Friday, 10 June 2016

Aids to a Writer

Anyone who wishes, even distinctly to be in the writing industry must get feedback for their work. I have written often and written extensively, about a lot of things. But it is only now, as I intern at ReviewMantra that I am learning this fact. Even though my grammar is often perfect and my creative writing skills are above average, getting constructive feedback is really teaching me so much. To name one, it is teaching me to edit in a way, as to maximize the effect of my article and get my point through most effectively.

I remember writing essays as a child. It was fun. It always got me thinking deeply and differently about things. That is when I first realised I loved writing. Yes, something as small as that. But after writing exactly three articles for ReviewMantra, something dawned onto me. This is quite different from those essays. I still love writing them, no doubt. But now, my cause is different. I no longer write to impress. I write to express; I write to get my thoughts through; I write so I can inspire thoughts and opinions in others.

Using big words or mentioning huge phrases shows my literary prowess, no doubt. But it does not serve my purpose anymore. If people do not understand me, it is just a thread of meaningless words that are strung together. It is like the Antilla really (The really huge and New Ambani House, in Mumbai). No one know what it is, no one knows what it is for. But all they know is that it is there.

I guess, each writer needs to make a decision early on, what his or her motive for writing is. I am not saying each piece needs to have the very same motive. Creativity is hardly that static. But, I guess, before one starts writing the final draft, when they have thought the concept/story through, they need to decide the motive too. A few questions they can ask themselves is-

  1. Why am I writing this piece? (The Objective)
  2. Who am I writing it for? (The Expected Audience)
  3. Is the point that I am trying to make, made strongly enough? (The crux)
  4. Is any part of the article forced and does not make me happy? (Satisfaction)

It is with this regard that I do respect Chetan Bhagat. He at least seems to have the answers to his questions clear. Never mind that his books are not literary masterpieces, but he at least knows his audience and writes for them, and knows which character or event is the centrepiece. Personally, though, I would love for him to start using proper English too, so his readers would also gain from his writings.

I know at this point, a lot of people will raise an argument regarding a writer maintaining his style, or that an author should not change for his audience, et al. I agree. Writing more often than not is in the form of blood. It flows from right inside the author’s soul. In fact, it is like a piece of his soul that he presents on paper. This is why most artists are protective about their art - It’s like a baby, they have laboured long and hard to give birth to.

What I say though is no contradiction to it at all. All I say is, asking these questions will help the author stay on track and help him edit his work into the final masterpiece, he is proud of. These questions only prevent him from going overboard to impress his audience, and work rather express his thoughts, or narrate his story. And getting feedback will allow him to grow as an artist. As I mentioned in an earlier article, it is equivalent to letting your child learn, and then you learn alongside.

We, the creatives, are a part- neurotic lot, for we see the extraordinary in the ordinary, we see the story in the ‘day to day’ and we see the poetry in the monotonous. So, as we do go about exploring the rainbow, why not, just, why not, that we just take a little time to focus our cameras on the rainbow itself, so everyone else can see it too.

Written by Shreya Srinivasan
A person of varied interests, with a possible ADHD that went unnoticed as a child. A gypsy philosopher looking for her place and space in the world. Admittedly a little odd at first, but then, you have to be odd to be number one.

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