More than a decade ago, when Chetan Bhagat had written Five Point Someone, it’d brought about a change in the reading habit of the country. Whether one reads his books or not, one cannot deny that Bhagat has single-handedly driven the youth of the country to read more. And if you ask me, the main reason behind this is that he had brought in to the market, stories which Indian readers identify with.
Another thing that has changed in the Indian literary scene recently is that the number of people who want to write has increased manifold. Between 2011-2013, I had spent a lot of time reading fiction written by Indian authors, most of who are still unknown. What was both fascinating as well as disappointing, is that there are so many good stories out there, but not everyone can tell the story very well.
As a manuscript editor and book publicist, I have interacted with a lot of story tellers who are trying to write a book and/or get published. However, I’ve noticed that they are not doing the basics. A doctor has to first take the required course(s), intern and only then can he practice, right? Every procedure has steps and if you are taking writing seriously, I’d strongly suggest that you include these four steps into the process:
Read a lot: Read what you like, but also try to read authors who are better than whom you already read. A lot can be learnt from reading the masters of the trade.
Write a lot: Before you get down to the main story, practice a lot. I’d suggest that you write every single day, even if it is flash fiction or an entry in your diary.
Know your grammar: I’m not asking you to perfect your grammar, but make sure that you are comfortable with the language you are writing in. You can express freely and your words will have the correct intent only when you know your grammar and its usage.
Write honestly: I agree, we all want our works to be famous. But if your work has heavy influences of another author, would the readers rather not buy books of that author? Learn from your idols, but write in your own style. Write an honest story, and not what is selling in the market. Who knows, you could be that bestselling author who brings a new revolution in how Indians read!