About My Writing Habits And Some Other Stuff

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Yesterday, my friend Ritwam Sen, as part of a comment thread on Facebook, asked me about my writing habits. Since I had been asked that question a few times before, in different contexts, I thought of writing a Facebook note. A few of you commented on that note wanting to know more. So here is a full blogpost on the subject, arranged listicle-style.

1. I write all the time. When I am out on a walk, sitting on my potty seat, driving to work, watching a cricket game right after my Fantasy Power Player gets out, utilizing any idle CPU cycles of my brain to think about my story.The biggest part of writing, I have found out, happens when you are not writing.

2. I practice active reading. That is when I am reading a book, I am just not only drinking in the story. I am also taking time to think about its structure, flow, and the way characters develop and speak.  Why do some sections drag? Why do I like this part? How does the author transition between events? Understanding this allows me in turn to write better. Also, based on the genre I am writing in, I do some genre-specific reading before I put finger to keyboard. It gets my brain into the pace and mood of what I am to write. Kind of like net-practice before a game.

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A Few Author Stories

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05bgnnvarnab_GS_05_2140532e1. Person at book event: “Your autograph please? This is for my husband, I would of course never read the stuff you write.”

2. Random person in store comes over to where I am sitting (just before book-event): “Give me three free copies”

3. Random person at Bangalore Lit Fest: “Are you a famous author?”

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The Mine Launch Event Is Today

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If you are in the NCR, please do try to be there for the official launch event of “The Mine” at India International Center Conference Room III and Lawns from 6:30 pm where I shall be in conversation with noted critic Jaiarjun Singh to be followed by a open QA session involving the audience. The book, or blog and/or anything else will be discussed.

No invitation cards are required. Please walk right in. [IBN review of “The Mine”]

 

 

The Mine Now Available For Preorder

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Yes it can’t get more blatant than that. My next novel “The Mine” (publisher: Westland, 290 pages) is now available for pre-order. (Links to some fine stores on the left-hand-side). For those of you too lazy emm too tired to move your eyes a few pixels to the left, here is a link to the Flipkart order-page.

For those who do not yet know that I have written a second book, I have. After my first novel “May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss”, I felt the need to move as much away as the MIHYAP-RTDM world as possible and try something different. Which is why I put on weight like Vidya Balan did for “Dirty Picture” and explored something totally out of, to use a phrase made popular by Guru Greg, my comfort zone. Thus was born “The Mine”, a psychological-horror thriller, based on an idea I have had for years.

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Of Bodyshops and Bestsellers

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So here’s what happened. Narayana Murthy, the big chief at Infosys, complained that the standards of IIT students were going down and held coaching schools  responsible. Nothing particularly earth-shaking about this pronouncement, in every generation, those that have grown old have complained “when we were your age, things were so much better.” Chetan Bhagat, thought-leader and best-selling author and an IIT alum himself, felt sufficiently piqued by this to retort that he who runs body-shopping company should not comment on the standards of others. Such a rap-battle, of course, generated a lot of heat and light in the popular media. Of course then Mr. Bhagat’s new book released to glowing reviews and insane sales and he kind of apologized for his previous statement and all was right with the world again.

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Deathly Hallows—Thoughts At The End

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[DO NOT read this post if you have not read the Harry Potter books. It is full of spoilers. If you have not read the Potter books or not read them all, may I suggest my article in this Sunday’s DNA.]

I open at the close. This “I” of course here refers to purse-strings. Not that it has not opened before. The Potter movie franchise has netted 6 billion profits in its decade long run and 20 billion in related merchandize, making it by far the most profitable series of movies ever. And with Deathly Hallows Part 2 pulling down the curtains, one need not be skilled in Divination to know that this one will  net enough Galleons to fill many a Gringotts. As a movie it is strictly workmanlike, moving from one incident to another with little in way of exposition. Like the others in the series, it snips off many of the most critical parts of the Potter saga,  and thus should only be seen by the converted, that is those who can fill in the gaps with their knowledge. At one point of time, the franchise used to pretend it was for those who had not read the books, now it has ceased pretending. Which at least is honest.

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