When the first slide of a presentation says, ‘A few highly opinionated tips for much better writing’, you know it is a talk you want to listen to attentively.
Earlier this week, we were delighted to have Dr. T. R. Shankar Raman from the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) with us for a guest talk on writing. This was organised for all our project staff to help them with popular writing or scientific publications.
Peppered with diverse examples, Dr. Raman discussed how what we write can be written better and written to mean exactly what we intended. Referring to several books on writing, he explained that to write well, one must read well. Among numerous tips, he illustrated how a writer must strive to kill the clichés and spruce up metaphors and similes for impactful writing.
Dr. Raman’s book, The Wild Heart of India: Nature and Conservation in the City, the Country, and the Wild, surely, was a part of the discussion. A work in which he writes about various species found not only in wild places but also in cities, gardens and farms; about how we destroy forests, pollute the air and rivers; about forces that irreversibly damage landscapes; about how animals are killed along roads and railway tracks – all with the intention to encourage his readers to genuinely care for nature and do their bit to protect it. This anthology of essays effectively tries to blur the disconnection we seem to assume between us and nature.
After the talk, Dr. Raman answered the questions on the creative process of writing, striking a balance between ‘telling’ and ‘showing’ in conservation writing, how to overcome word-limit limitations among others.
We thank him for sparing his time to talk to us and look forward to reading more books written by him.
(Written by Sourabha Rao)