Most people think that a writer’s life is easy. That
story ideas just pop into our minds, that characters constantly whisper their
stories in our ears and that plot points just slip into our minds and all that
we writers do is jot down these conversations and voila we have a story to
These people have never heard of making notes on settings,
created character traits, written down the plot points or created a vile
villain. Nor have these people worked on voice and story arc.
One thing that always amazes me is that people think
we writers can write anytime. I will explain. An aunt of mine invited my mom
to spend the day with her, she asked me to join them. I excused myself saying I
had to write. “Oh, you can write any time,” she said. These people are under
the misguided impression that writing does not need time or effort.
I wanted to tell her how did she expect me to write
after spending a day in her company, gathering gossip about the entire town. If
I had accepted her invitation, my entire day would have gone down the drain. It’s
not that I am averse to spending the day out (I go out a lot with my friends
and family) but it’s only for a few hours, a quick lunch and a movie or a long
lunch. And I always make it a point to write before I leave so that I have done
some word count for the day.
A friend had heard that a writer took four years to
write her 396 page novel. “So long,” my friend said. “Did she write one paragraph a
day?!” Yes, it takes some writers such a long time. Most people forget the fact
that the book went on to win the Booker Prize.
And another thing people don’t understand is that it
takes us writers such a long time to get our books published. They think all
that we writers do is write a story and submit. And publishers and agents all
over the world are just waiting for our manuscripts. And that next morning we
are having breakfast waving our six figure cheque in air and the week after
that we are sitting in our bean bags reading our published books.
Honestly, some people never understand or even try
to understand what a writer’s or for that matter what any creative person’s
life is all about. Have you all encountered such people? What is the silliest thing a
person has asked you or assumed about you?
P.S. My next post will be the IWSG post on Wednesday, 4th February. I need this time to meet a deadline for one of my books. Till then Happy Writing.
In March I will be completing five years of
blogging. So far I have stuck only to writing related topics, never straying
even a little distance away. I am sure I must have bored many of you to tears
with my non-stop blabbering about writing, story, characters, plots etc. It’s a
huge achievement for me that you all have stuck to me inspite of that.
When I am on a blog break, my mind meanders towards
many of you all. I wonder if Alex is playing his guitar or visiting his 200th
blog of the day, then I think of my crit partner Mark and whether he has had any publisher interest for his MS, whether Lynda is making inroads with her game development,
then I think of Rahul and wonder which new destination he has blogged about, or
I groan about missing Alka’s latest post or wonder what Rajesh is up to. As most
of my blog buddies have become my good friends, they occupy my mind space. We
have celebrated each other’s success, groaned at the near misses and generally
stuck together through the years.
But this year, I want to do things differently. I
want to get to know all of you a little better. And by that I mean getting to
know you all not just as a writer or a blogger, but as a person. Honestly, other
than your writing interests, I don’t know what keeps you all ticking.
I will start with myself. I have always wanted to
try scuba diving, learn to cook different cuisines and learn a new language or
two (which I am bad at). I definitely want to travel not just abroad but also in
India. There are so many amazing places in India (Hampi, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Goa,
Pondicherry, Rishikesh, Coorg). I have only heard about these places, I want to
visit them all. I have also been thinking of doing a script writing course. If
I get over my fear of needles, I would love a tattoo (a small one). And I would
also love to learn baking (my cakes and cookies are just about edible),
especially my favourite: brownie. I would also like to try gardening (though I am not much of a green thumb girl).
What about you all? What are things you want to do?
Places you want to visit? Learn new things? Maybe streak that hair or go for a
new style? I want to know it all.
Since it's the first IWSG post of 2015, we are supposed to re-introduce ourselves (in 100 words) for all new members. I write Middle Grade Fiction with elements of Fantasy. I have written a few Picture Books, but MG Fiction suits my style more. My writing tends to have lots of humor in it. My blog topics usually capture all aspects of writing. I write features and do book reviews for two Indian newspapers and teach creative writing in college. I started my writing career with short stories. 80 of my short stories have been published. I am planning to concentrate on a YA novel this year. And I just cannot do without chocolates, brownies and ice-creams.
Writers Support Group) an online group of writers gives me a chance to air all
my writing worries, fears, doubts and anxieties, with other writers who almost
always share similar fears and doubts. IWSG members post on the first Wednesday
of every month.
IWSG was started by Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh
(the author of the Amazon Bestsellers: CassaStar, CassaStorm and CassaFire and
the upcoming Dragon of the Stars). To download a free copy of the IWSG’s book ‘Guide
to Publishing and Beyond’ visit the IWSG website for details. To read the IWSG posts click here.
This month my main concern is regarding bad reviews.
A book I read and was supposed to review has got three okay reviews. The fourth
one is so harsh that the reviewer has trashed the book. Infact, I felt that the
reviewer was being nasty and rude by trying to run down the story, writing,
plot, characters, editing and even the character names. Except for the book
cover, she hardly had anything good to say about the book. The reviewer did
mention that the writing was competent and that there were some truly entertaining
bits (I thought this addition was to soothe the author’s ruffled feathers).
According to the reviewer, she felt a sense of déjà
vu when she read the book as it reminded her of Roald Dahl’s Matilda and
Rowling’s Harry Potter. She said the story was hackneyed, the character names
concocted, editing was said to be lazy (she has even given examples of the lazy
editing), the length of the book was said to be too long, the action begins too
late and there was no real resolution and the ending was predictable. The
reviewer ended the review saying that the book was a bit of a bore and a
derivative one at that.
I am wondering what if someone reading that
particular review decides not to read the book. The review would put someone
off the book. I felt very bad and sad for the writer.
I want to ask you all a question, if you were to
review a book that you did not like, how would you all have reviewed it? Would
you all have trashed it on all fronts? I would love to know what you all would