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

#7Lives is now streaming on Amazon Prime US and UK

  If I'm absolutely honest I'm often discouraged by just how difficult the screenwriting journey is. Staying positive over months and years, slogging away at scripts, pitching producers and agents and dealing with rejections can be exhausting. I have often been tempted to throw in the towel. What has stopped me from doing it?  Well, the sheer compulsion of writing a story that's visual and visceral. 7 Lives was one such script. It is based on the true story of a young girl whose parents want to overcome the pain of losing their most precious daughter by remembering her in a way that would give meaning to her life and theirs. They wanted to donate her organs but alas their wish was never to be fulfilled.  When Runjiv J Kapur, my filmmaker friend, approached me to write the script based on this story for a short film, I was excited but also a bit scared. Would I be able to do justice to the story? For me, 7 Lives will always be special. Not only because it was a subject that