Litizen.com, found by chartered accountant Rishabh Chaturvedi, is an online platform for aspiring short story writers. In a time when the narrative written word is losing readers to the quick-fix, 140-character offering of the Internet, this is a worthy alternative to traditional publishing. The spirit of the endeavour is encapsulated by this line in the website: “You’re not expected to be a professional writer and definitely not expected to churn out a ‘publishable’ quality work” which puts forth an interesting debate: should everyone get to write in the public light, or should it be a privilege afforded to those writers who have trained and have put themselves through it for the craft? After all, not everyone gets to play doctor, and writing is a vocation for many.
Don’t get me wrong. It is always exciting to read new writing. New writers offer fresh perspectives, and of these there are plenty in Labyrinth, the first anthology of short stories from litizen.com. The story ideas in themselves are great, but ideas alone do not make a piece of writing. Syntax, choice of words and appropriate framing of sentences – these mark good writing from mere writing. These, sadly, are lacking in Labyrinth and those wonderful ideas that the writers have just fall short of becoming engaging tales. But given that this is their maiden attempt, Labyrinth is a valiant effort; it is commendable that new writers are willing to take on traditional publishing in their own, innovative ways. Like anything else, practice makes perfect, and if the writers of litizen keep at it, their next anthology will sparkle.
When litizen.com began, was it a blog for your writing which then became what it is today or was it a forum for closet writers from the start?
First, even before litizen.com was thought of, came the forum of writers. We met fortnightly, and the group quickly grew from two to twenty. None of us knew each other, but we still met because all of us closet writers wanted to have our stories read and get some real opinions on them. Litizen. com happened within six months of the physical meets. In reality, it was more to support the meets. During these meets we found it difficult to follow a reader – to assimilate a story and form a constructive view on the same. Litizen.com was created so that the stories could be shared in a more efficient way and group members had the opportunity to read them before hand. This way the meet would be more meaningful.
How did you decide which stories would make it to Labyrinth? Do you have a favourite?
All the authors in the current list of Labyrinth are my favourite. As for choosing, we took opinions on anonymous basis. While the stories were crowd sourced, even the selection was crowd supported. Whichever story got maximum votes got selected.
Read the entire interview online at
Volume 2 Issue 6