From social media to a book: Two authors collate terribly tiny tales in a hardcover
The founders of Terribly Tiny Tales community share how they make the words and narratives click in short stories.books Updated: Jan 19, 2018 17:17 IST
How short was the shortest story that you ever read? Imagine one that’s complete in just 140 characters. Cutting the long story short, the author-founders of Terribly Tiny Tales (TTT) — Anuj Gosalia and Chintan Ruparel — who have already made a mark on social media with their micro-fiction, have come out with their collection of short tales in the form of a book. The black-covered book has 250 stories by over 100 contributors penned in white ink on black-coloured pages.
What inspired the founders to bring out the book in a print format? Anuj explains: “On social media, we had used the black background against white text from the very first day. Initially, it help break the clutter on an otherwise white timeline. So the tales popped out on the NewsFeed. In time, this format and the typeface became our identity and in the book, we extended this design keeping the community and their love in mind.”
These micro tales, without context, read like they have their own background and sometimes sound poetic, too. “Context setting isn’t required with the paucity of time and length. Based on the attention span, we keep a certain character limit and try to stick to that. So, there are no rules to what a poem should or shouldn’t have. They are free-flowing and as long as they’re under 2000 characters, we push them out on social media. We began with 140 characters but later we realised that writers want to explore more. So we redefined it with 2000 characters. Tiny has nothing to do with length; it’s about the attention span,” says Chintan.
But, how does one judge if a tale is complete or not? “Most tales end with a twist or an emphatic last line, indicating its end. We did go over many tales over and over again. More than a specific argument, both of us [along with Joel — the assistant curator of TTT — who was part of the process of curating the entries] were worried that we could miss out on a great tale. Thus, we scanned every single story to make sure we did not,” says Anuj.
Anuj Gosalia from Mumbai writes a #Select [ thought ]— Terribly Tiny Tales (@terriblytiny) January 19, 2018
A [ thought ] can catch you anywhere, while listening to a song, thinking about someone, on the pot or in the shower.
So read one, and think about it.#terriblytinytales #microfiction pic.twitter.com/oWEmr8ANcY
Chintan recounts they did have their set of favourites, and indulged in some necessary discussions during the process of curation. “From classic tales to contest entries, we did go back and forth about some tales on which we had varied opinions. But, it was healthy because a tale that stays after that argument, deserves a place in the book. These tales have weathered all opinions, discussions and conflicts,” he says.
Anuj feels it’s aspirational to accomplish writing something in just 140 characters whereas Chintan believes that the easiest part of writing such short stories is that one doesn’t have to spend a week, or a month, or a year to conceptualise the book.
Well, readers second the thought and want the tales to keep coming!
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