At first, I was a cold introvert.
I hated people playing tricks on others. I hated when I was not allowed to speak. So, for a long time, my best friends were books. (I could say that didn't change even after fifty-four long years, - I mean books being my best friends).
When I was taken to relatives or to a friend’s house, mum had nothing to bother about me, I was always under a pile of books, in my own world. Every cartoon, children's book, novel lifted me to a different world. I met brave kings, gorgeous lovers, freaky lifestyles and many more. What I loved most was the history I gathered through them. Sinhala novel “Wijayaba kollaya” (The great rob of the King Wijayabahu”) stretched in front of me all the betrayals, fight for power and the lives of the people. The “Village in the jungle” taught me the class differences and how it exploited poor, depriving their loves of life. Each and every story opened me a different page of history to visualize.
When I was writing my first novel, my mentor gave me the best advice in my literary life. “Go back to that era. Use real surroundings. Write based on facts. Live the life of those people. If not your novel will be rejected.”
She was quite correct.
Even today, people search for the city of Troy – The legendary in Homer’s Iliad.
People do extensive excavation and study in an area called “Troad" in the north-west of modern-day Turkey. A city which has been a heaven to foreign trade, had its growths and contractions, had its fate on the hands of fires, earth quacks, and battles. Finally, it fell into ruin at the Bronze Age (at about 1180 BC). The remains of the city must have been visible at the time of Homer (800 – 701 BC). Sighting the ruins he might have composed the epic story “Iliad”. We can feel in his story, how the city has risen and fallen, the joys and tragedies of the citizens. We live in it. That is the magic of facts.
It is the same with “Ramayana”.
The story tells us Rama’s monkey army has built a walkway from India to Sri Lanka for Rama and Lakshmana to cross the Gulf of Mannar. Until the 15th century, a chain of limestone shoals acted as a bridge between two countries (reportedly passable on foot) visible above the sea level, until destroyed by a cyclone in 1480 (This is still visible from air and clearly displayed in NASA satellite images). This beautiful creation might have triggered the mind of Maharishi Valmiki to narrate the story of Rama, Sita and Ravana. It is an allegory of teachings of Hindu Sages, depicting ethical and philosophical basics.
However, the proofs included in the story were so close to the existing realities even today people still believe in the characters of the story. Both countries have places recognized as related to Ramayana – Seetha Amman temple, Ravana waterfalls and Dolukanda where part of Himalayan plants could be found (where parts of a piece of Himalaya fell on when Hanuman brought the piece to save the life of Rama's brother Lakshmana) are some places in Sri Lanka. Ayodhya, Chitrakoot, Prayag and many more cities in India still have temples to worship Lord Rama and others.
Writing an epic story is so touching, it lives in the lives of people. The basis for such is to set up it on facts.
Reaching those facts is not easy. You have to be watchful, Study the lives of people and imagine living in their lives. Then only you can steal that character. Unless you could live in that, it will be a fake. The reader can feel it. He or she will not want to continue.
I can remember, once I wanted to write a single sentence describing a soldier carrying food to Diphtheria patients. The story was based on 1814-Britain. I had to scroll through many articles to find the clothes they used, whether there were wristwatches at that time etc. just to write a single line. It was so insightful for me and envisioning for the reader.
So, reading and writing books is no wonder a fascinating thing to do, because, humans are the experts to visualize things in mind.
It was a long article. There was a lot to say to prove my word.
Be a reader, be a writer.
That will broaden your mind, your ability to see the world. The reader will learn too about a specific period of time.
And you can meet my best friend too.
1 : Books, reading or writing will bring all the good things to your life
2 : Write based on facts, to create a legendary work
3 : Great literary works are part of History in writingCategory: Books/Reading/Writing / Subcategory: Reading and writing - my version
Tags: books, reading, writing, fact based fiction, writing a novel,