Anyone who writes or tries to write will go through sufficient nerve-wracking moments that lead to revelations about the craft. Some authors write books about it and we’ve reviewed a few. But even if you steep yourselves in books on the craft of writing, it is very difficult to implement the advice that you have been given. You may nod your head in agreement while reading certain passages and you may empathize with the author’s plight, but it’s not often that you can follow advice. Anosh Irani is an acclaimed writer whose advice is essential reading. It makes sense as it can be understood and even applied.
Writing a book is a mammoth task. There are writers who speak of sleep-deprived routines, yearly NaNoWriMo attempts, days spent plotting timelines and meditation to find the muse. Some books are easier to write; others make you want to tear your hair out like some difficult child. But the saving grace is:
“One singular being, both familiar and strange, who refuses to leave, who remains standing there alone, staring at your mountain, barely breathing: the main character of your novel or short story. She is the one I turn to every single time. When it came to my most recent novel, The Parcel, that person was Madhu, a retired transgendered sex worker in Bombay’s red light district, who is forced with the task of training a ‘Parcel’, code for a young girl who has been trafficked into the brothels. For years I simply observed Madhu, as one would a fragile body in a jungle, or a decaying bird. I moved towards her, getting closer with every step, so that I might get a glimpse of the one aspect of her being that would be my guiding light – her wound.”
This is a helpful passage indeed. Read Irani’s Notes on Craft.