Bengaluru: The second edition of the Under 25 Lit Fest was hosted by CoWorks in the city on Sunday. While the crowd was not as big as expected, those who attended made it up with enthusiasm. Authors Preeti Shenoy, Ravi Subramanian, Margaret Alva, Vasudhendra, Varun Agarwal, among others, were part of the panellists, along with spoken word poet and internet sensation Aranya Johar.
Alva, who spoke about the need for commitment and courage in today’s world, encouraged the audience to take a stand for what they believe in, so that the nation progresses collectively. She also shed light on the need to be proactive in a technologically advanced world, so that one’s mind doesn’t become lazy.
A panel discussion with writers Vasudendra, Shinie Antony, Madhavi Mahadevan and Jahanavi Barua, mediated by Subodh Shankar, answered the age old question in the literary world, can writing fiction be an inborn trait or is it an acquired talent? “I think it is inborn. If you have a story to tell, any story, and if you choose to tell it through print, you can be a fiction writer,” concluded Shankar. He also added that fiction writers were actually embellishers rather than liars. Kannada Sahitya Academy winner Vasudhendra said writing was much like connecting dots. “It is like making a rangoli, some of us have more dots to connect, while some of us have few,” he said.
Author Preeti Shenoy tried to explain how to write a bestseller and if the code exists at all. The panel on ‘The Bestseller Code’ spoke about what makes a successful writer. “The bestseller factor is always different for each book… But the important thing is it should connect to people,” Shenoy said, and added that she didn’t believe in the concept of a writer’s block. “If you run out of ideas and things to write about… write about things around you, even tables and chairs. Just write,” she said. She also announced the launch of her ninth book by the end of October.
Bestselling author Ravi Subramanian, who spoke about his latest book ‘In the name of God’, was disappointed that books aren’t as well researched as they should be. He said that Indian authors have to complicate plots much more than authors in the West. “We have complexities. Too many of them. We cram everything into 400 pages… because that is what our readers want here. What I’ve learnt is that your plot must be sharp and fast and strong. We have to be able to make thrillers an experience.”
Varun Agarwal, author of ‘How I Braved Anu Aunty and Built a Multi Million Dollar Company’, gave pointers on how to become a published author, especially if you’re a budding writer. “Get rid of the Steve Jobs syndrome first,” he said, “because it is hard work. Get over your fixation with instant gratification. Don’t fear what everyone has to say about your book and set deadlines for yourself… The rest is easier than it looks. If I can write a book, anyone can!” said Agarwal, whose work is often compared with another bestselling author Chetan Bhagat.
The Lit Fest ended with an Open Mic session...