Writing skill with an efficient narrative technique is one of the most important for people, because writing overall develops logical and abstract thinking. Writing is important for public speakers and all people involved in public and personal communications since it develops the abilities of arranging thoughts in such a way that produces a specific impact on an audience. This paper is a narrative, which shares and discusses my personal experience in writing while utilizing narrative techniques gained from the writing course. It blends specific impactful events in my life with the processes of reading, thinking and writing in order to produce a specific flashback image for the reader. In general, this is an attempt of showing a personal story, involving the reader into the emerging discussion rather than telling them about the recollections of my life. Such a practice in the application of narrative techniques allows writers to develop their individual style, appeal to readers, and gain the impact on one’s audience in the future.
Reading, Writing, and Thinking
People use words in their daily communication, which is why one can say that words are bricks creating communicative bridges between different people. These bridges are especially important for the society, because people survive due to collaboration, share of ideas and concepts, and collective acting. It is practically impossible to imagine an influential person without public speaking skills or at least the ability for producing logical narratives. Moreover, there are people who gain influence only through words and public speaking. What is striking me personally is that a word is much more powerful than weapons because of the ability for personal influence, inspiration or self-destruction. For instance, during World War II, Nazis actively used propaganda to tell Germans that they were a special race, which had to reign the others. As a result, ordinary German people started believing that they were special and became soldiers, killing millions of people without any regret. Thus, propaganda, which is “the art of persuasion” (Trueman), is a vivid example of how a masterfully presented narrative may lead or mislead millions of people, becoming a lethal weapon. In this sense, a comparison of writing and speaking to arts is especially relevant, because words produce images in people’s heads and change their thinking patterns due to specific perceptions. An artist Jackson Pollock once said, “When I say artist I mean the man who is building things – creating molding the earth… It’s all a big game of construction – some with a brush – some with a shovel – some choose a pen” (Pollock). Thus, writers are “constructors” or creators of virtual words, which unlike painted canvases are never present in reality visually. What is more, it is important for the writer to read in order to learn the style of the others and gradually develop personal techniques. In this sense, it is important to share one of the most influential recollection from my childhood connected to reading and writing.
When I was a child, I used to read many books and journals that were my best friends, but there were certain reading sessions, which I can characterize as the most influential. All of them are connected with visits to my grandmother, who lived in a rural area and was busy with farming. Among her usual tasks were caring for cattle and pasturing cattle. Once she asked me for help in this sacred task and gradually I started pasturing cows. From the beginning, their long horns, plumping nostrils, and different sounds they produce scared me. Partially, this was one of the reasons I treated them with respect and their images were almost as sacred to me as to inhabitants of India. With time I got used to them and they got used to me, so I could lie in the grass enjoying the sun and the wonderful smell of a nearby pine forest. As the cows were walking nearby and eating delicious grass without attempting to escaping, I started taking books with me and devoted this time to reading. One of the books that impressed me at that time was The Little Prince by Saint-Exupery. Just as the protagonist of the story, I imagined that I was lying on an unknown planet, which was his home. Surrounded by cows and the sounds and smells of nature, I was impressed by the images in the book so much as if they were my closest relatives. My compassion to their virtual destiny grew so the singing of the birds nearby was from time to time accompanied by my sobbing. Some of the cows were impressed by my sounds and came for help, supporting me with the look of their beautiful eyes as if saying, “Oh, dear. Everything will be fine…” Recollecting these moments, I attempt viewing the situation from the bird’s eye view: a little child reading lying on the grass and surrounded by nature was a perfect example of how words can influence people. Later, in my first attempts of writing, I was trying to imagine a possible effect produced by my narrative. Of course, I was far from making people burst into laughter or tears, but I was pleased in case I succeeded in producing lively images.
My first attempts of writing were rather clumsy, because they had numerous flaws. Attempting to write as famous writers, I devoted much time to describing details of my setting, which overloaded the narrative with descriptions and made it dull. When I handed my attempts to my relatives, they were either falling asleep on the second page or irritated by constant waiting for some action. At that time, I could have called my narrative meditative because the number of mentioned details led to slow thinking patterns as if the reader was busy with meditation. Another suitable comparison is when a person attempted reading my narrative, they got drowned in the quicksand of details. Gradually emerging, they were filling the entity of the reader to such great extent that people were not pleased as if drinking a bottle of extremely sweet syrup. Desperately, they wandered in my virtual world seeking for action as if for a bottle of fresh water. However, my skills in writing could only offer more and more syrup, which is why the wanderers quit reading and shared a huge portion of their heavy criticism. Unfortunately, they lacked awareness and skills in writing either so they were unable to give a piece of useful advice. At the same time, I did not get discouraged from writing and started inventing different storylines in an attempt of creating a novel.
One of the key ideas, which I can present to the reader in this paragraph is “Never attempt writing in big genres without having a skill in small ones.” Attempts of writing a novel were a total waste of time because of trying to grasp everything in one setting and mix the characters and their “destinies.” My characters seemed to be interesting as I was capable of giving them enough power to stand during the play. However, the parts of action and the overall setting looked more as if a beginner wire-puller mixed all the wires of his puppets. As a result, in case they attempted moving they mixed, fell down, and formed a huge mess, where the reader was incapable of tracing any concrete storyline. Moreover, my skills of personal description were poor, which is why it seemed that some of the characters possessed similar visual features and resembled in character. Unfortunately, I recognized my mistake too late, which is why I lost nearly a month until I tried creating short stories based on real-life situations. A shop-assistant finding a wallet with funny money, a girl who is about to be adopted in a new family and other characters were born and became known to my family. Characterizing this period of my writing, I can say that it was one of the most successful because small writing genres have enough space to be filled with a non-skilled narrator.
Moreover, I recognize that I received a substantial theoretical and practical support because of taking narrative classes. Of course, academic writing is different from writing fictional short stories, but one of the aspects uniting them is the power of influence. Thus, my long path to becoming a middle-skilled narrator had different stages of development with my mistakes being teachers in different aspects. However, the course in narrative gave me a substantial boost because it gave the understanding of the basic concept of different writings as well as different narrative tools. Thus, it is important to obtain theoretical knowledge in writing as it makes one’s words more influential, because of the enhanced skill of their usage.
Summarizing the presented information, the paper concludes that it takes time, learning, and practice to become a good narrator and writer. There are different ways of obtaining the desired skills, among which are imitation of other writers and learning by the trial-and-error method. However, both of them are in a disadvantaged position to theoretical learning, which is important as it provides the basics of narration. For instance, it allows understanding of different genres and narrative techniques, which are extremely useful in an inventory of any writer. It is evident that skillful writers always use a wide range of narrative techniques in order to produce an impact on the reader with skillfully created images. At the same time, one should analyze their personal writing experiences in order to reveal typical mistakes and avoid them in the future. I do not recognize myself as a true master of words, but I definitely feel my individual progress in this hard work of creation of virtual worlds.