Dragon Soul Press presents creator of dark tales Author Aditya Deshmukh! Ranging from poetry, short stories, and novels, all contain elements of spine-tingling horror. Continue reading to see our interview with the author.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Pseudonyms are useful when an author writes in a variety of genres. Yes, I’m a multi-genre author, but because the tone of almost all my stories fall under the same, wide umbrella of dark fiction, I never felt a need of a pseudonym. Psuedonyms are also used for hiding. I want to own everything I write. Putting pieces of my own soul under a fake name just doesn’t seem right to me. So unless I start writing something completely different than I’m used to (like children fiction or romance) and I don’t want that (delicate) audience going on a hunt to find my other (traumatic) stories, or unless I write something against powerful and corrupt entities which will put me on their radar, I have no plans to mask my identity.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
I’m not a psychologist or a brain-scientist but I don’t think one needs to be an expert to understand that brain is a complex thing. And every person behaves differently when exposed to a certain situation. It’s a part of who we are, and every person is unique and so is their behaviour.
To answer this question, I’ll use myself as an example. I joke about being soulless (we dark fiction authors find it cool) but in truth I’m a sensitive person. I may not have a strong memory but I remember things. One never forgets the bad moments of one’s life. I believe crying helps. It’s kind of magical. The haunting memories surfaces, the pain erupts, you cry and you forget. That’s what I used to do. But my complex brain developed another layer of complexity. Now the bad things don’t quite affect me as strongly as they used to. It’s like there are walls around my heart filtering all the bad things. I willfully ignore them and it’s working pretty great.
I was a writer back then and I still am a writer.
It doesn’t matter how strongly you feel emotions. As long as you feel something (and you do because you’re a human), and you’re able to focus on that emotion, you can write that scene. In fact, even writers who feel emotions strongly sometimes struggle in writing that perfect scene. Writing is difficult. It’s a long process and there are no short-cuts. There are so many dimensions to it that frankly I think writing should be the most paying profession. It’s too much work and we’re expected to be good at everything. Don’t worry about any of your shortcomings. You can work on it and master it (and it’s going to be sooner than you think).
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Oh God, so many things! Because I just took my tea, I’m high on energy, so I’ll take the time to list them and elaborate on each point.
1) Just write it
This is perhaps the most popular writing advice ever. When I read it for the first time, I pictured a writer with black circles under their eyes staring at the blank screen, a pile books on writing on either side of the laptop and screaming, “Come on, just fucking write it!” There’s just so much advice available that it’s very easy to get distracted. We read so much about writing that we forget our topmost priority: writing. The worse thing is we actually feel satisfied after spending our hard-earned time (from work or college or family) on the articles and books and podcasts and YouTube channels and Twitter and Facebook and whatever. We feel happy about ourselves because we think we learned something new.
It’s just an illusion. Congratulations! You learned the same thing you read yesterday, or the earlier week, or the past month. I think if you read every day religiously for a month, most of the stuff you come across is a repetition. You still might learn something new. But is it worth your writing-time you spent on it?
That said, you should have some basic knowledge. Remember those 100,000 words of crap you wrote with zero writing wisdom which is so bad you cannot salvage anything? Yes, no one wants to read that shit. Spend a month in reading basic things. That will get you started.
Writing might have been your hobby. But now it’s a profession. Treat it like one. Set a routine and discipline yourself. Set small goals. Make them bigger as you progress. You must have a daily word count goal (it doesn’t have to be big. Mine is just 500 words). But you must strive to maintain the streak. Don’t think you can make it up on weekend. If you miss your daily goal, it will definitely kill your confidence.
Once you’ve finished your word count goal, read books on writing. No, don’t roll your eyes. I’m not contradicting my earlier point. Read those books only if you’re sure it’s about something you don’t already know (and trust me there are many things you haven’t even heard. Don’t forget being a writer no longer means you just need to write. Today a writer is also a businessman. Learn about social media, marketing strategies, book distribution networks, how giants like Amazon work). Why not just skip “Just write it” and learn all this stuff first? That’s one way to do things, but then expect to spend at least a decade. As I said, these things take a lot of time. And the most effective way to learn is to learn in steps. It’s fortunately also the most fun way.
Articles are good, but I encourage getting a book (don’t just randomly pick any book. Go through lists of recommendations, compare them, see if they provide exactly what you need and only then start reading. This will save not only your money but also time.) You can then treat it like a subject and study every single element with dedication. Good articles are hard to find, and most of the stuff is repeated. When you finish a book, you’ll have more solid knowledge on that subject.
4) Have fun #1
Don’t expect your writing to get better just by reading about writing. Yes, it will certainly develop. You will not hesitate from calling yourself a good writer. But good is not enough. You want to be the best. You want to become a champion. And for that you need to read other champions’ books.
Read a lot and read widely. I cannot stress enough how exponentially your knowledge boosts up when you make this a regular habit. You get exposed to new writing styles, better dialogue, action, plots, fighting scenes, descriptions, pace, character development, you understand every little thing there is to writing just by conscious reading. Ask questions like why the writer didn’t write it this way? Why is it that the writer decided this ending when other endings are possible? Why did the writer trade good dialogue for what could have been an epic fight scene? Why these characters feel like real people? Why do I love this story so much? Yeah, analyze everything about your favourites. Go crazy!
5) Have fun #2!
There’s another way to have fun and sharpen your writing skills simultaneously: watching movies and TV shows. Yeah, don’t blink, don’t reread that sentence. I mean it. I don’t understand why it isn’t a very commonly heard advice. It has worked like magic for me. I’m a terribly slow reader. If I cannot finish a book in reasonable time, how can I learn from it? And on the contrary, I’m a binge watcher. I can devour an entire season in a night. Most of my understanding of fiction came from the shows I studied. All those questions I listed in the above paragraph can be applied here also. Remember that literature, films, all these are just different mediums of the same thing we want to tell: stories. As long as you actively observe and study, you can derive knowledge applicable to your writing from any source.
6) Build a platform
Internet is crazy. Make use of it. I’m an introvert and if you ask me to give a speech I’ll melt before your eyes. And yet here I’m, still talking something that (hopefully) makes sense. If you can socialize in real life, that’s great! But internet helps you reach audience who perhaps haven’t even heard about your town. Isn’t that great? Just imagine how wider your reach is now. What’s that smell? Something is burning. Must be our jealous writer-ancestors.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Research is a very important step in the writing process. It plays a big role in making stuff sound realistic. I do most of the research during outlining. I add comments to the document explaining the research elements and include links to the websites from where I got the information for future reference. I note down things which are yet to be researched.
I understand the importance of research, but I do not give it priority in case I’m writing a short story on a short deadline and lots of stuff is remaining. But I do make it a point to ensure that my guesses are reasonable. If you’re short on time, you can still create a realistic environment provided you haven’t included stuff that your audience know is 100% false. If you have time, don’t be lazy. Research matters. Now information is available easily and it’s everywhere. Books are still the best resource, but there are tons of blogs and vlogs and YouTube channels you can explore. Don’t forget to compare facts. If you can compare with standard sources, that’s good. Otherwise simply go with the widely accepted idea (facts many sources state in similar manner opposed to something only one source claims is the truth)
For my longer works, I spend months on research. My dystopian novella “Black Veins” is coming out this September, and for it I had to read about philosophies on society and recent development in robotics. Yeah, it’s going to be fun!
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
I don’t suppose I can name one thing. Either they all are equally easy or equally difficult.
But yeah, diffidence is definitely something that bothers me. And I’m sure many writers face this problem. I stress a lot on quality. To the eyes of others the stuff I write is good, but I think it could be better. I know nothing can ever be perfect. But this knowledge is not enough. It’s kind of like a staircase with no end. You can climb it, every stair making your story more beautiful. But you have to stop somewhere and it’s hard to decide when. Fortunately my mind is not always bleak. The confidence returns. I just say fuck it and type ‘END.’
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Depends on the book. Few months back I finished a book in just two months. My very first attempt at novel-writing is four years old and nowhere near completion. As I said I focus on quality, not speed. If I write faster, I can see my quality deteriorating. So the wait doesn’t bother me much.
What’s the best way to market your books?
I may not be the best person to answer this question. But I know that there is no universal best way. What works for someone may not work for you. The best thing to do is to attempt everything (social media, ads, mailing list, book tours), analyze the data, and then create your own strategy.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Oh no I can’t answer that question. Oops, by saying that I’ve already answered, haven’t I?
Yeah, each book stands on its own unless its a part of a well-defined series, but there’s definitely a common element regardless of the genres. It’s very subtle. And it’s going to be super fun when it becomes obvious. So let’s not ruin it now.
Where can readers learn more about you?
My Facebook page is pretty active. Do subscribe to my Newsletter and join my Facebook group. It’s a fun place. And yes, you’ll get free stories! DSP has added an author page to their website. Also check out my website. You’ll find free stories and poems from not just me, but also other talented writers I invite every week for a chat. Feel free to message me. I’m always finding new ways to procrastinate and will chat on almost anything.