App gets you to write tiny stories

Joel Thottan, chief curator-app content TTT, at a workshop at Biergarten Brewery and Kitchen in Bengaluru.

They call themselves the world’s most celebrated micro-fiction platform and rightly so. Started in 2013, Terribly Tiny Tales (TTT) has been the refuge of thousands of aspiring writers trying to find a place for their words and thoughts. The group behind the concept likes to call themselves enablers as they want to help people to write. 

Recently, Joel Thottan (chief curator- app content) was in Bengaluru to host a workshop on short stories and Rajitha Menon chased him to know how to get those words to flow.

What is the story behind TTT?

Anuj Gosalia, co-founder and current CEO, started it as a place for meaningful stories amongst the clutter on social media. A year later, he was joined by his friend and writer Chintan Ruparel who is the current Chief Content Officer and co-founder. What started off as a Facebook page with tales on a black template eventually branched out into different verticals and now has a following of lakhs.

How do you select the stories?

Till a while back, writers had to fill a form to submit their stories. We have a team of curators — an editorial team handles the written content and a talkies team which curates videos and films. Curation parameters have been fixed internally based on a study of the kind of stories that have come in over the years. 

Recently we launched the TTT app which completely removes the idea of submitting your story. You can put out your own story and not wait for TTT to publish it. The app is available for Android and IoS.

What is the most common doubt people have in workshops?

‘I am not a writer, can I still attend/can I still write?’ We always get this question. We believe that everyone is a writer, even if all you have written are WhatsApp messages to help a friend break up, an invitation message for a relative or a blog which is now read by no one. You are a writer, you just don’t know it yet.

Requirements to be a good writer?

I don’t really know what good writing is. If I have an ounce of faith in what I wrote, I put it out. It is up to people to decide whether it is good or bad. For you, it should be good enough. 

What would you tell an aspiring writer?

Find your own voice. People tend to sound similar to other writers, especially whom they admire. When you read something, you sometimes get so immersed in it that you end up mirroring it in your own writing.

Your favourite piece so far?

Never had a favourite; I have had pieces I have been slightly happier 
about though. There is one which is very close to my heart. Called ‘The Mannequin’, it was written 3-4 years ago after a year-long writer’s block. I was searching for the ending for one year and was not able to write anything in between. Finally, after finding the ending, I was like ‘Ok this is going where it is supposed to’. It has stayed with me for that reason. 

Why this focus on endings?

It’s something I personally look forward to when I am writing. I know how every poem or story will end before I start writing. The beginning and middle comes later. A piece can have a great start but if the ending is not powerful enough, you don’t have a takeaway.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I don’t have a fancy romanticised answer for this. A lot of my writing comes from things or places that I haven’t experienced or that I want to experience or that I feel should happen. So if I write about a star falling to the ground and somebody planting it and turning it into a tree, it is because I want it to happen.

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App gets you to write tiny stories

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