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Written a book, great! Now the hard part starts…

One of my mother’s favourite quotations is ‘Giving birth to a child is easy. Raising a child is where the hard part lies.’ Of course, she often adds to it, ‘Kids don’t understand that. But they will one day when they have their own kids!’

Well, I guess she is right, at least my elder sister, a mother of two, has started admitting it.

Anyway, the same, I’m sure, can be said about writing books, especially for new writers who are waiting and waiting and waiting to see their first book getting published.  Writing a book is easy, getting it published is where the hard part lies!

I know that too well. Not that writing my first novel was a piece of cake. You don’t spend four years in baking a cake, do you? It cost me more than a year to complete the first draft, another to complete the second. And after that started the long process of revising, re-revising, and revising again. I must have gone through the entire book at least fifteen times! And till the time my book was accepted by V&S Publishers, I kept on feeling the need to check it once more, to find out anything else that needs syncing, tuning, tightening, expanding, stressing, de-stressing, and so on. I’m sure if I take a look at it now, I’ll again find at least ten places that need to be changed. But then, as I read somewhere, ‘All good writing is re-writing.’

For now, I’m done with that. But maybe, most probably, the process will start again when it comes to bringing out the next edition of the book if there’s any next edition.

One great blessing that I am able to enjoy in my journey as an aspiring writer is the internet. The best thing about the internet is that it has information about anything and everything. From the grandest to the meanest, there is everything there. And so, finding advice about the art of writing isn’t difficult, especially if you become a part of networking groups for writers, editors, publishers, etc. For me, at least, the practical suggestions and advice I came across the discussions going on in such groups on LinkedIn have proved valuable. They have definitely made my book better than I could have made it using just my own brain cells.

One of the best lessons I learnt was also the hardest to follow.

KILL YOUR DARLINGS! That’s what I was told. Sounds brutal, doesn’t it? But don’t worry, there’s no massacre of innocent dear ones involved here. All you are going to shed is excess words from your book, and bitter, burning tears from your eyes.

Yes, it means killing the passages that sound best to you. The long, beautiful, mesmerizing passages that you labored hard to perfect. The parts where you describe the atmosphere to its last detail, the page where you have used all sorts of clever words to make the reader aware of every shade in a character, the parts where long, fluid streams of sentences have been strung together with the intent of pulling the reader deep in the emotion of the situation…CUT! CUT! CUT!

Ah…my eyes are still red with all the tears I shed over my dead darlings!

But it really worked. My book is better paced now than it was before. And much shorter.  That’s good, I think, as it was the length of the book that made it face one hurdle after another. Now I have shortened it to a more acceptable length. Hope all the editing and shortening and butchering of my darlings would prove their worth by getting my book accepted and appreciated by the readers.

The hard part of getting the book accepted by a publisher is over now. Now comes the harder part of getting it accepted by the readers.

Really, it is easier to write a book, but very hard to get it published and accepted!

Check out Jyoti Arora’s Books

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Author Jyoti Arora's website and books

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  1. I totally empathise with the dead darlings! But don’t kill them, just smother them enough to go comatose. You can always rejuvenate them in some other book in some other context.

  2. How true is this! Yes, it’s a wrenching thing to do surgery on your words, but as you noted, we’re not writing these books to amuse ourselves, we’re writing them to connect with the readers. And that means paring our books down to the essentials of the story and making them as tight as possible. Thank you for an interesting insight into the process.

  3. Thank you Jyoti,
    7th para,1st line-One of the best lessons and not lesson.
    3rd para from down,1st line-My book is better paced now THAN before-not then before.
    These are very minor,which you might have overseen.I hope you don’t mind it.I am not any specialist in the language-it just came across my eye and I felt like correcting.Your blogs are all very good.Keep up your writing spirit and wish you all the best of health at all times.

    1. Thanks for pointing these out! I never noticed these mistakes while reading the article before posting. Seems like my eyes just skipped over them. 😀
      Thanks also for your appreciation. I hope you’d continue to enjoy my posts.