This creative writing workshop will teach you how to write about love

May 13, 2018, 07:13 IST | Jane Borges

At a creative writing workshop, author Annie Zaidi will discuss how to pen the unconventional romance novel

Annie Zaidi
Annie Zaidi

Writer Annie Zaidi, who is most known for her stellar debut collection of essays, Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales, where she recalls her experiences as a reporter covering stories of the dacoits in Chambal, female foeticide, and resurgence of Sufism in Punjab among others, is also a die-hard romantic at heart. Her novel Gulab, which tells the tale of a romance between a man and a ghost, and compilation of short stories, Love Stories # 1 to 14, reveal a softer side to this gritty journalist.

At a new Agents of Ishq event, Why write about love and desire, Zaidi will talk about penning that romantic novel, and where love, sex and desire stand in the hierarchy of things that are deemed worthy of writing. "I cannot think of a single novel I've read and admired which is not about love," says Zaidi. "Sometimes I think that all literature is a conversation about love. There isn't as much sex, though I suppose if one considers that people — most living creatures — are a byproduct of sex, one could argue that all stories are a sort of document of sex. But there is little description of sex in the work of Indian writers that I'm familiar with. It is, of course, often a big part of the narrative and a lot of dramatic tension in the writing comes from the possibility of love and/or sex," she adds.

In Zaidi's view, good romantic literature pulls the mind and the heart into unknown territory. "It makes you pay attention despite yourself," she says. "I'm wary of labels, but I have to admit that I don't read much of what is generally understood to be 'romance' as a genre. I suspect it is because there is actually so little romance in the books. There is one trope after another. The beginnings, middles and ends all sound familiar. Romance builds on unpredictability, uncertainty. If I sense in chapter one that he will fall for her and she will say yes, or vice versa, and I am proved right in the end, the book ceases to be either romantic or sentimental," she says. "The trouble with a lot of 'romantic' writing is that it comes from not wanting to upset anything, it seeks to soothe through repeating a comforting outcome."

When: 5 pm - 7 pm
Where: Kala Studio, 17th Road, Khar West
Entry: R200 (limited seating; booking at venue)
For details:

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