Story writing is an activity that involves creativity. It is a delightful form of composition in a narrative style. The purpose of writing a narrative piece is to educate, motivate or entertain. It can be a fictional story or narration of a real-life incident or experience. Even an interesting incident of everyday life can inspire a plot and supply a scenario for a beautiful story. This exercise requires rich imagination and graphic visualisation.
We all enjoy reading and listening to short stories. Let’s try our hand in developing short stories. We shall look at two types of guided writings–developing hints and story completion–that will help us develop story-writing skills.
❖ Before you start writing a story, you need to decide on the following key points.
• Plot – What the story is about.
• Theme – The message conveyed by the story.
• Characters – Main characters – their descriptions and the supporting characters
• Setting – Time, location and background
• Developing storyline – Create a conflict for the main character.
• Building the climax – the turning point of the story – the most dramatic moment
• Conclusion – Give a suitable end.
❖ Here are a few hints that can help you produce a well-written short story.
• Begin the story in an impressive manner with any of the following:
◆ a remarkable scene
◆ a description of the main character
◆ a powerful line of dialogue
◆ a conflict or a mystery.
• Grab the attention of the readers with an opening sentence that arrests attention and raises questions in the reader’s mind.
• Describe the setting – time, location, context and atmosphere.
• Develop the story line and introduce the characters.
• Incorporate an element of suspense and sustain the same till the climax unfolds.
• Build up the climax gradually.
• Introduce dialogues that are interesting, lively, relevant and natural to the context, wherever possible.
• Handle the conclusion of the story well. The story should have a striking end or a dramatic twist. It may also end with a moral or a message.
• Provide an appropriate and a catchy title. The title may be based on the incident of the story or the chief character (protagonist) . The story may also be titled after a proverb or a familiar quotation illustrated by the story or a popular catch phrase.
• Revise and edit your writing as many times as possible till you feel it’s perfect.
• Show, don’t tell. (Instead of saying “The boy was happy” say “The boy whistled as he walked down the corridor.”
❖ When you write a story, remember to use…
• the simple past tense, the past continuous tense and the past perfect tense
• suitable adjectives and adverbs
• direct speech with reporting verbs and proper punctuation marks
• linkers and discourse markers
(i) expanding the given outlines into a story
(ii) completing a partly narrated story.
Here is an example.
A wealthy old lady – suddenly loses eyesight – calls an eye specialist – doctor demands exorbitant fees – lady agrees to pay if cured – doctor starts treatment – steals antique decorative pieces -one by one – treatment ends - lady’s vision restored – doctor demands fees – lady refuses to pay – doctor knocks the doors of court – seeks justice – judge enquires lady – lady explains – not completely cured – cannot see antique items – kept in showcase – judge understands – gives verdict – lady’s favour – arrests doctor for cheating.
In a grand old-fashioned mansion overlooking a hill, lived a wealthy dear old lady named Margaret J. Smith. She inherited a huge fortune from her late husband John Maxwell Smith. Being a very smart and shrewd woman, she ably managed her estate all alone. As she grew older and older, she became frail. Subsequently, her eyesight also started failing. One day, when she woke up from her bed, she realised that she had lost her sight.
The old lady immediately sent word to an eye-specialist in the County to treat her. The doctor though skilful in his profession was a greedy and crafty person by nature. He visited Margaret Smith the very same day and examined her. He told her that he could cure her but it would cost her a huge sum. He named an exorbitant fee for the treatment. The old lady was taken aback by the amount demanded by the doctor. However, she agreed to pay on condition that her eyesight was completely restored after the treatment. The doctor agreed and went ahead with his treatment.
During his visits to the lady’s mansion for treatment, the greedy doctor eyed her collection of antique decorative pieces displayed in a showcase. Knowing that those antique pieces would fetch a good price in the market, the doctor started stealing those items, one by one, during every visit. Eventually, the treatment worked and the old lady’s vision was totally restored. Now, as per the agreement, the doctor demanded his fees. But, the old lady said that she was not satisfied with the treatment given and firmly refused to pay. The doctor threatened her to drag her to the court. The old lady said, “You can go ahead and do whatever you want.”
The angry doctor filed a case against old Margaret and sought justice from the court. The old lady was summoned for examination. The judge enquired the reason as to why she refused to pay the agreed fees to the doctor. The old lady replied, ”As per the agreement made, I must be completely cured of my problem. Unfortunately, my vision has been only partially restored after the treatment.” As a proof of her statement, she said that she was not able to see the antique items kept in her showcase.
The learned judge understood the meaning of the lady’s statement and its implication. The judge concluded the case and read out his verdict. The verdict went thus: “After a thorough examination of the case and connected issues, this court pronounces that Margaret, the defendant, is absolved of her obligation to pay her doctor. This court also pronounces that the doctor has committed the offence of theft and as such he should undergo a rigorous imprisonment for six months.” The shocked doctor hung his head down in shame. The old lady felt greatly relieved and marched out of the court triumphantly.
1. Big cotton merchant – owned a factory – many employees – one day a heap of cotton stolen – no clue – merchant’s secretary assured to find out - asked him to host dinner - invite all workers – merchant agreed – middle of feast – secretary suddenly shouted – cotton sticking to hair of thieves – the guilty dusted their heads – tried to clear – caught in the trap – punished.
Once there was a big cotton merchant in Coimbatore. He owned a factory where about 100 workers were employed. One morning, the owner found out that a heap of cotton was missing. He had no clue to find out the theif. The merchant’s secretary assured him that he would find out the theif. The secretary asked the proprietor to host a dinner to all the workers.The merchant agreed and arranged a dinner and invited all his workers. Sudddenly half-way through dinner,the secretary shouted ‘Cotton is sticking to the hair of the thieves’. The thieves dusted their heads trying to clean their hair. The other innocent workers did not do anything.Thus the secretary caught the thieves of cotton.
2. Mr. X, a rich businessman – runs a company - always very busy with office work – one day his son – 10 years old – approaches dad and asks – how much he earns in one hour – father gets furious – boy persuades – father says Rs. 500 – immediately son asks for Rs. 300 – father shouts – wasting money on toys - son leaves to his room crying – father feels bad – thinks might need some stationery – enters boy’s room and gives money – boy becomes happy – takes some crumpled notes – under his pillow – counts everything together – total Rs.500 – gives it to dad – wants to buy – one hour of his time – father realizes his mistake – feels sorry and guilty – hugs son – closes all office files - takes him on a picnic – decides to spend more time with near and dear ones.
Mr.X is a very rich businessman. He runs a company and he is always busy with his office work. He does not spend time with his family. One day, his ten year old son asks him: “Dad,how much money do you earn in one hour?” X becomes angry and does not reply, But the son compels him again to give an answer. Mr.X answers “Rs.500 an hour”. The son asks Mr.X for Rs.300. Mr.X becomes angry and shouts at his son: “You are wasting money on toys”. The son becomes sad. He begins to weep.Then he goes to his room. Mr.X feels bad. So he goes to the son’s room and gives Rs.300. The boy becomes happy. He takes some old, crumpled currency notes from under his pillow.He puts Rs.300 and the crumpled notes together and counts. It comes to Rs.500. He gives Rs.500 to his dad and tells him: “Dad, I have given you Rs.500. Therefore, spend one hour with me”. Mr.X feels guilty. He hugs his son, closes all the office files. He takes his son on a picnic. Then he decides to spend time with his family and other relatives and friends.
Continue and complete the following stories and suggest suitable titles for the same.
Tit for Tat
It was a pleasant breezy evening. The college auditorium was filled to capacity. The students, dressed in their finest, looked very cheerful and excited. When the chief guest entered the hall, they stretched their necks eagerly to catch a glimpse. He was a very well-known personality–a great scholar and an excellent orator–in the town. The programme began and the students were looking forward to listening to the key-note address which was to be delivered by the chief guest. The occasion was the college annual day function. The chief guest was invited to take the podium by the compere. He began his speech and there was a hushed silence. He started off with an interesting anecdote followed by a humorous one liner. He went on to delve deeper into the topic of technology and opportunities. Suddenly, a mischievous student among the lot, crowed like a cock in a high pitch “cock-a-doodle-doo” “cock-a-doodle-doo”.
This broke the mood of the occasion, flow of speech and the seriousness of the atmosphere. Some students were amused by this break and responded with a laughter here and a giggle there. But, the accomplished orator stood undeterred. He took this interruption in his stride and pretended to be surprised. He stopped his speech, checked his watch and got back to his mike. In a calm and composed voice and a matter–of–fact tone, he said, “A cackling of a cock indicates daybreak, but my watch shows it is dusk. However, studies have proved that animals of lower creation possess a wonderful sense of the day–night rhythm. I guess my watch is wrong and the rooster is right.” He stressed the words ‘animals of lower creation’.
At this, the entire audience burst into loud, hearty, never- ending laughter. They applauded in true appreciation of the orator’s presence of mind and sense of humour. The student who made the crowing sound hung his head in shame. He had received a fitting response for his misbehaviour. The scholar, true to his greatness, won on this occasion too.
1. A rich man had a neighbour who was suffering from acute poverty. The rich man was proud of his wealth and treated his poor neighbour with disrespect and derision. One day, a fortune-teller told the rich man that all his wealth would be possessed by his neighbour within a month. The rich man became greatly worried and spent sleepless nights. He did not know how to safeguard his wealth round the clock. Suddenly he thought of a plan. He disposed of everything he had and with all that money, he bought a large, precious diamond. He sewed up the diamond in his turban. He proudly said to himself, “Now, there’s no way. My poor neighbour can never secure my wealth. The words of the fortune-teller will prove false.”…………………
The next day he went to the river to take bath. He removed his turban and placed it on the bank of the river and went into the river. Suddenly a violent wind blew and the turban felw into air. It fell on the doorstep of the neighbour. The neighbour took the turban. He turned it this side and that. The diamond fell off. He took possession of the diamond. Thus the words of the fortune-teller proved true.
2. Four friends decided to go to a restaurant for dinner. They ordered an extra-large pizza with grated cheese and other choice toppings. The next 20 minutes seemed to be too long a time. Their eyes widened and their mouth watered, when the server brought the steaming hot pizza and placed it on the table. They could barely control the drool. Simultaneously, all the four hands pulled at a slice from the plate, their faces beaming with a victorious grin. Silence prevailed as they were absorbed in the taste of their favourite food. They relished every mouthful to the core and savoured the taste of each topping with a smile of approval. Soon, the plate was empty and clean with no trace. The boys dabbed their mouths and wiped their hands with tissues. Mission accomplished, they leaned back with immense joy and satisfaction not knowing, it would be short-lived. The waiter arrived with the bill. Joseph, who had brought the others to the restaurant for a treat casually slipped his hand into his pocket to get his wallet. He gave a soft shriek accompanied by an expression of dismay and utter disbelief. He exclaimed, “It’s not there! Someone has pinched my wallet! What are we to do now?” …………….
It was a great shock to the whole company. But they found a solution to escape the difficult situation. The three other friends took out their purses and they collected the money,They settled the bill. Joseph was thankful to his friends and said”A friend in need is a friend in need I will never forget this occasion. We will be friends for life.”They were all happy.
UTHIRA is an event conducted by the NSS unit of ABC Hr Sec School. Imagine you are a volunteer and help a parent fill in the following registration form. (Invent necessary details)