Many people, of all age groups, are drawn to the idea of writing. I am asked in my classes and interactions all the time – “how do we come up with the story, the characters, the plot?” My simple, one word answer is – LIFE
The expression ‘fact is stranger than fiction’, is perhaps now, truer than ever. Be it a book, or a film, a play or a short story; the primary basis for the stories and characters is drawn from real life. From people around us, from events and scenarios that form part of the everyday rhetoric of a family, a town, a city, a region, a country, the world. The fact about fiction is, that art imitates life. Reel life, is draw from real life.
Let us look at the broader premise, or ‘setting’ first. Be it crime fiction, romance, drama, suspense; invariably the setting will be directly inspired by a true-situation (terrorism, climate change, a particular industry such as advertising or banking). The premise will also centre on a fact – a cricket match-fixing case, a famous murder case, a political development, etc. Or, of course, in the ilk of stories of films such as Monsoon Wedding or the more recent Kapoor & Sons, which simply reflects familial dynamics and other issues that exist within families. All true, all factually based.
Then of course there are the characters. Analyse for a minute, which characters you have liked/hated/remembered the most, be it in a book or in a film. Invariably, the answer will be characters that were ‘real’. When I say ‘real’ character, I mean people whom, even if we do not identify with, those who have multiple facets to their personalities. Who are not ALL evil or ALL good. That is unbelievable. Believable, relatable characters are just like you and I. We have our histories, our childhoods, our individual unique experiences that shape us into the people we grow up to become, complex, layered, or in simpler terms, people with pluses and minuses, with good and bad qualities, and normally with at least one main ‘internal’ problem/angst that we are trying to overcome. These are the characters that leave a lasting impression in our minds, who’s journeys, struggles, failures and triumphs are palpable, and evoke empathy and understanding. Again, if not the characters per say, but their ‘emotions’ are ALL real, drawn from real life situations.
So how do we put all this together? Well that’s where the art of writing can be fused with a bit of logic and science. And that is where Format and Structure comes in. That is what I aim to shed some light on in most of my Fiction Writing Classes. It is simple, effective, and if followed correctly, idiot-proof . To experience the thrill of discovery, of finding characters, tales, and stories that lurk within our subconscious, it is always a good idea to test the waters by taking a Writing Class. And just like magic on tv, it so happens that my next Writing Workshop begins on the 12th of this month. The details are all in the Poster at the beginning of this post.
So come explore your writing, yourselves, and the Facts of Fiction!