Saturday, April 14, 2012

Getting Stuck with a Novel – Just Me Complaining!

It's as if nothing is done, nothing accomplished. You start a novel and get stuck in the middle with indifferent health and…. And what? The novel stops being a part of your life because you feel you have given it too much attention and not attended to your body, your health. By now you feel the novel is part of you and you can't ditch it. But you look at the mirror: you have a stoop, your tummy bulges out, you get warnings and groanings from different parts of your body. Warnings you can't ignore. You wonder if the only time you get to write the novel – the lonely hour after you come home from work and have dinner – should be wasted this way and not talking to your wife and son. Can you afford to waste your life like that? Is it worth it?


What's the point of writing if creative expression is such a herculean task? Yes, it is. Writing good literature is very, very hard work. I mean to write like the masters you read and not the guylit or chicklit that goes as popular literature. You know a certain CB and his ilk. Personally I don't have anything against these writers or their writing if it is confined to its on genre. But to say it is great literature is way beyond my comprehension of what great literature should be.


The problem with bankers, managers, engineers and scientists who write stories is that they write as follows:


Example (1): a + b = c


They or, their brains have been trained to think rationally and scientifically. They can describe facile action on a very transactional level and not go deep. They can't get to the emotional level of the characters. For example they can't write as follows:


Example (2): Charming, witty, and by nature presentable "a" when he met the pretty though high-strung "b" at the software conference in Mumbai, they decided to get married because they thought they could make a life together. The product of their conjugal life was "c" a bright and inquisitive child.


You see the difference between 1 and 2? How the second example contrasts with the first?


Just now I surfed to a site that has novels like "Forever Love," and "Only Love" by seventeen year old kids. It's kind of a game for them, I mean, writing these novels. It's an extension of the pranks they do. It's not serious literature, but the publisher claims he is publishing quality literature. What quality? So what does it say about Indian Writing in English (IWE)?


These days writing is a very simple task. Technology has made it so. You can key in your story in a computer and edit it. The procedure is simple. You aren't expected to write on foolscap lined paper and maintain old versions of corrected copy. This simplicity has added to the list of people with spare time who want to be writers. Of course, they should write. But have they read the masters? If they don't understand them, have they made an attempt? Have they gone through millions of words before they attempted to write?


I don't know. I let it stand at that. But, sure, I am going ahead with the novel, come what may.


I am @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. I blog here. View my Youtube Channel Page here.

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