Hello and welcome. If you are an aspiring author and already knows ‘what’ to write, you must be wondering about the ‘how’ and that’s why I thought to introduce this new series where I’ll bring you the tips from the mavericks of the field and who could be the better choice other than Shatrujeet Nath sir.
Shatrujeet Nath is the creator of the runaway national bestseller series Vikramaditya Veergatha, a four-book mytho-fantasy arc which includes The Guardians of the Halahala, The Conspiracy at Meru and The Vengeance of Indra. Described as “a new face to Indian mythology” by DNA, Shatrujeet writes for movies and web shows as well. His debut novel is The Karachi Deception, an Indo-Pak spy thriller.
So without wasting any of your time, here are the five points from the author.
- Pick the Right Story: Writing a book is a long and tedious process. I would probably never have written my first book had I known it would take five months to write the first draft. And then another three to write the second. What kept me going was my excitement with the story. This was a story that I wanted to tell, so I kept going back to it, eager to get it right. Had I not been so keen on the story, I might just have junked it at the halfway stage, deciding it was too much work. This happens a lot with aspiring authors, and that’s only because they’ve picked a story that doesn’t really excite them. Don’t be that author, please.
- You Are the Inspiration: ‘Aaj mood nahin hai.’ ‘I am not getting any inspiration to write.’ These are just some of the excuses we offer ourselves when we sit down to write and can’t seem to go beyond the first two sentences. If you are serious about becoming a professional writer, the first thing you have to understand is that writing has nothing to do with ‘mood’ and ‘inspiration’. Writing is all about planting your backside in a chair and writing – and hoping that the words and thoughts and ideas will flow. That is the order in which things happen in this business. And if you stay planted in that chair long enough, words, thoughts and ideas will come along like obedient children. Remember, inspiration follows effort.
- Surprise Your Reader: Part of the joy of reading a book – any book, and not necessarily a whodunit – is being constantly surprised by the story in pleasant ways. There must be something new that the reader discovers every fifteen or twenty pages, and this is what keeps her hooked to the tale. You, as an author, must learn to stagger the surprises in such a manner that there is something new for the reader till the very end. This is something that I try and do as much and as far as possible in my stories.
- Timing is Everything: A story is essentially a series of events that occur in parallel, or in consequence to other events. Something happens, which leads to something else, which results in something else happening. The structuring of events in your tale can be linear or non-linear, the plot can begin in the middle and go back and then come forward again – the story can be told in multiple ways. But whichever structure you choose, what remains constant is how much importance (time and space) you give to each event / scene / occurrence in your story. Stretch a scene too long and it loses its tension. End a scene too quickly and it loses its impact. Bloated dialogue ruins the power of what is being said, while poorly-detailed characterization / description denies your reader information that will help form a clear picture about the person /place you are describing. Learn how to play with space and time in your writing.
- Nothing is Black and White: Readers often tell me that one of the things they like most about my Vikramaditya Veergatha series is how every character has flaws, and has an agenda of his or her own. This is something that I have actively worked towards. Even my hero, the virtuous Vikramaditya, is flawed in that sense – because in someone’s point of view, he is thinking and acting wrong. Flaws and agendas make fictional characters human and relatable. And when characters have agendas, they become unpredictable, which adds to drama and suspense. When characters are grey, the story becomes colourful.
Feeling inspired and want to connect with the author? Please do that right now!
We’ll soon be back with another set of tips. Till then keep writing, keep reading!