I too was bitten by this desire long long ago. I tried my hand at one or two and got dejected when they were rejected by the Editor. “You are not doing the right thing, Jay” a voice said.
“So, what do I do?”
“Go to a writer of some standing and ask for his guidance.”
And I did. He had been a writer for well over 15 years. Surely, he must be able to guide me, I had thought .
“Ah, come in Jay. Come in. Now what can I do for you?”
“Sir, I want to be a good writer. Writer of Articles and short stories. You, being a renowned author, can put me on the right track, can’t you?”
I decided to address him ‘Sir’ to boost up his ego. Creating a right frame of mind in him, looked to be a pre-requisite. Next, when you want to learn something from a Guru, you must humble yourself and sit at his feet. Never claim equality and sit next to him in another chair.
I shall call him PF. Can’t use his full name. I don’t even know if he is around today. Nevertheless, I must take some precaution to protect my skin.
“It’s very simple, Jay….” He paused, looked deep into my eyes and asked, “Are you good at Grammar? Can you write grammatically correct English sentences?”
“Yes, Sir. I have not come for lessons on English but on writing in English.” I wanted to show off a little. But he didn’t seem to appreciate my pun.
PF then talked about weather, his circle of friends and how much he slogs for producing an article.
“Carry on, Sir I am listening.”.
Then scratching his chin PF soliloquised., “Oh yes you have come to learn the art of writing. I forgot?”
“It’s very simple, Jay….” He drawled. I though t I had heard this line a little earlier from his very mouth. “Writing is simple..” he repeated looking at the open sky.
“How Simple, Sir?” I had the temerity to ask.
“ Simple. Don’t you understand….”
“I don’t understand, Sir” I replied bluntly.
“All right,” PF said, cleared his throat and continued, “You must have good control over the language. Don’t be verbose. Write always to the point.”
He didn’t bother to find out whether I was listening to his discourse or not. He was on a solo mission.
“The language must be smooth. Don’t use bombastic words. Use simple and commonly understood words…..”
“Okay?” he asked and focused his eyes on mine. He didn’t seem to notice the utter confusion my face displayed.
“Thank you PF,”I wished and left his house having become none the wiser.
Nowadays, several articles do appear on the net on the technique of writing. The first advice I read everywhere is, “Your title must be attractive, to capture the attention of your reader in one wink” and then follows a lot of meaningless verbiage that doesn’t tell you a word about how to design an attractive title. These so called tips haven’t made me any better a writer. And dozens of readers praise the article with clichés like, “Good article”, “very informative” “Now I know where I go wrong, thank you, thank you” etc etc.” Readers’ comments are as empty as the article !!
I still don’t have the faintest idea on how to fabricate an eye catching title. The tips given therein are as irrelevant as PF’s advice on writing.