On Writing The Trader

Insights gained by jointly writing a serial

On  writing The Trader
Hemali Ajmera (India)/Suraya Dewing (New Zealand)

After completing the first part of The Trader we could not believe what a polished piece of writing we produced. We wrote under the pressure of many other commitments yet we found time to edit, add/suggest improvements and proof read each other's chapters before sending them to Donna McTavish (New Zealand) to do a final edit. The three of us worked together and that collaboration shows in the final piece which is now on The Writers' Pad.

We began with an idea about a trader walking through a bazar choosing silk and the story took shape from there.

By working together we came up with ideas that expanded our individual concepts. We have created richer landscapes and our characters are more fully formed.

What we  learnt as we worked on this project.

- Flexibility.
- The importance of allowing our creativity to take over and to relax.
- Communicate.
- Remove ego.
- Analyse objectively what is working, what is not, and why.
- Be highly critical. No room for saving bits that don't work because we like/love them.
- The difference between 'show don't tell' and why 'showing' is always a better way to tell a story.
-  How to walk in the reader's shoes and to think about what information he or she might need.
-  Be prepared to consider alternative plot lines and consider all feedback.
-  Agree on the characters and consistently develop their personalities.
-  Change the start after we finish if we need to. We did.
-  Change the end as well because the story took a different turn to the one we planned.

In conclusion, it was an enriching learning experience. You get to know what other experienced writers think about your work. They point out your weaknesses and strengths. This goes a long way in self-improvement and introspection. For us both it was a highly rewarding experience – a way to be creative and gainfully occupied amidst the bleak scenarios of covid-19, lockdowns and social isolation.
Hemali and Suraya