Today on 'On Writing', we have author D.R. Downer, who started his professional journey as an Executive in the sales department of a UK based organization. Since then he changed over and handled many roles and responsibilities in the Marketing, Sales & Customer Service departments across industries. He finally shifted over to Advertising and spent a good 11 years in the same.
Later on, he found writing was his true calling. Now he spends hours glued to his laptop and wonders if his wife can sue him for cheating on her with his laptop!
Let us hear from D. R Downer more about his writing journey.
Welcome to 'On Writing', Deep!
Was becoming an author always your dream or was it a particular event or incident that gave birth to the author in you?
I'm an Engineer and an MBA in Marketing. So no, being an author was never my dream, not even remotely. I guess, the (dis)credit for this goes to my school teachers, who used to sarcastically suggest me to either become a politician or a writer. I was quite good at cooking up instant stories as the excuse for my shenanigans, you see. :)
How important are the names of the characters in your books to you? Do you spend agonizing hours deciding on their names?
I chalk down the demographic details of the characters I have in mind, add those to their age, and their beliefs. Then, if need be, I research a bit online with those details for the names. Usually, though, it doesn't come to that. Once I see all the details on the paper, the name comes up easily.
What is your writing process like? Do you write every day? Is there a favourite place to write?
Usually, I write every day, yes. How many words I manage to put down, now that varies. As you would know, every day is not a good day. I've converted one of the rooms in my apartment into a library. I call it The Den (bordering egotistic, I know); that's where I lock myself for the most part of the day and write.
What is different about ‘The Time is Now’?
I was so hoping you would ask me that. 'The Time Is Now' was originally written as a screenplay. I was hoping to make it into a short film, but that was not to happen owing to the lack of finances. I couldn't get myself to dump the story altogether either and decided to release it as a book. I converted some portion of the script into prose form. So, what you have now is an interesting blend of two great arts of storytelling- Script-writing and Prose.
Interesting! Who is your favourite character in the book and why?
This one is fairly simple. My favourite character in the book is Nainika, and I think anyone who has read the book will agree with me. Nainika, I think, is a perfect blend of youthful exuberance, innocence, compassion, and brains. All I had to do while imagining her was to think how I would like my daughter to be if I ever had one.
How difficult or how easy it is to write a short story?
Well, let me give you a quote from a famous writer: 'I sat down to write a short story once, but fell short of time. So, I wrote a full-length novel instead'. In essence- and having written both- I would say writing a short is tougher. You see, when you sit down to write a short, you have to go with brevity. There has to be a single emotion, and each and every sentence that you write must take the reader towards that final emotion. I'd like to believe that my short stories are like little imprints I leave, for the world to find and follow them to my heart.
How long did it take to finish writing ‘The Time is Now’?
As I said, I had initially written it as a screenplay, which took me something around a month. Later, when I sat to partially change it to a prose, it took me more than three months. Getting that balance between the two forms proved to be tougher than I had thought, I guess.
How important do you think is marketing in today’s world for any book?
Extremely! Unless your last name is Bhagat, and you know people will buy your book, regardless of what crap you have written in it. Authorpreneur is the keyword today.
Please share a passage or quote from ‘The Time is Now’ for our readers.
OK, this one is from Nanika. 'I think perfection is the final destination. Once you’re there, that’s the end. You can’t go any farther than that, can you? Maybe that’s why everyone strives for it but is also afraid deep inside of achieving it.'
What are the three tips you have for readers of this interview who are aspiring writers?
1) Never, ever edit or proofread as you type your first draft. Let there be typos, let those grammatical errors be, you just keep punching the damn keys. Editing can always be done later, no matter how crappy the first draft is. But, you can't edit a blank sheet of paper, can you now?
2) Make a schedule. Keep aside at least a couple of hours- same time- every day for writing, and stick to it.
Thank you, Deep! That was one interesting chat. Wishing you the very best in your future endeavours.
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