My writing resolution for 2017 is simple: Write and publish a brand new short story every Monday here on this page.
The plan is as follows:
- At the end of every month, I will bundle all that month’s stories into a Kindle eBook and publish it on Amazon.
- At the end of the year, if everything goes well, I will have with me about 150,000 words of finished short fiction. I will publish these in two anthologies: Stories of 2017: Volume One and Stories of 2017: Volume Two.
- Throughout the year, the stories will remain on this page as free downloads. At the end of the year, after the publication of the anthologies, I might (or might not, really) remove them from this page.
This is a plan primarily intended to discipline myself into writing more short fiction. But of course, I am more than happy to receive feedback on the stories. You can either email me your thoughts or leave them as comments on this post.
Finally, if you wish to receive the free story every Monday morning direct to your email, sign up to my email list and I will do the rest.
Stories of January 2017
Story 1 – Kinnara: Last week, I read a modern retelling of the age-old Savitri story, in which Yama tells Savitri that he will spare her husband’s life if she will spend one night with him. I thought it was an interesting premise to explore more deeply, so I wrote this with my own people. Set in Palem, but for once, there is no paranormal activity.
Story 2 – Rescue: This week’s story is about Mother’s Love. Since Story 1 was set in Palem, I decided to set all of January’s stories there. Going forward, each month’s stories will hang together by some common thread; that will help with bundling and anthologizing later on. This one does have some paranormal activity, but it’s (almost) benign. The title is ‘Rescue’.
Story 3 – The Good Son: Whether this story has any supernatural elements is p for debate; it depends on how you read it. Personally, I enjoy writing such stories (and reading them too) because so much is told in sub-text, and there are multiple interpretations for events that take place in them. On the outside, this is a tale of a dying woman and her two sons. But as you know by now, nothing ordinary ever happens in Palem.
Story 4 – A Special Friend: Another of those tales where it’s not quite clear whether or not something supernatural happened. An inmate at Palem’s mental hospital speaks to the duty nurse about what brought him there, and reveals why he doesn’t regret having tried to kill his seven-year-old son.
Story 5 – Bijili: This concerns Mahender Reddy, who has made guest appearances in a few Palem tales as the ‘General Store Owner’. I thought it was about time he got a meatier role than just a passing reference. An exploration of suicide, abortion and how unborn children cannot be killed but can only be sucked back into the womb. And there’s a cat in it as well.
Stories of February 2017
Story 6 – A Coffee Date: Since February is Valentine’s Month, I’ve decided to write sweet romances, with no explicit sex or dark themes. Writing good romance in short story form is something I’ve often struggled with, so I expect this to be a learning experience. But I hope I’m good enough to turn out something that is good enough to entertain you as well. In this story, a pair of divorcees are taking the first steps back to seeking companionship.
Story 7 – The Measure of a Man: Though this sounds like a heavy, grand story by the title, there is still romance in it. A more adult romance, to be sure, so it’s not all just flirting and witty comebacks, but romance nonetheless. This is also one of those few stories where I first wrote a wistful ending but then changed it into a happier, more hopeful ending as a nod to genre conventions. Normally I would resent this, but on re-reading it I’ve realized the new ending works better.
Story 8 – Happy For You: Before writing this, I read a Harlan Ellison story called Deathbird, in which a multiple-choice exam is used as a storytelling device. It inspired me to write a completely epistolary tale of my own, purely through instant messages.
Story 9 – The Other Man: A grandmother tells her granddaughter and son the story of a man she could never have.
Story 10 – Rendezvous: A couple suddenly discover that they hadn’t had sex in almost a year.
Stories of March 2017
Story 11 – The Strange Confession: March is for locked room and impossible mysteries set in the village of Amaravati. Krishna Shastri and Venkat Reddy, who came together for the first time during the events recorded in Murder in Amaravati, now join hands together to investigate a curious case in a neighbouring village. Venkat Reddy has gotten himself promoted to sub-inspector from head-constable, but Krishna Shastri is just the same.
Story 12 – The Red Dot: Another of those little howdunnits set in Amaravati, featuring our rotund priest and the grave sub-inspector. Also contains a rather famous Ravi Varma painting called The Milkmaid.
Story 13 – The Empty Tape: This story has perhaps the unlikeliest murder weapon accessory ever: an empty video tape. Written in Venkat Reddy’s voice. His old self is reminiscing to an invisible listener about his long-forgotten exploits in Amaravati.
Story 14 – The Boy Who Played Rama: Can a rubber arrow pierce a man’s heart? In this story, one does, and for good measure stops it too.
Story 15 – Twice Over: A man enters a vehicle alive and leaves it dead. The only other person in the vehicle with him is the driver, and he could not have killed him. How did he die, then?
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