What Makes for a Good Story?

Edited by- Kiara Lakdawala

When a good story is told, as it is, it is construed as close to reality. As the curtains are pulled back, the characters dance away to glory, artfully unveiling the writers’ minds. The audience expects to be blown away, revolutionized even, and the writer is remembered as a radical. Well, that’s magic!

It’s surely not as easy as it is said to be.

What if, the story does not actually agree with the writer’s glorious vision? What if, truth be told, stories do not come to him as a dream? But it is the fabrication of sentences, words jumbled together. Words when put together, clicking into a whole different meaning as a sentence. From which - stems romance, tragedy and even a comical thread of “meaningful” gibberish.

Often, writers deliberately decide how each chapter will play out, before they even sit down to write them. It pans out just the way a date would, if you were to decide upon the flow of conversations even before you start them. A mechanical dialogue ensues making you seem almost robotic.

You know, the mystery and suspense of going out on a date is terrifying. Likewise, in storytelling, when a writer over-manages his material, he feels safe about the product. He knows well that he can steer his boat through the wild currents; after all, it is he who built the seas.

A distinguished writer reveals the deeper truth.

A distinguished writer critiques each word he writes. He writes a word, rewrites it as a phrase and then as a sentence. Throughout, restructuring the place of everything in his mind, till the bite turns into a crunch and a crunch into a crisp.

The drawback of a writer fixing his intentions with a story in place, is like a love affair that is doomed to fail. Wherein actions and words are already decided upon to elicit a favorable response, which is why good storytelling is a bit like being in love. If the writer does not acknowledge the human nature of his companions - the characters, they will not be appeased with the idea of him playing around with them.

His better nature rises forth.

The nature of a writer is displayed in his compassion, a compassion for words and the characters that these words portray. By the questions he asks his tools and characters - “How can I love you better?”. Storytelling in my experience, is just an elusive empaths display of affection. A love affair - between the real and abstract - in progress.

#gayatriguhaprasad #stories #goodstories #empathy