“What should it be about? A medieval story about a knight? A spy story? A magic story? What am I thinking? Those have been done to death. There’s no spark, no fire, no wow factor.”
– Akhil Chellapilla
“Once upon a time, in a land far far away…”
Argh, this isn’t working! Hours, no days…. I’ve been sitting at this desk, trying to write the first line of this god damn story! I know I’m an author and all that, but no one can sit in one place for this long and not go mad.
Ok, ok, think.
How about… “It was a dark, stormy night. Occasional flashes of lightning lit up the imposing sides of huge skyscrapers…”
Ooh! That sounds riveting. Ok, that’s the first line of my book done.
Time for a break.
What? What am i thinking! No. This is my last chance. If i don’t become the next J. K. Rowling, I’m finished. I’ll be picking up other peoples’ half eaten plates of food for the rest of my life.
No, don’t think about that…. This book seems promising. My first line is good. All I need now is a plot. And a main character. And a climax. Oh, and a good ending.
Ugh! Think, think, think.
What should it be about? A medieval story about a knight? A spy story? A magic story? What am I thinking? Those have been done to death. There’s no spark, no fire, no wow factor. Nothing to excite the reader, make them want to pick this up and not put it down till it’s done.
I’m the next next J. K. Rowling. What do I write about? Go!
………………. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Zip. I don’t believe it. I can’t think of anything extraordinary.
Wait… That’s it! Everyone is chasing their tails trying to write something extraordinary. I’m going to write something no one has ever written about before.
I’m going to write about nothing.
Yeah! It will be different and refreshing. I can see it now, they’ll call me a revolutionary avant garde artist. I’m going to create the plainest, most ordinary protagonist you have ever seen, with the plainest, most ordinary plot you have ever seen. It’s going to be the most extraordinary ordinary story you have ever read.
Warming up my fingers with some finger exercises…… and there we go.
This is the story of Rahul, a normal guy. He’s 18 years old, five foot six inches tall, with black hair and lives in a city. Throughout his life, he’s always been the ‘average kid’. Not too smart, but not dumb either.
Looking good! And he isn’t a middle schooler out to save the world for a change. Now I’ll add a few more lines about the city and whatnot. Building up the setting….
Scribble, scribble, scribble…
Now for his first class…
As he steps into his classroom for the first time, he feels a refreshing breeze… Turning around to look for a seat, he notices an empty spot in the 3rd row, next to a cute looking girl
Wait, wasn’t I going to make this one ordinary? I guess it won’t matter. After all, I need this book to sell, and fans overlook the small stuff when it comes to (to-be) great authors such as myself.
Sliding into his seat, he turns to the girl who was looking over and says, “Hi! I’m Rahul, naam toh suna hoga”. The girl stares, giggles and replies, “Priya. Nice to meet you”
Now a well placed timeskip after some filler so that the readers don’t get too bored (and I don’t need to write his daily routine too many times).
Next we meet him, Rahul has spent a lot more time with Priya. They’ve hung out at malls and cafes regularly, albeit with their friends. One fine day at the park, he asks Priya out. She happily agrees.
The next few weeks are all fun and laughter, with them going to all the same places, but alone rather than with their friends.
Looking good. Finally, it’s time for the cliffhanger.
It was around 12AM when Rahul’s phone rang. It was Priya.
“Rahul. My dad got a transfer. We’re moving.”
And there we go. A tantalizing end to an exciting, ordinary story.
Once this books sells well, readers will be clammering for a sequel. This will set that up perfectly. Now to send this to the publishers.
I wonder how much money I’ll get. Maybe I’ll buy a Ferrari.
– Akhil Chellapilla
Catch the other side of the story on A Story State of Affairs
Cover designed by: Adarsh Salagame