Plotting The Next

My novel WPBP has completed six months of its launch and I went to a LitFest too. Plus, I’m now a certified author because copies are available in bookshops across India. Hence, my social conversations have reached the next level. 


'So when is the next one popping out?' is the inevitable question right after the mandatory, 'Still cooking yourself?' 'What pollution really?' 'These farmers? I feel you!' 'Have you put on some more weight?' 'Walk, it will help you!' 'What’s cooking with your children?' 


The first question is a bouncer because I haven’t been cooking myself much, though I do consider myself as the seasoned one now and the following ones are de rigueur. The last one, however, is a mirthless one, leaving me to debate on the expression to present to the questioner—somber or happy!


Initially, the Hmm-Husband would gag wondering, where is the moolah coming from, to fend for this new one’s education what with tanking rupee situation but with time, he has come to realise they are talking about my next book. As though it is just a baby, that will do its nine-month gestation period and come out all bawling and we can declare to the world, 'We have good news!'


Seriously speaking, this is a tricky situation. How soon is too soon? Just as siblings need a healthy 3 year age difference, do successive novels need the same gap? That is a scarily, mind-boggling decision to take.


Besides, with more writers per square inch than actual readers, by the time you put on your thinking cap and manage to churn out a chart-buster, you are as trendy as yesterday’s newspaper. Without a Tweet!


Add to the mix, the most important aspect to consider—how do you get those creative juices flowing? How do you get the storyline sewed up perfectly without any logical loopholes? How do you avoid dishing out trash?


The more you learn about the devices, the craft, the more you grasp the essence of story-telling, the less uninhibited you become. You are fettered because the knowledge ensures so. Every step ahead seems like a step in a minefield. The earlier bluster and bravado of being bindaas vanishes making you mull agonisingly, over every word and nuance. Just one false note and you could end up being history, instead of creating one. 


So, you surf around for solutions. Some say hill resorts are the best story spinners. Some suggest black coffee after retail therapy. Better still, a stint of solitude with instrumental music for company. Many swear on yoga at 4 am—now that is killer suggestion! 


Losing sleep for a story? I would rather wake up happy and stare at the walls to keep a record of the lizard creeping patterns than wake up at 4 am and be snappy all day. Instead, I found the easier cure.


Bollywood and Hollywood tales now have a newly dedicated convert. I’m burning up my data plan with a vengeance. Because Shakespeare and Veda Vyas of ‘The Mahabharata’ fame have finished up all the stories for us mere mortals!


AJ wants to know if there are any magic potions concocted by Druid Getafix, for a sequel penning—until then some Netflixing fix and a new prescription lens.

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