Going back to the basics

I had mentioned in an earlier post that one also needs to think about some basic questions about one’s book that need some introspection. It’s like applying to grad school, or even a job. These are the questions make you think about the ‘why/who/how/what/where’ aspects of the book.

Here are a few of those q’s and my initial thoughts that I had penned down several months ago as I started writing Now Returned to India:

  1.  Why did I decide to write a book?

The main reason was to share my story with a wider audience. My online diary on the R2iclub forum, which forms the base material for the book, had received a good response, and the feedback was positive. So writing a book seemed like the logical extension of my work.

2. What would be the category or segment of the book?

Based on what I have read, discussed and learnt so far, my book would fall under the fiction/ humor category.

3. Why did I choose this segment?

There was no specific reason for choosing fiction/ humour. My book covers a two year period of my life, so its not quite an autobiography. Moreover, I thought fiction would make it more readable.

4. Fiction is okay, but why a satire?

First and foremost, I thought of humor/satire as a category because my book is based on incidents that are now life’s lessons. Many of them seemed to cause a lot of pain and emotional suffering at that point in time, but these are also incidents that I can sit back and laugh about. And laughter can be contagious. There have been several authors who are masters of tragedy, and I have a great amount of respect for them. But for me, humor would work best.

5. Who is my target reader?

I initially thought that the 30 to 40 year old readers, typically those who have spent a few years outside of India, would be my target readers. They continue to be the main segment I am focusing on. But as I am talking to more and more people, I am discovering new groups of people who might be interested too. For example, parents of NRIs are such a segment. In an age where almost every publisher and most first time authors are focusing on the 15 to 25 year old demographic, I might be considered as an outlier.

Focus, discipline and…

Another day, another rejection from a publisher. But that’s not what I am going to write about.

A couple of days ago, I was at an alumni meet where I met an alumnus of a much refined vintage. It turns out that he was trying to get his first book published as well – a collection of short stories. He proudly informed me that he had received ten rejections. But more importantly, he suggested something that really was an ‘aha’ moment. His advise was : pick up a hobby – preferably a sport or running. That will get the creative juices flowing. And equally importantly, he mentioned that one needs to set a time for writing, and just write during that time. It need not be related to your book, though that would be preferred!  The idea was that one needs to become more disciplined. His thoughts were echoed by another alum who has published two books so far. It was good to meet others who had traversed the same journey that I have just started.

So here I am, writing this post early in the morning. For me, the 4 AM – 6 AM time works best. I had always thought that writing was an escape of sorts from the daily grind. But in order to focus on writing, taking up a sport or running or meditation is something I am going to try out. Let us see what its impact is.