The Women Writers Fest saw a stimulating session on the challenges of capturing brevity while writing short stories. The panel moderator, Keerti Ramachandra, beautifully described a short story. “A short story is a fragment of life. It is capturing a moment of truth,” she said.

The speakers, Monideepa Sahu, Madhvi Mahadevan, Shinie Antony and Jahnavi Barua, are award winning authors having written several short stories collections. They’re also columnists and novelists.

Short story writers see by the light of a flash. They bring to their readers stories that connect through various mediums and visions. The speakers gave us their own versions of a short story.

Readers of short stories and writers of short stories have a deep connection because they understand each other – Jahnavi Barua

It is a brief, like an iceberg. A good short story is when you read it, you become aware of the layers of meaning and nuances that are between the lines. – Madhavi Mahadevan

Every story comes with a pre-determined word length. The story demands a particular length and the variation that we go about with. – Shinie Antony

Short stories limit readers in terms of content but give a lot of space for them to think. – Keerti Ramachandra

Compressing aspects as large as an ocean into a space as small as a pond is challenging and writing short stories is relatively that and more. – Monideepa Sahu

How do you capture brevity?

The panel discussed the difference of effects novels and short stories have on the readers and how both genres leave ever lasting impacts.

Jahnavi had an interesting take on impact of the two. “Effect on the reader is completely different when you compare a short story and a novel. With the novel, the characters and the concepts linger with you but it somewhat diffuses. With a short story, however, the effect is long and the readers carry the essence with them for a very long period of time.”

Madhavi elaborates on this further speaking how a a good short story is that which when you read, you become aware of the layers of meaning and nuances that are between the lines.

Writing a reflection of personality

The panel agreed on how every story is a product of the environment we live in and this comes out more in writers. The speakers discussed the importance of setting in a story and the idea of supporting a story with the help of surroundings. Setting often inspires the story; and done it the right way it helps the readers connect even more.

The moderator also brought forth the topic of personalities affecting story writing, which the speakers and audience supportingly agreed with.

“I am from Assam and we are very restrained people. This reflects in my work.” – Jahnavi Barua

“Setting is an important part of short story. It describes the mood of the story.” – Monideepa

What makes the short stories unique and memorable?

The session concluded by highlighting the prominence and essential qualities that bring short stories together. The panel enlightened the audience with the thought that every story has a life and that writers should stick with their stories, right from the conception to the conclusion. Also, the panelists rightfully suggested aspiring writers as to how they should be confident of their characters and storyline and move along with sheer belief in their work.

Inputs: Bhawana

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