Skip to main content

A - Authenticity in Writing

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers
Welcome to a new series of blog posts titled "Authors' Tips - A to Z of Writing". Eight  authors -- Devika Fernando, Preethi Venugopala, Paromita Goswami, Reet Singh, Ruchi Singh, Sudesna Ghosh, Saiswaroopa Iyer and I -- will be posting on a multitude of subjects  related to writing. 

Topics will be chosen alphabetically and each week we propose to cover at least one or more subject characterized by the Alphabet of the Week. 

So, let's get started....

I've chosen to go with the topic of Authenticity in Writing. 

Authenticity in Writing can mean different things to different writers. For some, it may be the concept of writing something from the heart. If as a reader I enjoy reading mysteries or romances, or as a viewer I pick horror films or supernatural thrillers, this preference will also be reflected in the genre that I choose to write in. It's highly unlikely that someone who does not enjoy reading sci-fi novels will be able to write a believable story in that genre. So, it all comes down to translating your love for the genre, understanding its tropes and making your writing "authentic" to readers.

Authenticity could also be related to story elements. For instance, if you are working on a crime story where a police investigation is in progress, it makes sense to write scenes that are plausible in a real life situation. For that you need to do your research well and get a basic understanding of police work and how a crime investigation would work. Authors are known to conduct interviews with experts to make their scenes as authentic as possible. This is an important aspect because even though stories emerge from our imagination, they have to appear to be plausible. Or else your reader will not go along for the ride.

Stories are made up of a number of characters but are driven by a few (including the protagonist and the antagonist and perhaps a couple more). Being true to your characters is another way of imparting 'authenticity' to your writing. Knowing your characters inside out and understanding their goals and motivations, their behaviour traits, likes and dislikes is critical. If you know what makes them tick, the actions of the characters will be true to the personas that you have created for them. Often readers lose interest in a story when they perceive a character behaving in a manner that is not 'true to his/her character'.

Perhaps the best advice comes from screenwriting guru Robert McKee. He exhorts writers to "Write the Truth". Truth, as distinguished from mere facts. Writers, he says, who don't believe in what they write are just propagating lies and half-truths. "Story," says McKee, "is not a dramatised lecture but a meaningful insight into life." So, as a writer and storyteller, you owe it to yourself and to your readers to be authentic.

Would love to hear your thoughts. Do check out these posts in the series...

Here's the A-List: 

A is for Anti-Heroes by Reet Singh

Authorpreneur by Devika Fernando 

ABDCE Plotting Formula by Preethi Venugopala








Comments

  1. I loved Robert McGee's line of thought. Our writing becomes authentic only when we write what we believe in. It certainly will sound half-baked otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, Preethi. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

      Delete
  2. Authenticity and not perfectionism.is what works I feel too.Great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well said, Amrita. Thanks for reading. :)

      Delete
  3. Totally agree, being true to your characters is the key! Insightful post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading, Ruchi. :)

      Delete
  4. Basically, writing from the heart and not worrying about what sells. Authenticity leads to the best writing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true! Thanks for reading, Sue! :)

      Delete
  5. So many domains in authenticity - lovely pointers, thanks, Adite

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. :) Thanks for reading, Reet!

      Delete
  6. Great post. I, too, love the whole 'truth' vs. 'facts' angle. Because I disagree with the often-touted advice to 'write what you know' as opposed to 'write what you believe in'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Write what you believe in seems just right, doesn't it? Thanks for reading, Devika!:)

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Understanding the Business of Writing

Welcome to Week U of Authors' Tips - A to Z of Writing.  If this is the first time you're visiting this series, here's a quick recap: Authors share their tips on writing fiction and each week we talk about various aspects of writing. This week, I focus on Understanding the Business of Writing. Read on... and don't forget to share your thoughts in the comment box. Get this straight all you aspiring writers. Writing is a business. For those who think it's your passion that fuels your writing and will do so for the next 5,10 or 15 years... here's a little reality check. Two years after you have poured your blood, sweat and tears into your debut fiction novel and found no publisher wanting to publish it, the passion will shrivel up and die very soon. Sure, you might be the one-in-a-million breakthrough writer to find a publisher who is willing to sign you up for a three-series book deal and a six figure advance. A second scenario, and a more li

Niche Markets in Romance Writing

Welcome to Week N of Authors' Tips: A to Z of Writing. If this is the first time you are visiting this series, here's a quick recap. Authors share their tips on writing fiction - and each week we talk about various aspects of writing. This week it's time to take a closer look at Niche Markets  A few weeks ago I'd posted about the importance of knowing your Genre as it helps readers to discover your books. A genre like Romance -- which incidentally is the top selling category -- has more than 100-plus sub-categories. These are often called 'niches', a marketing jargon for specialist sub-categories. While some of the more popular ones like romantic suspense, chicklit, paranormal romance, historical romance, etc. are evergreen favourites, as reading preferences evolve, new niches emerge from time to time. For instance, a few years back the super-duper success of E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey sparked off a new niche of BDSM within the sub-genre

Bombay Heights: The perfect Diwali read is now available in paperback

Reading romance during the festive season adds to the fun and sparkle, doesn't it? So, for Diwali 2021, I decided to bring out a Paperback edition of my rom-com Bombay Heights: Sleepless in the City of Dreams .  The best part is that the story takes place during the festive season. What's not to love! So, get ready to be immersed in the spirit of the festival of lights!  Blurb: Small town girl Sanjana Kale wants a fresh start in Mumbai. A challenging job and some much needed distance from her ludicrously over-protective family could get her life under control. Forced to team up with video game designer Ashwin Deo, who is too attractive for his own good, she finds life becoming a whole lot more complicated when he turns out to be her new neighbour. How can she maintain a professional distance with this charming troublemaker who believes in getting up close and personal? To make matters worse, her ex tries to manipulate her loved ones to work his way back into her life