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The brief given to me was:

Author and scriptwriter Smita Jain writes on a futuristic world (10 years or so) where women rule the bedroom with their sexual demands being met by the men who share their bed. It’s the men’s DUTY to keep women satisfied throughout the night — a world where orgasms for women is the order of the night, and the men go out of their way to make sure she is more than satisfied. Write a bit about your new book if you like or write bits from your research for the book…  a sort of a teaser about the book and about men finally finding the G-spot. Ahem Ahem! 

“Not tonight, dear, I have a headache.”

Katoosh! The whip crack has the cowering man, shall we say, springing to attention and more than willing to fulfil the woman’s needs. He gets to work and a few minutes later, ejaculates an innocuous white liquid.

In yet another bedroom, the man frantically probes the anterior wall of his boss’s vagina (or if that is too risqué: tries to locate his partner’s G-Spot). She has expressed a desire to have a baby. She is ovulating and stimulated. All she needs is an orgasm. Yet another one. And he only has a window of five minutes to locate the pea-sized erogenous zone. Failure would mean she having to do the dirty work herself.

Ah, success! The boss lady is screaming her head off in excitement. He heaves a sigh of relief and starts planning her next big O. She’s going to need many more of those before the night is over and he’d better oblige or he can kiss that promotion good bye.

It is year 2050. As predicted by the Mayan calendar, the world did end in 2012. But not in the cataclysmic Armageddon type of way. It was but a subtle shift in the Earth’s plane as a result of it moving into a higher dimension. As we know, no major transformation comes about without chaos. And so it was with Earth.

New species, more suited to the changed environment, emerged. Many older species that were unable to adapt simply vanished. The few that survived were left with mutations. Amongst the notable changes was the death of the Y chromosome, and with it, the end of testosterone, the hormone inducing violent, aggressive behaviour.

In the new world order, nature has righted to its natural feminist state. The male, always thought of as a genetic parasite and deriving his power from his role in propagating the species, is impotent in every which way.

Science had already demonstrated that the female of the species is capable of reproducing without male…er…contribution. Now she is capable of creating the perfect XX offspring all by herself. All a woman needs to create life is an orgasm. Multiple ones in order to have a higher success rate.

Boardrooms and bedrooms have been taken over by women and men have been reduced to little more than slaves. The pretty ones get invited to sexually gratify their female bosses and ugly ones get shafted to dead-end jobs.

What happens when the existing male population dies out, you ask? Well, they’re simply cloned in laboratories. 

Meanwhile, in her chambers at the Vatican, her holiness the pope is busy rewriting or, shall we say, righting history:

“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Eve, and she slept: and She took one of her ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from woman, made she a man, and brought him unto the woman.
And Eve said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: he shall be called Man, because he was taken out of Woman.”
(Genesis Revised 2:21-23)

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Piggies on the Railway is scheduled for release in February and since I know the book was already in production as of late December 2009, I should get my author copies soon. Anytime now.  Yippee!

It’s rather strange that I’m eagerly awaiting my copies of the second book. I was nowhere near as excited as I am now during Kkrishnaa’s release. In fact I wrote about it at the time. I wrote about how it was actually quite a letdown.

I held the freshly minted book in my hand, expecting to bond with it like a mother with her newborn. Strangely, I felt quite the opposite. Like the creature I had just given birth to couldn’t possibly be mine. And no, not in a Rosemaryish-I-couldn’t-have-mothered-the-ugly-red-devil-spawn kinda way either. It was more of a detached, ‘hunh, so that’s what was inside the baby bump’ kinda way.

Anyway, I guess the reason I’m so excited about Piggies, and apprehensive, is because it is, in a sense, a career high. A tangible result. KRA accomplished. One book can be a fluke. Two books makes it a career.

So, although I have been told Piggies is a better, funnier, more intricate book than Kkrishnaa, it is also a bigger book. Literally, too. At 1,00,000 plus words, you’ll probably need a use a stand while reading it. You know, the kind that you use to prop up religious books. Kidding. It is hardly ‘the book’ although I’m, hoping it will be one when it comes to defining crime fiction in India.

Piggies on the Railway – A Kasthuri Kumar Mystery, the definitive modern Indian crime fiction novel. I kinda like the sound of that.

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You know, it occurred to me that I’ve been waxing about writing for so long – what one needs to do to get published or produced or whatever – and I left out the most important thing. Luck.

You can have talent by the oodles, dedication and determination but if you haven’t got luck you’re pretty much toast. On the other hand, you can average to zilch talent but if you have the lady on your side you have nothing to worry about. Perhaps my placing too much on mere chance stems from the industry I come from.

While luck plays a role in any field in life, its importance is exaggerated in mine. Every day I see talented people struggling away, unable to make a mark. On the other hand you have a music director (I shall refrain from using names), whose sole talent in life is creative stealing. *Gasp* you guessed???!!! And here I was soooo careful.

Of course what I’m saying could be pure baloney. As one erstwhile leading tennis player, talking about the favourable percentage of close net and line calls that regularly went his way, said, “The harder I practice the luckier I get.” Perhaps in sport. I mean, that is one area you need to have some skill. And hone it. You just can’t wake up one day and bend it like Beckham. *Sorry* I couldn’t think of a more original one.

Elsewhere, I think, luck is a necessary and sufficient condition for success. So all you aspiring writers, singers, musicians, you too can get lucky. It’s really a question of practice. *You too can win* Do I sound sufficiently like Shiv Khera? God, where did that name come from? It’s been ages since we heard it! There was a time where he was everywhere. And then he just disappeared. Guess who the lady deserted.

BTW, what do you think of the title of this post? I dithered between luck by chance and oye luck luck oye and chose the latter. I am a Dilliwali at heart. What to do, I’m like this only.

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Okay folks, we have decided on the cover. Almost. I spoke with my editor yesterday and it is going to be one of four designs from the last post. We may tinker with a bit, experiment with different colours, try out different fonts, but it’s going to be one of them.

In light of this I have taken the liberty of removing the other, earlier cover options from the site. Given that we are not using them, they are not my property (since becoming an author I have discovered a new found respect for IP *pats oneself on the back*).

While we were on the subject of Li’l Piggies, I also asked her if there was any chance of the book coming out in Jan 2010, in time for the Jaipur festival. It seems there isn’t. The earliest target was, and remains Feb 2010 *Sighs*.

Meanwhile, the proofs have been proof read and finaled. So I should be able to publish some extracts very soon. There is still the small matter of the blurb, which my editor and I are working on. Other than that, my work on the book is finished. Finally!  

I have also started on my third (Kkrishnaa sequel, tentatively titled Kkrishnaa’s Kandid Konfessions) and fourth (a new genre for me) books simultaneously. Which is a bad idea unless you can multitask and my multitasking extends to eating and drinking at the same time. I suspect I will have to take it sequentially only after all.

I am also meeting my producer today for a discussion on the second draft of the Kkrishnaa’s Konfessions screenplay. Will have more to report after the meeting. Ciao until tomorrow.

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I know I haven’t been posting, but it’s been an insanely crazy week. Anyhow, some more cover options arrived. I like. Especially the last four ones. Methinks, we’re getting there. What do you think?

PS: Bear in mind, it is a breezy chicklit-cum-murder mystery.

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I know promised to write this yesterday but then Man proposes and God disposes. Yesterday was a terribly hectic day and I got no time at all. Anyhow, here it is. Enjoy!

My next story is going to be about a vampire who’s in love with girl who’s human. The antagonist is going to be a Marathi Manoos werewolf who wants to kill the vampire because he’s a Bhayya. He wants to kill the girl because she called Mumbai Bombay to express solidarity with her lover.

How this helps:

Raj Thackeray takes affront and decides to express his outrage by vandalising bookstores and burning copies of your book in illustrative / intimidatory bonfires. Of course, this results in loss of revenue but it also guarantees publicity. Publicity that you can’t otherwise buy. Your book starts getting talked about and people who otherwise wouldn’t have bought it queue up to buy. It all works out.

Now, the flip side:

What if Raj Thackeray isn’t interested? What if the issue is not worth his time?

Enter the failsafe:

The vampire-girl duo are on the run and take shelter with some friendlies. Did I say friendlies? Not quite. You see, those friendlies are actually Jehadi Lychans who have an agenda of their own.  And their plan is to drill a hole all the way into the Earth’s core and plant a zillion megaton nuclear bomb there. Of course, you can’t drill a hole all the way to the Earth’s core but figure out a revolutionary new technology that does it anyway. For ideas, look up the film The Core.

Now, why would the Lychans shelter our protagonists? There can be two reasons. One, well, the werewolves with their heretic ideology are their enemies and any enemy of an enemy is a friend. Two, the journey to the centre of the Earth is fraught with peril and they need stooges to do it for them.

Meanwhile the Sun is flaring up out of control, and shooting tiny neutrinos into the Earth which is heating up the crust intolerably.

While our protagonists are with the Lychans, introduce a brilliant, sensitive Lychan painter who paints nude werewolf goddesses. 

Meanwhile, the werewolves catch up with the protagonists. While they are in Lychan territory, they stumble upon the painter’s works. Of course, once that happens, they do what comes naturally to them. They destroy the paintings. In the midst of the destruction, however, in a fit of petulance, the werewolf leader, an accomplished cartoonist, stops to draw some offensive sketches of the Lychan god.

How does it all end? How do I know? I haven’t thought of everything yet.

All I know is your book gets released. All castes and communities unite in calling for a universal ban on the book. Now join hands with a pirate on a revenue share basis. Now sit back and watch your bank balance grow.

Sigh. If only I could get someone to publish it. Sigh, maybe I’ll go to the Danish cartoon guys.

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I was watching the telly a couple of days ago and I happened to catch a 100 richest celebs kinda show on E!

Now, most of them have had to work for their supper but some, like Steven Spielberg get paid on just waking up! Royalties etc, you got it. And guess who was next on the list? JK Rowling. According to the show she’s worth a billion plus pounds. And the show was produced in 2007! Since then there’s been Stephanie Meyers, too.

Now, I was  filled with envy. Cross that. My new age guru will be horrified to hear that. *affirmation to self: Day after day I’m getting better and better and better. The world is filled with abundance and I live in this abundance. I deserve my good fortune and celebrate it*

Anyway, envy or motivation, call it what you will, but I decided to do something about my own, shall we say, considerably less salubrious pecuniary state. I called upon all my experience (and it is vast, spanning investment banking, adventure sports, publishing and writing) and arrived at a winning formula.

As you know, writing a novel is hard work and takes a lot out of you. Added to that is the uncertainty that it will be published. And even if it is, there’s no guarantee that it will sell, let alone be a best seller.

First things first. We have to begin the project by de-risking it. A good way to do that is to attempt a romance. According to the latest trends in fiction, romance still sells. In the wake of the Twilight series, a spate of vampire novels have hit the market but thre’s appetite for more. Well written conspiracies, spelling the doom of mankind, still work.

So, a good beginning premise would be a vampire romance set against the backdrop of an impending disaster.

Now that we’ve de-risked the model, we have to turn it into a multibagger. To do that you have to get attention. And not just the odd newspaper interview/review kinda thing. I’m talking serious, reams and reams of newsprint. The kind that’s devoted to the controversy of the day. Enter Raj Thakeray.

But. But, we can do one better. And that is, we can try and get the book banned. Based on all the above analysis, I’ve decided on what I’m going to write next. Watch out for it tomorrow. Meanwhile, do write in your thoughts on the subject.

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I’m restive these days. Unable to concentrate to outlining my third book. And that’s because my second book hasn’t been laid to bed as yet. The thing is it is very difficult to focus on two different books at the same time, especially when they are both intricate murder mysteries.

The second book in its current form is about 1, 14, 000 words which, I’m sure, is giving the production staff palpitations. I’m sure they’ll try and get me to trim the word count to under 1, 00, 000 post editing. That means that I can’t let it go just yet.

I apologize for harping incessantly on the phrase ‘the second book,’ although it does have a nice ring to it. Makes it sound like a definitive religious text, n’est pas? The name is not a closely guarded secret, deliberately shrouded in mystery. We just haven’t been able to agree on a suitably snappy title as yet.

The story is about a female PI with a cringe-worthy name like Kalavati or Bisheshwari or Thirumala. And it’s a series. At least we’re hoping it will be a franchise. I was going with a generalised title for the series, suffixed by specific story title.  Like And then there were noneAn Hercule Poirot mystery.

I was keen on Krime Kronicles as the general series title but it prompted too many eye rolls from my publishers (in my defense, I’m a TV person!). And so, the search continues.

Meanwhile, for all you aspiring screenwriters out there, Kamal Hassan, along with some Hollywood biggies, is launching a screenwriting contest. A friend of mine who works at the Hindu in Chennai sent me this. Check it out.

Chennai International Screenwriting WorkshopDo you want to be one of the chosen 250 to attend a week-long masterclass by some of the best screenwriting teachers in the country?

 

Kamal Haasan, in association with Indian Institute of Technology, Madras presents a first-of-its-kind international workshop and seminar on screenwriting in South India. “It’s a strictly instructional event. Basic education is compulsory and candidates need to demonstrate their seriousness to get selected,” says the writer-filmmaker-actor.

The Chennai International Screenwriting Workshop to be held at the IIT-M campus between May 29 to June 3, 2009 will feature few of the best screenwriters and filmmakers from around the world.

Veteran writer Jean Claude Carriere has confirmed his participation via video conference. 

Mr. Kamal Haasan himself will join the discussions and don the role of faculty during the workshop and seminar. “Students will be able to pick up copies of my scripts and get their doubts clarified,” he adds. 

The screenwriting workshop will be conducted by K.Hariharan, Director of the L.V. Prasad Film and TV Academy, Anjum Rajabali, Professional screenwriter and head of departments of screenwriting at Film and TV Institute, Pune and Whistling Woods, Mumbai and Atul Tiwari, Professional screenwriter and well known playwright.

“We will be approaching screenwriting from two angles”, says Mr.Hariharan. “How to turn words into images that you see on screen and also how to do the opposite – putting in words what you see as images in your mind. Every day, we will have two sessions of guest lectures by reputed writer-filmmakers from the industry.”

For long, screenwriting has been a neglected discipline even in film schools. “While all good writing is essentially intuitive, it is essential to understand the basic principles of storytelling and the form of the screenplay to be a competent screenwriter”, says Mr. Anjum Rajabali, who founded the screenwriting department at FTII and at Whistling Woods.

“We all agree that it is impossible to make even a half decent film with a bad script and that a good script is the first and foremost requisite to make a good film. But even then we have seen that pedagogy of the screenwriting has not taken roots in India,” adds Mr. Atul Tiwari, who has who has conducted similar workshops in New Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Manipal and Pune.

The workshop will culminate with a seminar, which will be open to industry professionals. The event is an initiative of Raajkamal Films International to bring screenwriting to the forefront. 

To apply, students must send a copy of their resume, a passport-size photograph along with a 200-word synopsis on their favourite film and a list of their five favourite films to admissions@screenwritingindia.com before May 5, 2009.

More details are available on http://screenwritingindia.com. For further queries, email helpdesk@screenwritingindia.com

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I’ve written the MS and sent it. It’s been read and appreciated and I have been sent contracts.

Now the tough part begins. Which is poring over clause after clause of legalese. It’s so annoying, the way these lawyers go on and on with the hereforthwiths, and hereafters and with/without prejudice…why can’t they just state stuff in plain languge that people can understand? After going through the contracts all of the past three days, I’m tempted to sing “hua poora ka poora mindf@#* yaar” from, you guessed it, the x-rated emosanal atyachar.

The bad news is that with a lot of reverts back and forth it doesn’t look to get over soon . Just to show how my life isn’t my own anymore, I started writing this yesterday when my lawyer called to do a ‘page turn.’  After an hour and a half of absolutely scintillating stuff  (I mean that sarcastically, of course) , I was so exhausted that I needed another hour and a half of some serious retail therapy. The mall was absolutely packed which didn’t improve my mood any but did make me wonder, “Recession? What recession?”

Coming back to the subject, the good news is we’ve arrived at a list of must haves in the contract. The hard part is getting the publishers to agree. It isn’t for nothing people say publishing is about a bunch of lawyers being supported by editors.

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