Wednesday, October 16, 2013

ART OF WRITING XVII (Raison D’Etre)


Like everything in life, a story too must have a raison detre. It should inspire, elevate, educate and enlighten. In the process, if it entertains, it proves the author’s ingenuity. For those aspiring to be story writers, the field is vast. Most periodicals and Sunday sections of dailies include a story. The current trend is to weave them around social ills and highlight their repercussions. The popularity of such themes has reached an all-time high with TV serials adapting many  of them. Stories touching on women’s issues have become popular and this has also spelled the birth of many women writers.

However, there is one important factor that a story writer must remember. The reader is, for the time being, under the influence of his words. He is absorbing all that he has said and perhaps, even identifying himself with the characters and their fate. This is a form of trust that he is reposing in the writer, who must never lose sight of this. Gifted with the power of playing on the emotions of the reader, a story writer must be socially responsible and do his bit by propagating values that will help the community. In the interest of ‘selling’ his work, he should not resort to writing trash, he will only be cheating his talent. Some may argue that he is giving the reader what he wants. He can go a step further and make the reader want what he gives – that is the yard-stick by which a good story teller is measured.

Over the last so many years the art of story writing has undergone many changes. Yet, there are some which have survived the test of time – like the tales from the Panchatantra..Aesop’s Fables and the Arabian Nights. They have fulfilled all the criteria we had laid out earlier. They have a universal appeal because they present great thoughts in acceptable terms. Ultimately, a story is nothing but lofty thoughts couched in lay terms. So, a writer must never lose eight of the saying. “Thoughts are the most powerful things. Buildings, cities, nations, follow the thoughts of men. Men think and out of the unknown come things. Every reformation is only a change of thinking”.

(the Series is now concluded)