Writers share love for writing from lucrative professions
DIMAPUR — “Writing is a difficult and lonely profession that doesn’t pay much and those who want to pursue it need to be prepared to do the hard work as well as depend on other sources to earn a livelihood besides writing.”
These were the thoughts shared by author Jahnavi Barua during a conversation on the “Fiction Unbound- The Secrets Behind Crafting Compelling Narratives” with writer Avinuo Kire on the first day of ‘The White Owl Literature Festival and Book Fair,’ which got underway at the Zone Niathu in Chümoukedima on Friday.
Responding to the question whether she has a skeletal frame that facilitates her starting a story and weaving a character, Barua said that she starts with a person—a character—and this character brings the relationships, struggles and carries forward the story.
Poet and novelist Mamang Dai, who was also part of the conversation, revealed that for her, the beginning of a story starts with a ‘poetic image’ that she can almost see and noted that it is not always that writers look for stories but often, stories find the writers.
Sharing similar sentiments that writing is ‘hard work,’ she said that when she starts a story, she knows the beginning and the end; it is just the middle that needs to be worked out—specifically when it comes to writing novels.
Interestingly, both Barua and Dai, before becoming writers, were pursuing very different careers that they eventually abandoned and they revealed that they just did it without considering it as significant shift.
Barua, before choosing a career in writing, was a doctor who had taken a hiatus for a year after her infant became sick, which stretched to four years. During those years, she read extensively which shaped her to be a writer.
She shared that during that period, she went on to write a number of short stories, which eventually were published as an anthology by Penguin Random House. She termed herself an ‘accidental writer.’
For Dai, it was a career in the civil service that she left after she was selected as an IAS officer while undergoing training. According to her, she did that because she wanted to do something else and explore things. She described it as a ‘simple decision’.
Deliberating further on the intricacies of the process, she said that if someone is a writer, there is a joy within that comes with it and there cannot be any agenda. She added that a writer gets the urge to write, whether it is about the beauty of something or describing something that is tragic.
She noted that for her, naming a character is important and that if names are not right, developing characters becomes a challenge.
The session was followed with an interaction involving students, authors, intellectuals and others.