27 July, 2021

How To Write A Minor Classic

Or how a freshly written rags-to-riches story in a global hotspot with love, loss, failure, cynicism, measured violence and a dash of moral helps urban readers tick off a ‘good book’.

Tribhuvan Tiwari
How To Write A Minor Classic

Self-help books sell more than their literary betters in ‘Rising Asia’, so it would be no wonder if the how-to format takes over fiction. And if fiction, why not reviews as well? As thus:

One: Come from a fashionable country. Readers, and not only in the West, want to know what Pakistanis think about everything, so you can’t go wrong if you live there and write about it—always given, of course, that you studied at Princeton and Harvard, and people can understand what you say.

Two: Write a rags-to-riches story. Slumdog Millionaire and The White Tiger have not exhausted the genre; besides, those two are set in India, and a Pakistani fable has somewhat different nuances. As long as there is enough misery in the depiction of the village, city-dwellers will feel comfortable. Your readers are there, and they don’t know anything about rural life, so pile it on. You can only get satisfyingly rich in a city, in this case Lahore.

Three: Make it different. Not every story can be about a boy and a tiger in a lifeboat. If...

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