Books · Fiction

How Are Good Stories Born?


Where does a good story take birth? And when?

Conflict, bruises and pain, people say, are its parents. But imagination is a good parent, too. Writers and poets can be as young as 25 – good, great writers and poets. Is there some innate talent that cannot be aped by or instilled in others?

Probably. Or at least that is what the majority seem to be saying. Though they also explain that inner talent reduces to naught if left untrained.

It’s so easy to get published these days. (“Published”; the word has lost its value. I can “publish” my writings on my blog, or on my friend’s.) They get published, their work is out in the world with their names firmly lettered on them. I have often wondered about them, about how they can call themselves “writers” just as Amitav Ghosh is a writer. And yet, such difference!

One who writes is a writer, so in that sense they are legitimate. Yet it is endlessly amusing and also a little annoying that they can be counted, in bare name at least, as writers.

Perhaps I am being elitist. Commercial writing is not inherently bad. And good fiction does not always sell. When we talk about art we also must talk about money, for art cannot work in isolation unless the artist is an heir. There must be money to sustain art.

But who said commercial writing is art? Nobody pretends it is, not even its writers. But the act of writing itself, isn’t that art? That is creativity, artistry. It is art. Good and bad and mediocre, it is art nonetheless.

And they write stories. Good stories sometimes, without there being a perceptible presence of genius behind them. Where is that born, then?

Imagination, or a knack of tricking the imagination to churn out relevant and relatable stories?


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