Every time I write a short story I try to keep it within a single episode, or event.
The opening paragraph plunges into what is happening or what is about to happen.
This builds up to the climax from which all events and emotions involved begin to dissolve towards the end.
Although there are long short stories, it is best to keep it short. When it becomes brief, the run through must be intense.
The best way to get into the heart of a short story is to relate it through the eyes and ears of the chief character. Of course you can write a story through the eyes and ears of a second character or simply let the story run through events that are taking place through the eyes and ears of the writer himself.
Characterization must be a well-lit photograph. It would be more attractive if the character is allowed to reveal him or herself by actions and words with the writer keeping well behind the curtain.
The best way to catch the interest of a reader is to begin the first paragraph meaningfully. It will be an indication which way the story will be heading.
Quoting from That Deep Silence: ‘The sun smiles at me from outside the closed windows. They were closed before workmen came to demolish the remainder of my house. Nature does not abandon a body until the final breath leaves it. Man is different…’ unquote.If you wish to write a literary story, a plot becomes the main issue or sometimes a symbol is enough to stand the story on. Like my Giraya.
This gold coloured brass arecanut slicer stood on display within the Colombo museum many years ago. It was in the shape of a woman worshipping with folded palms despite legs spread wide open.
It was unlike the normal staid Giraya with the square blade used at home to slice arecanut as well as exorcise the evil eye. I based my entire story of evil being preserved in a certain household.
The Monkeys, a short story recommended for the O’ Level this year, was a story which was picked out from many other short stories to be read over the BBC. It is about a little boy trying to come to terms with life in an enclosed monastery to which his father entrusted him on the death of his mother at his birth. He had never felt the warmth of mother love.