Writing is all about expression. To be able to creatively put forth the inner feelings and thoughts is what is important. A good writer is one who can carry his readers along with him wherever he goes. There are different genres. There’s the literary novel. Mass market fiction - chick lit, lad lit, campus novels that have picked up in a big way in India. Short story as a form has also resurrected itself in Indian publishing. Pulp fiction is something one could try out. Some of the greatest action thrillers, detective fiction, murder mysteries and fantasy novels still wait to be written in India.
What do they do?
A writer creates, informs and entertains. S/he even transforms. “The process of writing is a rollercoaster ride. It’s painful but it gives you the joy of creating something, which will reach out to many, many people, across groups, generations, nations,” says Minakshi Thakur, editor, Harper Collins, a passionate reader who hates to reject manuscripts. She’s also someone who has turned her hobby into a profession.
“Publishing has grown in India in a big way and will keep growing in the years to come, especially because so many multinational (publishing) giants have set up offices in India. It naturally benefits people who are thinking of taking up writing as a career. There is a lot of experimentation happening with Indian writing in English and writing in the bhashas. Lot of new faces, young voices and viewpoints are emerging. New genres are evolving, new lines of thoughts being taken up. For someone writing a first book, there are a lot more publishing opportunities and more money -- in terms of an advance and royalty -- than a decade ago,” says Thankur.
Poetry is also published, though very few titles in numbers and print run. Also there is graphic fiction and non-fiction. Good non-fiction – biographies, memoirs, case studies – never goes out of fashion. Another interesting trend these days is Indian language publishing and translation between the languages and from the languages into English. Translation as a profession could therefore be explored.
Well-known writer and author of The Last Mughal, William Dalrymple couldn’t agree more. “It was difficult to make a career in writing (in India) even 10 years ago. But now it is economically viable. However, you need to be lucky, and get a good start,” he points out.
What does one need to become a writer? “First and foremost, an interest in storytelling. An ability to spin a yarn. You don’t need any specific background but a felicity with words and phrases,” says Nandita Bhardwaj, an independent publishing professional. And how exactly do you prepare yourself for a career in writing? “Definitely read a lot, be aware of and notice things that are happening around in the world and give importance to details,” says Milee Ashwarya, editor, Random House Publishers India. And what would you write on? Would it be technical writing, fiction or pure poetry? Says Monica Saigal, acquisition editor, Vikas Publishing House, “There are different genres… but the choice as to which one to pick depends on the personal choice and creative capacity of every individual.”
. Deep insight
. A creative mind
. Power to reason
. Knowledge of grammar
. Power to express in words
. Ability to master the art of depicting real life in a simulated world
. Self discipline to stay true to your craft
How do I get there?
Minimum eligibility: 10 + 2, to pursue a course in creative writing.
The minimum duration of the programme is one year, stretchable to a maximum of four years (IGNOU offers such courses)
Desirable qualifications include: A bachelor’s degree from a reputable college/ university in any stream.
“Humanities is usually the most popular choice amongst writers, as it helps one delve deeper into literature, philosophy, history, society, etc. but science and commerce backgrounds too come in good stead for writers who choose to write on these subjects,” says Milee Ashwarya of Random House. You may, as well, take online help to hone your skills.