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Archive for October, 2009

It’s that time of the year again. I have to write about sex. Contrary to what people think considering my books are always big on sex, I’m not a big fan of writing on the subject. In fact, I positively cringe at the prospect.

It always takes me longer to write one sex/love-making scene than it does to write a whole chapter. This hold-up happens because I can never quite decide how to approach it. Do I describe it as it is happening as in the physical description of the act of making love? Or do I concentrate on feelings?

If I just write about the physical act, do I make it rough and raunchy? Or am I in danger of getting smutty? Should I make it funny? What words should I use various body parts, the biological ones or slang? If slang, then which slang, because there’s a variety of words that can be used, ranging from funny to downright derogatory. Will I be accused of writing porn?

The other argument is that I should just concentrate on feelings. Since my books are not shooting scripts for porn films, I should just concentrate on the situation. A few details in the physical is all I need. The rest is setting the emotional connection between the lovers. I tell myself that writing sex is like writing about any other emotion or situation. That all I need to do is make the reader feel what the characters are feeling at that moment. But then how many ways are there to describe ‘that melting/rippling feeling in the pit of my stomach?’ And if I do take the second approach, will I be guilty of being overly sentimental?

So far I’ve been able to dodge the bullet since my books have been chicklit and a little flippancy is always welcome. But now it’s a genre and the levity will not be appreciated.

Verily ’tis a quandary, I tell you. I guess the art is balancing the lust and intimacy in the writing. Not so easy to write. Perhaps I shall take the easy way out and skim over the whole thing. After all, when in doubt, go back to the rules. And the rules say Less is More.

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Gem is a precious stone. It is used to describe stones like topaz, ruby, diamond. It is also used to describe a person of thing as stellar. For example, a gem a of a p[erson, a gem of an idea. It is also used a suff`ix, examples of which I cannot think of right now.  When written in the reverse it is Meg, which is the short form of the name Megan. It may also stand for Megan, I’m not…

No, I haven’t completely lost it. This is what I wrote (exactly as I wrote it) about GEM in my allotted sixty seconds at OneWord.com. OneWord is a resource site for writers, one which I go to sometimes when I’m in urgent need of unclogging my mind (what, sometimes professional writers need help too). Hell, I do it before beginning my writing for the day anyway.

The way it works is this. You are given a topic and sixty seconds to write on it. Your time starts from the moment you load the page. Obviously the idea behind the idea is to prompt you to write. Not think, just write. After you’ve finished, you submit your stuff after which you get to read what others have written about the topic. Even though you already intuitively know it, you’ll be amazed at how many ways there are to look at a particular word.

It’s great fun. Try it!

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I met up with a friend over the weekend and he asked me what was new in my life. I told him that my second novel had been typeset and was on target for an early 2010 release. (Come to think of it, he was more an acquaintance than a friend because friends already know, courtesy me harping on incessantly about it.)

As I was basking in his fulsome praise, out came the spoiler. He asked what was next and I told him I’m attempting something different for my third, and since it’s an area relatively unknown to me, I’m doing research. Since when, he asked me. Since two months, I told him. Be careful, he warned me, you look like you’re stuck in a research rut.

And then I came back and caught Steven Soderbergh waxing about his latest offering, Che on the telly. And he was talking about them getting stuck in a research rut and having to wade through a veritable information glut as a result.

That got me a little anxious and I immediately booted my laptop and hacked out a detailed (I already had a fledgling plot in mind) plot. Then I broke it down in order of scenes. How does the novel open, what happens next, what happens after that, where is plot point I, where is the interval, what is plot point II, etc. That’s how I usually write. It’s impossible for me to think up a story in terms other than a screenplay.

And you know what, it really helped. Now I know exactly what information to seek, instead of aimlessly reading up trivia.

At that point, I was feeling so good about myself that I even hacked out the first five hundred words. And then someone told me that that day was Naag Panchami and a very auspicious day for new beginnings (tautology, or what?). That augurs well for the project, n’est pas?

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I have been on a long sabbatical, basically to recharge my batteries. I was overcome with a strange lethargy after I finished my second novel and decided to take a break. What better way to do that than to travel. Which is what I have been doing – in India and Europe.

Besides travel, I have also been working on/researching the plot of my third novel. It is completely different genre from what I’ve been writing so far. While it is too soon to talk about it, it has gotten me very excited and pumped up.

Oh, by the way, did I mention the name of my second book? After a lot of dithering we (my publishers and I) arrived at the name. It’s Piggies on the Railway – A Kasthuri Kumar Mystery. Do look out for it. Of course, I will publish an excerpt once Westland gives me the go-ahead.

Till tomorrow then

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