Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Miniatures

His birth will herald a new beginning. Or so the local Pundit said.

A century monopolised by female offspring ends. The village celebrates. Fireworks swallow his cries and a distant rumbling. Exhaustion claims the jubilant but not him. Brooding purples and an invisible assassin seep into the morning sky. His mother smiles one last time ‘He’s stopped crying.’ The slate is wiped clean.

I wish I could tell you about myself but I’m not sure who I am.

Second born. Female. Indian. London via Thuvakudi-Madras-Hong Kong-London-Abu Dhabi-Madras-Bombay. Failed engineer. Cynical copywriter. Wife. “Chatter box” “Must try harder” “The family’s best daughter-in-law”. Geography, society, family and friends have already decided who I am. I haven’t. 50 words for an autobiography only seems inadequate when you know who you are.

THE ASSIGNMENT

It is your turn to be a miniaturist - to write your own shortest of short stories...

Your mini-saga must be exactly 50 words long. (Hyphenated words can be counted as one word or two, at your discretion.) In addition it must carry a title of no more than 15 words, which will, ideally, set the scene and illuminate or counterpoint the text.

Most important, your story must have a beginning, a middle and an end. Something must happen, preferably something which will keep the reader thinking. Fifty dazzlingly deployed words of description or reflection will not do.

1 Evolution, Einstein, East Enders, feminism, terrorism, television, Romeo and Juliet, Bill and Ben, Fish and Chips... Write a mini-saga ABOUT ANYTHING YOU LIKE.
2 Write another mini-saga about your life -- that is, your autobiography. (Don't feel obliged to reveal deep dark secrets!)

UPDATE

Here's another fiction one I did for fun.

Sorry to be such a bother but …

“A triumphant debut” Rushdie. Booker and Whitbread pop into conversations like neighbours that need sugar. People want to know her opinion. On Baghdad, bird flu and black as the new black. She looks at the blank page that stands in the way, picks up her pen and begins to write.

20 comments:

Falstaff said...

Nice. I liked the autobiographical one better - though I think you're giving away too much in the title; keep the punch-line for the text, you don't need it up there.

The more I read the assignments for your class the more envious I get. I'm so tempted to try my hand at some of this stuff - it sounds like so much fun.

Anonymous said...

The autobiography is really good.

The thing about writing assignments (I take creative writing classes, too) is that you do them (as in, just complete them for the sake of it) but you have a power to bring out a thought so deep in it.

My assignment this week is writing dialogue. Imagining a concept where a divorced guy brings back things to the woman's house. Let's see how that works out.

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1$ Saint said...

yo good one....i don agree dat u give away too much in d title..title is always imp..like clossy trailers or blurbs..who wants to read anything with a borin title...d effect or puncg starts wid d title..keep goin...
hugs :)

MumbaiGirl said...

Nice. Write some more autobiographical ones.

Anonymous said...

shoefie, check ur email. and awesome read btw!

-nush

Reshma said...

crisp writing, Shoefiend:)

Nessa said...

Loved all three :)

... said...

Aaah! Nice! Now, won't I be glad to be on the bloglist of a future Booker winner! :-)And I am sure it will be pretty soon...

LAK said...

Shoofs, It's a treat to read your assignments. They are bringing out all the facets of your imaginative writing. Is this some kid of creative writing course? Can I take it too (it'll have to be online)

Sue said...

Great stuff! And as falstaff said, I am envious too..it sounds like a whole lot of fun!!

Whenever you have time, would you mind sharing some of your experiences with a creative writing class? how much time it takes? any good ones you can recommend? do you think they help etc etc? You have totally inspired me to try one out myself - or maybe at least buy a book and try some out myself (any good ones you can recommend?)

btw, I loved the autobiography post.I can completely relate to it! (except the copywriter part, though cynical sounds just about right)

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Falstaff - Thanks! You have a point about the title...saw your minia-chores... nice ones!

anon - thanks. we did dialogue last week in class. I'd love to read your assignment when it's done! Do you have a blog?

C&0- True but i think that the title does reveal where the story is heading. lets see what I can come up with :)

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Mumbai girl - thanks! argh it was so hard to do that one. i had about 6 different stories.

nush - will do!

reshma, nessa - thanks!

keya - I wish! But there's nothing wrong in dreaming right¬

lak - I'm taking a short creative writing course. It's not online, but I could post the assignment I get every week for you to take up!

sue - will email you? and yes it's loads of fun!

Shyam said...

Didnt get the first one (i'm at work and braindead), the autobiographical one was very good, and the "just for fun" one. :)

Primalsoup said...

Very nice, the title ought to be shorter though. And a cynical copywriter? Ah! I never knew they existed! :)

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Sujatha said...

SF, I didn't get the first one either, but I liked the writing style in all of them - very active.

P.S. Spammers are getting mighty creative!

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