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Updated: October 16, 2013 15:47 IST
my space

Of not much help…

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Can I write or can I not? Photo: K.R. Deepak
The Hindu Can I write or can I not? Photo: K.R. Deepak

A self-help book helps rid this writer of the illusion of being a writer…

I have always believed that I am meant to be a writer. Not just any writer but a celebrity one. And I realised that now was the time to realise my dream.

I promptly started the computerand opened a new document. I had the idea for the prologue all sorted out in my head so I started typing. I personally considered it too good to be tampered with. Now only 198 or so pages remained to be written.

After this brilliant victory I thought maybe I should surf the net and look for some publishers. I came across a site that offered advice for novice writers. A book comes out of you; you don’t put it together like a block house. I was curious though to know whether all authors agreed with him. So I got a few creative writing books from the library and started reading them. To my surprise they all said nearly the same thing. ‘Start with a bang’, ‘have conflict in every scene’, ‘show, don’t tell’ and something along these lines.

I didn’t even know my protagonist’s profession yet! One of them even went on to say ‘page 55-57 should have the first plot point (what in God’s name is that?) and page 170-175 the other.’ Is she talking about novels or algebra? To tell you the truth I was a little unsettled by now. I thought I should look for more help and so went to a bookstore and bought myself — A Self-Help Guide For Writing Novels. After writing 500 words in keeping with the book’s suggestions, I realised what I had written was utter crap. I had no idea what had gone wrong. I had followed every bit of advice to the letter. The story began with a dead body (the hook), the setting was described in less than eight lines (brevity of description) and it was full of conflict (shown, not told) through the medium of dialogue and action (interspersed, not separate). Everything was perfect. Only it was bad!

I realised after all maybe I am not made for writing novels: “No, she was definitely not cut out to be a writer. ‘I give up!’ So saying she threw her laptop out of the window which landed with a bang, about two feet outside the compound wall. The end.”

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