Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Studying the human mind

Budding author Dilara Nagib shares with BTW her inspiration and creative writing process. The young fiction writer’s new work It Stung and I Laughed is a psychological thriller that explores the complexity of the human psyche.

Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get started writing?

It Stung and I Laughed is not my first published piece of work, but it is the one I spent most time and effort on, and evidently the one I am proudest of. When I was thirteen, I had an internship with Bahrain Confidential, which granted me both experience and an opinion on journalism. As I grew older, I began to appreciate fiction; I liked being creative, bizarre, and somewhat ambiguous with my words. Saying that I enjoy writing would be an understatement. For me, one of the most inarticulate people you’ll encounter, it’s a form of expression, art. I’m presently in the midst of my two-year GCSE course at St. Christopher’s. I purposely wrote and completed the novella prior to Year 11, so that it wouldn’t affect my studies.

What would you say your writing is influenced by?

My writing is influenced not just by what I read, but also by what I watch and hear, my own personal experiences, emotions. Even from a young age, I’ve always been interested in psychology and the delicate wiring of the human mind – that, and horror films. I can remember watching Anaconda 2 in the living room at the age of seven or eight, enthralled by this mysterious blood-lusting beast. The sound was near mute; I suppose that’s why I could watch it so easily. I believe that things only start to get scary once you hear them, because that’s when your brain can register the danger as something real.

What was your inspiration behind writing It Stung and I Laughed?

In the grand scheme of things, there is a huge element of fact in It Stung and I Laughed in that I was able to manipulate real-life characters and events so that they were appropriate to that of a psychological thriller.

Who are your favourite authors?

I wouldn’t say I have a favourite author. I can name a few writers that I find inspiring, but no-one is my all-time favourite. Darren Shan made an impact on me when I was eleven or twelve, with his wonderfully brutal Cirque du Freak series, likewise Harris’s Dr. Lecter was fascinating in both book and film, and there are others: Veronica Roth, Jojo Moyes, Nicholas Sparks, Allen Ginsberg. Different styles, different words. Incredible.

What were some of the challenges you faced while writing your book?

My biggest flaw when it comes to writing is perfectionism. My mother told me once it was because I’m a Virgo, and we are inherently fastidious creatures. For a while, I felt as though my work would never be good enough to publish, to share with anyone but myself. I must’ve rewritten hundreds of documents, drafts – spent hours pondering over my mistakes and then getting frustrated and deleting everything to start from scratch. I’m not exactly sure how or when I got over this fear of not being “good enough,” but I’m one hundred percent glad I did.

“I believe that things only start to get scary once you hear them, because that’s when your brain can register the danger as something real.”

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