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Archive for the ‘Random Ramblings’ Category

Random Ramblings #5: How do I pick a genre for writing without having a minor panic attack?

Lately I’ve been wondering a lot about myself: what kind of a person am I? What would I like to be perceived as? What am I actually perceived as? etc.
Writing about anything helps me understand the thing better, and gives me the clarity that is much-needed right now.

I’m trying to do this methodically and focussing on figuring out only one aspect of my life at a time.
Since my writing- style, genre, and all of that- is what got me thinking about this whole mess, I thought that’s as good a place to start as any.
In this particular post, I’m only writing about genre- that’s the part that has been bothering me the most.
I’ve always wanted to write a novel.
Ever since I learnt what a novel is, I’ve wanted to write one myself.
Therefore, as a kid, I directly started trying to write one.
With no knowledge about anything whatsoever.
As I started reading more and more books though, I realized that:
A. It’s not so easy.
B. Nobody just writes a book. They write one type of a book.
They either write for children or for teenagers for adults. They write fiction or non-fiction.
Then there’s various categories in those known as genres.
I realized that I’d have to figure out where exactly I’m trying to fit my story in. For that, I’d have to read a lot more than I had read back then.
I would also have to get better at writing a lot, and I’m glad that the blog helped me with that.

For a couple of years after various failed attempts at trying to write a whole, complete novel, I unknowingly stopped trying to write a novel and focussed on reading a lot and writing a lot, in general.

Now, I’ve been blogging for a while, have read a lot of books (lot more than I had when I started out, at least. I’ve still not read enough- but any number will never be enough) and I’m 18 years old, an official adult who wouldn’t change her mind about things quite as often as teenage-me did.
So I began wondering what’s stopping me from writing a book now.
Technical reasons such as lack of time and motivation aside, I realized that the only thing stopping me is my inability to take decisions.
I can think of 4-5 stories (just story ideas of course, none of them have a proper story line or a plot yet) that I have thought of writing, but I’ve never taken any efforts to actually write them.
Because I didn’t know which one of those to write.
You see, they’re all of different genres.
One is YA, another could be considered Chick-lit perhaps. One is a mystery/ psychological thriller, one’s a Sci-fi or fantasy, or something.
I don’t know which one to write because writing any of those will make me a writer of that genre.
That’s precisely what I don’t want.
I don’t want to be a YA author, or an SF writer.

I read all of those genres (I have read a few books in each of them, at the very least), therefore I want to write all of them.

J K Rowling first wrote Harry Potter but then she thought she wanted to write a mystery series so she did that under a pen name.
One of the reasons was, of course, that she didn’t want the pressure of writing something as brilliant as Harry Potter but another was also probably the fact that she was venturing into a new genre.
I don’t know any authors who’ve written a lot of different genres- they stick to their own. Sure, they experiment with the sub-genres and stuff, but I don’t know anybody who first wrote chick-lit and then switched to Sci-fi (something extreme like that, I mean).

[Actually, while we’re on the topic, if you do know about authors who’ve done that, please mention some of them in the comments]
Do any of you face the same problem? (I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one)

Everybody I know who writes, also reads a lot.
And they read a lot of different stuff.
And are inspired by all of it to create something of their own.

Most of them have already started writing their first novel, some of them have had it published as well.
My question to you is, how do you know that this is the story you want to write?
Does it depend on your style of writing?
Or the genre you read the most?
If you’ve already started writing, say, a romance novel, aren’t you scared that someday if you choose to write a mystery, you would already be stereotyped as a romance writer and nobody would take your mystery novel seriously?

I realize that this problem could be (temporarily) solved if I tried writing all the genres that I wish to write and see what works for me.
But I get the feeling that that’ll be even worse… if I do end up finding out what I can and cannot write, all the genres that I’m hopeless at writing will always make me feel inadequate as a writer.
The thought that I may close off those metaphorical gates to writing other genres because of my inability to write them scares me even more than not knowing which I should write first.

I don’t even know where I’m going with all of this.
I don’t specifically want suggestions to solve the problem, but I’d like to know your opinions and thoughts on the topic.
Basically I’m just hoping to have a discussion about the topic with some of you and gaining some insight of some sort.
Any kind of responses are welcome.
You could tell me that I’m stupid and a coward and am only making excuses instead of actually doing any writing (the thought did cross my mind too) and that’d be fine with me.
Because, even if that is the case, I’d like for a few people to explicitly tell me so.

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Random Ramblings #4: Doppelgangers

Doppelgangers are scary shit, man!

Yes. That’s how I’d like to start this post. Because that is what I realized the other day.
Earlier, I used to think the concept of doppelgangers was funny.
To begin with, I refused to believe that doppelgangers could look so much like some other person. Maybe they’d only remind you of somebody- but not actually look like them, right?

Needless to say, I had never seen anyone who was a spitting image of somebody I knew.
(Celebrity doppelgangers don’t really count)

All that changed a few weeks ago.

I happened to find a doppelganger of one of my friends.
We used to be really good friends earlier but I guess we fell apart in the usual way, and the story’s got dust on every page.

(10 points to whoever gets that song reference!)
(Coincidentally, the next-to-next line is “I see your face in every crowd” and this post is about a doppelganger. Wow! These kinda things never fail to amuse me)

Have you thought about doppelgangers though? Have you really thought about them?

A doppelganger is this person who looks like someone you know (and are perhaps really close to) but he/she is a completely different person and they have no idea about their doppelgangerism (I needed a word like that to express what I meant, but I don’t fancy myself a Shakespeare.)

They consider you to be strangers and have no clue about the kind of impact they could be having on your life right then.
And therefore, if you happen to look (or rather, if they happen to catch you looking) at them a little longer than it’s socially acceptable to look at strangers before it’s considered outright staring, they think you’re either
a) weird
b) interested in them
or both.

And you are, in a way, interested in them. You’d like to know what they’re like. If they have the same habits as the person they doppelgang (maybe I do fancy myself as Shakespeare- going around inventing all these words!) or if looks are the only thing they have in common with the doppelgangee (It’s official!)

If you’re looking at them from a distance; perhaps sitting in an extremely unstimulating and mind numbing seminar (thus giving you loads of time to muse about the way your life is going- how it usually starts- and then about Coco Chanel’s birthdate and the Fermi’s Paradox), you also start analysing your relationship with the original friend/ acquaintance (or, as I so eloquently put it,the doppelgangee).
What could’ve gone wrong?
Did we both really just get busy or maybe we just stopped trying to put any efforts into the friendship?

Were we just lazy or were we simply not interested any more?
Whose fault was it (if anybody’s)?
Why can’t people stay friends forever?
Why is it that we lose more friends than we gain? (Or do we? What you think readers??)

Should you, perhaps, try once again?
Is it worth the effort?

But you don’t want to come across as a desperate friendless person…

Then you look at the doppelganger again and somehow remember the happy memories with your friend.
Maybe it’s worth a try.
Okay then! Youve made up your mind- You’ll go home and call/ email/ message your friend.

You’ve come to a decision.
You’ve decided to do something that, up until that morning, you had no idea you would decide to do. (The particular friend wasn’t even on your mind!)

The doppelganger helped you make a decision.
The consequences are as yet unknown, but whatever!

Now, the question is, what do you do with the doppelganger?

Do you thank him/ her?

(That would just be too much to explain)

Do you simply go over and tell them how much they resemble your friend?

(Too much to explain again.
And they probably don’t care.
And if you show them a picture, they’ll think they look nothing like your friend)

Do you just have a conversation and leave the whole doppelganger part out and perhaps become friends (but mostly not) and that’s it?

Or….

Do you do nothing about it and go home? Because it’s not like they’ll wonder about you. They’ll be strangers forever and well, maybe it’s best that way.
Perhaps it was just a sign from the universe and you were supposed to take it and move on…

Random Ramblings#3: The Wedding Dress Metaphor

A year ago (more or less), I was on Google looking at pictures of beautiful white wedding gowns (that particular time it was for some story I was trying to write, but I wouldn’t deny the fact that it is one of my guilty pleasures). I found some really elegant ones in shades of white and cream and pearl and teal and champagne and ivory but there was this one gown that really caught my eye.
I thought, that’s the kind of gown I’ll wear when (if) I get married. It was just so beautiful! I saved a picture in my phone.

image

As far as I was concerned, it was The One.
Occasionally, I’d show it to some friend because we were talking about some wedding or just weddings in general. One such time (it was kind of recent), a friend asked me, “What does it look like from the front?” And I said, “I don’t know!” That’s when I realized that I had never seen the full picture! I was only looking at it from that one angle and I loved the view. I was so busy admiring this particular view, I didn’t bother looking at it properly.
Now you have to understand that, very objectively, it didn’t even matter. It was simply a picture of a wedding dress I’d never even wear. I’m not even getting married, for heaven’s sake!
But after that, every time I looked at the picture, it kept bothering me. What did it look like from the front? I’d never find out.
Stumbling upon that picture the first time and saving it was like clicking a picture of a stranger you’d never see again.
So I didn’t even try.
Until one day the fact that I didn’t know was bothering me too much. Now it didn’t matter whether or not I even wanted that dress, I just had to know.
And it was on the internet- wasn’t the internet supposed to have an answer to each of your questions? A solution to each of your problems? And most of all, wasn’t it supposed to bring the world closer? Make friends out of strangers? (Because the wedding-gown-was-like-a-stranger-whose-picture-I-clicked)
So I set out looking for the gown. Never had I so strongly wished that Google could take images as ‘search terms’ or whatever you call the-stuff-you-type-into-Google.
But then it would be too easy and God knows things have never come to me easily.
I searched and searched for what was only around half an hour (45 minutes, tops) and found the exact picture I’d taken a year ago. So I’d found the website at least!
Hopefully they had a front shot of my gown (“my” meaning the gown I was looking for, and nothing else. I’m not some obsessive freak who thinks that the gown was obviously only designed for me and I was going around calling it my gown. Of course I’m not! What even gave you that idea?!?!).

Oh yes! They did! (That shouldn’t have come as a surprise really. Not everyone was as stupid as me to fall in love with like a gown because it looked good from the backside)

image

And well, I was disappointed.
What were you expecting?
Of course I was disappointed!
That gown is beautiful, there’s no arguing that. But for the past one year I had been misimagining it. I had created an illusion that was so perfect and so ideal that the actual picture would disappoint me no matter what!
In my head, even the model looked different (although, this girl is extremely pretty! How can people look so pretty?)
This time I had the good sense to bookmark the page whether or not I cared about the gown (sidenote: I do! I do care about the gown. I still love it!) and while writing this post (because I wanted to have one more look at it before I concluded this post) I scrolled through the reviews of the brides (or brides-to-be) who had fallen in love with the same gown that I had (even though I, unlike them, had no business falling for it). It felt really nice and made me kinda happy.

There’s no lesson I have for you.
This is just the story of how I thought I’d found the perfect wedding dress but it wasn’t really perfect. It could have been, but it wasn’t because I rushed into it and was too far gone before I even gave the dress a chance to show me all of its beauty and now I blame the dress for being itself and not a figment of my imagination where it was the most perfect thing ever!

Make of that what you will.

Random Ramblings #2: What does that say about you?

Often you’re sitting at home and you start to wonder about how you’ll be moving out one of these days.
Sure, there’s at least half a decade left before that happens, but that doesn’t stop you from wondering anyway.

Mostly you are just excited to go out there and get a life: Taste the newfound freedom, create your own lifestyle, be responsible, make the world your oyster, discover new people and also new things about yourself..

But occasionally you also take the other train of thought.
You wonder what you will miss about here, about home.

Will it be your friends, your family?

What if you realize it’s neither?
What if, after racking your brain really hard about things you will miss, you think “Yeah… I think I’m gonna miss the perfect placement of the showerhead in my bathroom” and “I’m also gonna miss having the small place below my study desk where I would sit for hours reading my diaries instead of studying”?
What if the things you’d miss about home are just that- things?

What does that say about you?

Random Ramblings #1 – Aren’t writers and scientists pretty much the same really?

Sometimes I wonder why I hate science!
Once upon a time (up until around 5 years ago) I really liked it.
To the extent that I wanted to be a scientist.

Because back then (not until 5 years ago of course, a lot before that- say 7-8 years ago) I thought scientists were the real learners. I thought they were the kind of people who learnt a lot about everything, gained all kinds of knowledge- I still think that but now I know that they aren’t the only ones.
Writers have to do the same too.

If you think about it, writers and scientists have pretty similar jobs.
They are supposed to observe their environments, learn the procedures of how things work, take note of the little things, be a little eccentric (aah yes! That’s a trait of geniuses, isn’t it?) and then implement all of what they have learnt and create something new, something that hasn’t existed before.
What I love the most about their learning is that they do not exclude anything from their studies, nothing is really “out of syllabus”.
A writer should know about fashion, but he/she should also know about criminal law- because they could end up writing a suspense thriller with the background of the fashion industry. Sure, they could consult experts in the field but having basic knowledge to come up with the plot in the first place is essential.
Something similar holds true in case of scientists as well.
Obviously there are a lot of professions out there who do this kind of thing, and there are like thousands of branches and genres and subfields of science and writing that people specialize in.
But the general idea remains the same.

Now whenever I think about it, I always come to the conclusion that maybe I wouldn’t have made such a bad scientist either.
As for my passion for writing, maybe I would’ve been a sci-fi writer.
Or maybe I’d be a female Hank Green- writing environmental blogs as well as modern adaptations of Jane Austen novels. Basically I’d not fare badly- or so I think.

But I suppose it is easy for me to romanticize science now– now that I don’t have to learn it (it has been more than 2 years- and I can’t really say I miss it). When I did learn it though, physics was pretty much beyond me- electromagnetics and stuff like that, I never understood any of it.
So maybe it wasn’t my thing after all… but well, musings are called musings for a reason.

P.S. I’m very optimistically calling this post “Random Ramblings #1″ hoping that since I ramble a lot, this’d become a new section/ feature on my blog. But all my plans have this amazing tendency to fall apart. So for all we know this could be the first and only Random Ramblings post you see, or funnily enough there could be too many of those and not much of others- the falling apart works both ways.

But here’s to hoping it works out well, because hope lives on, right?

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