Writer’s Block  

Posted by CK in , , , ,

I was recently going through Wikipedia (the best thing to happen to the internet since Tim Berners-Lee… all the geeks in the house, can I get a WOOT WOOT!) and reading up on one of my favorite authors, Isaac Asimov. And he has written this massive body of work most of which is awesome. Some of his best work is, of course, the world famous Foundation Series. But all his short stories are where my interest really lies. He has been called, and I quote “…one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited about 500 books and over 9,000 letters and postcards. His works have been published in nine of the ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System (the sole exception being the 100s: philosophy and psychology).”

Now I don’t know what the Dewey Decimal System is and I’m too lazy to click on the link to find out but either way, it’s impressive. As a kid, I was always a voracious reader and it used to be my favorite hobby and pastime barring everything else. I used to devour books by the dozen and never get tired and my favorite thing to read was always science-fiction. And in science-fiction (called sci-fi for short), Asimov had the ability to transport me from my home or school in Saudi to distant star-systems where humans had conquered the galaxy, robots strive to save humanity from themselves and galactic empires fall and rise.

The beauty of Asimov’s heroes (and some have criticized him for this) is that they face insurmountable odds and come out on top through a last minute ruse or a well-laid out plan that the reader is not privy to until the absolute last moment. As a kid, nothing could be greater and I thought it was magic.

I was reading one of the last books published by Asimov before his death in 1992 called Gold. In this, there are letters from him to readers or editorials from when he was Editorial Director of Asimov’s Science Fiction. He explains to his fans and detractors how the concept of story-telling is such a natural, simple and exhaustively complicated thing all at the same time. The story flows naturally from within and you always tend to think that what came that naturally and creatively must of course be published if it’s any good at all. The editorial pen is a writer’s worst enemy, he said and he was, as is every other writer, no exception. At one point, he had re-written a particular story 29 times over 9 years before it got published. And this was after he was the world famous Isaac Asimov.

I’ve always wanted to write a book and I thought that it would either be science-fiction or history or something fictional that had both elements. At times, I think to myself that it can’t be THAT hard and at other times I think it’s an exercise in futility. The thing is, I’m capable of writing spontaneously and directly from my head or heart (whatever’s dominating my thoughts at that moment) and really don’t feel I can lay down complex plot lines and interweave character development in to it. I’m the guy, who while watching a movie, constantly tries to figure out the twist in the story while it’s running and when I get it right (which is 50% of the time) I give myself a pat on the back and tell myself that hey, I could’ve written this. But in true fact, guessing other people’s stories out isn’t rocket science.

Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code was a good book. It wasn’t great, it wasn’t mind-boggling, it was good. While reading it during the hype it had created, I was being overly critical of the book poking holes at the weak twist at the end, and stuff but to be honest, I loved the way he married history, mystery and intrigue in his story. His brand of Faction is something that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Another friend of mine recently turned writer though his story is somewhat different. He lost a loved one not too long ago and as a sort of release; he used to blog about his day to day life and how he was coping with it all. This blog was a way to tell his loved ones and friends that he was ok and life was moving on. But it had the inadvertent side-effect of becoming almost an online support forum for people who’d been through similar experiences. The blog grew till it had almost a few hundred thousand clicks a month and it caught the attention of some publishing houses who asked him if he’d like to put his experience into a book. He took it and he’s in India right now writing and he was telling me how easily writing came to him because everything he had to say was in his head and it was all experiences he’d gone through so there were no plots, story devices, nothing. It was just what happened to him on a day to day basis. Before he submitted the first part of the book to his editor, he told me he was worried that it would come back with a note saying, “Thanks but we’ve thought about it and the book deal is off” But of course, they didn’t and he is now writing on, hoping to be done in the very near future. Once his book hits the stands, I’ll let you know what I’m talking about.

But his type of writing and this blog type of writing is something that comes as naturally as breathing. The question is who wants to read it. I guess, one of these days I’ll have to sit down, make an outline and figure out what genre I’m going to write and a basic premise. Let’s hope that happens. Because once all that’s done, that’s not even the hard part. Finding people to print what you have to say and finally, finding people who want to read it, that's the clincher.

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 12, 2009 at Thursday, November 12, 2009 and is filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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