Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Analysis of the Genre from Sid's Blog

Gautam Ghosh just forwarded me this interesting piece of analysis done on Sid's blog.
So it is over to the blog:

"I had first encountered the likes of ‘Anything For You, Ma’am’ in the insanely phenomenal best seller ‘Five Point someone [FPS] ’ and had followed it up with my current favorite ‘Mediocre But Arrogant [MBA]’. I now feel I’ve got an intuitive awareness to the spot many common threads binding such kind of novellas.

-->The first being, ALL the above-mentioned books are set in the premier institutions of our country. FPS, AFYM – IIT DELHI, MBA- XLRI.

-->The main protagonist is a male always (not sure if the authors are MCP’s).

-->There is always a troika aka DCH.

-->Life seems to be always ‘going to the dogs’ for the protagonist(s)

-->Professors are always a big pain in the ass.

-->There is always a nerd/geek/psycho.

-->Bunking is bliss.

-->Music, booze and PENTHOUSE/PLAYBOY are omnipresent.

-->There is always a love interest.

-->The subjects taught seem to be of no practical value.

-->There is always a den or eat-out where all the brainstorming sessions are held.

-->Characters have colorful nicknames.

-->There is always a Sardar, a Tamilian / Mallu (default)

-->The protagonist is always seen as struggling for money.

-->There is always a super cool guy like Ryan in FPS or Rusty in MBA.

-->The female protagonist is highly intellectual the rest are plain bimbos.

-->The protagonist does something very crazy and lands in a soup.

-->Exams have the characters ‘by their balls’

-->The Music- Beetles, Bryan Adams, Rolling Stones, Elvis…

-->The drink- Vodka (nothing seems to beat it)

-->The guy flirts and falters; the girl falls for his innocent true heart.

-->People fag like hell.

-->Marks are of least importance.

-->There is always some punishment given to the protagonist.

-->Viva is a test of intellectual crap.

-->Hostels are, well you know…

-->In the end the professors end up being the good guys.

-->There is always a savior professor.

-->The conclusion is always happy. The underdog no more remains one.

Well, when I go through the above list again I feel like I’ve composed a list of ingredients for a best seller, if only writing a book was that easy. Every bloke who thinks he has a knack for writing or ‘a way with words’ doesn’t end up being a writer. Writing is an art and creative writing is more than just an art.

The authors’ though first timers have meticulously worked on their books and the results are for the publishers to see, who are laughing all the way to the bank.

The authors are masters of their trade and are the stories very humorous (I laughed like mad while reading FPS and MBA). Their USP is the witty down to earth presentation. A good story when told in a bad way robs it of all its charm and vive versa.

The advantage the above-mentioned authors have is that they have themselves lived through some of the experiences they have mentioned in their books (tough none admits that openly). So it is far easy for them to incorporate it into the plot than for any novice who would have to imagine the situation and then write.

The ‘premier’ college setting is an added advantage because so little is known about the life on these campuses that people are all eager to know more and these books aptly fuel the market. The same plots could have happened elsewhere also but the ‘institute’ adds ‘value’ to the book. Hell. If I wrote a book about my crazy days at MGIT I don’t know how many takers would be there. The most probable first question will be: MGIT? Who? Where? What?

The bottom line of this whole discussion is that the publishing world has hit upon a new genre unknowingly. The genre of ‘insti-lit’ books as in the name given for mushy teenage romance books: ‘chick-lit’.

The market is in its infancy. There are so many premier institutions out there IIM’s, REC’s, BITS, MGIT and many more each having a unique tale of its own to be spun by an ex/current student. And combine such a ‘lite’ book with a killer pricing like FPS/AFYM were just 100 bucks; MBA was a bit on the higher side (but well worth it), you have a mega-sellout book. Everyone is happy. The reader gets his share of fun, the publisher gets his big fat bucks and the author gets his royalty. It’s a win-win scenario for all. Even the book pirates (I bow to them) get a wind of the phenomenal best seller in the making and do their bit in promoting it by mass illegal reproduction.

I envision a scenario in the not very distant future when every institute will have a book set in it by author who is/was a student. The institutes can promote these books in place of meaningless crappy prospectus. They could even follow product placement strategies that are now so common in movies and computer games to show their college in good light. The possibilities are ad infinitum. As I say the genre has just born…"

What do you say?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Let's Write the Sequel Together

I was talking to Gautam Ghosh - my blogger friend, the other day and he suggested I try the experiment of building the sequel to Mediocre But Arrogant online with you.

So if you or your friends want to participate in this experiment, feel free to invite them to this site. If the idea fits in to the story in part or fully you will see it in print in the sequel and I will acknowledge your contribution in the preface.

What do you say? I think Gautam always has great ideas. Let's write the sequel together. You may have your own experience or know of stuff that has happened to others that you feel is unique. Just write it out here.


PS: Rascal Rusty suggests that I put the disclaimer here "By putting your ideas here you voluntarily accept to be part of the experiment and are happy to see part or the complete idea or anecdote or character - real or imaginery to be represented in part or completely in any upcoming creative work by Abhijit Bhaduri without any consideration thereof." Wow - Rusty always has these clever suggestions.