Wednesday, October 2, 2013

ART OF WRITING V (Story-plot)

After the theme is crystalised, it must be woven into a plot. The plot is the path taken by the characters to  reach the goal of the story. The ups and downs, the joys and sorrows of the characters, in their pursuit of the goal, form the plot. A short story must have a simple plot without too m any twists and turns. There must be logical flow to the plot and an element of originality which is what makes one story different from the other. The plot must be based of realism but have a dramatic touch to it, to hold the reader’s interest.

The plot is made up of episodes—a short story should not be cluttered with too many. An episode is woven to illustrate an ides. Too many of these will make the writer ramble and take him away from the main theme.
To lend credibility to the story, the characters should blend with the setting that in itself becomes a story! For example if you your character is a middleclass, conservative school teacher, he should be presented against a backdrop suitable to this image. If you place him in a ‘setting’ of idle luxury and opulence, he will not come through as the person you want to portray unless your intention is to show up the contrast to provide a point relevant to your pilot!

The ‘tone’ of your story is what you have to decide on next. Are you going to present your characters, plot and the men in a lighthearted, frothy way, only to entertain the reader? Are you going to make your story a vehicle of social reform? Are you going to instruct through your story? Depending on your intention, the tone of your story will be formed. This should, naturally, blend with the whole.

So, now you a theme lined up, a couple of characters to go along with it and  a plot of events, a suitable setting and the right tone. The next step is to concentrate on each of the and shape them for use. We shall start with the theme next time—how to choose one and what to do with it.

It is very difficult to say how you must write a story. But one can definitely say how not to write one. If you cannot make your reader believe what you say, you have written a useless piece of work.

The most important first step in writing a short story is selection of an appropriate theme. It has to have an instant appeal. The secret of Shakespeare’s success was to a large extent his choice of theme—he highlighted human emotions like hate, jealousy, love, pride, anger, etc. Men may change, values may drop but certain basic human emotions will be same; so, a writer must take subjects that are sure-fire winners.