Mind this when Writing a Novel

Just days before I completed penning down the plot for my novel, one of my friends happened to bring this question in our chitchat:

What’s the most important thing that you must keep in mind when writing a novel?

The question was tricky because writing a novel isn’t an easy thing to do. Sure, a lot of people do it. Yet there are only a few whose names you continue to remember and recommend. The answer to the question my friend asked lies in understanding why we happen to recommend only a few names. I could have easily said what I have read in numerous blog posts. But I dissent from the thoughts shared in most of such posts. Here’s why…

Writing—any kind of writing, fiction or nonfiction—is like weaving. You have a lot of threads that you wish to connect into a meaningful, purposed way. If anything, you also need to get the correct color combination and create a pleasant pattern. A novel tells a story that contains a central plot and more than one (interdependent or independent) sub-plots. So long as you connect the colorful sub-plots to the central plot to create a pleasant pattern, you have my commitment despite how long a story you weave (read tell).

Then is it all about the story?

Yes, the story is one of the most important things that you should have to tell or share. But a novel isn’t only about the story. You may have the best story to tell. But if you don’t tell it the way people would like to listen to, then, sorry, you will lose your audience. I read a novel to relive the story I read. Based on the way it is described in the novel, I recreate it in my mind. And, I like to see the perfect picture.

So, it should be about how well you describe things. Right?

No. If it were only about descriptions, then academic and literary essays would tell you well-researched stories way better than novels would. Then, why would anyone even peep into the world of fiction? A description can only get you so far. Here’s another key for you: the description of gargoyles in Far from the Madding Crowd builds the story.

Well, then, it is about the content. After all, content is the king.

Yes, content trumps (pun not intended) everything else. Let me break this to you:

The most important thing to keep in mind when writing a novel is to find your voice.

Remember, it is your story. You choose to share it the way you speak. Be natural. Break this story to me in a way that, first, you intrigue me into a conversation, and then, hold on to my helplessness (in a good way) until you help me conclude it.

It is that simple; it is that difficult.

Posted in Creative Writing | Leave a comment

Mankading: The Case of Ethics vs Laws

Life is a curious case of choices. The choices make us who we are. The choices may or may not be ours, but they do influence us a great deal. But, as we look at it closely, life isn’t any different than the game. And, so aren’t the choices.

Such critical are the choices in the game that it can either make or break records or the name. One such case occurred in the latest game of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 when Ashwin’s KXIP defeated Rahane’s RR.

But before we get to the Mankading incident, here’s what the law states, “If the non-striker is out of his/her ground at any time from the moment the ball comes into play until the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the non-striker is liable to be run out.” The non-striker would be run out “whether or not the ball is subsequently delivered”.

The video footage suggests that though Ashwin did not give any warning to Jos Butler, he was right in saying that it was his “space.” We can see that in the footage, too. Ashwin was about to take the delivery stride when he whipped the bails off.

Here is the link to the video of what happened (Courtesy, ESPNCricInfo):  http://www.espncricinfo.com/core/video/iframe?id=26361862&endcard=false

For those who wish to go by the rules, Ashwin’s efforts meant that Royals lost a wicket and subsequently lost the match. For those who wish to go by the spirit of the game, well, we didn’t lose any hopes to see a good game until the last ball. We did see an exchange of words or two, but was that not a violation of the spirit of the game?

Mankading isn’t unlawful. It is disgraceful of the bowler unless he has given warnings. On the other side, it is just a disgraceful way for a batter to get out. Certainly, it is stupid for him to not be within the crease (read, starting point) as the ball is bowled. I mean, logically, you may stand outside of the crease when a fast bowler is bowling because you’d like to use that extra heads-up to complete a run on a close call. And, here Jos was on the spinner’s end. So, the extra step wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

Ashwin, in my opinion, should not have mankaded Jos. Had this been an international match or the IPL 2019 final match—thereby, being a critical case that demanded a critical solution—things would have been different. This was a league match of IPL. After all, winning important. But, winning still isn’t everything. I would have chosen to preserve the spirit of the game.

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Writer’s Chronicles – Episode 13

To Work or Not to Work

Episode 13 - To Work or Not to Work

For full resolution, visit: https://Pixton.com/ic:dx71nty8

Posted in Comics | Tagged , , ,

Vignettes of Writing

Writing is excitingly funny. Not because I mustered the courage of beginning this article with an equally funny use of an adjective. But because as a writer, you are that superhuman who gets the required attention without requiring to show up. That’s perfectly OK for the claustrophobic and utterly shy introvert within me. Writing is equally funny for the readers, too. Through your writing, they step into the world of someone else’s thoughts without losing the comfort of their chairs. That can also happen if your writing puts them to a sound sleep.

It is funny that writing, the act itself of weaving words together, is not funny at all. The consequential reading might be. But, to write is never funny. It involves a lot of work. Repetitive work. You get stuck to the same desk and same schedule for days, weeks, months, and (god forbid) years. Yet, you continue to dig out the priceless wisdom of doing and redoing the same stories as if your mind were a bottomless mine of never-ending thoughts.

I have been writing ever since I was a kid. In what I remember was my fourth grade, I wrote a small story of three kids who explore something amazing and go on to achieve their awesomeness forever. If only life was that easy! I will put this bluntly: beginning to write your thoughts down is the easiest part. Completing that train of thoughts is hard. Publishing that is even harder. And, writing on how to write is a topic that words wouldn’t do justice to. If only being a writer was that easy!

Yet we have countless writers who make their way through this seemingly endless journey of writing, rewriting, and publishing, to become overnight sensations and swim in money (You wish!), hoping to be someday the icons that give serious goals (and jealousy) to people around them. Quite often, a dull-looking kid, who frequented at the lonely sidewalk, struggling to find congruence of his own thoughts with those of others, eventually transforms into a celebrated writer. The fact is that words bring to us a lot more than mere messages. It is time we learn to weigh and honor our own words. Despite how we look at this world of writing, the writer’s ability to draw us out of ourselves, drown us into their own world, only to help us rediscover ourselves as better, more fulfilling individuals is awe inspiring. We can still safely call this end a happy beginning.

I met the writer in me when I was perched on the milestones in my little story. Who knows you, too, might if and when you choose to contemplate.

Happy writing.

Posted in Creative Writing | Tagged , , ,

भास असे हे भाषेचे

भास असे हे भाषेचे
एकाएक मी अनुभवले
कोठे भाग घेऊनि भागले
कोठे भाग देउनी उरले

एक असते ते वीट येणे
एक तो सर्वज्ञ उभा विटेवरी
कोणी विचारले भाव जगातले
कोणी सांगितले भाव मनातले

कर्मयोगी ने मान मिळवला
हठयोगीने मान ताटली
विषुववृत्त हे स्थान होऊनि
कवितेचे वृत्त जाहले

कोणी राग गायले
आणि कोणी राग दाखविले
कोणी माझी भेट घालती
मी कोणाला भेट दिले

सौंदर्य शब्दांचे तरीही
मला शेवटी असे कळले
दुपट्यात घेतले जेव्हां तिला मी
प्रेम तिचे दुपटीने ने मिळाले

Posted in Poetry | Tagged | 2 Comments

A Tug of War with Life

Of the two
Things to choose—
Between Love and Hate—
I’d neither love to hate nor hate to love.

Of the two
Days that lay—
Between birth and death—
I’d learn to live the present.

Of the two
States to choose—
Between doing and done—
I’d choose to continue to walk.

Of the two
Thoughts that strike—
To do or not to do—
I’d be happier even if I fail.

Of the two
Ways to be—
Within or without—
I’d endlessly gaze at horizons, seashores alike.

Of the two
Options, if there are—
Handshake or despair—
I’d meet my destiny with eyes wide open.
©Suyog Ketkar

Posted in Poetry | Tagged ,