Saturday, 30 May 2015

Guest Post by Neil D'Silva

Neil and I connected through his brother Roy who I had worked with previously in Pune. Soon, we began chatting about my books and marketing strategies. It was around the same time that Neil launched his first book – Maya’s New Husband, which went on to become a bestseller. Today, Neil shares his experience with budding authors and interested readers on my blog. 

Thanks for sharing Neil and all the best for your forthcoming projects!

Maya’s New Husband: How I Wrote a Bestseller

Despite being a debut novel, Maya’s New Husband has gone on to rank at #1 on Amazon shortly after its paperback release, win awards, and earn a considerable amount of critical appreciation. People usually ask me questions on how I did it, and this is my humble attempt to guide others who might wish to take something from my experience.

Be Inspired

You cannot write a good book if you aren’t inspired by a story. Do not go looking for inspiration; let it hit you. This inspiration could be just a thought, or a story you hear, or something you see, but it should have an impact on you.

For me, it happened when I was on a holiday in Goa. While spending a cozy evening with my wife in the balcony of our room that faced the Calangute Beach, and seeing the happy couples holding hands and sharing their love, a thought entered my mind—How much of each other do these couples really know? What if one of these has a dark unmentionable secret?

The idea shook me to the core. Thus, the grain of Maya’s New Husband was born.

Build an Outline

You may be a plotter or a pantser, it doesn’t really matter. I am a bit of both. I plot the beginning and the end of the story, and a few of the vital scenes that occur in between. But a lot of the flow occurs when you actually sit down and write. If you are really convinced in your work, trust me, your story will begin writing itself.

Feel Your Characters

In any story, the characters are the most important. Every aspect of them has to be pat down, and the author must know fully well how the characters would react in different situations. With my book, I started with the titular husband first. I closed my eyes until I could actually see Bhaskar Sadachari in my mind, every wrinkle on his face, and I put him into different situations mentally and decided how he would react. I did the same with the protagonist, Maya Bhargava, and the rest of the characters. For me, it helped to establish physical traits first and then the behavioral aspects.

Being True to Genre

My book is a horror-thriller. When I began, a question that loomed large in my head as to how horrific I wanted it to be. Tales of aghoris and tantriks are common. But I intended to write a very different tale. Though it had a dark aspect of our Indian lore as its basic theme, I wanted it to be an urban story. I wanted no clich├ęs. Hence, I decided on all-out, no-holds-barred horror.

At times, the story was so chilling that I could not write it at nights. I had to shut down even in the middle of a totally intriguing scene, because the horror was that difficult to take. But that made me sure of one thing—this was the right direction to take if I was writing horror. Horror is, after all, meant to horrify.

That’s the way it should be. You should feel the genre you are writing in. If it is humor, you should laugh at the jokes first. If it is romance, you should feel the pangs.

The Writing and The Editing

I wrote Maya’s New Husband quite fast, and for that the credit goes to NaNoWriMo 2014. The initial manuscript of the book was written in this month of November, and I became a winner as well. That was my first accolade for writing. I wrote around 3000-6000 words a day. Once you have the entire outline in your mind, the going gets easy.

I moved away from the book for three weeks and then got to editing around mid-December. Editing was furious, and I did my own stuff as well as incorporated suggestions from various people I had sent the book out to. Every word was weighed against its value, and the final product was ready by January 2015.

A Book Is Never Done

I always maintain that the actual work of a writer begins after penning the words ‘The End’. Completing a book is of no avail if no one reads it. For Maya’s New Husband, I did quite a few things, including creating a platform on Facebook and Twitter, building my website to reflect my writing, collaborate with other writers for cross-promotions, submit my book to awards (MNH has won at the Literary Awards 2015 in The Entertainer category) among other things.

But the best bit of advice I can give is this: The greatest advertisement for a writer is to write another book. So don’t stop! You never know which of your books will hit the mark, and that will create an interest in your other books as well. I wrote The Evil Eye and The Charm three months after MNH and that has helped me immensely.

So, keep writing, and take care!

You can contact him at -  http://neildsilva.com




2 comments:

  1. Thankyou so much Rachna Gupta for this post.
    Neil D'silva, your journey is very impressive and your words are very inspiring too!
    Great insight given, though you make the process of getting published sound so easy.
    Hehe
    CONGRATULATIONS and all the very best for your future endeavours!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Vibhuti for taking the time out to go through my blog!

    ReplyDelete