A story well told in just six words

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By SUE CORCORAN

A WRITER who suffered a serious head injury has discovered new hope by writing a book of 50 remarkable six word stories in less than a day.

The book, a form of flash or sudden fiction, has had rave reviews. The author N Ritesh, backed by his wife Aditi, vowed to get it published on the internet just six days after starting it.

Ritesh, 41, an IT analyst until his head injury three-and-a-half years ago, achieved that goal. The resulting e-book, Six Word is All I Needed, is profound and thought provoking.

“Writing six word is all Ritesh needed to begin his recovery from mental and physical illness,” said Aditi. “Although it’s a long road ahead, we hope this book inspires him to write more and open more avenues for him.”

Each tale in the six word style is a complete story and has its own page with bold design reflecting its content. The first two he wrote were:
Cause of Death: Drowned in Tears
He saw herself in the mirror

The book is dedicated to professionals who have supported him during his ongoing illness which includes depression, chronic fatigue and hearing voices. His photophobia means he wears dark glasses and a cap outside of his Earley home.

Those supportive professionals come under Wokingham Community Mental Health team. Ritesh also pays tribute in the book to his wife, his son, who is seven, and daughter, five, and his parents.

Now Ritesh and Aditi have launched a crowd funding appeal to raise £3,600 so the book can be printed. Royalties from sales will go to a mental health charity. They feel that books stored on a computer disappear: on a bookshelf they are more accessible.

Ritesh said: “Someone sent me a six word story, attributed to Ernest Hemingway. It was ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’ I felt it had great depth.

“I’d never heard of writing like that, but it inspired me. I have written motivational stories to go out on Facebook, but had written nothing since my injury.

“That evening I started. By lunchtime the next day I had written almost a 100 pieces, most of them stories.”

Aditi, a finance analyst at Prudential, Reading, said: “I thought they were really good. Family and friends felt the same,” she said.

“Seeing the way Ritesh’s spirits were raised by the return to his creative side I came up with an idea. Evoking the style that had revitalised him we decided we would get him published in six days.”

The couple worked over the internet with Ritesh’s cousin in India and a company called fiverr to create a website and publish the e-book of 50 of the stories.

Ritesh explained: “The stories had to have a deep meaning and be something people could connect to. People will read them in different ways.

“Six words tells a complete story, but it’s your imagination which defines the characters, recreates surroundings and situations, derives meaning and comes to a conclusion.

“If you scroll through the pages quickly you will feel it is nothing but a collection of posters, so don’t do that.

“Once you finish reading a six word story, pause and create the character(s), visualise the setting, re-read the story, imagining every fine detail you can think of, clothes, location, surrounds and most important emotion.

“I personally found this technique therapeutic, like watching an opera. I’ve been told it’s a perfect book for a present. Anyone can relate to it.”

Aditi added: “Our children have been involved in the project. It was good for them to be in a normal family filled with laughter, a far cry from seeing their father in pain and depressed.”

Ritesh does not want to go into the circumstances of his head injury. Instead he wants to build his future, boosted by his discovery of six word story writing. He hopes to spread mental health awareness via the book and future writing and talks

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