Friday, November 11, 2011

If I were to Write with my Mother Beside Me

If  ever I were to write with my Mother sitting beside me, issuing instructions  then it would spell literary catastrophe. Because the kind of stories mom reads are definitely not the kind of stories I write.

 Mom loves romances. I don’t write that genre. Though I don’t mind a good romance  once in a while, I am past that age where I swoon over the hero’s gorgeous looks and sigh every time the hero/heroine come near for a liplock.

She loves simple stories with less characters. For me unless there are 35 to 45 characters in my manuscripts I feel lonely. Writing Middle Grade Fiction based in schools makes it easy to add so many characters. Too many characters and mom loses track of them. She has to keep going back to refresh her memory.

Mom loves Happily Ever After. I really don’t care who dies at the end of a book. I just love a good story. But if my reader is anything like my mother, then God forbid if my story has an unhappy ending. That would be sacrilege, a violation of rights. How could I do that to her? She has taken out time to read my book and I cheated her by depriving her of a happy ending! How could I? How dare I?

She loves a clear ending. Many of the endings of my short stories are ambiguous and left to the readers’ imagination and she has often cribbed that she was confused by them.

She hates heavy doses of love scenes.  Fortunately for me, MG fiction really doesn’t give me a chance to explore that area. I will have to think of that when I write a novel.

Mom has cursed authors who have belittled their countries. Several award winning authors have met her disapproval for running down our motherland and showing us in a bad light. I agree. I would hate to run down my country just so that some publishers publishes my work.

If the story tugs mom’s heart strings and plays with her emotionally then she will rave about the book to everyone she meets. The writer can and should hire her to market the book as you just cannot get a better publicist than mom.

Strong and well rounded characters with an inherent sense of honesty, loyalty and dignity who abide by truth and decency win her over. She loves to see the moral fibre in her characters.

Characters who love and respect not just their elders, but every human they come across meet her approval. My characters are all brats.  Who play pranks on their loved ones.  Mom sure won’t be rooting for them.

If I were to write with my mom in mind, I would have to create a super virtous character, who has absolutely no or very few vices, who has never harmed anyone not even a mosquito, and who can be called an angel.

What about you all? If you were to write with a loved one sitting beside you and subtly guiding you, what are the things you would avoid in your manuscripts? What are the things you would be adding to the character and story? Please share, it will be fun to read the way your loved ones guide your writing.

PS: Mom very graciously allowed me to upload one of her favourite pictures of her and Dad.


  1. Rachna, that was surely a post deserving applaud! At home, my wife is my critic and I share the subject I like to write, with her! I generally like to write on lesser trodden path but it may not happen always! :(

  2. well honestly i am not about to how go on with how will i be writing with my beloved around me but, if i would write keeping in my mind about my best friend, who have been my guide all the way than i would go on with happy ending tales with lots of fun and no more tears and trouble of life...Mam your post like always has given me new ideas to work over the writing...and your Mom and Dad are looking awesome together.....

  3. I mentioned in BREAKTHROUGH my protagonist's parents were killed. This was necessary as it turns out in OPENING they were murdered. This leaves the door open for yet another book as my main character unravels what and who did this. So I think my parents would have me write something different.

  4. I do not write for my mom either! She really would not get what I do. It's both a generational thing and a cultural thing. Though I love her to bits, my writing and my mom are not in the same sphere.

  5. 35-45 characters is insane. I would be right next to your mother with a spreadsheet trying to keep track.

    My first book was easy to write, it's a good fun all around adventure story. Book two of the series is much darker and tragic. It was very hard to write the last 20,000 words or so when things are at their worst.

    I know my older sister is going to disown me when she reads it. My mom when she was reading it made the comment that she had to put it down about half way through because she thought I was going to kill off one of the main characters. Inside my mind I was like 'Oh crap, you haven't read nothing yet.' The only thing I could tell her was "The good guys don't win this one"

  6. @ mom usually reads my stories when they get published, not before. I dare not take the risk of making mom read anything before its published.

    @ are lucky to have a best friend who encourages you in your writing.

    @ Stephen...your books sound wonderful. Its very rare that people close to us will love the kind of books we write. I am fascinated with the way you have planned your Trilogy.

    @ Lydia..same here. Though I love my mom a lot too, she does not get either my writing or reading. She constantly tells me, "why can't you read something soothing instead of the thrillers and murder mysteries I devour.

    @ SBJones..though there are many characters in my books, they all have small roles to play other than the protagonist and her close friends. I don't know why mom tends to get confused; I think its because she takes her own time to read the books and then tends to forget the characters. Your books sound great.

  7. age gap comes into play... and 35-45 characters... ooo too much :P

    Weakest LINK

  8. Your mom sounds...well like a mom...and a great and interesting one at that. It always seem nature makes us the opposite of our parents in some ways, but that adds spice to life. Maybe someday you'll write about you and her;)

  9. Lovely photo. My hubby critiques my writing, Rachna. And I always want him to, yet when he does I exclaim, "Think you can write better?" Ha! I really do value his input.

    35 to 40 characters are a lot for middle grade, Rachna.

    *waving to your mom*

  10. Your mom seems really sweet!

    My husband likes thrillers, so I'd have to write something fast-paced with lots of shocking twists and turns for him. :)

    Have a great weekend, Rachna!

  11. "My characters are all brats." That cracked me up! One of my mom's favorite books, an mine, was Bridges of Madison County, so our tastes are a bit similar!

  12. Your parents are so graceful and your mom is quite like me...But it is the brats which make the story interesting.

  13. Ah, I understand: it would be like me collaborating with my wife.

  14. Your mom is a beautiful woman. If I were writing for my Mom, it would have to be all romances which would really suck as sex scenes make me squirm. I am not very good at them. She certainly will not want to read my book as it's got some graphic violence. Mom is an registered nurse and has always avoided violence in books and t.v. because she's had to deal with the consequences of violence so often in emergency rooms.

  15. @ Rachit..yes, its the age gap and also because of different tastes in literature.

    @ Mark..Mom and I are quite alike and have quite a bit in common, but I feel she likes emotional stories while I prefer ones that tread on racy territory.

    @ Robyn...I am consciously trying to restrict the number of characters in my books. But, books based in schools with classroom scenes do have a tendency to gather more characters.

    @ Laura..I too love thrillers :)

    @ Julie...Mom and I have few books in common. Books that we have read more than once.

    @ said it..its the brats who make the story interesting.

    @ Dave...thank god our loved ones don't really influence our writing.

    @ Victoria..even I am not very good with romances, though there is always an element of romance even in my MG books. But a hardcore romance has me shivering.

  16. What a great post...the person next to me who would criticize my writing would have to be my aunt. She says I do everything too fast. :) But I don't do things quickly, I do them a little faster because I am younger. Tee Hee

    Love your blog.

    New Follower.

    Stopping by to have a look around. Nice blog.


  17. Guess it just goes to show different books for different folks! That's why there are so many different kinds of writers out there :-) I can't write with my mom in mind,nor my husband. But now the grandkids? That's another story. I'm wondering what they will think of my children's books, when they get a little older :-)

  18. What a wonderful post. This has got me thinking...hmmm, if my mom were sitting beside me she would want me to write something "clean," i.e. no profanity or sexual content. And she'd want me to write some long saga, because she likes lengthy books. So I'd have to up the word count.

  19. My mum loves crime fiction. I don't write it. My step father doesn't understand fantasy. I write fantasy and scifi. Oh well. We can't please them all. However, I do believe they are proud of my writing. :)

  20. Wow, that was an amazing post where I got to learn a lot more about you and where you come from.

    If I wrote with my mother sitting beside me, my book would not exist. The idea of a story that looks at someone who breaks up arranged marriage would be as sacrilege as you writing an unhappy ending.

  21. Great photo and great post. How lovely to hear how the two of you differ in your preferences. Cute!
    I allow my hubby to read my stuff aloud to me, so that I can hear how it sounds it helps with the editing and rewriting. He likes blkie sci fi novels. I like sci fi mainly on TV I don't like the writing style of most of them usually.

  22. Rachna, first of all - LOVELY PARENTS. I stay away from the cuss words that I sometimes use and I'd not talk a whole lot about the husband - nothing bad at least!

  23. That’s a beautiful photo of your parents, Rachna! They are both very good-looking! I loved reading this post.