HOW TO: Demystifying The Science Of Writing

Posted on January 27, 2011 in Alternative Careers

By Akshay Vikas:

“First Impression is Last Impression”– Despite being lifted from possibly the most tacky and tedious Bollywood movies of our times, is a quote of unmistakable and resounding accuracy. In accordance with the above stated dictum, I set out with the hope of creating several waves of excitement within the various circles of Youth Ki Awaaz with this, my very first attempt at an article as a member of this distinguished family. Pondering over the various issues that I could use as a medium to create this first impression I delved into the intricacies of several contemporary issues- from the concept of ‘Social Entrepreneurship’ to the flaws of our current Judicial and Education systems, I realized that there were a few questions that I needed to address and possibly, redress.

Questions like- What makes a good writer/ write up?, What is it about the likes of Shakespeare, Wodehouse and Tagore that their tales have not only survived the test of time, but also been cherished by generations on end? And primarily, what is effective journalism?

Writing has famously been described both as an ‘Art’ as well as a ‘Science’. This is because while one is well versed with the basic prerequisites of being a decent writer, the exact secrets to what makes a particular story, poem or article click is and always will be unknown (and indeed, unknowable).

So while a particular novel or novella may receive great appraisal at one specific time or place, it may not achieve the same kind of success in some other time or place. Thus, all a budding writer can ensure is that he adheres to the basic principles of good communication (because after all writing is primarily a wondrous mode of communication between author and reader, the only peculiarity being that most interactions here are one-way, thus compelling the author to keep all possible responses from the reader in mind as he goes about his work) and hope that the forces of nature (and indeed, his editors) are on his side.

So what are these basic principles?

Firstly and most crucially, the biggest friend of a writer, both in fiction and non-fiction, is his research. No reader wants to read things he already knows. Nor does he want to know about anything obscure. Language comes a close second to this. People often mistake good writing to be anything that involves the perpetual use of profound and intimidating language. Thereby they fail to realize the importance of engaging the reader for the entire duration of his reading.

Be it a 30 word advertisement or 500,000 word chronicle, it is pivotal that his interest levels stay the same throughout the journey to the end. A simple test for this is to re-read your own write-up, if you find yourself skipping parts to move to the end, it is boring. Honesty comes third; one cannot communicate with the required amount of vigor if he isn’t communicating his own thoughts, especially in Journalism where several social media cells have already gained infamy due to their propagandist activities. And finally, the factor which encapsulates all of the above- Dedication. It takes several pains to acquire the skills involved in writing, be it in terms of learning the intricacies of the language to reading literature from the same- none of it is possible without the right dose of dedication.

Once a privilege of only the elite, literature is now a commodity for the masses. Writers, poets and journalists of today enjoy a position of unparalleled importance and influence and hold the responsibility of determining the shape of the world in the years to come. Thus it is imperative that they use this pedestal carefully and judiciously, especially after the rapid surge of the social media in recent years.

Gripping, compelling and unabashed literature is thus, the order of the day.

Recommended read: HOW TO: Become A Freelancer In 3 Simple Steps

Recommended opportunity: Work-from-home online journalism internship program by

Image courtesy.