Serendipity and After/13
Mrinal Bose
41

Writing is a Faucet Gone Electrified

It has a uniqueness.

But you are not going for it aggressively right up front because that is not the direction you want it to go in.

Which is fine, really. My take is entirely subjective.

You asked.

I have done this hundreds of times. And EVERY TIME, the writer gets hurt. It has never not happened.

Even when they ask.

It doesn’t matter.

I hate doing it.

People don’t listen anyway.

Are you sure you want this.

The POV is unique because it deals in a way you are consciously or not consciously showing us, versus telling us.

This is good.

You know fully well that the world is a racist place.

You present us with Indian men who read.

Racism and ignorance and stereotypes all play havoc with what can be published.

It was a good place for getting lost in, a city no one ever knew, a city explored from the neutral heart outward, until after many years, it defined itself into a jumble of clearings separated by stretches of the unknown, through which the narrowest of paths had been cut. — V. S. Naipaul

The Brits are better at this than we Yanks are. The American public knows absolutely nothing about India, or how it works.

You may not be writing with them in mind. That is fine. Americans still say Calcutta.

This is how Americans will think: “Oh, it’s set in India, I didn’t know they read books or that there were Indian publishers. I wonder if they’re as smart as they say they are.”

Often, it is ignorance that defines the parameters of any book.

You are showing us a world we know nothing about.

It is both a strength and almost impossible.

They could be us.

But that’s a problem. They are not us.

Which means that it is a conflict. For them.

All we really know about India is Kipling and Disney.

There are too many, way too many, he said she saids, give the audience more credit that that, they probably know who’s talking, maybe not, so then break it up with action: SHE SET THE BRUSH DOWN ON THE TABLE IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR.

Versus: He said and followed by a he said.

SHE TURNED AROUND.

Versus: SHE TURNED AND AROUND AND SAID…

She turned. “You have always been a loser.”

No said.

You have too many saids.

This means you are good at dialogue, snappy, and this is great, but you are more focused on what the rules are (especially english) than you are listening to the dialogue in your head.

Your mentors are more than asides.

Your audience is racist whether they will admit it or not.

SHOW THEM that these mentor relationships are deep, meaningful, and people sacrifice for one another.

The basis for these relationships is respect.

Do not lecture us. Show us.

What does the room smell like.

What are the analogies.

How do people get around.

Place needs to be expanded on because we have already been teased with this is a culture where very few of you know anything.

Otherwise, we will stereotype your characters. For us.

The minute they/we do that, it’s genre fiction, and there is no genre, but there are MANY Indian writers, some great ones, who have transcended India itself, no small task.

What I see is that everytime you work on it, it becomes richer.

This is not easy stuff.

There are no twelve steps. The rules are there to be used, not to be used by.

Every single time you whack away at it, you are opening the crack in the nut a bit more, we know there is light in there, but we are still basing that on faith.

We need more surprises.

You have not showed us why publishing or publishing in India is a serious business we should even briefly focus on.

Writers will love it.

I don’t see the point in writing for writers. This is where a body of work begins to 1.) write itself. 2.) transcend the world of books to ideas we should know about. 3.) have us so wrapped up in it that the book becomes an investment because we have given it our time, our curiosity, and we have learned new things.

At that point, you have them.

You do not have us yet.

We need internal dialogues. The narration itself can think. And you don’t need, I thoughts, after every internal dialogue. In internal dialogues, the writer is speaking to himself.

Obviously, this is not a writer with an axe to grind.

Why not.

When did he become literate.

He’s smart and plays his cards carefully. He keeps a lot silently to himself. He’s cautious.

I wonder what the connection is to medically saving lives and what books do. The aspiration is literary, but you will lose the reader, unless they are all writers, at literary theory.

Oh, the French.

Good or bad. Slumdog opened doors.

Danny Boyle had iPads put in the backpacks of bike messengers and that is how we saw India. Many of us for the first time.

Now, you are telling us about another India.

Educated India.

Literature itself is no role model.

Literature will easily embrace the idea of the backpack, the bikes, and iPads, and different ways to tell a story.

We still don’t know why writing is important to you.

Unless you lay that groundwork for the reader, he’s going to start guessing, and it’s a dangerous planet when readers guess because they are almost always appallingly wrong.

Tyrone read one of my books this week. He wanted to review it and gave up. So, he put together a video, and it did rather nail that book. And each time he reads, he learns something.

For him to read what you are writing, he has to make the jump on blind faith, that you are going to take him somewhere.

You have a world of options.

It can be done.

But publishing does not live in a vacuum by itself. It’s a part of us. You have to humanize it.

Agents are a wild card. Their authority is fluid.

I am assuming the narrator voice is PASSIONATE.

You are not there yet.

But you are on your way.

Writing is a faucet gone electrified.

A novel about novels will have to have the juice turned on.

Then, things will land where they happen to land.