No doubt about it, it is very difficult to resume writing after a long hiatus. Having lost my soul mate, I find no reason or inspiration to write. It is not a writer’s block but a writing block. I do not know where and how to start.
I can but try.
In an earlier blog, “MY-JOURNEY-INTO-WORLD-OF-WRITING-V”, I wrote about my experiments and experiences with writing my first crime thriller “The Kidnap”. I am happy to announce its publication - along with two other novels of mine “Embers of the Pyre” and “Misogynist Interrupted” – during Pongal i.e. mid-January 2017. It is an exhilarating experience to see one’s creation in print with a beautiful cover page.
My next venture was “Embers of the pyre”, which was untitled initially, too!
As I described in an earlier episode, sticking to one genre is anathema to me. Even while writing The Kidnap, I had decided upon the topics of my next two novels; one was to be a supernatural-cum-crime thriller (Embers of the pyre) and the other a serial killer drama (Misogynist Interrupted).
I shall let you into a secret. Handling a supernatural story is relatively easy in comparison to other genres (the most difficult genre, to me, is a comedy.) For this genre (supernatural thriller) a threadbare storyline is sufficient unless a strong, well-researched, and plausible storyline is already available e.g. The Omen by David Seltzer. Even The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty falls short on this count with just the possession and exorcism of an 11-year old girl as the storyline.
However, mine was to be a supernatural-cum-crime thriller. Now, that was an entirely different kettle of fish, babu moshai! There had to be a plausible, logical storyline for this mixed genre; merely throwing in a few imagination-on-the-loose, wild, horror scenes would not do.
‘Embers of the pyre’ is not a horror story per se like those in movies or novels. Without revealing the (alleged) suspense, I shall briefly outline the storyline. It comprises two parts of a story, which are seemingly unconnected, set in different periods in time. However, as the narrative progresses, one connects with the other.
In the first part, inexplicable supernatural events happen in the idyllic life of a female photojournalist. Her quest for the truth, with the help of an exorcist, brings her face to face with a horrible crime.
In the second part, which is a chronologically earlier event, a relation between the event and the photojournalist slowly unravels itself, culminating in a shocking denouement.
Once I decided upon the storyline, I embarked on the task of giving it a shape, a form. I wove a logical and plausible narrative around this central topic, added characters, scenes, and conversation. After several edits, the final draft turned out to be quite satisfactory. My complacency was not misplaced. My nephew and my daughter, who are erudite and never mince their words, remarked that ‘Embers of the Pyre’ was the best of my works.
With experience, I honed my style of narration to fast-paced story-telling, crisp dialogues, well-etched characterisation. I started dividing my chapters into short sections, moving fast from scene to scene. This practice yielded excellent results in the form of readers’ appreciation. (Some of the knowledgeable readers called it compartmentalisation, thus adding to my vocabulary.) I realised one axiom early in my journey that readers are smart and they hate being lectured at.
I write to entertain, not to educate.
My novels and short stories are woven around characters that are real-life and never lecture the readers on the rights and wrongs. To use a phrase from my nephew’s remarks on a short story of mine, my stories “…revolve around small families and never give sermons on good or bad - just about experiences.”
Well, that was the seventh episode of my journey into the world of writing. In my eighth, I shall deal with misogyny, I mean, my novel on a serial killer drama.