They say stories barge into a writer’s imagination in
the middle of silent nights. They also say that writers rise when the
entire world is in deep slumber. It makes me think that perhaps the phrase burning the midnight oil was infact particularly
conceived for writers. Well, if that was true, how could I be left behind? Not
that I am a “writer”, atleast not yet but there is no denying the fact that
I do love to write! So one fine eerie night, I sat in my bedroom determined to
get the creative juices flowing and weave something like I have never written
chirping and frogs croaking were the only sounds around apart from the tick-tocks
of my wall clock. Well alright, alright, there was also the sound of a snoring
husband oblivious to his wife’s steely resolve to pen down something
awe-inspiring right then, right there!
At the stroke of
the midnight hour, dramatic as it sounds, I sat with an empty word document open
in front of me. I sat there typing a few lines, reading, re-reading and editing
over and over again. The cycle continued for about three hours when I suddenly
glanced at the clock and realized that I had spent half the night without
writing anything significant. But I was not about to give up. How could I, with
the steely resolve and all? So I
decided to get help from those who were the experts in this craft.
Early next morning
I rushed to the abandoned library in the
neighborhood, the place-to- be for aspiring writers
like me. I punched my card and was let into the amazing red-brick building,
which looked horribly disheveled from outside but was highly organized on the
inside. It had wall to wall shelves on all sides, in the middle and on every
floor; with books from all over the world adoring its every corner.
But there was
another aspect which made this place magical as also the Hogwarts for writers of this world, both past and present! Yes, you
heard, or rather read, me right! It was the place where the most renowned
writers and poets from different eras would gather through WeChat groups to talk
about the art of writing. Yes, it was the only hub where WeChat aided by worm
holes and technological gibberish helped members chat across timelines! Yes,
and that’s exactly what I decided to do with some of my favourite people of the
literary universe. Shakespeare, Austen, Christie, Dickens, Hemmingway and Keats
were already active when I pinged them for help! And here is how I came upon
the title and plot for my new story, or didn’t I?
Shakespeare: All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players:
they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many
The rest sent resentful smileys at Shakespeare’s melodramatic entry!
Austen: There you go again! Will, I think you really need to
stop doing that love!
Christie: Well, he always does that, doesn’t he? The playwright in him
always has to make a dramatic entrance! Perhaps I should do a Poirot or Marple
Shakespeare: O Austen, Austen, wherefore art thou Austen?
Austen: Oh Will! Could you please stop with your dialogues for a change?
Shakespeare or rather the comic in him sent a chucking smiley at
Dickens: Has he ever stopped Jane that he would today? His
panache for theatrical entries is like the undying love of a mother towards her
child; only in his case it’s exasperating!
Hemmingway: Oh these English are so overly dramatic!
Keats: He does what he does! Why do we even bother discuss?
Christie: Oh no not the poet again!
Me: Okay people! Enough of your petty fights! Now I really need your
There I seemed to have had their attention.
Me: Guys I want to write something great, something that people will
remember me for! But I seem to move from romance to comedy to thriller and just
can’t decide the genre!
No sooner had I sent this across, advices started pouring in!
Austen: Oh dearie that is so simple. It has to be romantic fiction, the
best genre of all!
Christie: Oh Jane please. Don’t weigh down your genre on her. Let her choose
herself. Sweetheart, what about crime novels, I hear these days they sell like
Shakespeare: Nay my lady nay, thou should’st write a play mirroring comedy and
Dickens: My two cents now. Have you read David Copperfield? Why don’t you write something like that?
Keats: Oh precious you write poetry on your blog; then why do you dear
slog! Romantic poetry is what you need to log!
Hemmingway: Oh that’s preposterous. All of you should be ashamed of
yourselves! Why don’t you write something like my masterpiece ‘Old man and the sea’?
At Hemmingway’s suggestion, each one had sent drowsy smileys across!
Well I guess I had expected that!
Me: Oh God people! Here I am trying to solve my problem and you guys
are of no help at all!
Austen: Sorry honey! We really want to help you! Alright we are going to
be serious now. Tell us what do you like to write?
From that moment onwards, we seemed to be going somewhere or did we?
Me: I like mystery but it should have an element of romance in it too.
Mysterious, romantic, poetic! Oh great! Now I want everything in it!
Shakespeare: Pray love! If thou wilt not fret, I have a suggestion for thee.
Perchance thou should’st write a play that doth all.
Me: Hmm… okay but then how should I go about it?
I replied lost in deep contemplation!
Austen: Sketch a character like Mr.Darcy first who would make any woman go
weak on her knees and..
Shakespeare: Maketh him woo a lady like Juliet and then make her fall victim to
a misery. Nay doth something more dramatic!
Austen sent a smug faced smiley at Shakespeare cutting her short!
Christie: Let me tell you the next part. Sketch a character like the great Hercule
Poirot who ends up solving the mystery.
Dickens: Personal tragedy of the main characters is pivotal to be a great
writer. And do introduce friends like James Steerforth and Tommy Traddles and sub
plots with characters like Mrs. Gummidge and the Micawbers eh!
Hemmingway: And you cannot write the story without making Mr. Darcy go out to
the sea in search of a giant marlin, can you?
Keats: As always the poet gets the last say. Nevertheless, make Mr.Darcy sing
a love song; that makes Harriet come along. Oh sorry, that makes Juliet come
along! That would make the tale strong and among us will you belong!
Me: Whoa! And what by you should I name this tale?
By then I was at my wits end with their suggestions!
Shakespeare: Taming of Darcy in the Hamlet
Austen: Nay! It should be called Loss
of Sense & Sensibility.
Christie: duh uh! It should be called Murder
in her Disorient Dress.
Dickens: Honey it should only be Darcy
in the Chopper-field.
Hemmingway: You should call it Darcy and
Keats: Nay it should be called Ode to Strangle.
I thought to myself if this was what happened when one asked writers
Me: Thank you guys! You know what I think I should write a book ‘Never take advice from writers’!
Shakespeare: My lady I shall say thee to be
or not to be, that is the question.
Me: What! Will what can I say but, for my own part, it was Greek to me!
Take that as a dialogue I thought!
At that Austen, Christie, Dickens, Hemmingway and Keats started bickering
about Shakespeare’s dialogues again, I, clearly being out of focus, quietly
left the chat and ran home and resolved never ever to take an advice from ‘celebrated’
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PS: The images are sourced from Wikipedia.