Shomprakash Sinha Roy (Goodreads, FB, website, Wikipedia) a 23-year-old writer based out of Bangalore, India. He already has three books to his credit – The Pink Smoke (2013) , Life Served Hot (2014) & 21 Things About Romance (2014), and is planning a few more books this year. He has also ghostwritten as Sidharth Oberoi for the third installment of the popular Backbenchers series by Grapevine India, and is a huge fan of JK Rowling, Gabriel Garcia Marquez & John Green. He won the Whistling Woods International Young Achiever Award in 2013 for his contribution to literature. When he is not writing, he works at Dell Inc. as a Content Development Specialist.
His books are available on Amazon and other book stores.
Shom’s answers to 5 questions are…
1. Why do you write? Why would someone else want to be a writer?
It would perhaps qualify as the most ethereal-yet-hypocritical lie ever, if I were to tell you that I write for pleasure. I mean, there are so many things that I do, for pleasure. Whether writing gets a spot on that list or not, is something I highly doubt. It’s a compulsion, really. Like when you’re a kid and you discover that you can do something, you can only do that thing, you’re good at it, you’re good only at it, you suck at sports and you’re really good at expressing yourself on paper, the others make fun of you cos you don’t play football and you’re good only at writing – you see the drill, don’t you? So, all of that happened. Plus I laid my hands on Love in the time of Cholera when I was seven or eight years old. That sort of thing just kills you, you know? I felt like someone pushed me off a cliff and there was no turning back. Writing is one of the most liberating things that I can do. It’s a vent, it’s an outlet, it’s where I can scream without making heads turn at me in disgust.
But yeah, different people have different types of motivation to write. I cannot possibly comment or judge them for their reasons to do so. But based on my apocalyptic view of life, I can assume reasons such as the air of mystery and elegance associated with good literature. For example, if someone reads a John Green book and is blown away by the power of simple words presented in a meaningful sequence – that would ideally be an excellent reason to write.
2. How do you come up with an idea? Ideas for plots, sequences, scenes, characters and other things? Do you use any tools?
I see things and I have an urge to describe what I feel about them, in my own words. It could be anything – a color, an awkward dream, a limping cat, an impotent police officer, a really happy child, a crying woman – I have a strange affinity towards my own opinions about everything. And the urge to highlight the difference in which the world & I perceive the same things, is what translates into words on paper for me.
Plots, Sequences, Characters are based on my own life to an extent, mainly because my knowledge about the world is drawn from what I have seen or experienced or thought about doing. I’ve witnessed fights, laughter, mystery, fear and every fathomable imagination in my interactions with people – family, friends, peer groups and so on. I try to describe those emotions & actions in my own words, without being emotionally attached to those thoughts. I try to focus on the way I’m presenting my words, because a narcissistic side of me wants people to like what I write. I can be very menacing & deceptive with my description of situations and people, and I have a feeling that this line of thought seeps in, every time I open Microsoft Word and start typing. Microsoft Word is the tool which helps me in generating a finished product – a torn notebook/piece of paper and an old pen is the set of tools which I generally use to pen down ideas & storyboards. I’m extremely unorganized and I once deleted an entire folder of in-progress manuscripts because I thought it was junk. I’ve become a bit more careful now, after signing book contracts that instruct me to write on a regular basis.
3. Do you keep a rigorous writing schedule? If yes, what is your writing schedule?
I’ve been telling myself that laziness is my biggest enemy in life and it’s true to an extent. I mean, I started writing with the intention of turning pro, almost as early as 2007/2008 – But I had no discipline or schedule, and I still regret it at times. I’m extremely grateful to an organization called The Office of Letters & Light, which organizes a contest every year called NaNoWriMo – where people are encouraged to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Through that contest, I realized that it’s both plausible and possible to have a writing schedule, and If I have respect for the profession in my head, I might as well treat it with the same dignity and responsibility. Every book is a finished product and when I start writing something with the intent of presenting it to anyone for reading, I cannot rest till I know that I’ve done my job well. My publisher & I call it “Aadhe Engineer ka Waada” – It’s an inside joke which just I & them can understand, I’m afraid.
4. How often do you get interrupted by writer’s block? How do you go about working around your writers’ block?
Oh – I get interrupted all the time. I would say, every time I’m not writing, I’m either sleeping or I’m a victim of writer’s block. There are material workarounds, like getting a cup of black tea, or watching a good Guy Ritchie/Woody Allen movie to the tipping procrastination point, and then I force myself to return to my laptop. There are virtual workarounds, like reminding myself of my deadlines, and then there’s the most important & effective solution – the motivation which I get from the sweetest girl on this planet – Meghna. She reminds me that my greatest moral responsibility is in being honest to my craft. So, If I have to thank anyone today, it would be her.
5. What is the best advice on writing that you’ve ever received?
It’s weird – but in my head, the best advice came from people who advised me not to write. There was my erstwhile college principal, who in total consciousness, told me on my face that writing was for losers and that I’d never make it. There was another lady, someone whom I don’t think about anymore – who said that it was stupid to believe in things like dreams and creativity and that I was too insignificant to get published.
In essence, everyone who told me that I was mad if I believed I could be a writer, only strengthened my resolution towards producing good words on paper. I thank all of them for the belief which they never had in me. It was through their vehement, ignorant rants, that I discovered all the other good things which were waiting at the end of the rainbow. And on that note, even though you didn’t ask me this question, I am going to shell out some incredibly corny yet meaningful advice for people who want to write.
You know what your rainbow is, you know what you want to do. Nobody, not even I can tell you not to do something if you really want to do it. Never listen to anybody – society, parents, authorities, people in the business, people outside the business – when it comes to writing. Do what comes naturally to you and the rest will follow. If you must rely on advice, the only person you can rely on is the person you fall in love with (Not your parents, because you already have them. The person whom you fall in love with, out of your own choice. If you can’t fall in love, you can’t write).
Editor’s Note: Shom is one of the most prolific writers that I’ve ever come across. Someday, I hope I can write as often as he can!
P.S.: I’ve also tried participating in NaNoWriWo (albeit unsuccessfully) and have spoken to a couple more authors who have found it useful. Do have a look at it. Here.