(an entirely useless guide that tries nonetheless)


  1. Switch genres. Switch location. Switch species if you have to, because Amma’s sneer will whisper through Skeeter’s accent even after you have switched Missouri for Mississippi, death for hope, one white Manhattanite for another.
  2. Stave off sleep, because you may dream vividly of conversations never written, dances never read, kisses never stolen, even between characters who don’t even belong to the same worlds, and it’s your own damn fault when you find yourself pining for a love lost and found between Harry and Noh-Varr, because of course you blunted the pain of the last panel with a rapid re-read of Owl Post.
  3. Write, because no one else can write the book you want to read, and then fold the pages and stash them deep under or even inside your mattress, because that is an active lawsuit and possibly blasphemy against the gods of fiction and narratives and must never ever see the light of the day again.
  4. Talk, because there is always a kindred soul out there who, to , is reeling from the second part of an unfinished trilogy, the traitorous book that seems to have ended mid-chapter, mid-action, mid-thought, and you are all in deep denial while the author possibly smirks in her sleep to the echo of yet another poor reader slamming the hardback to the floor in equal parts frustration and adoration and the humiliation of yet again losing the fight to their own great curiosity and humanity’s greater thirst for storytelling.
  5. Daydream, because no one can see that, behind your glazed eyes are fantastical adventures and happy endings and the successful banishment of loose ends and the undoing of the deaths of characters not deemed important enough to live and no one can feel the physical pain of your heart pining for just another fix of escapism.
  6. Start a new book, but you may find yourself drifting away midway to fight privateers with a wannabe pirate, steal through shadows with a thief, mourn a daughter with a murderer, chase shadow dogs with a demi-god, cry with an almost-jilted lover, and laugh with a madman whose mouth tastes of blood and ecstasy and spices of that lady-next-door who made it in a world that has shut off all of her kind.
  7. Sigh, and let your new book take you, with a ghost of a smile in the smudged ink in the corners and serifs of each word, smug with the knowledge that it will gleefully join the circus in your head at night, and become a part of you that you cannot deny, cannot shake off (no matter how mainstream it is, or how hipster, or how childish, or how disturbingly adult, how simple its magic is, or how extraordinary its lack of it, however much you deny the dents of your fingernails biting into soft paper as the sun came up when the true evil fell) come morning.

— Brishti Mukhopadhyay

artwork by Adrija Ghosh


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