Stories should inspire the audience: John Edathattil

TGLife | NOVEMBER 26, 2021, 11:11 PM IST
Stories should inspire the audience: John Edathattil

Good stories are those that inspire us, says master screenwriter Sab John Edathattil. “A story is not interesting if it is about the things we want but get easily. It is about the journey of the characters, about their struggles. The story has to be about the conundrum of life and its various crises.” Edathattil was addressing a Masterclass on Scriptwriting. The masterclass was attended in person by IFFI delegates in Goa, and was also attended online by virtual delegates who watched it on the virtual platform.

Known for his work in films like Chanakyan and Gunaa, Edathattil the leading screenplay writer of South India shared many tips and ideas on the art of storytelling. He gave a fine grained understanding of the process of storytelling and how it can help engage the audience. “When you are writing characters of a story, relatability and curiosity make the characters interested in and engaging for the audience. Audiences are the people who are most benevolent to the writers; at the same time, what you create has to be convincing to them.”
He pointed out that the backstory is also vital for developing characters. “We all carry baggage; they mould our characters. It is essential to create a good backstory for good storytelling.” For creating content which stays with the audience, which they will take with them, a writer has to write from the heart. “If the audience recalls and relates to the story, it is the ultimate testament to the power of writing.”
Edathattil observed that we can write a story only when we get emotionally stimulated. “When we start writing a story, our mind is a blank page. The problem is we have to arrive at what to write. Only when we get stimulated by certain emotions, we can write a story and ultimately, those emotions appeal to the audience. The value of stories depends on how it affects the audience. This value can be both positive and negative.”
He reminded film delegates that writing a story is not just about good language, saying, “Most writers think that if you have a command over language, then you can easily write a story. But we need to have knowledge of the story. There are various elements to a story like the story itself, likability of characters and an effective structure.”
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