By Saskya Jain.

To write a good book you must know whose story you’re telling and why you’re telling it. You might not know this when you begin writing—your first pages might involve just a single character or scene and evolve from there. Your focus might also change as the book grows. This brings us to the other important factor: time. To write a good book you must be willing to engage with your material in great depth, which means you have to write routinely. Not unlike entering a new relationship with someone or moving to a new city, you must get to know your characters, their stories and explore the spaces you’re writing about. This usually takes time. A lot of time. If the fabric of good writing is talent, its threads consist of patience and persistence. A first draft is usually just that: an attempt. Don’t underestimate the value of revising your work. You must remain open towards where your story takes you, the currents of which can be unpredictable and even unwelcome at first, but a certain playfulness and willingness to engage with this process is essential. The best advice another writer once gave me is: Don’t take it all too seriously!

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‘How to Write a Good Book’ is a blog-series 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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