The world is moving towards photographs, Anuj Gosalia observed to himself,scrolling through the daily newsfeed on his Facebook page some months ago. On the occasions when he did come across posts that were not photographs,he was annoyed by the random content. He enjoyed reading words strung together in intelligent ways and it disappointed him that though the world has became one community on the web,there was hardly any space on social media to promote good writers.
Gosalia decided to change the record and came up with the idea of Terribly Tiny Tales (TTT),an initiative on Facebook. A select group of writers would have to weave a story based on a specified trigger word and within only 140 characters.
I find that peoples attention spans are becoming shorter. Everyone is always in a hurry. I figured that given the circumstances,a readers attention can last only for a tweet-sized story. For writers also,it is a new kind of challenge to tell a story within just so many characters, says Gosalia,who first created a Facebook page in March,and then launched a website for TTT.
He rounded up an army of 13 writers whom he felt had the ability to think out of the box and the talent to write. Readers are invited to keep challenging writers with trigger words but I have restricted contribution of tales so that we maintain quality. Those who do want to publish stories can send in samples that could be considered to get them on board, says Gosalia. He adds that while picking the writers he made a conscious choice to ensure that they come from different professional backgrounds so that there are different approaches towards the art of story writing.
Prathap Suthan,Chief Creative Officer of Bang In The Middle,an advertising agency,is one of those who were invited to write stories on the TTT page. Constantly involved in the process of writing advertisements,poems and stories,Suthan shares that the trick is to first think of the different contexts in which the trigger word can be used and then to carefully avoid the obvious ones. Over the weekend,when he was given the trigger word fire,the images marriage,sacred ritual,cooking and passion came to mind. I thought at length till I came up with a new plot, says Suthan,who finally told the story in nine staccato sentences. It read She was on heat. Like he was. Lips,hips,nips. What a wild night. No rubber. Full lust. 9 months bulged. Water broke. And their fire cried.
If TTT satiates a hunger for good,yet terse,reading material for those following the page,for the writers too it satisfies certain creative needs. Devashish Makhija,a filmmaker who has been working on his debut film for eight years,says writing these tweet-sized stories gives him instant gratification. I write a story today and tomorrow it is online with hundreds of people from across the world reading and commenting on it. With films,it takes a very long time to be appreciated, says Makhija. Due to his strong roots in scriptwriting,he sticks to breaking the story into three acts introduction,event and resolution.
Vallari Shah,who works with an NGO for mentally challenged adults,pitches in that it works as a great confidence booster when people like and share her work. Of course there is the inevitable occupational hazard of getting stuck on words too,admits Shah. But some words instantly bring out a heart-warming tale, she says. That is how her story on the trigger word ginger came about a few weeks ago. They promised Gudiya an education. Her first class- no school,no chalk,no teacher. Just a kitchen,some ginger and a mother-in-law,scribbled Shah.