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Writing Books/Novel Writing - my stymie


Mam, Thank you & I congratulate you for bein a guide for lot of buddin writers.
Hi, i'm a 3rd yr engineering student.
It quite is difficult to even understand my problem. So, pls kindly take your own time into readin my Q & answer.
My prob is that i badly want to be a novelist (as they say i'm a good reader too)
I've had a plot & without ponderin, started penning my piece, & it stands quite in the middle (now writin 7th chap of my proposed 15 chaps)
Now, it stands in my mind that i'm not all the way poised & havin 'utter' doubt over my writing. My plot is simple - a boy gettin addicted to drugs 'cause of love failure & finally dyin as a terrorist (to get money for drugs, he became a terrorist). It has no 'twists' & no parallel sub story. It is quite direct.

My confidence had nearly ceased to nothin & they keep on sayin, only novels with intriguing plots, mysteries or atleast thrillin suspense alone gets published & people too prefer it only.
I'm obliged to think that my work will never please masses...
What do you, at my present level of confidence, suggest me ?
I've proposed to drop my work & start workin on a new 'twistful' plot (I'm havin 1 such !)
Or, should i complete it & look for holes durin editin ?

note :
1. I'm an Indian, thus i'm not much wont to english (but i feel supreme confidence over my grandiloquence)
2. I've used my plot to be happenin in Adelaide, where i never had been ! (I'm usin Google maps to get a couple of street names.. do you think its wrong ?)

Pls, take time & give me your valuable advice. Thank you so much for reading !

Dear arun,

Thank you for the question.  I think your problem is a simple one. You are trying to write about something you do not know. A storyteller, even when writing a complex thriller, knows his subject, knows his characters and knows the culture and place. Writing about Adelaide - a conservative Christian city with a history of bad murders, is not easy, even for people who know it.

Your plot does not have to be complex and full of twists, but it does have to reflect your view of the world and your culture. That is whay people read, to get insights beyond simply the story.

So think long and hard about your story, get to know your characters as well as you know yourself and write in your own voice as though you were telling a friend a story. If it is natural for you to write in English, okay, but if in Hindi, Pashtun, Urdu or Punjabi... then do that.

I wish you the best of luck


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Sandy McCutcheon


Author of 22 plays, 12 bestselling thrillers, a memoir and children's fiction.I can work with people on the process of writing, what to expect and ask for from an editor. How to work with the publisher`s marketing and publicity people. And how to survive book launches and publicity tours!


Published author of 22 plays, 12 bestselling thrillers, a young adult and three non-fiction titles. Visit his Moroccan blog at for a look at his blogging work.

St Andrews, Helsinki University and other institutions. Adult Educator of the Year Award, Australia

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