Monday, May 31, 2021

How to save a Story when lightning strikes the laptop it's stored in -- a book review for #BlogchatterEbookCarnival

A great guide to life and writing.
Title: The story of Story

Author: Ravish Mani

Format: PDF E-book

When I read Tomichan's review of this book, the fact that the author's original submission was lost because of a lightning strike, struck me. Coincidence? Fiction? I had to find out. So, I downloaded the book.

"Ravish Mani is a life adviser and story consultant." reads his Bio on Blogchatter. It goes on to say, "People in writing community say that he has an acumen for reading in between the lines."

After reading Ravish's bio, my resolve to carve out time to read the book strengthened even more on two accounts: Firstly, as a poet, I tend to stare at the spaces in between the lines as much as I stare at the words. So, perhaps here was a kindred sprit who did the same. And secondly, because this was the first time I had come face to face, page to page, with a bona fide story consultant. 

The five star reviews at the beginning of the book pushed me to grab my notebook and pen to  be ready to take notes. For those who know me, know about my wish to write that elusive story I've always imagined I'd write one day, the one that will make me famous! Yes, that one. This book may be the ticket for me, I thought and settled down like a student settles down in a classroom; alert and with a resolve.

But, the very next page stumped me.

I put my pen down. And read more closely. A large, kind heart and two giving arms sprawled out on my laptop screen like a vast field of mustard, sarson ke khet, inviting me to run through them, to frolic and pick anything I wish to pick because the author tells the reader that he believes 'in the Law of Giving, which says that the return is directly proportional to the giving when it is unconditional and straight from the heart.' 

He also mentions that this work of his is 'uncopyrighted.' Urban vegetable gardens  in inner cities come to mind. Imagine walking through an inner city street in New York or London and you spot a patch of green with a sign on it that says, 'take what you can.' You can't believe your eyes but you go ahead and pick a few beans, a couple of juicy tomatoes and put them in the cloth bag you have hanging on your shoulder and walk back home filled with positivity and a renewed belief in humanity. That's how you'll feel by the time you come to the end of this book.

"As I see, morality cannot be forced. It comes from within. For being moral, introspection is needed. No law can make you morally right. It can only instil fear of punishment in you. The day this fear vanishes, you will go beyond."

Yes, lightning did strike. It took out the author's laptop and other electrical appliances but left his phone and resolve intact. He started writing this particular book on his phone two days before submission deadline. The author asks the reader to forgive the book for any omissions and editorial glitches. When I read that I thought how courageous. 

"Ravish believes you don’t read a book, you read a mind."

To be able to put a book up for public scrutiny on such short notice when one's job entails editing, shows that this author is comfortable in his space. He's brave and not too hung up on perceptions. That is a sign of a secure writer.

I have a long way to go still.

"Good judgment is the result of experience, and experience is often the result of bad judgment. He continues to fail & learn until he learns to close the gap between his perceived reality & the actual reality."

As I continued to read, Raj and Simran emerged from the mustard fields, carrying a bunch of reasons of why people read. I smiled at the synchronicity of our thoughts. The mustard field analogy had been scribbled on my notebook much before I came to the DDLJ part. The reasons why people read listed in the book made me reflect upon why I write.

The analysis of story is done well. The story structure and all the elements that make a story worthy of a reader's time are explained with the right amount of detail so that if anyone wants to use this book as a starter guide or as a quick brush up on the art of story writing, it is available.

A few months ago, I had received a rather heart-breaking  review of a story I'd written.  The reviewer had mentioned that my story lacked an arc, a tension in the plot. My memoir based story was very dear to me. The review stung and I ended up shelving that story. When I came to the 'story template' section of this book, I decided to plot my 'discarded' story in a flow chart, using the author's  suggestions.

His tips on motives and needs like "the one that wants the desire to be fulfilled and the other that opposes the fulfilment of the desire." as well as technical aspects like character sketches, "True character of a person is revealed through his choices & actions at crucial moments. His daily activities may present a wrong image of the person. " made me look at my story through an analytical lens. It helped. I'm eager to put the tips into practice and give this story of mine a re-write. We shall see.

"The words 'history' & 'story' both are derived from the Latin word 'historia' which means 'to learn' or 'to inquire.' On looking further, it appears that they are derived from the Proto-Indo-European root 'weyd' whose meaning is 'to see.' The Sanskrit words 'Veda' & 'Vidya' share the same root."

The book will make you see the world in a kinder light. How many people are ready to share their ideas for free? And if, like me, you're new to plotting stories on arcs and need to add tension to your plot lines so that literary magazines or publishers will take notice of your work, read this book. It'll help.

The title of this post is a question: How do you save a story that you think you've lost? Well, you see it first and then, well, then you do what you must to show (and tell) it to the world because "Stories are recognizable patterns, and in those patterns we find meaning."

This book was a meaningful read indeed. I'll recommend it to anyone who's ever felt intrigued about stories to check it out.

The book is FREE to download here: The Story of Story

PS. This book is part of #BlogChatteEbook carnival in which my book, And all the Seasons in between is also a part.

8 comments:

  1. Hari Om
    I have this downloaded along with yours and a couple others... my biggest challenge is sitting still and taking the time to read!!! (Got visitors coming to stay for first time in forever, so spring cleaning and all that...) I was thinking about both yours and this one today before reading your post and had determined that I would do a joint review as I felt there would be a connection. You have just proven it!!! YAM xx

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    1. Ha! HA! I can sense the busyness of spring in your words dear Yamini.
      Take your time. Enjoy your visitors and then relish the reads:) A joint review would be smashing. I'm very new to writing book reviews (doing it for the first time for this carnival) but I'm enjoying it. Never a dull moment when one can read and write and have a working keyboard (or pen and paper even)at hand.
      Have a wonderful day.
      Hugs. xx

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  2. The review is like a poem ! It has its own flow. I am reading this book currently and can not deny the fact that the author is a giver by heart !

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  3. The best thing about your reviews is they catch the essence of the books and present it lucidly to readers. This is yet another lovely review.

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    1. Thank you Tomichan. This is the first time I've reviewed books and like anything in life, I've gone with my heart:)
      After reading some other reviews on Blogchatter, I reckon I need a little more structure. We shall see how to fix that in future reviews.
      Thank you for your comment.
      BTW, have been sending your book link to some of my friends. They love it.

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  4. Excellent review and so well written. You've hooked me.

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    1. Thank you for visiting Joylene.
      I'm glad:)

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