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On writing Novels!

Updated on May 16, 2014
Sanjay Sonawani
Sanjay Sonawani

Being novelist, most of my novels written in Marathi language, my mother tongue, fairly successful they have been with multiple editions, I am often asked by the readers what is my writing process. I had replied at length to my Marathi readers, but here I wish to share with my English writers and readers about the same.

No. I will not bore you with my whole literary autobiography with common nonsense as to how I became writer and when did I start writing. I will just talk about just the process.

1. I have been too inquisitive and imaginative hence some incidents of the present or from the remote past unknowingly captivates my mind intuitively flashing a plot, though quite vaguely, yet compelling enough to write.

2. I do not plan the whole thing in advance, such as start, middle and end and all the characters except the leads. I let flow the story in its natural course and the story itself unfolds itself to me, sometimes some unimagined turns or characters come surprisingly. It's an interesting process, writer do not know in advance what he is going to write about! The novels, whose end is known in advance I have left them incomplete, as I lose charm of entering the unknown Jungle.

3. I always have thought over my thought process and as a result, I have come to a conclusion that subconscious mind gets highly activated when I start writing, It is a force that takes me on. May be it is because though I never know what will be next written by me, my subconscious mind knows about it already. I trust in my subconscious mind rather than making calculative plot alive.

4. But this process is highly obstructive too as well. I have lot of writing that never was completed. While writing after some time I suddenly lose interest in the whole thing and just abandon the work, no matter how powerful was the plot as it seemed earlier. It has happened many a times. Very few of them I have picked up again after the lapse of some time. I have tried to search for the reason and found that abandoning the plots was result of my own lesser conviction about the themes itself. If I am not convinced of what I am writing, I just stop writing the book and wait till new idea captivates me. This has been a constant process. But then I think, unless there is self conviction, writing is not a thing one should proceed with.

5. I do not like to be labeled of any particular genre. There are writers dedicated to certain genres like historical, science fictions, crime thrillers, political thrillers, social etc. Historical Novel writer would hardly attempt a crime thriller. There are exceptions but success ratio too is quite low, as readers expect book coming of the same genre which has popularized the writer. Albeit labels help easy marketing, no doubt about it! But I always have thought this to happen is a trap that ends versatile possibilities of writing from an author. This is as if caging of a writer’s personality. I have handled almost all possible genres as a form of expression. Expression is what a writer needs and he should apply various forms and subjects to express as sticking to one may not give justice to his abilities to express.

6. I do not set any time limit as to when I want to finish with it. Unless and until I feel like going ahead with the writing, I simply don’t write. Forcibly trying to complete a work in particular time frame as if an assignment is not good with creative writing. Also I do not plan any page limit (or word count) to any of my novel. Every plot has its own space. Restricting it or unnecessarily enlarging it could be harmful to the work itself.

7. I love my work till it is completed. I admire myself when I write. But when I am thorough with writing, I become suddenly detached and look at the writing as if written by someone else and become a cruel editor. After publication of the novel, I read it just once and throw it away, not even try to promote. I just get engaged in the next venture as if being my maiden work.

8. I never worry about readers. I do not write for target audience. There have been some novels I had never anticipated even hundred copies would sell. When writing, I feel, I am writing for myself. I do not worry of the fate of the novel when it is published.

9. Every critic has his own perspectives and thus what critic’s write about the book, good or bad, does not affect me. If a critic garlands with praises the other will lash it out saying not even worth reading…I have experienced this many a times, hence I simply neglect what critics have written on my novels. However, whatever way they write, it boosts the sales, I must admit.

10. I do not like repeating any subject or similar themes in next work. I want to have my plot of entirely new idea, subject and genre, taking me also in entirely new and different world. That is what I enjoy with my writing…not just writing for writing!

So this is it that has been my writing process and views on writing. I do not know whether this is helpful or not. But so far I have been enjoying writing and shall be till imaginations are thriving and compelling me to write.


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    • aksharmann profile image

      Mandar Khawakee 

      4 years ago from Pune, MH, India

      thanks for sharing this valuable information! most of the readers, and new writers in some cases, often wonder how a concept is born and how a novel is written. your article throws light on most of those curious questions. the process, where writer himself does not know in advance what he is going to write about, is really interesting. i believe that helps recreating natural flow of events in the minds of readers. also, i agree with your point that unless there is self conviction, writing is not a thing one should proceed with. however, it triggers the question about 'consistent writing' or 'writing as a career'. it would help if you can share your thoughts on this, as well.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 

      5 years ago from Pune, India

      Thank you for sharing your experience, which will surely help new writers.


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