From Inception to Publication – The Novel Journey
Most writers or voracious readers have something against life. That something usually stems from the realization that life does not take the dramatic turns which the characters in books are blessed or cursed with. Life seems dull, routine and conventional. However, at some point in our lives we have wondered about authoring our life story for all to read and feel enlightened- Pun Intended!
Not all of those may be worth telling but that shouldn’t deter you from trying- For that is what I believe life is- A journey that has tried methods as much as trials. Our role is just to do rather than ask why? It is about enjoying the process of life as a whole rather than demarcating parts of it in categories- like this is my personal life and that is my professional life and so on and so forth. Writing and publishing or writing and failing to publish should just be a part of the journey and not something that ultimately goes on to define your life. So, take it as it comes and keep moving ahead.
From all the experience that I have gathered as a publisher, I will try and list down some basic methods that should help you (aspiring writer) make your journey (of writing and getting published) less arduous, if not completely successful.
This is the first in the two part series that I’ll write. This one is for the inception, writing of a book.
Read: Before you begin writing, you need to read a lot. From conventional books and poetry to anything that offers fresh perspectives into things that you may not have known previously. Read a lot. Read wide. Read fiction. Read Non-fiction. Read from the genre that you are attempting to write in. Exposure to similar and different genres will give you a structure to begin with and build upon.
Introspection: You need to introspect as to what is it that you really want to write about and why? Once you have answers to these questions, be honest about the work that you are about to undertake. In case you want to write fiction, make sure you understand the aspect of life that you want to fictionalize, to its core. Read as much as you can from your genre and see if you are offering something different. You like to read variety and be surprised by novels; so do others.
Research/Learn about the business: Yes, it is a business that has agents, publishers, marketers etc. It will serve you better to know the subtleties of the industry and have an opinion about it. This will help you be prompt in taking advantage of the opportunities that come your way, apart from eliminating yourself from the process of getting duped by nefarious agents or publishing houses. Research is an irreplaceable process in the chain, right from writing to publication. As much as you know, the better you’ll serve yourself.
Be at the right places: Having got the idea you want to write about and gathering information about the industry, you now need to get down being at the right places to enrich your field of experiences. The right places being literary workshops, seminars, gathering of writers etc- regardless of the genre or their relevance to your work. Exposing yourself to diversity will keep you focused on your task. Sometimes, too much of something is a bad thing and the change will help you stay afloat.
Write: So, the time comes when you have to sit down and write. The task may seem more difficult that you may have anticipated. It takes months, sometimes years, to complete a memoir or novel. It is hard work. It will get lonely as you sit alone, writing for hours on end. You have to wade through it. Take breaks when you want. Look around and admire the nature’s beauty, listen to some music that you haven’t tried before, watch something that you enjoy; break away from routine. Then, get back to writing.
Re-write: Once you think you have completed your work, have it read by anyone you feel comfortable sharing your work with. Take feedback. Introspect and re-write if necessary. Take other opinions. Show your work to more people in your circle, to someone who reads a lot and you feel would be a fair critique. Gather feedback. Get back to re-working on the book as per the feedback. Check common suggestions and evaluate their relevance. It usually takes several writings and re-writings before a book may be ready for publication. Don’t get bogged down. You made a choice. The journey may be difficult, but keep at it because if you are re-writing it, you have covered most part of it and the end may be closer than you anticipate.
Persevere: Writing a book is a task in itself but you need to keep that energy flowing for longer. Once your book is complete, you need to write a synopsis for prospective publishers to read. This should be as short as possible and include the heart and soul of your story. It shouldn’t include everything but shouldn’t leave out anything either. The idea is to capture the essence and uniqueness of your work in its shortest format.
Once you have travelled the path listed above, your next goal is to get it published. Learn about that part of your journey and what you can expect from the next post that I write. Till then Read, Research, Re-write and Revel.