• Observe the picture deliberately without coming under any time pressure.
• Construct the total story in your mind around one main character.
• If 2-3 ideas come to mind, then choose the one which is most relatable to the picture and best.
• Write the story only after it has been completely and clearly formulated in your mind.
• There should be just one main issue in each story which should be resolved by the main character. Example: If the story is about helping an accident victim then aspects like giving first aid, evacuation to the hospital, informing the family of the injured are only required. Please do not try to impress with something extra like how the main character later worked for accident prevention.
• The Stories should be completed. Examples: If a student began to prepare for the IAS exam then he should be shown as having joined the IAS training. If a person is shown treating a patient, then the story should end only once the patient is cured.
• The stories should be practical: Let us take an example of a picture in which a young lady is shown filling water in a pitcher.
• Some aspirants write that the lady was taking drinking water from a lake. This is wrong because drinking water can be taken only from running streams and not lakes/ponds.
• Some aspirants write that the lady had to walk 5 km to fetch drinking water. This will involve a 10 km walk for water which is impractical. Please just visualize that if the lady had to do this in summer then at least over one liter she will need to drink herself!
• The stories should relate well to the pictures. Examples:
• In a picture of a cemetery when someone is shown in a European dress then names should be like, “Sam and Mary” and not “Mohan and Geeta”.
• In a picture of a kid standing next to an elderly sick lady on bed the kid’s age should be interpreted correctly and not stated that he was a college going male.
•Unnecessarily Positive Stories. Some aspirants on being shown a dead body would construct a story in which some drama is going on to avoid talking about death. It should not be done. Write correctly whatever is shown and the main character should thereafter get his/her life back on track along with that of his/her family.
•PPDT Details. At times aspirants write the number of characters, their age, sex and mood and the title of the story in TAT. It is not required and is a waste of time.
• Long Names. It makes sense to keep short names like “Sita, Geeta, Hari and Ram”, rather than “Kesar Singh Shekhawat” to save time.
• Names of Several Characters. It is sensible to give name to only the main character rather than naming all the characters shown in the picture. For example, if a picture shows three boys and two girls, then naming each one of them would be a bad idea. It would be better to write: “Hari and his class-mates were tasked to organize the annual college fair and they —–“
•Protagonist Does Not have to be Your Gender & Age. A lot of aspirants have this misconception that the protagonist has to be of the same gender and age as the aspirant. This is a poor idea. For example, if in the picture a young school girl is shown then you as a 22-year-old male should not write a story about the girl’s elder brother, who is not shown in the picture, but about the young girl only.
• Planting Characters from Outside. Example: If in a picture a sick elderly male is shown along with a lady who could be his wife/daughter and the aspirant is a male, then he should not plant a male character as the son of the ill father, who does —-. The story should be written with the wife/daughter as the protagonist.
• Stories Do Not have to Relate to Your Life Experiences. There is another popular misconception that the stories should be based on the aspirant’s life experiences. It should not be done. For example, if in a picture a courtroom is shown and the protagonist is apparently a female and the aspirant is an Electronics Engineer, then the protagonist should be written as a female lawyer only.
• 15 OLQs. There is another misconception that the 12 stories written must cover all the 15 OLQs. Please do not believe such ideas and do not bother about them at all. Aspirants believing this write stories something like this: “Ram was an obedient son, disciplined student and a very good sportsman. One day while he was going to college —-”. What should be written is, “While going to college Ram saw that an accident had occurred —“
• Display Secularism in Names. There was a misconception earlier that an aspirant should display his/her secular credentials by naming the protagonists as “Amar, Akbar and Anthony”. This is not required at all.
• “One Fine Day —”. A lot of aspirants are habituated to begin writing stories with, “One fine day Ram was got up in the morning and saw that his father had had a heart attack—“. Using this phrase, “one fine day” is quite irrational in this context. Please do not use it at all.
•Something Extra. A large number of aspirants have a misconception that if their stories are similar to others then they have to do something to standout. So they write somethings like these:
• “Post the accident, Ram went to the DC and did —-“.
• “Post the accident, Ram wrote the exam & topped it”.
Please do not write such things.
- Creating Problems and then Solving them. A very popular thumb rule of coached candidates is to visualize problems and then solve them. Examples:
- If a water body is shown, then they will write that someone was drowning and the protagonist saved him.
- If a railway platform, airport or bus-stand is shown then they will write about some crisis for some passenger, or bomb threat or theft, etc and then get it resolved by the protagonist.
- Unless a problem is shown in the picture it should not be created and then solved as stated in the above examples.
- Past-Present-Future Chronology. The past-present-future chronology applies to most pictures. Thus writing stories after visualizing as to what led to the present scene as depicted in the picture and then forecasting as to what would logically happen in the future is the correct way to write stories. This chronology will, however, not apply to all the stories. For example, if the picture shows such things:
- Award of degree.
- Award of a prize.
- Celebration of some achievement.
- Crowd cheering a winner.
In the above cases the celebration/receipt of award should be made the culmination of the story and not the middle part.