Friday, June 10, 2011
Are we Making the Correct Writing Moves?
Not just books, I like to read author interviews too. Few years back when one Indian writer won the Booker Prize, there was a long interview of the author in a popular magazine. This was the author’s second book. Her first book did create a hullabullo, as her mother was a very famous writer and she had a famous last name. The writer openly admitted that her book had been written with the Booker Prize in mind. Her dad had gifted her the last ten year’s Booker prize winning books.
After reading all the prize winning books, she realized what kind of stories, writing styles and themes appealed to the jury and the judges. Then, started her long and uphill task of writing a book that would appeal to the judges. Her book was rejected by several publishers abroad. One New York Editor called it the most miserable book she had read. The book was finally published after it had been chopped from 800 pages to 350 pages. The book sold very few copies until it was shortlisted for the Booker. And, when it won the coveted prize, the sales touched the sky. Now, this author has an advance of 2.7million pounds for her next book.
This got me thinking that like a chess player this particular author planned her writing career, she knew exactly where she wanted to go. Though she met with the initial rebuffs, ultimately, she not just succeeded but is laughing all the way to the bank and has also been taken seriously.
Though, I had read her interview few years back, I don’t know why it was flashback time now. Perhaps there is a message for all of us in this. By now, most of us know the genre we want to write, and the kind of stories we are capable of writing. We all are in this for the long haul. It’s not just one book I am talking about. It’s definitely more than one.
I think its time we all too planned a writing strategy. I am not sure whether I am making the correct writing moves. I do have a writing agenda in mind, at the moment its to get my next lot of books published.
But, I have plans of reading a lot of books in my genre; seeing why few worked and why the others didn’t work (I already do that). I would also like to read the books that were made into movies. What was their appeal? Why the characters worked?I have started reading a lot of writing craft books to help me create better plots.
Are you all planning your writing moves with the precision of a chess player? Or, are you just swimming with the flow? What do you think of the above author planning her career by making all the moves that made her achieve her goal. Do you think what she did was right?