Why your story doesn’t have to have a thrilling plot? (Or how a predictive plot can win one’s heart?)


What do you think first while formulating a story? Let me guess:

1. You first think about a theme.

2. Then you think about your characters.

3. Next you think about an awesome ending, or a thrilling twist.

4. You now think about title of your story.

and so on…so forth.

In most of the stories that I have read in recent anthologies; there is a struggle for an interesting twist or plot, or, some stories have twists or ending that have been forcefully inserted. Now this doesn’t have to be the case for every story. If you have a fair story which doesn’t lead to a twisting end naturally; don’t worry, your plot is still good.

Let me tell you a truth: Many authors try to hide their incompleteness of writing ability by introducing interesting twists and turns. And they think readers will ignore the writing style and concentrate on the twist.

In many cases, this is true. Readers do love twists. But when your story includes them forcefully it feels very sick. Any good perfume has three levels of smell:

1. Extrinsic perception: It is the perception of smell the moment you apply the perfume.

2. Middle taste: After the strong smell is gone there will be a semi-light scent exciting your nostril.

3. Intrinsic perception: It is core or innermost layer of scent that lingers hours after applying the scent.

Why am I talking about scent?

Because stories have similarity with a good perfume.

Your major twists are the extrinsic perception. Things that readers immediately notice.

Your theme and characters are middle taste.

And your narrating style or use of language is the intrinsic perception.

A story having bad narration and good twists will be hard-hitting but wouldn’t last long. But a story having beautiful narration lingers in reader’s mind even long after reading the story. The story will last long. People will read your story again and again.

To kill a mockingbird is a classic example of having all the above components. That’s why it will be immortal. Ulysses by James Joyce doesn’t have any plot. But it will be remembered as the bible of modern literature solely due to its ground breaking narration. Kew Gardens by Virginia Woolf is also a classic example of beautiful narration. Also I have seen that to many  writers, a well narrated story means it will have to have unpronounceable words which will only contribute in distracting an average reader.

To conclude, your predictive plot will become a heart winner only if you have that power of language. And all the musings above are my own. My view may differ from yours. But whatever your view is, you must keep writing and do experiments with your style.

Happy writing!

©Anirban Nanda

Review: Brick Lane


Brick LaneBrick Lane by Monica Ali

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At last, I am able to finish this book. Phew!
This is a 500 page novel about Bangladeshis living in England and their problems. Our protagonist Nazneen who is left to her fate from the very birth is pictured, transformed and described beautifully.

Why I like this book:

>> Narration is tremendous and funny; also very very intricate.
>> All the characters are drawn with utmost care and every single negligible character is memorable.
>> Story is good and fresh and being a Bengali, I have felt deja vu kind of feeling with scenes and characters.

Few things I don’t like in this book are:
Somewhat slow and dragged story.
There are so many “as if”-s that it have seemed dull; but there are many instances where it actually have made the sentences funny.

Examples of few such sentences are:

Two old men in white panjabi-pyjama and skullcaps walked along the path, slowly, as if they did not want to go where they were going.

OR

She never spoke to Abba after that, not that Nazneen saw. She always kept back the choicest bits of meat for Nazneen and Hasina. She kissed them all the time, even though they were fourteen and twelve. And she talked about Amma, over and over, as if you could change something by talking about it. ‘I don’t know why those spears were in the store, and wedged like that. So dangerous.’ Hasina always ran off when she started, but Nazneen just stayed and listened.

OR

She took a handkerchief and wiped her mouth, as if clearing the way for the next story. Her eyes were small and hard like a bird’s; her white hair looked as if it would snap under a comb.

You’d find a minimum of 5 such sentences per page.

Overall this is a very good book, you should actually read it.

View all my reviews

My Experience with reading Ulysses:: Part 1


Few facts about Ulysses before reading this post:

1. Ulysses is the single most significant novel written in 20th century literature.

2. Ulysses is the name of a character in HOMER’s ODYSSEY; i.e. it is a modern remake of the old epic.

3. Ulysses has defined the modern day story telling.

To know more historical facts and some awesome facts about this book, read:

http://www.shmoop.com/ulysses-joyce/

 

My Experience with reading Ulysses:: Part 1

DATE: 3/05/2015:

Presently I have completed the first 3 chapters of total 18. The first 2 of them were okay with the introductory help from The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide Through Ulysses and I was excited to go into the next chapter. And here I was struck! This Proteus chapter is fucking obscure! But though I could make out the 1st few paragraphs from lectures of “Wings of Art – Joseph Campbell on James Joyce”; going few more pages and then I was like drowning in sea, river, fountain of fucking conscience. So I just read along mechanically with sometimes peeking into the bloomsday book and I experienced very rich and raw emotions coming out for a few times. This chapter was intentionally made obscure so professors can ponder over it for years. Joyce himself told this. He said:

Capture

***Will update the review after reading the next chapters.

Update on 4/5/15:::

CHAPTER 4: CALYPSO>

After those tough paragraphs from Proteus; Calypso is like bathing in cool water! Those earthly worlds of Bloom; those free flowing thoughts; I love them. It is so rich and pitch perfect that I read it again and again. Great going! Next chapter. Fast!

CHAPTER 5: LOTUS- EATERS>

More beautiful than previous chapter. Just take look at this paragraph:

He turned from the morning noises of the quayside and walked through Lime street. By Brady’s cottages a boy for the skins lolled, his bucket of offal linked,smoking a chewed fagbutt. A smaller girl with scars of eczema on her forehead eyed him, listlessly holding her battered caskhoop. Tell him if he smokes he won’t grow. O let him! His life isn’t such a bed of roses. Waiting outside pubs to bring da home. Come home to ma, da. Slack hour: won’t be to many there. He crossed Townsend street, passed the frowning face of Bethel. El, yes: house of: Aleph, Beth. And past Nichols’ the undertaker. At eleven it is. Time enough. Daresay Corny Kelleher bagged the job for O’Neill’s. Singing with his eyes shut. Corny. Met her once in the park. In the dark. What a lark. Police tout. Her name and address she then told with my tooraloom tooraloom tay. O, surely he bagged it. Bury him cheap in a whatyoumaycall. With my tooraloom, tooraloom, tooraloom, tooraloom.

OR what about this:

Sleeping sickness in the air. Walk on rose-leaves. Imagine trying to eat tripe and cowheel. Where was the chap I saw in that picture somewhere? Ah, in the dead sea, floating on his back, reading a book with a parasol open. Couldn’t sink if you tried: so thick with salt. Because the weight of the water, no, the weight of the body in the water is equal to the weight of the. Or is it the volume is equal of the weight? It’s a law something like that. Vance in High school cracking his fingerjoints, teaching. The college curriculum. Cracking curriculum. What is weight really when you say the weight? Thirtytwo feet per second, per second. Law of falling bodies: per second, per second. They all fall to the ground. The earth. It’s the force of gravity of the earth is the weight.

ANOTHER ONE (WARNING!Obscenity ahead!):

He saw his trunk and limbs riprippled over and sustained, buoyed lightly upward, lemonyellow: his navel, bud of flesh: and saw the dark tangled curls of his bush floating, floating hair of the stream around the limp father of thousands, a languid floating flower.

Beautiful. Isn’t it?

***Wait for the next chapters.

Update on 5/5/15::

Chapter 6: Hades>>

Okay, in this chapter Mr. Bloom went to his friend’s funeral and thought about all kind of gloomy thoughts. Here also, Joyce’s magic works. Beautiful language. See the following few lines:

The carriage, passing the open drains and mounds of rippedup roadway before the tenement houses, lurched round the corner and, swerving back to the tramtrack, rolled on noisily with chattering wheels.Mr Dedalus fell Sack.

OR

Inked characters fastfading on the frayed breaking paper. *** Mr Bloom entered and sat in the vacant place. He pulled the door toafter him and slammed it twice till it shut tight. He passed an arm through the armstrap and looked seriously from the open carriagewindow at the lowered blinds of the avenue. One dragged aside: an old woman peeping.Nose whiteflattened against the pane.

OR

The caretaker put the papers in his pocket. The barrow had ceased to trundle.Bury the dead. Say Robinson Crusoe was true to life. Well then Friday buried him. Every Friday buries a Thursday if you come to look at it.

O, poor Robinson Crusoe ! How could you possibly do so?

Part 2 of this post will be updated soon.