Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My experiments with writing

My belief, right from the very beginning has been that being versatile is one of the key ingredients in the making of a good writer. I treat a writer as a musician, who dares to explore different styles, trying to fuse the good things he has learnt with his own innovations.

A person can be versatile only if s/he is willing to let the mind pervade the areas where they haven't been before. Though with time, one may discover that his/her real forte is in a particular genre, but surely, trying different things groom the narrative capabilities of a story-teller.

I started writing as a blogger, with diary-like entries that mostly concerned with already known philosophies, which obviously found no readers, so I moved to describing events - in which I found myself quite naturally gifted, since I could make them interesting, owing to my tendency to magnanimously exaggerate the story. Once started into events, I started penning down almost all the small incidents with a good amount of exaggerated spice in each of those episodes, which turned to incite my blog-pals, since they happened to like it.

This was the time of my peak confidence as a writer, though my experience lacked more experimentation. With ample confidence in my abilities, I decided that it's time to take the big step. It was the time I started writing my novel, with no intention to publish it at all, since I intended to have a short-novel, with oddly 12-13 chapters of 2 pages each. I intertwined all the funny incidents that I had ever heard/seen with an extraordinary contribution from my imagination to make the novel complete, but alas, the novel was no-more short, but rather a voluminous one with 33 complete chapters in it. Miraculously, it had its own destiny, because thereafter, one by one, many things happened, like my chance meeting with the publisher, the agreement and expansion of my work. I was more than happy.

I made sure that in my novel, which could actually be categorized as just-another-IITian novel, I would not exploit IIT's name on the cover. So I chose an IIT-free title and subtitle, despite all the previous IITians books by my publisher(that were just 2 at that time, compared to over a dozen currently) had those. I even didn't publicise my novel by putting up posters or something in the campus. I made a promotional video, but it didn't spread a lot, owing to my laziness at its promotion. But it found its own readers with time and sold more than 10,000 copies in just 6 months, becoming a national bestseller; 10000 copies being the current Indian standard to classify a 'bestseller'.

Once published, there came a time when I thought I needed to move on. I started noticing plots of stories in everyday life. Everywhere I could observe situations in which twists were possible. I started writing stories. On various themes like humour, sarcasm, emotions, love, twists, human nature, thriller, horror etc. If I now say that I consider myself as a writer, then it's not due to the fact that I am a published author, but because I have seen, breathed and breathed life into stories from in and around my life.

To all the aspiring authors and creative writers, the best suggestion I could give as a fellow writer is that write stories - you could see them almost floating all around you, and you can breathe life into them. You would learn so many intricacies of writing, once you start, such as - How you should start a story? How should you engross the reader to read the next line without getting bored? How should you end with a perfect punch? How you should unravel the mysteries? How to deliver the twist in the tale, with subtlety?

As time passed by, I started writing another book, so that brought me away from story-writing, but that could not stop me from seeing the plots of stories floating around. I've around 35 plots of short-stories in my head currently. The best thing that my life with stories has given me is that now I can see plots for novel, with as many as 7 of them being in my head currently. There is a subtle difference between the plots of stories and plots of novels i.e. the novels have a very long middle, where as it's quite short in the case of stories. So, it gets a little more difficult to enrapture the reader, keeping his/her interest alive throughout the middle in case of a novel.

Half-way down with my second novel, which was not the sequel, but it was with a really unique theme with a novel within a novel; I felt a little bit uneasy. Because my big-ambitious novel was set in a city in which I had never been, with the protagonist as an entrepreneur, that I had not been that time; and being married, that I would definitely not be in the recent time. So I decided to stop. I had written around 31,000 words, but I decided for good, that I needed to stop, since I was not doing any good in pursuing something that requires a broader panorama.

In the meanwhile, I got into poetry. The best thing about poetry was it didn't hinder my story-telling spirit, since all of my poems had either a story to tell or an emotional recount. Somewhere around this time, I got interested into limericks(which are five-line funny poems) and crafted many of those in my notebook, while idling in the lecture theatres.

Facebook gave a strange gift to me. It polished my skill in word-play. I started writing one-liners, which sometimes were profound or witty, or sometimes just mere play of words. This gave me a strange familiarity, since I now knew writing from a completely different perspective. A story can be told in even one-line. How's that for a story? It gave birth to my business idea and made me realize that all the ideas - be it design, literary, artistic or business lie on the same plane of existence, one just needs to change the perspective to catch it.

I started up and am enjoying a lot as a content writer for my website. Meanwhile, urged by my readers, with more than 1000 mails in my inbox asking me to write the sequel to my incomplete first book, I decided to give it a go. In a day, I got the plot. For your information, the word 'got the plot' means knowing how you're going to end the story, since once you know how you're going to end, everything falls into place. So, I started writing the sequel around 1.5 months ago, which clashed with my venture, and I had been fighting really hard to get a state of being with completely uncluttered mind and no tasks on head, so that I continue with the mammoth task with passion. It's currently at 8,000 words and would require almost a month of dedicated efforts to give it the shape of a book.

That's all from my 3 years writing journey. A journey that'll never end. Since a writer never quits writing, he keeps writing - sometimes his destiny and sometimes, history.

Just for interest:
Graffiti - My Stories Blog
Witty Shit - My One-liner Blog
Quantum Leap - My Old Travelogue
Oops! 'I' fell in love! - The Story of Making of my Novel

P.S. To write is to live - with all the characters of all the worlds.


SUGANDHA said...

Made for an engrossing read and surely a worthy experience to count upon, for upcoming writers. Got to know a lot of new things too.

Raviteja said...

It isn't just the story of your novel but those insights you gained durin' your journey was a person who breathes life into plots and plays with words for bringin' life in HIStories ;)

Buzz said...

@ Sugandha - :)
@ Raviteja - Well, nice word play there in HIStories. :D