Posts Tagged ‘writing’


The same story …

   Posted by: aman    in Other

The quiet hell of 10 years of novel writing. I am on my seventh year. I wish someone had said, “OK. Let’s figure out how to make this happen.”

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Jhini Chadariya

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Standing on Varkala beach in Kerala, which is a couple of meters above sea level, one can see far into the sea. A couple of kilometres that are normally not visible from a beach which is at the level of the sea’s surface. When I stood there I felt I was seeing huge pages of a grand book, nature’s, and the waves were the inscriptions written on it. As the water changed form with the winds and the sun and moon’s gravitational forces, I felt words were changing form on the pages of the sea.

The more I work with words, the more I feel how they are like wrinkles on a fine sheet of cloth. Words are the beginning and end of the tools a writer or a novelist has at his disposal. The writer can make the words stand up, swirl, form myriad patterns, or dissolve. Unlike film-makers who can use visuals and sound, all a writer can use is words. Those words too are at the mercy of the reader. It can be argued that if a piece of writing is good the reader will continue reading. Still it is not the equivalent of sitting in a dark hall with a big screen in front, all your attention on it.

Yes, the best movies are based on well written scripts but here we are talking about the way a work of art works on our senses. One can make bold and underline words, use exclamation marks, but that is of little use. Someone once reviewing a technical manual for me said, ‘If everything is a note, then nothing is important any longer.’ We have a tendency to put notes and tips and important in such manuals. Like we put space, and drop letters, and embellish dialogue, and give second or third level titles to regular prose.

The basics remain: it is words, only words that make up writing. It is within these words that one has to create effect.

For instance, take Jose Saramago’s Seeing. He does not even put quotation marks for dialogue. Yet, when you read about the rain on polling day, you cannot escape feeling the overwhelming sense of water everywhere. Insidious.

A section of words is like a fabric. Like a painting. Like a piece of music. Like a sea, or a desert. They are all flat, two dimensional. In them the undulations come from making the elements respond to what you want to say, cover and expose, show, and make heard. That is how you develop the third dimension, through the variations you create through what lies in between the two dimensions.

Take the reader deep into the waters or sand-scapes and then jolt them through the structures you lay for them. Never too much that they lose interest, never too little that they are not affected. It is a thin fabric – Jhini Chadariya. Tie it up such that it wards off the cold and keeps the reader warm through a experience of their own sensitivity.

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