Lessons in Writing: It’s about being brave

Every little happening in the
world comes with its share of danger and risks. Agree or disagree, it’s always
lurking behind you somewhere. And it takes courage, just a good, sensible bit
of it to tackle such circumstances. And what would fiction, the words from the
imagined worlds whose very foundation is reality be without some elements of
it?

I was caught by these words from
this article from ‘The Literary Review’. In the piece, the writer says, “Fiction
is not the place to play safe and, generally, the more risks you are willing to
take the more compelling your work” And I say, “What a great reminder to all
those aspiring writers out there!”

But a lot of things in this world
feature as intersection sets under the ‘easier said than done’ and the ‘morally
right or no’ categories. Now it’s a lot more clear to me why a plethora of
published writers harp upon the ‘Kill your darlings’ concept. And it’s hard to
imagine let alone do it, how one can inflict pain and uncertainty on one’s own
creation just to make the work spicier. I don’t agree that a piece of fiction
can seem adventurous and sophisticated only if the writer is brave enough to
pen down Mr. Chain smoker or Ms. Spoilt. I am now reminded of Frederick Bear,
the benefactor and admirer of Jo March from the book Little Women by Louisa May
Alcott. He tells Jo his opinion on reading her ‘Sinner’s Corpse’ which gets published
after many rejections of her really good but outdated works. And I go with his
opinion. He tells her that she should write only to please herself first. And I
can bravely say that too, to many writers who write what sells.

And then again I am not blind to
the fact that one has to sell as a writer to have audience and buy some pizzas
on weekends. But practising any form of art is about maintaining a balance
between the self and the outer world. And so it’s necessary in writing too. It’s
a challenge and that truly passionate writer triumphs who respects his art as
much as he loves it. Respect for art doesn’t only mean veneration; it also
encompasses the faithfulness of his work to his sentiments.

Then the next question would be
that about being unconventional. But that is the sole aspect of your writing,
as I have understood from my personal experience, which makes your work stand
atop the hill of other manuscripts on the dark circle sporting, pen-tip chewing,
and tired editor’s desk. Being unconventional is being brave too. So, the next
time an unconventional scene pops up in my head, that which is totally in line
with my sentiments, I am going to write it down that instant.

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