Have you been tempted to write a romance bestseller lately? The other day, I was chatting to an author about how speculative fiction is such a hard-sell in India. (It’s the usual conversation between science fiction writers. There’s a handful of passionate us, and a handful of equally passionate readers. The others, don’t really care if it’s not mythology.) Immediately, I get a WMA (well-meaning advice):
“Write romance. It sells like hot cakes in winters.”
Umm. Frankly, all Indian writers, be it of any genre or creed, have thought about romance once in a while. After all, it’s the most selling genre in our country. I did seriously consider it for a second. I did!
And then I remembered, that the last romance I read and appreciated was between the Oankali, alien genetic engineers who touches DNA in humans to have sex and a woman named Lilith. Author Octavia Butler‘s Lilith Brood gave me as many goosebumps as decades ago Sharukh Khan’s ‘palat’ in the movie Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge had done. And I don’t read much romance myself, unless it has alien spit or monster claws involved. So I turned my eyes away from the temptation of writing that romance bestseller we all think we can write and decided to plod along on the current science fiction mess I’m in the middle of.
Should you write a romance bestseller?
Which is why when I came across this witty sketch by author Sarah Maclean over Twitter, I had to share it on my site. Sarah is a period romance writer based in New York. The flowchart tells you how to decide on whether you should write a romance novel or not. As I read it, I was ‘out’ in the first step itself. If you’re considering writing romance like me, due to a WMA given by another or by yourself, do read and go through this flowchart. You’ll figure out the truth, I promise!
Have you ever considered changing your genre and writing something else that is selling well nowadays, like mythology or romance? Do tell me the truth!
It’s a paranormal adventure, full of romance, jealousy, gadgets and ghosts, set in the beautiful university of Manipal. And it has the craziest name you’ve heard of. Welcome to my latest title with Juggernaut Books. Tadaaa!
The only way Twinkle Kashyap can win Rohit Dandi’s heart is by becoming the best paranormal investigator in Manipal and stealing a few ghost-catching tricks from retired professor Susanto Das. But when a string of mysterious murders complicates things, Twinkle is forced to dive deeper into the supernatural world than ever before. Can she solve the cases and get a happy ending?
Buy now: Juggernaut Books App
I’m so delighted to inform you of this special book. I wrote it squeezed between two parts of Anantya Tantrist series and almost shelved it.
Thanks to a lot of encouragement (Uthara, Suki, Saba, Ashwani, Indra, Kanishka, Anchal, I’m looking at all of you), I edited it again and again till it became what it is today. And I’m so glad to see it getting published. For the protagonist, Tinker, deserves it. She’s a first year student in Mechtronics in Manipal University, full of hope for her future and love for a senior. It’s her adventure with the dark side of Manipal that you’re going to read. And how she stands up to the challenges she faces. I’m proud of the 17-year-old. For what she achieves. I would personally recommend this book for anyone above the age of 13. It’s published with Juggernaut Books, which is a mobile ebook publisher, so the only way for now to read it is on your smartphone.
If for whatever reason you can’t read it on the app, write to me and I’ll send you a e-copy or a PDF. I would rather Twinkle’s fantastical adventure is read by everyone who loves to read paranormal tales.
Buy now: Juggernaut Books App
There’s a germ of an idea in your head which craves to be built up into a novel. It urges you to fill copious amounts of empty pages with plot lines, character sketches, scenes and more. All this while, you’ve not written even a single piece of your book. Where do you start? How do you start writing, just like that, start it and continue page after page after page for atleast 150 odd pages? How does the idea, the plot line, the character, the scene come together? I’ve always wondered and pondered and thought about it. It’s a question that doesn’t end even though I’ve started and finished a few novels now. Finally I came across author Ursula K Le Guin’s brilliant advice on how to start a story and had to include it in Witchery of Writing series.
My own experience of starting is different for every story and every book. In my teens and twenties, I made endless enthusiastic starts to dead ends. Gradually I learned that if I got thinking about a place or a situation that felt like there was a story in it, and if I hung on to that place and that situation, put my mind on it, then people and what they’d do (their behavior, the events, the plot) might begin growing out of it. Sometimes quite rapidly, as if the story was actually all there already and just needed to be written. Sometimes only with a long time of pondering, brooding, working it out, making notes, rethinking. Occasionally, as I got more experience, my first glimpse of a story was like seeing a trailhead. What I had to do was start following that trail (in the person of a character) and discover as we went where we were going. (“I learn by going where I have to go.”—Roethke.) I call this “writing the way through the forest,” the same metaphor Karla uses — and I honestly do not recommend it to an inexperienced writer. Continue reading “Author Ursula Le Guin on how to start a story”