What I did not know about writing.


Why do people write? Specifically, why do I write?

I will speak for myself. Mainly because I am a newbie and have no standing in the world of authors. There is just one book to my name “The Village of Shadows”. Got that published on 26-Dec-2019.

Now I wonder why I wrote that book. What made me write it, set it down on paper. My honest answer is I do not know. It emerged by itself from a short story I wrote years ago. And then ignored. But on reading it again, the characters sprang up like grass. Without my permission. I wondered about the Village I knew so well in my youth and the ordinary folks who lived there.

The dynamics of novel writing was beyond me. But I slogged on with the short story in my mind. But soon I realized that the characters you create have thoughts and sentiments of their own. They reveal themselves to you and after a chapter or two (or three) they live on their own. They declared independence and my job became that of a chronicler. I observed with amazement when The Munshi came back alive from the hospital where I had sent him to die. Trust me. He did that on his own. After that, the story changed and took off on its own, scattering the plan I had in my mind.

So much then for plot and scenes. I did not even have an outline except in my mind. Then I started reading about novels and structuring and plotting and creating scenes. About conflict-resolution scenarios.

What is the most important part of the novel before we write it? The storyline. Even if you cannot put it into a single sentence, even if the idea seems bizarre to the point of being stupid, let the characters go. This is only possible if you are yourself deep in the story’s territory. Only if you feel the pain and stress of the characters. Only if you can be part of their daily life.

Even then they will surprise you; the people who populate your story.

The first publisher rejected the Novel. And took away much of my self-esteem. And maybe pride. Now I have two more books in the hands of the publisher.

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