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Friday, June 17, 2005

what makes a writer click

This is the would-be crorepati’s question which remains shrouded forever in mystery. Get hold of an overseas publisher and you can make your mark, is an advice given to many. This is true for those who practice in the English language. We have them cropping from all corners – there are any number of would-be Jhumpa Lahiris who wait in the wings for a break. Today, we are members of a global community. We have in our midst writers like Vikram Seth, Amitav Ghosh, Arundhati Roy, Khuswant Singh. The World is our stage, we perform to the global audience and, by virtue of such a large audience, we are guaranteed of success of sorts. In the bargain, if one earns the distinction of an award of sorts, it adds to the glory.

Some interesting observations on a few literary works reported recently in the press are as follows –

Piece of cake – Swati Kaushal, 367 pages, Rs 250.00, Penguin
Five point someone – Chetan Bhagat, Rs 95.00, Rupa
The geographer’s library – Jon Fasman, 374 pages, Rs 450.00, Penguin
The dark tower V – Wolves of the Calla – Stephen King, 777 pages, Rs 780.00, Pocket books
The World is flat – Thomas L Friedman, 488 pages, Rs 710.00, Penguin
Broken Verses, Kamila Shamsie, 338 pages, Rs 513,.00, Bloomsbury
How to grow a backbone – Susan Marshal, 197 pages, Rs 195.00. Tata McGraw Hill
Murder List – Julia Garwood, 425 pages, Ballantyne Books
The Zahir – Paulo Coelho, 342 pages, Rs 295, Harper Collins

It can be safely inferred that it is the day of writers who can churn out pages after pages. Computers have made life a lot easier for writers. Manuscripts can be readied in no time. Once the writer is able to sell his idea with examples of what he can deliver, he has won half the battle. The other half falls into his lap if he gets hold of an agent who can ensure his entry into one of the elite clubs that, in turn, helps garner more and more support for his writings.

Just for records, J K Rowling, created Harry Potter – one of the first ones in the series (the prisoner of Azkaban) published in 1999 is 317 pages, one more in 2000 (the Goblet of fie) is 636 pages and a third one in 2003 (the order of he Phoenix) is 766 pages.


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