A postgraduate in media studies from Symbiosis University, Pune, Prateek continues to learn and work in the crafts of screenwriting and literary prose. His work was shortlisted in Mumbai Mantra Cinerise Fellowship (2015) and was among the top five finalists in Recyclewala Story Search Competition (2016). You can read his book A Pause In Traffic here.
What motivated you to start writing in the first place? What is your writing inspiration?
My awareness, during the growing up years, about writing was limited; it was something that others did, and I was a reader of their works.
But one thing which has stayed with me consistently from those early years is my insatiable desire to read and know. This, among other factors, has played a role in my turning towards writing.
Curiously, my first serious attempt at writing began with screenplay for films. Those are hardly documents of a literary nature. So, now, I write screenplays professionally, and what I miss in them I get it fulfilled in the prose form for my own self.
As awareness of life experiences and the craft of writing evolves, so does the inspiration for writing. Finding perspective with respect to characters, stories or ideas is what currently inspires me. The perspectives into what makes a particular character, his or her emotional composition, and how to bring such perspectives together so as to find the story—this process is my inspiration.
Also, writing stories is one of the few remaining avenues in today’s world where emotions, truth, and honesty are valued.
Please do share a few writing tips with us.
Never judge your characters. However in contrast your beliefs and theirs maybe, accept them as flawed, complex humans that they are and faithfully show them as such.
Read as much as possible: fiction – to learn storytelling techniques and language usage from writers who are better than you; and everything else you can get your hands on – to build a vast and deep source of knowledge for getting ideas, understanding the richness of human behavior and situation, and gaining your own perspective on everything that makes up the world.
Resist publishing until the very thought of another revision drains your energy. Then sit down for a few rounds more.
Which is your favourite genre? Who are your favourite authors and how do they make it to the top of your list?
Drama. If I’m allowed two more, I’ll slip in thriller and science fiction as well.
Anton Chekhov, for showing that stories must not be restricted to a particular definition. Albert Camus, for expressing some of the most fundamental human concerns, which are felt everyday but hardly articulated. Mulk Raj Anand, for bringing to the center the stories of people at the fringe.
A few others who have influenced me: Anita Desai, Ruskin Bond, J. K. Rowling, George Langelaan, Thomas Harris, Raymond Carver, R. K. Narayan, Ken Follett, Manju Kapur, and Isaac Asimov.
According to you, what is the one most important quality that a writer needs to have? Apart from the love for writing of course!
Self-criticism. A close second will be experimentation—to keep creating across genres, forms, subjects, and experiences.
Which is that one book which is an all-time bestseller for you? Why?
I always find it really tough to name my favorite authors or books. I love short stories, too, so I’ll answer this question with one of my all-time favorites – A Christmas Memory, by Truman Capote.
It has everything that is close to me: nostalgia, childhood, family, care for others, loneliness, and loss.
How was your experience with the Juggernaut writing platform? Any suggestion from you to improve it?
I’ve published two of my short stories on Juggernaut so far and I plan to publish more. The platform is simple and allows new writers, especially of fiction, to gain confidence and respect by sharing their work in a professional manner.
I also hope you build interactivity in the reviews section, so the writers and readers can talk to one another.