( This is an extract from an interview published in the Shillong Times, 20 Oct 2013. Sambha Lamarr, creative director of Shillong CALM Festival, speaks to publisher-novelist David Davidar about all things literary. Read more at http://www.theshillongtimes.com/2013/10/20/ne-writers-need-to-hone-their-craft/#kKAv2fskFvAAJ5Zi.99 )
I think what is essential for writers is that it is critically important that you must always measure your own books against the greatest books ever written in your genre whether it is fiction or non-fiction. I have found in the course of my career, and I speak from the standpoint of someone who has published hundreds of books, that the greatest shortcoming I’ve found in a lot of the manuscripts I receive (and subsequently reject) is that writers have simply not invested enough time and effort in trying to make their manuscripts the best they can possibly be. They have either not revised enough or they have given up halfway or they have not researched enough or they leave it up to the editor to fix all the flaws in their work or they have not taken the trouble to compare their manuscript with the best books available in that particular subject area or they have not read enough on the subject or they think they are geniuses who are not in need of any training whatsoever as a result of which their efforts are usually pitiful. And so the only advice I can give is do your homework, figure out what you want to write about, work out your structure and your plot carefully in advance of beginning to write your book and then once you’ve written your book revise it two or three times, send it out to people whose judgement you trust and then revise it again once you’ve received the brutally honest comments of your referees and only then send it to a potential publisher.
26 Oct 2013