When I read that first line of the book, I knew it would be a fun ride. For all those aspiring writers and closet novelists this is a great reckoner to read. Of course, the internet is full of similar stuff, then why would one invest in another book to read. It is because of the author Amrita Kumar’s experience of a lifetime spent with writers, editors and publishing houses.
Amrita Kumar is an anthologist, novelist, writing-mentor and creative writing teacher. She has worked with the Government of India, Penguin India, Roli Books, HarperCollins, Rupa & Co., Encyclopaedia Britannica. She was the editor of Indian Design and Interiors magazine.
Coming to the book, the first line itself hooks you with her funny take on Wren and Martin. Here I was expecting a sermon on grammar ethics and she just made fun of it. She further adds that as a writer, she hates them but as an editor, they deserve full respect. She sets the tone and says this is not a ‘grammar rule book’. And of course, writing is not just about getting the grammar right.
When I started the book, I felt there are too many nuggets and I should highlight the ones I will return to. But, when I started penciling the lines, I realized I might as well highlight the whole book. Every paragraph is a step by step progression on how to write.
The book has 5 distinct sections dealing with various stages of the writer and writing from starting the book, plotting, narrating, characterization, ending and finally publishing. She cheekily observes that a writer is someone who gets paid to write and when he puts the cheque in the bank, it does not bounce and the person is able to pay his bills with that money. The author motivates you to write. She talks about silencing the inner critic and fighting other demons. For almost every point, she gives the example of various authors. It shows the detailed research she has done for the book. Of course, she is good at it. She has a whole chapter on doing meticulous research.
The section on Indian publishing is detailed due to her first hand experience. It is a treasure trove of information.
I have not read any other book on writing though Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ has been forever on my wishlist. But this one should be read by all writers, aspiring or not.
As the blurb rightfully says, ‘Kissing the Demon will make your journey as a writer a little less painful, make you look upon that demon with a little more love.’
I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.