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Become a successful story writer in India

Updated on August 8, 2016
Mahabharata
Mahabharata

India is undoubtedly a land of stories. We have mythological stories which we call epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and we have a hoard of moral stories in the form of Panchatantra. Naturally, it is a challenge for anybody to become a writer and a good one is an even tougher challenge to complete. A writer in India is not unheard of but good writers are very few and not everybody can write an epic, the best we can do is make remakes of it with the same storyline. Gone are the days when people used to praise small story writers and publishing books and novels with a common plotline would be a breeze. Nowadays, the youth has taken over the country and they are not about eating up that common boy-meets-girl storyline. Therefore, if you want to become a successful story writer in India, you have to possess some serious talent and a little bit of luck.

Story Writing
Story Writing

To become a successful writer especially in a country like India where critics, religious groups and political organisations and parties are just waiting to pounce on you and burden you with lawsuits if you ever try to hover in controversial waters, it is advised to be on the safe side and pick a topic which is not considered controversial. This does not automatically state that you should go for a typical story which is just supposed to reel in money and has nothing unique or uncommon about it but try to refrain from wading into the deep end of the controversial waters where the sharks are waiting to devour you.

An example of this kind of unique but uncontroversial writing would be our very own Amish. His “Meluha Trilogy” was different and scientific in his own way where he added that extra jazz to the story line and explained the myths we believed in so blindly, without asking any questions. He had the courage to ask why and answer those queries, but he pretty much stuck to the original story line and did not distort it because people do not like their faith questioned.

Legendary writer Salman Rushdie
Legendary writer Salman Rushdie

However, if you are gutsy enough you can take inspiration from the legendary writer Salman Rushdie and take the risk of writing a book which would put you right in the middle of controversy and make you famous, because let’s face it Mr. Rushdie does not care if there is a fatwa in his name, as long as he writes and makes the readers happy, he will remain a legend.

From Heaven Lake
From Heaven Lake

You could also try your hand at travel writing because the youth of India has been bitten by the travel bug and a book based on the unconventional route to Leh-Ladakh or any other exotic place would be a welcome change from all the sappy novels which are sold in the Indian market. There is some serious Vikram Seth inspiration to consider as far as travelogues are concerned.

The Shadow Lines
The Shadow Lines

You could also go down the traditional way and write about the partition of India and the colonial powers like the respectable Amitav Ghosh because every reader loves to soak in a little bit of history. It is not about the subject material but rather the story you have to tell which makes you a successful writer in India. People adore a writer in India if he/she can write a novel which engages their interest and if it is virgin territory that your book seeks to explore, it is better but a little bit of luck is instrumental everywhere.

I would conclude by saying that to become a good writer and a successful story writer in India, you must educate yourself about the great writers who made a name in India despite staying abroad because nothing speaks volumes than your love for the country, whether you choose to criticise it or praise it to high heavens is entirely up to you. You have to be objective and unbiased in your writing. Do not try to trigger offence in people through your writing and make sure that your writing is an inspiration to budding writers everywhere because in every nook and corner of this country is a small time writer who is spending days staring at his laptop with an unsolvable writer’s block. You never know who you inspire through the 26 letters of the alphabet with which you decorate your pages and try to weave a new tale.

© 2016 Bibhu Datta Rout

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