Friday 12 September 2014

When a story weaves itself.

Fiction at best, can change minds and introduce new ideas. It opens horizons and tells the mind that there is a world beyond what it can see. It also is the pinnacle of human imagination and is a way mankind's stamp of approval for superiority above other animals. Yes, we are the only species on Earth which can weave stories. Take that, weaver birds and spiders!

But, how does a story create itself? Nothing can arise from zero, right? Great men have held that there is no such thing as an original idea as our scope is limited, our thoughts have a finite space and the supposedly endless imagination also has a ceiling above it. We can write about things that are known to us; even when we write science fiction about aliens, we give them human emotions and try to look for meanings. Sure, there are authors like Chekhov who believed in aimless fiction where there was no meaning or sense to things just like real life; but that is again inspired from real life. How on earth, then, can one come up with a story that can make the audience marvel and applaud?

There are literary tools and there is a theme to every story, sometimes the endings are predictable, sometimes they are not. A good story, unless it is not a suspense thriller, doesn't really rely on its unpredictability. We say things that we know in the story, we have characters that look and feel familiar and we let them be human with their lives and make mistakes, fall, rise etc. In my humble opinion, the story is good only when the author can convince the reader that the turn of events logically follow. And the logic is hidden like a treasure in the pages of the book.

Why a character would behave a certain way, why the circumstances present themselves the way they do; a story is a retrospective study to make sense of everything by connecting dots that are kept blurry at the onset. Yes, there are novels and stories where the dots are blurry the whole while and you would know the hero from the villain till the end, that kind of stories also come to their ends - not on paper/ screen but in the readers' minds as they are left open for interpretation.

This artful convincing lies at the heart of story-writing for me and remains to be achieved in all my attempts at the same. Sometimes, the story writes itself and that is when the characters are so well defined that they start writing the plot themselves. For me, a good story gives me the smiles that come from knowing someone so close that you can predict their next move. "That is so typical Jennifer"-- when that aha moment comes, it is the best joy of reading.

More later!

Keep writing and reading!

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