Partridge India writing tips from the greats–Rudyard Kipling

Feb 10

Continuing the Partridge India Blog occasional series of writing tips from the greats, today we turn to Rudyard Kipling. Well known in India, whence he drew much of his material, Kipling’s reputation remains somewhat controversial, however many Indian intellectuals have taken a more nuanced view of his work. – there is no denying he is a literary great. Kipling was a poet, novelist, short story writer and journalist. Indeed he was the first English-language writer to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. His notable works include The Jungle Book, Gunga Din, Kim, If, and the Just So Stories.  It was from one of the Just So Stories – The Elephant’s Child that the all-important verse came:

 “I keep six faithful serving men
(They taught me all I knew)
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.”

Partridge India hails Kipling’s content writing system

Partridge India If-by-Rudyard-KiplingFrom this poem Rudyard Kipling immortalised his effective writing system, way back in 1902.

This  5Ws (and 1 ‘H’) approach is an information gathering technique that can work well in any storyline you are constructing. It begs the questions

“who?, what?, where?, when?, why? and “how?”

which will enable you to form the core of your story.

For example:

•             Who was involved?

•             What were the important details?

•             Where did happen?

•             When did happen?

•             Why did it occur?

•             How did it occur?

Try it out in your own stories. Not all of the queries will be relevant every time, but this writing technique can usually give you an instant opening paragraph and ensure that you don’t miss out on any vital information. It should also enable you to write faster.

The system is ideal for writing particularly where you need to get the crux of your story across quickly and concisely.

Partridge India Rudyard Kipling as a young manPartridge India applauds a true great

So not only is Kipling a true great of India’s English language literary heritage, he  has also left us with a wonderful system to get your writing started.

To catch up on the rest of this Partridge India Blog series please click here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *