It was a sickeningly hot summer afternoon when I had to pry myself away from the oasis of my home and travel in the deadly Delhi heat to give my friend K some company. She had invited me to a writing workshop conducted by the famed Terribly Tiny Tales (TTT), and I must say I was intrigued. All I knew about TTT were those short stories etched digitally on a black background that had won hearts on social media. No wonder TTT call themselves the ‘world’s most celebrated micro-fiction platform’.
The workshop had a huge attendance. People kept trooping in well past the scheduled time and everyone had to scooch over to make more space. It was held right next to the bar at Hyjack Restaurant & Bar. Such a heavenly concept. Not that I indulged in a bit of a tipple, but immensely enjoyed the notion that I could. Every time I’d get bored of host Joel Thatton’s face, I could turn and reboot myself. Which wasn’t often. The chief curator of the TTT app had us transfixed on his session.
One thing that made me very happy was that the workshop started on time. For a person who almost always ends up waiting for friends and family alike, witnessing an event start on time gave me goosebumps.
The workshop kicked off with a brief introduction from Joel, who walked us through the art of writing–for TTT–really well that afternoon. He began by asking how many identified themselves as writers, and then proceeded to question those who said no. Everyone can write. With patience, dedication, practice, and skill. TTT, which encourages varied stories from all walks of life, covering a range of emotions and ideas, can truly be seen as an enabler of writing.
Joel, armed with a power point presentation, underscored the many facets of writing, of the necessity to be relatable to our readers, spinning stories with some craft and adding a surprise element somewhere. It always goes a long way to be remembered in the minds of readers. With the age being one of information overload, it’s not just necessary to know what to consume and what not to, but to promote the information in the right manner.
One great tip Joel shared was to catch hold of writing prompts from everyday life. To be quiet and observe other people, notice their actions, their facial expressions, to try to eavesdrop on conversations in the metro, and most times one cannot help overhearing personal conversations between people.
Word associations also help a lot. This is true with me. Whenever I am stuck at a point, or suffering writer’s block, word associations or associating various words with one, take me off on a tangent and most times I nosedive into an inspiration. Take ‘rain’ for example. It’s not just about nature or a life process, but related to ecology or sadness or romance, or something completely imaginative. The choice is yours.
We were encouraged to work on some examples, and even submit on the TTT app. Here’s one of mine that I submitted. The prompt was ‘I finally opened the door’.
I finally opened the door.
But a strong invisible force swung it shut.
Your time has not yet come, a booming voice spoke.
Sometimes, some doors are not meant to be opened.
Of course it’s clichéd and nothing out of the ordinary, but the thing is, I don’t practice much when it comes to writing different formats. You’d be surprised what we can achieve with a little practice. The above example is a 140 format. Post this exercise, Joel explained two more – the ‘short story’ and ‘open letter’. While the short story was interesting, the ‘open letter’ got me thinking. I don’t know why I had never thought of trying my hand at this, and just this once, I want to give it a shot. Hopefully, I’ll have something to share with you by next month.
While I may be in the age of the millenials, I still have a stubborn side to me, the old-school idiot. Growing up on a steady diet of novels, to witness micro-fiction become a rage, and not just that, turn into a profitable organisation is quite a feat. And taking it ten steps forward, TTT is creating a whole, new community around it. With their app, they intend to not just cultivate a growing audience, but encourage writing even from those who have stories to tell but are unable to put them into words.