My Writing

Open

A brief blog post today to hold the fort while I go off pandal-hopping during Durga Puja.

I’m happy to share the publication of my story Open in Spark!

This has an interesting story behind the story. I had written it long back when Orkut was decommissioned, but subsequently set it aside as I wasn’t too happy with it. The other day I was randomly browsing various literary journal submission guidelines and I came across Spark. By coincidence the theme was ‘Secrets’ and by another fantastic coincidence the theme deadline was that very day!

I spruced up my story the best I could and sent it off. It was accepted a week later and has gone through three rounds of edits (the editor helped me improve the portions that had left me unsatisfied).

The theme for their November issue is ‘The Wait’.

Check out the details here: http://www.sparkthemagazine.com/write-for-us/

Do read my story if possible and let me know what you think!

Lit Journals

Market Spotlight: On the Premises

Last year I had written about my story published in On the Premises. I’d been submitting to this literary journal for a few years before that. Like most markets, I discovered this one too on Duotrope.

There’s quite a few things I like about this lit mag. To begin with, it offers payment to winning writers while maintaining free submissions. Every issue is run as a themed contest, with the top three stories and one honourable mention earning handsome prizes. They also offer a critique for stories that make the final round of judging.

When I came across the journal, I read through a number of back issues in sequence, and I must say I liked whatever I read. The stories were well-written, but also had plot and character.

In 2015, a story I sent in made it to the final round of judging. I received a detailed and really helpful critique. I used the feedback to rewrite the story.

Last year the theme for the first contest of the year was ‘It’s On You’, i.e. clothes. I had been working on a story along those lines but something was missing in it. When I realized I could tie it to the ‘clothes’ theme, I set about rewriting it. I finished drafting and revising and finally sent it out literally minutes before the deadline.

Within a week I got the good news that my story had made it to the final round of judging. I yearned to place but had decided by then I would content myself with another free critique if I didn’t.

Another week later I got the great news – I had placed second.

As the editors promised, the stories went through a round of minor edits and within the month I was both published as well as paid.

Overall it was a great experience and I would recommend everyone to send in their best stories here.

Their next contest ends on 30th August, and this time the theme is ‘Tradition’.

If you have a story or can whip up a good one in that much time, please send it across! And let me know if you win!

Writing

Short Story Month

Crickets have been chirping here for close to a month because I’ve had no time to pen a blogpost due to health issues in the family. In lieu of all the writing I could have done, I instead did some spring cleaning on my writing-related folders, though we are firmly in the thick of summer here.

May is celebrated as Short Story Month. There’s even a website and a challenge associated with it – write a short story every day in the month of May. If you want to try it even now, you can sign up here. You will get a prompt for each day which would result in at least a flash piece if not a full-fledged short story. I find a short story (of around 3000 words) takes between 3 days to a week to finish the first draft. If I let it linger any longer than that then the story idea and the excitement that drove me to write it fades just a little.

I have never been brave enough to attempt this challenge. The most I’ve done is write one short story per month and even that’s a pretty good pace for me.

Lit Hub has compiled an excellent collection of links in celebration of Short Story Month, including a look at one of the best short stories ever.

Some of my favourite short stories (mainly from the pre-Internet-era) include:

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

I read this story as a tween, and it has stayed with me ever since. Any story by O. Henry is a pleasure to read, but this is one of the best.

A Temporary Matter by Jhumpa Lahiri

The author’s debut short story collection The Interpreter of Maladies won the Pulitzer Prize in 1999, and quite deservingly so. This story introduces the collection, and one of the best of the lot.

Mrs. Packletide’s Tiger by Saki

Saki was the pseudonym of Hector Hugh Munro and there are several stories of his that are more popular, like Sredni Vashtar. I read this story Mrs. Packletide’s Tiger in school, and enjoyed it a lot, especially the humour in it.

The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant

Guy de Maupassant wsa another prolific genius writer of short stories, and this is one of his most famous twist-ending stories. Read it here.

The Luncheon by W Somerset Maugham

One of the funniest short stories by the great W Somerset Maugham. Though his novels are filled with pathos, this particular story wins on humour and irony!

What are your favourite short stories? Are you writing any short stories right now? Let me know in the comments below!

My Writing

White Piping

Hola, folks! If you’re wondering why everything looks new around here, it’s because I decided my blog needed a change of scene, or should I say, a change of theme. Yep, that’s the best joke I can crack early on a Sunday morning before my cuppa. 

Also I thought what better way to declare a short story win? 

If you haven’t heard of the literary journal On The Premises, do head over there straight away! They hold nifty theme-based contests every few months. These are free to enter and offer excellent prize money. If your story becomes a finalist then they even offer a critique! 

Their last themed contest that ended in March centred on clothing, titled ‘It’s on you.’ 

I am more than thrilled to report that my story earned 2nd place in the contest! This story was particularly important to me, with all the conversations around #MeToo and #TimesUp entering the mainstream. 

This is one of the fastest acceptances I’ve ever received. I sneaked in my entry minutes before the deadline as I usually do, and a week later came to know I’d been shortlisted. Fast forward, another week and I received the fabulous news that I had placed second! 

I’d love it if you popped over to read the story and let me know what you think!

Please note: Opinions expressed in the story belong to the characters only!

Image Credit and Rights: Rare Vintage

My Writing

The Demons of November

In honour of the first anniversary of demonetization, here’s a little crime story that I published on Juggernaut to celebrate the occasion. 

Read, like, share, let me know what you think, please! 

If you like the story please share it with your friends and family. If you don’t like it then definitely share it with everyone you know – what better way to torture them!

Here’s the link!

My Writing, Writing

Mini-Update

I have been light on writing-related work this year. No Short Story Challenge, and definitely no other brand new work. I’ve spent most of my available free time on editing and whipping older pieces into shape. Per my records, I have about 28 of these essays and short stories that I need to whittle and carve to perfection, or at least start submitting them if I find I cannot revise and edit them any more.

Despite that I have a couple of acceptances to report. One was my short story targeted for a YA audience, titled Miss Quit which found a home in the lit mag Youth Imagination. I wrote this as part of the Short Story Challenge 2014, and it had been simmering ever since. When I did finally send it out I got a fairly quick acceptance.

The second was my article for writers, titled The Maturation of a Writer at Walrus Publishing. I wrote this last year on the spur of the moment one day, while reflecting on the differences I felt as a more experienced writer now compared to when I had started out.

Do read them and tell me what you think! Feel free to post links to your own recently published work in the comments below!