I am an emerging communication professional who has been writing since the age of 11 years hoping that one day I will have written a book. Strangely enough, it took 15 years and then, only when life hit me real hard, that I got to putting together my first book.
Growing up in a modest Indian family, I have had a humble education first to be an engineer and then to do communication. In my short but continuing working life, I have had the chance to be a software engineer, a PR executive, an assistant professor, communication coach, pre sales consultant and a marketing associate.
‘You Adored, Me Ignored’ is my first book.
What inspires you to write?
Oh, that’s a tough question!
Its like asking what makes me breathe. I have never asked myself this. All I know is, the day I do no writing or reading is a day I feel restless and discontent. Even if it is a simple sentence, I have to put it down in words and ponder on it.
But yes, it does happen that an out of the blue development, one snatch of a conversation and colourful people instantly give the impetus to think- what if- and then I end up writing. However, this inspiration is merely fleeting in nature. Otherwise, it seems to be something that is deeply ingrained in me.
Tell us about your writing process.
Both. No, am not being diplomatic. That is how it is.
Once I have a few ideas, I need to start giving it some shape so that it develops the potential to be become a good story. That is the first point where outlining helps. The next thing it helps in is during the revision of the manuscript. You see, outlining helps you dissect the story by picking any of the perspective which in turn helps in strengthening the narration.
On the other hand, if I had to do something like a NaNoWriMo, then my focus would be more from the aspect of being on the seat of the pants writer since the goal here is to be spontaneous and finish within a timeline. It is more about developing discipline.
Personally, I work do outlining using pen and paper- very traditional! Of course, simple softwares like Mind Maps are also good. But it does not help me feel deeply involved with the story. So I only use it when I do workshops or presentations.
Character Sketches- umm. No, as yet I have not tried getting them sketched on paper. I only do a mental sketching and then try translating that into words. But I believe the central point here is to have a very clear idea about the who, what and why of the characters in the story. Not only does it make writing the story easier, it also makes the reading interesting.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Ah, how I love this question! And am so, so glad that you have asked
Indeed, I need to listen to my characters talk and even see them in action before I feel compelled to write it all down. Its more like I put the questions or situations before them and wait for their reactions. If I don’t like it or say, the results lead me no where, then I put the questions in another way or change the situation.
Sometimes- and that happens one I have progressed with a character very far- I let them tell me what they want to do and then I write that down. More like flipping the roles!
And yes, there are also times when I become the characters myself to see if I can make a headway. But can’t say this approach has helped much!
The best is to let them do all the talking and doing while I just listen and make note of it all.
Trust me, it feels wonderful to go to sleep with them, wake up with them and live through the day as well. Of course, once the story is complete, they go away automatically. There aren’t any good byes. And then I begin to feel a little void inside.
But that’s only until the next character pops up!
What advice would you give other writers?
Think more and have self discipline. All accomplished writers have been able to produce their great works because of these aspects, amongst other things.
I do hear a lot on the lines of ‘I write on the spur of the moment, it comes from the heart’ kind and most of them are from ones who are yet to develop even the basics of their craft. As a result it shows in their writing. If your intention is to do writing as a hobby, then this is fine. But not for serious writing.
That requires practice, thinking and discipline. Its almost like a full time job. And like any other full time job where you work hard to be better and earn more, this too needs sincere efforts.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Well, given that I was not even considering to publish my first book, it actually did not matter to me as to how the book should be published. That it had made the publisher’s cut and was considered worthy of it, in itself had encouraged me and kept me happy.
But with the next ones that I would like to publish, its likely to be different.
It is very important to have done good homework on the many publishing houses out there before zeroing in on a few. This is important- having an eye on ‘a few’ rather than on just 1-2 of them, because they are all that you have heard about and they are everywhere. Now, from this list of few, its good to shortlist and eliminate some more and then pitch your work to the ones that remain on your list.
The secret here would be in deciding what criteria you would use to do this elimination.
It could be anything- on what promo plans are being offered, how good and strong is the editing and designing, distribution, reach, friendly or the communicativeness or the advance or royalty that is being offered. It could also be the list of authors that they already have with them or their brand name.
Whatever it is, it is advisable to be very clear on what you want once the book is ready to be put out to the world and then go out to find.
The same goes when one chooses to approach agents as well.
As to self publishing, unless the sole intention behind publishing a book is for the sake of vanity, I wouldn’t advice it to anyone.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Certainly it is going to be more dynamic and creative, opening up and providing options like never before. But an equally important question related to this would be what of the promotion. In fact that is what I would be worried about. Earlier this was not much of a problem since there were fewer books out. But now everyday sees dozens of titles being presented out. There is a clutter. So obviously, as the future of book publishing gets brighter and wider, the promos also have to follow suit and complement it.
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?
Link To ambalika Page On Amazon