Thursday, November 24, 2011

Book Writing - Pointers on the Misfit

A couple of things stood out while discussing the Misfit with Keerti Ramachandra my editor. Things that every writer who is writing a novel could keep in mind. This is what came up for me.

1) 'Show' and not 'tell': I tend to describe the situation and 'tell' the reader what happened instead of showing the reader through 'acts' of the characters.

2) Cut down on adjectives, adverbs: I tend to use too many adjectives - a malady that afflicts most Indian writers Keerti says - and I have used up to five in a sentence in one place. One appropriate one would do or none at all.

3) Like in screenplays use 'action': Verbs are best to sustain interest because everyone wants to know what the characters are 'doing' and then understand them from that perspective. Again that showing instead of telling.

4) Consistent Point of View: There are times when the POV slips from the central character to others and one must be careful to keep it consistent. Even if the POV moves to others it had better be deliberate and not confusing.

5) Building background stories for each character: The importance of this cannot be undermined. In my earlier draft I had the characters in place but they were too one dimensional. But this time I wrote down their family backgrounds, their origins, caste, community, jobs, ages, likes and dislikes and then I could see how easy it was to write about their conflicts in day to day life. These stories are a must before one starts writing to add depth and flavour to the characters.

6) Driving around the central point: However wonderful the writing may be, it must drive to a central point. Why and where the characters are headed is most important. This cannot be left loose just because we like certain things about them, certain descriptions or jokes or stuff like that. If in the end analysis it appears that it is drawing attention away from the central idea, snip it off ruthlessly.

These came up. I actually did a small interview with Keerti which I will put up soon which has some basic advise for any writer to take care of before approaching a publishers or an editor.


Surya Prakash said...

Harimohan garu,

So nice of you that you share these important conversations.

We are inspired.

Sure, "Misfit" will be a great hit.

With best wishes,

Surya Prakash.

Harimohan said...

Thanks Prakash garu.