good time to blog them!

Unlike before, blogging a single short story seems pointless, as it’s really short. So, I’d posting series of short stories together! These, obviously won’t be related in anyway with one another but would be categorized based on there chronology.

I hope you like it! 🙂

Saint

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Hope

short stories

Apart

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Puppet

short stories


©The Honest Fabler
©Image Credits – The sketches are from pinterest and tumblr.

I’d really appreciate constructive criticism as I know the photos aren’t the best and there’s always room for improvement in the way one writes.

Blanket of Dusk

As I lay on my back, the warm coarse sand touching my soft skin, making me feel as if I am laying on a warm bed of salt. Gently, I lift up my red tainted paint brush and mimic how I would paint clouds on the cloudless baby blue sky above me. As I lay under the warm sun, my brush in my heavy hand, something catches the corner of my eye. Something that I have not seen in a long time and it fills my heart with hope and love. Blanket of Dusk.

As I rub the warm salty sand off my tanned body, I start to slowly paint this beautiful image. My small paint brush touches the bare white canvas in front of me as if it is making love to it. The colors of red, burgundy, dark blue and grey fill the canvas. As I start to paint I know I am alive, my heart begins to fill with emotions. The vast clear sky starts to turn from a baby blue to an autumn red. The clouds changing from cotton white to a flaming orange-yellow. My hand takes life as if filled with its own emotions.
I stop as the tide starts to come in. I watch from a distance as the, now, blue sea touches the golden brown sand. The cold sea fills my footprints and wipes it away as if it were never there. It makes me think again and there’s a feeling of sudden loneliness. I try to calm my sad emotions down and continue to paint. I gaze upon the reflective water and the dusky autumn sky turning darker. The sun seems to be dancing as if with a twin on the red mirror-like sea water. My excited hand now painting with its own passion making me feel good and warm again.
 
As the sun begins to fade away, falling off the edge of the sea, I put my colorful paint brush down. I rest my exhausted hand it’s fingers throbbing. I sit on the cool sand and take in the epic event that is slowly unfolding in front of me. It makes me realize that life need not have a sad or an unhappy ending. My sad and lonely emotions begin to fade away as I feel alive, reborn and inspired.
 
I watch the warm red sun disappear behind the murky blue sea, I softly say to myself, What a glorious sunset.

©The Honest Fabler – Pooja Mukherjee
©Image Source – Widewallpaper

Inner Joy (A Happy Heart)

“Happy” is just a word. It doesn’t mean anything more than a random jumble of letters that I decide makes up a word. Happiness is a rush. It is also a slow burn. It comes all at once but it also builds up like a plotline with intense suspense. Everything builds up to one apex.

It can’t be something superficial, or something that only lasts for a day or two. It’s something that affects your entire life. It lasts. It burns inside of you and it doesn’t go out. That is happiness.

Happiness is a warm feeling. When we are happy we feel a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. The journey to happiness is not achieving success or having enough things, it is not productivity or affirmation from others. The road to happiness is a life of purpose where our desires extend far beyond meeting our own needs and into the rich world of service to others.

How we feel about ourselves, the joy we get from living, ultimately depends directly on how the mind filters and interprets everyday experiences. Whether we are happy depends on inner harmony not on the controls we are able to exert over the great forces of the universe.

“The real happiness is to enjoy the scenery when on a detour.”

“Happiness is a sunbeam which may pass through a thousand bosoms without losing a particle of its original ray; when it strikes on a kindred heart, like the converged light on a mirror, it reflects itself with redoubled brightness. It is not perfected till it is shared.’’


©The Honest Fabler – Pooja Mukherjee
©Image Source – Google Images

I’m blue, I’m beautiful!

Is that what we wake up to every day?

From time immemorial, appearance has been foremost in humans’ mind. Humans are judged by their physical appearance. Thus, it is not surprising to witness mankind, especially women from all walks of life desperately try any means possible to achieve the perfect beauty.

However, beauty provides a perceptual experience of pleasure and happiness. It has no relation to features of our face or body, but rather character traits and qualities.

Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly lies to the bone.

Beauty dies and fades away, but ugly holds its own! Create and cultivate inner beauty that never fades away but grows and matures with time!
Especially women in our society need to realize this fact and change our perception of the way we see beauty. What should be regarded as requisite in someone? It could be their pleasant character traits, or some might name it as the word soul.

People with inner beauty are those that love to make peace with everyone, take care of fellow beings and try to follow the path of justice and the light of wisdom.

As beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, thus it will not be defined or appraised as easily. We always have to be a first-rate version of ourself. Once an Italian painter said,

The summation of the parts working together in such a way that nothing needs to be added, taken away or altered, and that’s you.

You are beautiful.


©The Honest Fabler – Pooja Mukherjee

©Image source- Google Images

ZODIAC PROGNOSIS

The life of a being in one round chapter.

If you are frightened of dying & still holding on, you will see devils tearing your life away.
But if you have made your peace,
then the angels will retaliate and the devils will ask for mercy, freeing you from the earth.
The fact people are taking a horoscope post so serious is comical.
Horoscopes don’t determine the way a person acts and treats people.

I’m a Leo and according to “moderate believer” we are the devils.
Personally I wear my heart on my sleeve and bend over backwards for good people. It’s all about our heart and mind and the way we act within.

As mentioned by Victor Hugo:

“How can one possibly believe, that every ray of a star is a thread attached to a man’s head?”

We shall overrule our stars and have a greater influence upon planets of the firmament .
Astrology relies heavily on our “selective memory”, a tendency to remember successful “predictions” and forget missed predictions.
Play your Celestial variables, we all are angels if we act like one.


©The Honest Fabler – Pooja Mukherjee

©Image source- Google Imagess

WOMANHOOD

|| Womanhood ||

The word which was alien to me struck in my mind. Out of curiosity, I went to search its meaning from the “Collin’s Advance Dictionary” which states —Womanhood. The state of being a woman rather than a girl.

I’m not sure whether the dictionary talks about only physical or mental status into account or not. So, the very term is baffling to me.

I remember once my father called me in the house when I was playing Holi with some guys and girls in the street, albeit, I played in the same manner last year. His strange behaviour puzzled me.

I went straight up to the terrace and watched my brother who is 10 years elder to me continue having fun with them. I was given no valid explanation for such behaviour, apart from the concrete statement that “I’m grown up now”.

I still didn’t find out what does that “grown up” meant at that time, I always wondered, “Have I attained womanhood?”

Simone de Beauvoir wrote in the ‘Second Sex‘ that “One is not born, but rather becomes a woman.” & in today’s context the quotation finds its meaning. I don’t know at what point of time I was termed as a “woman” but the world, present or past is witness to the fact that the very term has brutally mutilated the wings of independence of an individual.

Womanhood is just like a GPS chip that is installed in an experimental animal. A wild animal in a forest which help to trace out their position.
I can relate myself in ‘Oceana’ just like ‘Winston Smith‘ of 1984 being always in the radar of ‘The Big Brother’ . This Big Brother is not an individual but the society of unknown and virtuosity, which is more concerned about me than myself.

I found myself sitting beside ‘Simon de Beauvoir’ struggling to find the lost identity. I found myself among the stones in the pockets of ‘Virginia Wolf’ drowned in the river. I, too, felt suffocated with ‘Sylvia Plath’. I wander madly to search a true and divine love for ‘Kamla Das’. I’m fighting with the Government so that ‘Mary Ann Evans’ could be known by her real name & so that no woman needs the shelter of ‘Masculine Umbrella’ to prove her worth. Even after trying so hard I was lying on the roadside of Delhi and watching my end coming near.

I don’t know whether this struggle will ever end or not but I’m never going to give up. I’ll never let me fail whether Constitution grant me reservation or not.
My ‘Womanhood‘ is my territory and I am learning to reign it. I don’t fear to fight and protect it.
Despite having cropped wings, I managed to flay to the space.
I speak loud in the Parliament so that everyone can wake up.

My Womanhood makes me the creator. I am a Mother and a Nourisher. I am the deity as the holy book suggests but still I have an unending war to fight with my own people and it will continue till the time unknown. In the bottom line I would like to quote a verse in Sanskrit

यत्र नार्यस्तु पूज्यन्ते रमन्ते तत्र देवताः ।
यत्रैतास्तु न पूज्यन्ते सर्वास्तत्राफलाः क्रियाः ।।

Let you all find whether it is a satire or an irony.


©The Honest Fabler- Pooja Mukherjee

©Image source- Google Images

Writing tips #4(Character Development)

Greetings fellow bloggers & readers!

Let us imagine a situation where I’d greet each one of you by your own names. Wouldn’t that make you more likely to read my posts with much more enthusiasm? Indeed, it’s true because our names are something we all love to be addressed with & names, in general, are what our minds remember the best.
This brings me to the second most important element of our recipe— Characters!
Before we begin here is the list we are following:
#1 – Word Count and Story Length
#2 – Choosing the genre/ Conceptualizing the story
#3 – Sequencing the Plot
#4 – Character Development
#5 – First Person/ Second Person/ Third Person Narrative
#6 – The Power of Foreshadowing


How many of you have heard about the great detective, Sherlock Holmes? Or the famous secret agent James Bond?
Now, if you haven’t read about them you may not know what their story is or how they are as individuals but you can surely guess that Sherlock Holmes is a complex man + a smarty pants while James Bond is a handsome gentleman.

When it comes to developing a character you need to think of a person. An imaginary friend, to be precise. And like every unique friend of yours, the character you develop needs to have the uniqueness AND yet stay within the bonds of realism.

The main aspects of character development:

  • Emotional vulnerabilities
  • Physical attributes
  • Attitude towards peers
  • Character’s angels [Strengths]
  • Character’s demons
  • Backstory
  • Name

These are not noted in any particular order of importance since every aspect is very important & can be given attention to arbitrarily.

Emotional Vulnerabilities

A person who doesn’t have emotions is never a person who’s alive. A character may choose not to showcase his emotions to others but that shouldn’t lead to a false image that the character completely lack emotions. When writers make a character who doesn’t have any emotional conscience, the readers get frustrated as there are no insights; no reasoning for that particular character to be the way he/she is. An emotional vulnerability may vary by its intensity, but there is always something or someone that a person cares for so deep that it concerns their happiness and well being.

Physical Attributes

Note: Mostly necessary for long stories.

A reader cannot picture a person without knowing how they look, how tall their body frame is or what remarkable features they possess. And since the eyes of a writer are the eyes of a reader, the writer needs to describe the appearance of character.
These descriptions not only help to picture the character, but also leaves a particular impression about them. For example, broad shoulders of a character portray a sense of confidence in them, oftenly associated with bravery.

Attitude Towards Peers

Don’t judge a man by his friends. Remember that the friends of Judah were impeccable.

-Ernest Hemingway

Judging a character by the type of people he stay with might lead to confusing and varied outcomes. But the way a character, him/herself, feels towards his/her peers is what sets everything straight. The peers are mostly the character’s entourage, the people our characters spend their time with. The attitude of a character towards their entourage is a reflection of how that character feels towards their own choices.

Character’s Angels [Strengths]

Always remember characters are writer’s imaginary friends. And the way some of our friends can help us in lifting heavy grocery bags or some might give us a warm feeling of comfort when we’re low while some may help us in maths homework, even our characters need to have such varying strengths. A character may be physically weak but their mind could still be a beast and thus they could make the craziest plans.(Evil or for the greater Good.)

Character’s Demons

People make mistakes. All the time. If our characters become the perfectionists who never commit a mistake, the amount of disappointment and suspense to the outcome of an event decrease drastically in the mind of a reader. The demons of a character never make them flawed, instead they make the character more realistic. The demons of a character are what make the character- humans.

BackStory

This is the foundation of developing a character. A character that is currently a doctor could have been once a homeless abandoned child, nobody knows. Feed to the curiosity of a reader, for the reader appreciates a mind boggling little details that we add in a character.

Name

As I said, initially, a name is what defines your character. The name makes the first impression on the reader and later the character.(Not always applicable for all characters.) However, having a catchy name for a character is not more important than matching the name of a character to their personality.

Bonus tip:

A writer doesn’t always pay more attention to the development of a lead character and ignore the rest, rather they pay attention to each and every character equally and make sure there are not holes. So, whenever you have an idea of a character, no matter how stupid, jot it down. For who knows where you might need a clown or a psychopath or a savior in disguise of a best friend.
PS— This bonus tip helps a lot.

How do you think will you describe your character? As the writer, or the character themself or as a person who’s along the characters? Yep, you got me right. I’m talking about the type of narration. Stay tuned next week, to get an idea of what type of narration would suit the best.


©The Honest Fabler

©Cover credits- Google Images

Writing Tips #3(Sequencing the Plot)

Warm regards, wonderful readers and amazing writers! You have now reached that step of your recipe, where the tastemaker is added to the dish. Without this, your stories would be nothing but meaningless collection of words. Still wondering what I’m talking about? It’s the plot of your story! If you start writing a story without a plot, then I’m pretty sure you’ll keep coming across writer’s blocks after every scene. Before we begin, the steps of beginning our story are still unchanged:

#1 – Word Count and Story Length
#2 – Choosing the genre/ Conceptualizing the story
#3 – Sequencing the Plot
#4 – Character Development
#5 – First Person/ Second Person/ Third Person Narrative
#6 – The Power of Foreshadowing

By now, if you’ve followed the previous parts then you’re pretty acquainted with the wants of your story and know what genre you would write in. Pat your back, you’ve earned it.

As you move further to the story’s plot, you should know how necessary is it to have a plot. A plot is what will give direction to your story and most importantly help in reasoning every sentence mentioned in it. The reasoning is a mandatory part, however, it can be kept a secret and be used to keep the reader’s curious using the mystical charm of foreshadowing.(More about it when we ice the cake.)

Now, our main concerns are not :

  1. Writing a Plot— since it varies from every individual writer to another.
  2. Deciding what chronological order a story would follow— since there are numerous ways to do it and again it depends on the writer and his story.

“So, what are you even talking about?”

I, my friends, am talking about sequencing the heat/the action/the happenings/the thrill/ the suspense of the whole story. The course of action in a story should gradually reach to a peak and then begin its downfall as it reaches the climax.  A story which doesn’t have ups and downs would never leave a mark on the reader. Thus here are the 4 main coordinates of a storyline.

wp-1490195363828.jpg
A poorly drawn sketch by myself.
1. Beginning / Start of a Conflict / Introduction

A beginning as shown in the sketch, doesn’t have to be a boring situation where nothing interesting happens. In fact, it has to be interesting enough to keep the readers intrigued. But in comparison to the rest of the storyline, it has to ascend the peak of interest and thus it has to be intriguing but not the highest intriguing point. A beginning or an introduction as it is called can be taking place at any moment in the actual timeline of the story, since the main motive of it is only to acquaint the readers with a conflict that will be focusing the main plot of the story.

2. Middle / Peak

The most happening part of your story is going to be the peak of activity. It could be  a situation where [In a mystery] readers will start getting clues enough to try solving a mystery on their own or [In a War based story] one battalion is about to conquer another or— well, you get the general idea. After this point, the storyline again starts to settle. Thus this is commonly associated with the middle of the story.

3. Climax

The climax is always the most intense part of anything, so why isn’t it at the end or at the peak? The reason for not keeping it at the very end is that it will leave the readers wondering what happens after it or with an unsatisfied feeling of being left at a cliffhanger. Cliffhangers are recommended only if you plan to write another extension to the story. And the reason for it to not be the peak point is that gradually decreasing the heat to an end is better than directly dropping from a high climax to a steep end. Nobody likes falling on their faces, do they?

4.End / Conclusion

Started a conflict in the beginning, remember? In the end, no matter what places your story has went throughout, it has to come back to a point and turn static. The end has to be a pavilion to closed ends. The threads that you’ve pulled out have to rest and should be taken care of. If there are questions unanswered they would rise to plot holes. And plot holes are what we have to be aware of. (BE EXTRA AWARE!) So, whenever you reach to the end of your story, check all the questions that you’ve planted in the mind of the reader and cross check if they are all answered. A story with an incomplete end is only accepted by readers if they are expecting another sequel to the story.

Once you set your plot straight you are ready to focus on the attributes of your characters and developing strong personalities. Stay tuned next week to learn about the basics of developing a character.


©The Honest Fabler

©Cover credits- Google Images