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Firstly, I lied about the genie. There are no genies that can help a writer, magically sparing him or her from all the pain and fret of the work. Secondly, a part of this lie is truth. Of course, there is one thing that can help a writer. Guess what?
If you are still following this sequence of guesses, you prove yourself to be a serious searcher of the art of writing. At one point in life, we all search for a support mechanism in our work. However, if you are guessing along the same lines, as mentioned above, you are going the wrong way.
The magical tool that can help a writer in his craft of writing is “reading”. Reading will one day reveal the magic behind creating kingdoms and alchemy using words. It is highly likely that you can misunderstand the point. One of my students, the previous day, was giving a classroom presentation on the importance of reading. She gradually skipped on to books, and ended up taking the cause for books. Reading cannot be possible without books. But the writer’s magical tool is not books, but reading. There is a difference.
You might own a humongous library at your home. But what use are the books, if you are rarely finding the time to peruse those books? Time and mentality to attend the silent inhabitants of your library is as important in writing as words and imagination.
In Stephen King’s words “If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” You must have noticed that you and I are not the only people in world who keep a friendly relation with books. Many people read, but only a few are capable writers. (I mean potential page turners). Why? Reading is not just turning pages and enjoying the content. The rarely executed and often crucial step before reading is keeping a notepad. Take notes while reading.
If you are uncomfortable in showing your notes to others, keep it secret. But do take notes. Anything you find, new, different, or unknown to you previously, can be noted down. This includes, new words, (it could be simple words, but note down the way the writer uses them to create utmost impact), style, and even imagery. You can also note down powerful sentences and dialogues from the book you read. This forms the asset or capital of the writer. That Stephen King quote you read above was nice, and apt, wasn’t it? I noted it down when I was reading his book On Writing. I did not know back then, if I would ever write this article for BOOK-IT. But I wrote the article, and found that the quote is apt to be pasted there. In other words notepad is a writer’s arsenal.
Do not forget to note down, the thing about the notepad, OK?
Anu Lal is the author of the up-coming collection of short stories; Wall of Colors and Other Stories. He lives in Kerala, South India. He blogs at The Indian Commentator
You can catch up with him in Facebook too.