- 12 Mar 2018
Renuka Chatterjee, Manasi Subramaniam, and Zainab Priya Dala talk about the business of editing and publishing
What makes a writer, a good writer? How to develop an idea into a novel? Will the manuscript remain a manuscript or take a form through the minds of people? These are a few questions that run through a writer or anyone who aspires to become a writer. And to give an insight on this subject, at International Festival of Books and Authors, Renuka Chatterjee, Editor at Speaking Tiger Books; Manasi Subramaniam, Editor at Penguin Random House India; and Zainab Priya Dala, Writer, Psychologist and Author of the novel ‘What About Meera’.
While the story plot and characters play an important part in a novel, there is tremendous amount of time invested in each of these pieces of work. Writing is one of the main things, but editing the manuscript is also crucial as it’s one of the important factors that decide the future of the novel, both by gaining readership and marketing the product. Renuka recollects that ’27 years’ was the total time frame that an editor has sat with a manuscript before it hit the market.
Zainab Priya Dala is an Indian-South African writer, who won the Inaugural Minara Aziz Hassim Literary Prize in South Africa for her debut novel ‘What About Meera’ and was long-listed for both the Etisalat Prize of Fiction (the most prestigious literary prize for African Fiction) and the Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize (South Africa’s largest literary award). Speaking to the audience, she recounted her experience of going to a writing college and her journey as a writer, juggling between her day jobs and her role as a mother. But then, she describes that journey as a beautiful one which allowed her to grow as a person and also as a writer, understanding different approaches towards the plot and characters.
Manasi Subramaniam on the other hand, recounts her experience about the submission of manuscripts and how the author and the editor share a very closely knit relationship. While she receives manuscripts everyday – unsolicited and solicited, she prefers being approached with a manuscript through a literary agent. For that it has its own benefits, Manasi feels that it’s much easier to talk business and take the publication and marketing of the book further.
While all this sums up certain important things for the writer, there is nothing as good writing, but indeed it’s important to concentrate on the plot, story structure and characters.
Text Credits: Roshan D Image Credits