Once upon a time, there was a king……” How many such tales have been spun down the ages and how many more avid readers have lapped them up! Sages have educated their disciples with stories: mothers have put their naughty children to bed with stories: errant husbands have escaped the wrath of wives with stories: writers have spread messages with stories. All of them have one thing in common: a fertile imagination and the desire to educate and entertain.
The dictionary defines a story as an “account of real or fictitious events – a course of life of a person.” Going by this definition, little wonder that everyone loves a story because it is but human behavior, its course and its consequences. Another reason why a story is popular is because we don’t live long enough to make all the mistakes and learn from them. A story gives us the lessons we have to emulate, in a nut-shell. A story is a capsular saga of the values of life, its pitfalls, its triumphs and ultimately is meaning. It presents examples of human emotions as they surface under different circumstances, and raises the reader’s consciousness about the many facets of living.
If a story has been a time-tested form of conveying a message effectively, it is because it absorbs the reader’s attention with its many elements, all of which are slices of reality. A story writer is like a polished mirror which reflects all that is happening around without distortion. The threefold aim of the writer is to entertain, inform and, sometimes, present a viable solution to a problem. Thus, a story writer has a commitment to the reader’s credibility. His canvas must portray reality as it exists or should exist, depending upon his intention. His character must inspire and instruct – not like a moralist but as a fellow being, sharing his experiences for the benefit of mankind. The setting must be harmonious and in tune with the characters drawn from it. The conflicts must be convincing and the climax a satisfying finale. The story writer is a weaver, picking the right threads and arranging the warp and weft in such a way that they flow into each other without a gaping hole.
How does one acquire the art of story writing? As we all are a bundle of emotions, make mistakes, and conflicts, surely we can all write stories? On the surface of it, every human being is a story-teller. It is just that some tell it well and some don’t. The ones who do are the hardworking; they have their skills of observation, analyse the findings and present the results in the most acceptable form. To be sure, some are born story writers, some achieve the status; even in those cases where it is thrust upon them, it can become a fruitful experience.