My friend pinged me on Facebook and asked me "Chriz! What should I do to be a good writer?"
That one pop up message on my FB messenger is the reason behind this post. The word Good is highly subjective. What's good for me may not be good for others. I consider a certain IIM grad writer as a good writer because he is a great storyteller. But a majority of grammar Nazis hate him and say that his English is not up to the mark and he is not fit to be called an author. I don't think he gives a damn about all the taunts he goes through. At least he is doing what he loves to do and he also knows how to make money from that; which is not the case with almost all who criticize him. BTW, if you are gonna hate me for supporting him here, let me tell you that he has blocked me on twitter because he thought that my jokes were on him.
Now let me come back to the post. How to be a good writer. Let me rephrase it. How to be a good story teller! I think I am eligible to write on this topic, because I have tried the art of story telling on a one-to-one basis (with my daughter), to a group of hundred people (in college) and to a crowd of ten thousand people (events) and succeeded in getting positive responses.
So this is what I do when I prepare a story. I would first set the basics right. I would work on my strengths and push my weaknesses under the carpet.
In my case, my strengths are humor, concluding a story and simple language that connects with all age groups. My weakness is my English. I make a lot of grammatical errors, typos; editors and proof readers will even doubt if I am a writer in the first place.
How do I work on my strengths?
- If the blog post has 10 paragraphs of three lines each, I would make sure that there is a humor element in all the 10 paragraphs. I would build the tempo in the narration that the humor element connects well with the climax of the story
- I work a lot on the plot ending because I believe in leaving a lasting impression on my readers. I have at least 3 climaxes for every story and choose one among those based on my instincts. At times it works and some times it has bombed too
- When I type, I type as if I am conversing with the laptop. The lap top becomes an imaginary friend and as I type, I make sure that I know that the laptop is listening to my story with great interest.
How do I sweep my weaknesses under the carpet?
- I never use heavy words to tell the world that I am a writer. This is one mistake many make. Just to prove that they are good in English a lot of amateur writers force fit GRE standard words in their story.
- I use simple short sentences to convey the message
Now once my strengths and weaknesses are taken care of, the rest becomes easy. Have a great opening, a smooth flow and a tight climax. As you type your story, you should first love what you write. Never become preachy (I know this line itself is preachy) because no one wants to listen to that. Make a lot of mistakes. Never ever feel bad when people treat your writing like shit. But always keep an eye on why they treat it badly. If you have an urge to become a good writer, you will succeed in writing.
Who knows? You may even publish a book tomorrow. If this post has inspired you to write or start a blog, I'd be happy. Keep writing.