[PS - please leave your recommendations for short stories]
I have been dabbling with writing for a while, the while going back to when I was twelve years old…yup, I am a slow, very slow mover. Sluggish would be more appropriate. Temperamental as well.
Anyways, with the unlikely event of one of my stories making it to a paperback (moment of truth: I so underestimate my writing that I actually have arrived to the conclusion that the anthologies would be all appalling even if it’s been selected by the British Council ) I have decided to take a disciplined approach to master the craft or art of story writing. I have been browsing the net for hours, reading up tips on how to write (most of it is so generic that you can replace writing with say, cooking and it would still fit in!) and then thought,
Hey! Why not learn from the masters themselves?
So I dug up the books from my shelves, borrowed from my relatives, ordered from flipkart and my favorite site these days : Gutenberg, and if you are wondering (well I know you’re not, but still it makes me feel good thinking that you do) where I have been all these days, well then I have had my nose inside the pages (e-books at times) of the classics and the contemporary too.
I read the story ‘The Monkeys Paw’ by JW Jaccob and it’s thrilling, the author manages to keep up that nervous energy going right from the first paragraph, and it has one of the best endings I have ever read. [Read it on Gutenberg for free]
I read a couple of Chekov and I know there are thousands of ardent fans out there, but I didn’t find his writing exceptional – in fact a tad disappointing. I found Somerset Maugham better. [Reading his collected stories vol 2]
‘The fall of the house of Usher’ by Edgar Allan Poe is something that I am reading as well. I have had his collection of stories since ’94 but haven’t read it till date [!!]
Unaccustomed Earth [I have read this before; I am merely re-reading it to get the feel of the colloquial style] and The Japanese Wife [a book that I left half way earlier] are tagged in my contemporary list
But nothing beats the WWW. My greatest source of contemporary style of writing – The Boston Review. The stories are amazing there, one I would specially like to recommend is ‘Hitting Budapest’ - its set in Darfur and is mind blowing, the message so subtle but the impact is tremendous. I urge everyone to go and give it a read.
I would love to hear some recommendations from visitors on my blog, ones that you have liked, rather loved, so please leave a comment with the name of the story/book. Gracias.