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Weekend

Updated on: Saturday, November 13, 2021, 11:49 PM IST

Children's Day Special: Three young authors -- Dania Khan, Rainna Goel, Soumya Jinaga -- reveal what motivated them to put pen to paper

They reveals their writing process and share their take on children's books
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Many children and young people write, but few are keen to share their writings with strangers. When they do, it is with the encouragement of their loved ones. Their perspectives are often surprising, vividly fresh, and relatable for readers of their age.

A literary start

Dania Khan is a 13-year-old writer of poems and book reviews. This Grade 8 student of Bombay Scottish School, Mumbai, recently launched her poetry collection. For Dania, poetry became a source of expressing her sentiments. The collection talks about overpowering emotions that render you incapable of navigating daily life. Hence, the name Labyrinth.

“Publishing these poems was never a goal. I just wanted an outlet for my feelings. It was only after authors and family friends, Nitya Satyani and Sheodan Singh Bhadoria, told my parents that my poems were worth publishing that we started working towards it. Labyrinth entices you with its dark setting, keeps you guessing what human nature is. It inculcates emotions with wonderful imagery and gruesome emotions that bring about the question — ‘Do you really know what you feel?’,” Dania says.

The wanderlust in 16-year-old Rainna Goel led her to journal her experiences. A student of Mumbai’s Jamnabai Narsee International School, Rainna is one of India’s youngest travel bloggers and authors. In December 2019, Rainna released her book, A Luxury Wanderer’s Book, for those bored of non-luxurious travelling. “After I began travel blogging at 12, it all seemed to fall in place. After one year of blogging, I realised I wanted to write a book on luxury travel. Just the way age is no barrier when it comes to travel, similarly age is not a barrier when writing a book,” she says.

Her book is the reader’s passport to smooth and luxurious travelling. “A Luxury Wanderer’s Book is a guide to the inside details of the travel world. Reading through, one would leave their conventional holiday itinerary aside and leap forward into the glitz and glam of the travel world. Along with giving details like the top 12 unseen luxury destinations, it also helps one interpret what luxury means to them, as the definition differs from person to person,” Rainna adds.

Thirteen-year-old Soumya Jinaga, a student of the American School of Bombay and author of the detective novel Trapped, enjoys reading literature. “I wanted to experience the process of writing a novel, creating characters, scenes and plots. To be honest, I didn’t want to publish it. But my dad convinced me to get it published,” Soumya shares.

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The process 

For Rainna, it was a roller-coaster ride. “While the planning stage was quite puzzling, writing the book was equally exciting. It took me 11 months to complete the manuscript. And I’m glad I wrote it while I was in Grade 9 as since then the academic commitments have only increased. I just wanted to fulfil a dream of mine. That is why I didn’t exactly set a goal for revenue; however, it was a benefit that the response was good. When my book sells overseas, I feel a gush of happiness,” she exults.

Like Rainna, Soumya found the experience partly annoying and difficult, but mostly fun. “I started off making the plot and then carried on to developing the storyline, followed by characters and scenes that I thought fit the theme. My favourite part was developing the plot, storyline, writing the chapters and adding little details and the description of the crime scenes,” Soumya says.

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Dania felt her poems freed her up to express herself. “It felt amazing to write poems in which I didn’t have to modify my feelings. In stories, I had to, since those feelings had to adapt to the world I was building, the obstacles the characters were facing and their development,” she says.

Of course, the readers’ response motivated her to write even more. “I’ve got an amazing response from readers via reviews. I received some constructive criticism too that I’m looking forward to applying to my future works.”

Relatability matters

While older writers have plenty of life experiences to use in their writing, younger ones are perhaps more receptive and see things in their own way. “It would be easy to see the difference between an adult author’s writing style and that of a young author. Younger authors can relate to the current societal trends and thoughts to flesh out better characters,” Soumya avers.

For Dania, books by young authors for young readers are more relatable than the ones by adults. “But one of my favourite authors, Ruskin Bond, makes sure that his characters embody childhood innocence and curiosity naturally. The same stands for Shabnam Minwalla. This makes their books engaging to read for children as well as adults. It’s not only adult authors writing for children that is a bit unsettling, but also adults reviewing books intended for children. They miss the relatability part and see it from the point of view of an adult. So, children should review books intended for them.”

While one cannot change the way the literary world thinks or functions, fresh perspectives and interpretations can add more colour and diversity to it, believes Dania. “What I find beautiful about this world is that different people have different interpretations of art,” she says.

Soumya says our worldview of literature comes from classics. “The reason why classics aren’t appreciated today is that these stories were written decades ago. The meanings behind these plots are usually blended in perfectly throughout the story, thus making it difficult for many readers to identify the real theme.”

Tip tap

Dania recommends not stopping writing and reading books of different genres and authors. “Try to write for one hour every day. Even if it’s something that isn’t good or you are not proud of, write so that one day you will pen something you are proud of. Constantly writing helps one keep writer’s block at bay.”

But Rainna wants aspiring authors to follow their hearts and carve their own paths. “Write about anything you want. The book will form when it’s composed of your desires. Go ahead and reach out to mentors, authors, friends and family. The biggest lesson I learnt was to start early,” she shares.

Soumya suggests that if someone is nervous about their work getting disliked, they must realise there will always be naysayers. “Just go for it, because a lot more people are going to enjoy it than you think. Be clear about your idea and how to develop it. Make your characters fit the genre and make sure your scenes are well-imagined. Ascertain that the genre you have chosen is shown throughout the pages.”

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Published on: Sunday, November 14, 2021, 07:00 AM IST
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