Tamil Short Stories

The short story format originated from Europe. The Tamil world believes that the short stories in Tamil can be traced back to the seventeenth century to ‘Paramartha Kurunkathai’ a transition from the classical Tamil poetry. V.V.S. Iyer started a new trend in the 1880s giving the short stories its profound form.

Pudumaipithan started the next stage of Tamil short storiesand many other writers came out with brilliant stories in Tamil. Pudumaipithan, Ku.Pa. Ra and P.S.Ramaiya and their contemporaries have written many stories that is today popular format with the Tamil literary circles and readers as the short story format.

Pudumaipithan

Pudumaipithan’s stories carried messages for the society. His sincerely expressed his concern for the society and depicted the misery as well as drama in our lives. He wrote about the human relationships, their aspirations and life in general looked at closely. His ‘Ponnagaram’ was considered beyond the grasp of readers. He dealt with a wide array of subjects in his stories while also experimenting with the art of story telling. His writing included sarcasm and wit and the stories appeared natural and realistic. The examples like ‘Kodukkapuli Maram’ and ‘Naasakkaara Gumbal’ bring out the above qualities of his writing. He has deftly used the dialects of Madras or Tirunelveli in his stories as appropriate. His writings reflected the influence of foreign writers like Maupassant, Nathaniel Hawthorne and others in the western world. He has penned over 150 short stories in Tamil.

T.Janakiraman

T.Janakiraman’s short stories brought the vagaries in the lives of people wonderfully and people could identify them with the characters.

Jayakanthan

Jayakanthan had written many outstanding stories some of which went on to be filmed later on. Most of his stories were published by Ananda Vikatan. While working in the office of ‘Janasakthi’ he developed a liking for Tamil literature and writing in Tamil. His stories were mostly about the people from the people living in the slums or extremely poor people.

N.Pichamoorthy

N.Pichamoorthy is a well known writer of Tamil short stories. ‘Mannasai’ is one of his popular short stories.

Sujatha

Sujatha is the pen name of S.Rangarajan who has written over 100 Tamil novels and 250 short stories in Tamil. His style of writing earned him a wide readership. His science fiction is said to be a pioneering work in Tamil. He could unravel science in his own inimitable simple words that can be understood by all. ‘Aathma’ is a short story which is a thrilling narration of a day in a computer engineer’s life. Suri had made the computer the ability to predict the future giving it a set of rules that can observe the planetary positions. To test its efficacy he gives his birth details and the computer instantly gives the output on the screen. That turns out to be his death sentence, in a way. He was going to die that same night exactly at 23:11:59. So healthy and full of life, he could not believe it and does random checks in hurry. The story ends with the arrival of the inevitable moment. Sujatha’s stories were published in popular Tamil magazines like Kumudam, Ananda Vikatan and Kalki.

Writing Flash Fiction

INTRODUCTION:

Although there is no bonafide definition or length of the literary genre designated “flash fiction,” it can be considered a fictionally-based story or tale, ranging from 100 to 1,000 words that nevertheless incorporates traditionally longer-story elements, including a beginning, a middle, and an ending, characters, character change, rising tension, climax, and resolution.

It requires both a different skill set and focus to craft. Described as “tight” and “brief,” it mandates that every one of its words carry its maximum weight.

It is not a novel synopsis, part of a longer story, or a short story pruned so that its word count does not exceed the 1,000-maximum. Instead, it is a unique, modern-day, self-contained literary form, which entails a short plot or a small concept. It can be considered a story of a single act, which can be based upon several unwritten ones, leaving the reader to surmise and understand. But it is complete in and of itself.

DERIVATION OF DESIGNATION:

During its evolution as an accepted literary genre, flash fiction has been called several other names.

1). Sudden fiction.

2). Quick fiction.

3). Hint fiction.

4). Smoke-long stories.

ORIGINS:

Although not then known, flash fiction as a genre can trace its roots to Aesop’s Fables, a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and storyteller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 564 BC.

FLASH FICTION UNDERSTANDING:

Flash fiction can be better understood with the following analogies:

It is like a bouillon cube before you add the hot water to expand it into soup.

It is the isolated atom which, when combined with the multitude of others, gives full form to the object.

Like an accounting spreadsheet, it offers a snapshot in time.

Each word must carry the charge of dynamite.

Don’t say it-play it in the reader’s mind, by having him run the filmstrip you started, but were forced to edit into brevity.

It is like losing your job in a flash and having to live off the flash-in-the-pan called “unemployment compensation.” You delete, disregard, and discontinue everything you no longer consider a necessity and use your mind and memory to fill in the areas for which there is no money (in your life) and no remaining words (in your flash fiction story).

It fosters practice in “necessary compactness,” which has benefit in even larger, longer-winded pieces or genres.

It is the essence of the perfume before the alcohol is added.

Writing flash fiction is like emptying the 1,000 unassembled pieces from their jigsaw puzzle box onto your dining room table and only finding 100 of them, yet still being expected to put together a complete picture.

Flash fiction employs two media: words and pictures, the latter of which are provided by the symbolism substituted for the lack of letters.

It is the bud on the tree before spring allows it to open into a full leaf.

Occupancy of this flash fiction room by more than 1,000 words is considered unlawful-and genre-jumping.

FLASH FICTION FOUNDATION:

The writer’s genre choice begins with the size and scope of his idea. Small ideas become the foundations of flash fiction pieces, for example, while large ones lend themselves to short stories and possibly novels. The former entail laser focuses, single aspects, themes, scenes, and conflicts, only vital dialogue, and a limited number of characters, ranging from one to three or so. The latter include multiple chapters, scenes, dialogue interactions, settings, subplots, and complexities.

A novel may illustrate the growth of its main character during his decade-long quest to find himself as a person and the obstacles which deter it. A flash fiction piece may only describe an isolated incident in the quest, but must stand on its own and not rely on anything other than what is included in it.

Every line should, if at all possible, reveal the character and advance the plot.

TIP OF THE ICEBERG:

Because of the genre’s length, it can be considered a form comparable to the tip of an iceberg-that is, a single line may be employed to hint at what lies beneath a character’s or plot’s surface.

“When he was released from prison after serving his embezzlement charge… “, for instance, makes a significant statement about the protagonist’s morals and indicates to the reader that he must have had a shady, illegal past.

IN MEDIAS RES:

Latin for “in the middle of things,” it is a technique that applies to flash fiction. There is no space for long beginnings and character histories. Instead, the reader should be plunged into the piece at the moment of the inciting incident or at the crossroads where the plot is set in motion. Consider the following sentence.

Picking up the gun and glancing at the photograph of the girlfriend his business partner stole from him, Reginald jumped into his car and floored the gas pedal, destined for his house. The reader will surmise that there had been rivalry, betrayal, and disloyalty between the two. His actions and the object he holds equally indicate what his intention is.

SINGLE IDEA OR EMOTION:

The flash fiction genre mandates a single idea or emotion, since there is little space in which to develop more than one. However, the positive side to this seeming restriction is that the writer can deeply explore it. In the previous example, the probed concept may be revenge.

PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE:

While flash fiction is not a memoir or autobiography, the writer should nevertheless not hesitate to probe his own deepest feelings, beliefs, philosophies, and emotions, and bare them on the page. Because of its condensed nature, a raw essence can be an asset. Forced to grab his reader’s attention from the first line, the author should do so with his deepest, darkest secrets or brightest, most hopeful dreams transferred to his character(s). The more significant they are to the writer, the more passionate they will appear to the reader. If he is unable to tap into such a place within himself, then he should invent, expand, and embellish. This is, after all, fiction.

CHARACTER CARING:

Although an author can only expect his readers to provide a short amount of attention as they devote their time to reading what he has written, nothing will matter more in their investment than a character or characters about whom they care. The more they immerse themselves in the experience, the realer they will become. The author needs to evoke their empathy, sympathy, understanding, and kindred spirit share of life journey commonality, giving them a glimpse of their own.

EMOTIONAL ELEMENTS:

Flash fiction, because of its length, can only incorporate the essential characters, interactions, and acts that complete its tale. If the writer devises a plot that cannot be told in anything under 1,000 words, for instance, then he is not writing flash fiction.

FLASH FICTION ANALYZED:

“(Flash fiction) pieces still contain a bit of story movement, some kind of change from the beginning to the end… (A) bit of story change can be all that distinguishes a flash story from a vignette or slice of life piece,” according to Carly Berg in her book, “Writing Flash Fiction” (Magic Lantern Press, 2015, p. 1).

“… A story can come out of nowhere like a lightning bolt and leave the reader wondering what it actually was that hit him” she continues (ibid, p. 2).

The genre affords the budding writer an opportunity to quickly amass a collection of flash fiction stories, because they are short, require little time to pen, and result in initial experience.

“With so little space to tell a story,” she states (ibid, p. 3), “you soon hone your craft. Every word has to carry its weight or be cut. Word flab bores readers in any type of writing, so writing flash fiction is excellent training in sharp, concise writing.”

IDEA ORIGINS:

As with all writing, flash fiction ideas can sometimes begin with a spark, such as an image, a feeling, a recollection, or a fragment. If that idea were a skeleton, it would only take human form if you hung flesh onto it. You can do the same here. Allow it to become the threshold to a story or tale, giving it shape with additional, related ideas, thoughts, and sentences.

Tap into your creativity and imagination. Pluck your past for events, incidents, memories, experiences, and people. Although fiction, flash stories can certainly “borrow” factual elements from your life.

Piece these elements together and expand upon them, sometimes in a creative and unexpected way. Put the proverbial cart before the horse if it leads to something interesting and fresh.

Your piece does not necessarily have to take form all at once. Again, as with any writing genre, you can record ideas in a notebook. If kept next to your bed, you may be able to capture startling, unsettling, meaningful, and/or unfinished dreams as soon as you wake up before they trail from memory.

INSPIRATION:

Inspiration can come in and from many forms and sources, as follows.

1). Your life and its numerous incidents.

2). People you know or once did.

3). Previous writings.

4). Writings of other authors.

5). Music.

6). Feelings.

7). Images, artwork, and photographs.

8). Writing prompts.

9). Walks, new activities, travel, and breaks from your daily routine.

CHARACTERS:

Because a flash fiction story’s length does not permit any degree of character development over time, it would be unrealistic for the writer to concentrate on more than a few.

“Consider what kind of personality each character has and make sure they act and speak in a way that lives up… ,” according to Berg (ibid, p. 18). “With very short stories, sometimes we just get a glimpse of a character. We only see an aspect of his personality.”

SETTINGS:

There is no space for long setting descriptions. “Give us something about the time and place in the beginning… ,” Berg advises (ibid, p. 20). “We don’t necessarily need to know the city or date… “

The author must be brief and concise. Instead of a long description about a blizzard, for instance, the writer may imply this fact. Consider this method. “Although Regina had only been speaking with her brother for 20 minutes, the snow had already covered the tops of her boots.” The implication here is that it is snowing very hard. This provides the reader with an anchor. The snow should be important to the setting and hence the story as a whole, however.

DIALOGUE:

Dialogue should be kept to a minimum in flash fiction and any character utterance considered unnecessary should be eliminated, but should, if at all possible, reveal something about the character himself and advance the story.

Speech reflects people’s educational levels, personality, regional accents, and life experiences. Incomplete sentences, nonstandard grammar, and clich├ęs become realistic reflections of them.

FLASH FICTION BEGINNINGS:

“Flash fiction gets down to business right away,” according to Berg (ibid, p. 22). “There’s no room to fill us in on a bunch of backstory or sit through a whole meal with the family making chitchat, before the stranger knocks at the door or the monster peers through the window. Have the story begin just before that action that changes everything. Give us the main characters’ names, an idea of the time and place, and start the story problem or what the character wants.”

THE MIDDLE:

Characterized by rising tension, the middle of a flash fiction story is the section where the main character strives to achieve or fulfill his desire for something or someone, but it is also here where the antagonist opposes him. Although standard, short fiction may incorporate a series of progressively more difficult and mounting circumstances, there is seldom space for more than a single obstacle or problem in the flash fiction genre.

“… Make sure there is a problem,” advises Berg (ibid, p. 23). “The main character has to want something that he can’t get, and the story is about if he gets it or not, or moves toward one of those ends.”

CLIMAX:

Because of the protagonist’s opposing force, tensions rise and reach a fever pitch in the climax, revealing whether his quest was successful or unsuccessful.

FLASH FICTION WRITING TECHNIQUE SUMMARY:

1). Small Idea: Look for the smaller ideas in larger ones and transform them into flash fiction plots. Anything that cannot be covered to completion and conclusion in 1,000 words or less is not flash fiction.

2). Title: Choose an enticing, evocative, or intriguing one, but do not reveal the story’s climax or resolution with it. Titles can serve as initial hooks.

3). Hook: Snag the reader with an interesting or unique hook so he will invest his time and continue reading the story.

4). In Medias Res: Latin for “in the middle of things,” it is a technique that places the reader in the midst of the inciting incident, at the crossroads that ultimately lead to conflict, climax, and change.

5). Conflict: Put your characters in conflict with someone or something-antagonists that pose barriers to the achievement of their goals or quests. Because of the genre’s length restriction, limit yourself to only one conflict. But whatever it is, it must be successfully resolved in 1,000 words or less.

6). Image: As has often been said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Since this is the flash fiction genre’s upward limitation, this technique is particularly meaningful and may enable the author to eliminate unnecessary words and descriptions. Select a powerful, memorable one, such as a war-torn street, a dying grandparent, or a sunset on Mars. Within that setting the plot can unfold.

7). Emotions: Choose, like the image, a strong, resonant one, pairing the two. In the case of the dying grandparent, the emotion may be extreme sadness or sympathy or even awe during the soul’s transition from the physical to the eternal world.

8). Characters: Space limitations restrict the number of characters to one, two, or three. Four may be stretching it. This also reduces the need for descriptions, interactions, dialogue, and scenes.

9). Scenes: Again, space limitations may only permit one or two.

10). Narrators: Flash fiction is most effective when first-person (I) or third-person (he or she) narrators are used.

11). Mystery: Do not reveal the story’s resolution until the end-that is, during and after the climax. Allow the mystery to unfold for the reader.

12). Twist: Since you have no time to build up sympathetic characters and develop the complicated plot that has affected them, an ending with a twist may be advisable and inevitable. Almost like a joke, flash fiction offers a punch line at its end.

13). Tight Writing: In order to minimize the space you need, examine every word and phrase and eliminate anything that does not pull its weight.

REVIEWING AND REVISING:

Writing, regardless of the genre, entails reviewing, rewriting, and revising. When you feel you have a finished product, employ one or all of the following strategies.

1). Disconnect from your piece for several days. Then re-read it. It may not necessarily sound as polished as you originally believed it was after you have placed some time and distance between it and you. You will view it from a fresh perspective.

2). Read it aloud, placing a second sense on its structure and flow.

3). Have someone else read it, but keep in mind that a friend or relative may be too close to you and your feelings to be objective.

4). Assess the need for the exposition (telling), narrative (showing), and narrative summary sections that you have included. Showing, as you may recall from other workshops, “… means putting the characters on stage and giving us a front row seat to the show,” said Berg (ibid, p. 33).

5). Be sure that you have chosen a tale that fits within the flash fiction category. If it requires several pages and more than 1,000 words to tell, it may be more suitable as a short fiction piece.

6). Ensure the cohesion of your story–that is, does one event logically follow the previous one and are characters consistent with their actions and speech.

7). Focus on character personality, not physical description.

8). Be sure that your writing is as tight as possible. (See the “Tightening your Writing” workshop lesson.

Article Sources:

Berg, Carly. “Writing Flash Fiction.” Houston, Texas: Magic Lantern Press, 2015.

Conspiracy Theory at the Salton Sea – A Short Fictional Story of Intrigue, Corruption and Deception

In 2019 there was a secret meeting between several socialist elites who’d been plotting for decades to take over the US. They’d had success getting folks elected or appointed to the highest offices and agencies in our government. They now control the top Ivy League law schools, and they run a good many of the largest US corporations. Basically they run the game. The meeting was secret because this time they were planning their final strategies.

They sat in the dimly lit room going over the final details. They were going to create a mega-disaster, blame it on Mother Nature, declare Marshall Law, suspend the constitution and forgo the upcoming Presidential Elections. No one knew of the plot, but someone had figured it out, a blogger, and they tried to label him as a conspiracy nut, but he’d gained too much popularity.

Worse, the plan had already been put into place. The Salton Sea had been denoted an “Alternative Energy Zone,” and Geothermal companies had been pumping the sea water into deep emptied reservoirs and onto molten rock to break it up in a fracturing type method. Soon the San Andreas Fault would come alive, a 9.0 Earthquake was expected which would cause chaos, and an unheard of disaster. Unfortunately for them the blogger had written:

“I hereby charge those involved with this with a long-term conspiracy to create a situation whereby a giant earthquake will occur, and thus, use that disaster to control, forcing in government into greater power. We have little if any transparency with regards to these things here, we have questionable recently elected politicians who’ve been fast-tracked to higher office by the socialist-elite, and we can’t put anything past them. Yes, there is thermal energy available, but only if the methods used are closed loop, if not, we could cause earthquakes, big ones, pay attention to this, you have been forewarned.”

Little did anyone else know but the same socialist team had set up a bioterrorist attack in Washington DC using an imported virus from the Middle East, which would be put into processed food, and some water supplies. Also simultaneously, the conspirators set up a collapse of NYC’s underground water supply system. All this would occur for the October Surprise. The FBI was running blind, and the NSA’s special system to track communication had been shut down, and there were not enough details to bring up the conspirators up on charges, worse, all the enforcement agencies had also been compromised.

How does this story end?