“That was a very interesting experience” I told Lulu, my parrot who circled near my window and landed on the tree.
“What’s that?” he asked as he chewed a chilly.
“Writing a story”
“Did you finally write a story? I have seen you battling with many themes but you did not convert any in a story. You always leave work unfinished.” Eating chillies leaves a mark on the personality of parrots.
“I didn’t write. I helped my granddaughter, Annika, write one. This eight year old was given a format and some questions – story planning questions! They were to develop that in a story.”
“Interesting. Like what?”
“Like they gave a theme. “When Toys Come to Life.””
“Wow! The kids are to write on this subject? Their imagination can run wild.”
“And the questions?”
“Four questions. What sort of toys you are going to write about?”
“You mean they had to identify the characters in the story.”
“You got it. The second question: Where does your story start? Annika’s toys got together at a secret place and planned to buy a gift for their mother!”
“The Malls are invading fairy tales too. Ooh! But yes, interesting start to the story. What happens then?”
“That’s the next question. “Write down two things that happen in the middle of your story.”
“Wow! They are teaching these kids how to plan a story.”
“So middle of the story: Annika’s toys go to a Mall. They go to KidZania to enjoy and buy gifts.”
“Ha, ha! Kids keep relating to their experience while writing. There is a point here. One must draw on his or her experience to write a story.”
“And it seems to happen instinctively.”
“Yup! And how does the story end?”
“Well, that’s the last question. The toys have a great time with mother and she says thank you. Then she gives Ice Cream to all!”
“Ha, ha, ha! Great story! So much drawn from her own experience. Everything actually!!”
“The real fun and happiness was in working to develop it with her. Actually she didn’t need much prodding. It was as if the story just flowed from her pen, hmmm…, her pencil.”
“Man…. There is a lesson for you here. Did you pick up the learning?” Lulu said.
“Quite a revelation for me. Annika made it look as if writing a story was so easy; not a difficult job at all. I always wanted to write a story, but never could. I wonder how an eight year old could write so easily which I couldn’t.”
“That’s because you want to write something which will earn you a Nobel Prize. Nothing less. It has to be the best of the best. And that too in the first attempt!”
“Actually, you got it right, Lulu. That’s what I always wished. My story had to be to be one of the best.” I confessed. “An experience truthfully written, may be with a touch of drama can make a good story. But I always wanted my stories to be the best; so I was never satisfied with the numerous drafts.”
“Ambition killed some good plots in your case. You did not pour your experience in it.”
“I see the point. Ambition to write something outstanding killed the natural flow. It just made the exercise too complicated. And left it unfinished.”
“That’s the point. Life, like Annika’s story plan, is simple. You complicate it and make a mess of it like your stories.”
“Complexity creates confusion. Now write about this experience” said Lulu it with a smirk, pushed pen and paper to me and flew away.