By Farah Ghuznavi.

The first challenge is to identify a really good idea. That means letting it live with you for a while, looking at it from different angles, testing it for durability. Having imaginary conversations with your characters or eavesdropping on their conversations with each other is entirely acceptable, even if it means that family members look at you strangely. A good book contains at least one character that readers can really identify with, someone that they care about.

While actually writing, be flexible – even if you have an outline. The characters might take you in unexpected directions, and the story is almost always the richer for it. And here is perhaps the most important thing, what every writer worth their salt knows: by far the greater part of writing is actually re-writing. That means having the patience to repeatedly revise and re-work and re-read what you have written, until it really is as good as possible. It’ll never be perfect, of course, and there is a point at which you have to let go, but don’t be stingy about the time spent polishing. If you do, it will show. To do the book justice, do the process justice, too.

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‘How to Write a Good Book’ is a blogseries created exclusively for Aspiring Writers. In the absence of proper guidance and mentorship in India, as also the non-availability of Creative Writing courses in colleges and universities, the aspiring writers usually give up writing. Instead of blaming the quality of writing in India that’s popular today, we thought of asking acclaimed authors to share their thoughts on what makes a good book.

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