Tagged : ‘Conversations’
I knew Slogan Murugan before I knew about Gopal M.S, the alter ego (I still wonder which is which!). Gopal’s Which Main? What Cross used to be a daily staple for me, and now that he has moved to Mumbai, his blog Mumbai Paused has become the new rage. Couple of hours ago, I had a chat with Gopal. He was giving me an ‘insight’ into good story telling. I had to share it – the conversation with Slogan Murugan.
A caricature of M S Gopal by Santhosh Patil
SM : Understanding story telling and writing a story is probably more useful in the long run and very essential skills in any field
me : I can’t write to save my life. Which is why I’m slowly trying to get back to blogging. So I’d be forced to write.
SM : You wrote a nice piece about social media and hard news
I’ll tell you one trick. Take two things and connect it. For example: To make writing interesting…you have to first think of an idea that will run through. Then find a thing to connect with it
me : The idea being your opinion about something? Didn’t understand :(
SM : Could be an opinion but it’s best if it is an insight. A simple example http://mumbaipaused.blogspot.in/2012/06/chuim-village.html This is an image of a man in lungi. But to make it a slightly more interesting story, i connected it to the insight that most trades in Mumbai are caste, region based. So that insight is the idea and I connect it to the images to create a simple story. Having a word like Stereotype helps. To make it scream. More than ideas, I think the right word is insights.
me : Ah! So what happened first? The insight or the pictures?
SM : The pictures. I can just put man in lungi or unbeatable stylish Indian men. Many ways to tell the story
me : But you must have obviously thought about it. Insights don’t grow on trees!!
SM : They don’t. But if you think, you will find it. In advertising we use it a lot. Insights. And sometimes when we get none, we take something not even remotely connected and then build a connection.
me : Ah quite difficult I’d say.
SM : No. You do it already
me : Eh? When?
SM : For example. You were doing a series on single girls in Bangalore. That’s an idea.
me : Yep. So what?
SM : And the things you point out from their lives are insights into their lives. That is why the story is interesting. You are spotting it and showing them as images. But if you were to write a 1500 word piece on that for New Yorker while using the images you will pick up one such insight…and build a story to connect the whole series. For example it could be…clothing. Or it could be Freedom
me : Ah! You see I think the problem probably lies from the fact that I don’t structure my thoughts this way. Visually, am intuitive. But tell me to articulate what I just did, and am drowning already.
SM : Well, don’t think too much. It comes naturally when you have a deadline. Just look at your images long enough and you will get it. The key is not to think that I should think of an idea.
me : Lol! That’s true. Deadlines do work. Work best under pressure
SM : Think of how can i make the story fun or interesting.
me : Hmmm… Lemme try that!
“In Mongolia, only the tough can survive.”
- Prl Jay aka Pearly Jacob
(about life in Mongolia)