I haven't been writing much of late, so I was rather unsure about joining up the latest trend on the Sri Lankan Twittersphere, which was the 55-word story challenges. Basically, every day the twitter handle @SriLankaDiaries spits out a word, and the writers have up to midnight to write a 55-word vignette around that theme. Simple, right?
Well, it's harder than it seems. For example, that first paragraph I wrote is exactly 55 words, and I barely even got into the point of this post. Imagine writing a small work of fiction in that?
Well, despite my abysmally poor time management skills, I've managed to write a few entries every now and then. There are some interesting works out there, and it's a fun and engaging writing exercise to break from the monotony of work these days.
Recently @SriLankaDiaries mixed things up and proposed a collaborative writing challenge, which would involve four writers to write 55 word vignettes one after the other to form one coherent piece of fiction. I was given the rather daunting task of being the fourth and final writer in my group, meaning I had to tie up all the story lines with my 55 words.
Needless to say, it was a bit of a challenge; thanks to writer no.3 for throwing a total curve ball in the story line (but admittedly making it all the more interesting). Here's the piece in its entirety. The word for the story was "poison".
Little Ashok lay under the bed in the dark terrified.
A car sounded in the driveway and he heard the voices of his nana and someone else in the hallway. She was screaming “YOU POISONED MY DAUGHTER!”
Ashok’s world started spinning.
“Nooo! Mommy isn’t dead!” he thought, crying.
Suddenly there was silence.
“Nana??” he whispered.
He tiptoed in to the hall. He could see the bracelet he made for his mom broken all over the floor. He heard a familiar voice that he followed in to the kitchen. His dad was standing above his mother’s lifeless body, with a shining gleam in his eye. He started to move towards Ashok.
“Really, Lehan? That’s how you want to start your first novel? I’m certain your father wouldn’t approve,” quipped, Sid. This wasn’t the reaction Lehan was looking forward to, but made no attempt to defend himself. It could have been worse; his father would have just walked off and carried on drinking without saying a word.
And suddenly, Lehan had an idea.
Soon he was at his father’s house, watching him read his manuscript. His father didn’t speak, but his eyes showed contempt at his son’s “so-called profession”.
“Rubbish.”, he slurred, reaching for his drink.
Lehan watched him take the poisoned glass, picked up his pen, and prepared to start writing.
Thanks to fellow contributors @Shi_dreams , @gillian.nair and @rebelinpurple . You can see more short and sweet works of fiction at the Sri Lanka Stories site here. If you want to sign up for the challenge, simply follow @SriLankaDiaries on Twitter or drop them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org