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Posts Tagged ‘writers’

For an author I get a woefully little amount of reading done. And that’s because I’m usually in the middle of writing a book. And when I’m writing I don’t read (not fiction anyway) for fear of getting influenced.

That means that the only time I get for reading is when I’m in-between novels or plotting one. Which happens to be now. Accordingly, I went out day before yesterday and picked up 5000 bucks worth of books. So now I’ve got 21 titles to be read within a month, preferably less. I’m proud to declare that I made a good start yesterday and finished 2 whole novels!

Paths of Glory by Jeffrey Archer – the dude is good! A little formulaic, but he’s the only one you can get you to compulsively turn the page on merely the promise of an intriguing question being asked by an unlikely figure at a public lecture – and the other one by Mary Higgins Clark. I hope to finish an Amy Tan today (I’ve never read her before) and a Wilbur Smith (or did I get a Ken Follett?).

When you read contemporary works from your genre, you always run the risk of getting influenced or, as Bollywood types love to say, ‘inspired.’ But that doesn’t mean that one stops reading altogether. What one can do, however, is following:

1. Try to plagiarise ideas instead of whole chunks of passages (remember how Opal Mehta got kissed…by wazzername?).

2. On the other hand, after the scandal broke, Opal got publicity like you woulnd’t believe. She actually ended up selling more. You can’t pay for that kind of publicity. Moreover, stealing just the idea cannot guarantee immunity. Just look at Stephanie Meyer. So to hell with that idea.

3. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of stealing. How much do I make in royalties vis-a-vis how much do I fork out in settling the claim? If the scales tilt in favour of royalties, go for it.

4. While you’re at it, try and steal it from bestsellers to make it easier to spot instances of plagiarism.

5. If you do happen to be a poor sod and lift from an unknown and obscure book, get a friend to blow the whistle on you.

6. If however, you must steal but the ensuing lawsuit could leave you shirtless, do it smartly and from many sources. As they say, steal from one place, it’s plagiarism, steal from many, it’s research.

7. If you must steal and rather obviously, go one up on potentially litigious authors and give them credit. You only have to look at the many ‘management’ and ‘self-help’ books on the shelves to know that this works.

8. Lastly, for God’s sake, don’t get caught with your hand in the cookie jar! Remember, it’s only stealing if you get caught.

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I’m thoroughly enjoying my downtime. The only thing that’s playing spoilsport at the moment is the weather. The heat and the humidity means I get to town a lot less often that I’d wish to. I’d promised myself that once I finished I’d make a trip to Café Mondegar, Café Leopold and an old favourite, Churchgate Stores (non-air conditioned but the last time I went around, beer-on-the-tap was priced at a ridiculously low price of 35 bucks a glass) and drink myself silly every day. Strand book store and Bombay Stores also found a mention in the to-do list, although I’m not sure whether it was pre or post the drinking. Definitely pre, I’m thinking. But so far I’ve done this only once in three weeks.

But I’ve also realized one thing. Everything people say about writers/writing is not necessarily true. For instance, I’ve discovered that I don’t have to write every single day. I’m quite happy picking up the comp just to surf silly videos all day long. I don’t feel guilty if I don’t so much as open the word processor even once during the day. So what’s the distinction between a writer and a prevaricator? I guess the difference is knowing the difference between a holiday and procrastination.

Of course, I could get to my comp immediately. I already have a story ready for telling. But I try and desist from sticking to a formula. I like to imbue my novels with quirky characters and atmosphere. This means I need my jar of creative juice fully replenished. Meanwhile, I’m content to let the ideas ferment.

On the subject of authors of prodigious output, here’s an interesting article.

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All aspiring screenwriters out there, interested in writing a comedy on television, I’m looking for an assistant.

Essential Qualifications:

  • You must be a resident of Bombay, preferably, living within a one hour periphery of say, Seven Bungalows, Andheri west. As you all know, given the traffic, you could be in Lokhandwala and it can still be challenge to travel two kilometres in that time. So go figure.
  • You must be willing to set your personal life aside. Birthdays, anniversaries, deaths. No exceptions. If you commit to writing an episode and then leave me hanging at the last minute, remember, I’ll do the same with your moneies.

And now, the not so essential qualifications:

  • You must love writing.
  • You must have a knack for storytelling.
  • You must have a basic understanding of screenwriting. And by that I don’t mean you need to have experience.

If you think you meet the requirements, please drop me a line at my email address given on the sidebar. Give your name, background and phone number.

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