Naveed Sheharyar Khan, winner of Daastan’s 3rd Season of “The Stories Untold” talks to MOIWrites in this exclusive interview.
1. Tell us about yourself?
I am studying Accounting and Finance at a leading business school of Karachi. However, unlike a majority of peers, I enjoy reading, writing and poetry more than the matters of compound interest and time value of money. They say that we all have a purpose to fulfill in this world. If that is the truth, then my life purpose has to do something with writing!
2. Since when are you writing?
I started writing almost three years ago when a friend of mine, literally, coerced me to write my first article. The article was not as good, obviously, but I craved more of the euphoria that followed.
3. How was it to be the winner of the Stories Untold Season 3 by Daastan?
It was surprising, to be honest. Several of the contestants were much more accomplished writers than I could ever hope to be, which is why I did not have much expectation to win it. I am proud of what I have achieved.
4. What was the name of your winning story and what was it about?
The title of my short story was “True Justice”. The plot involved a young Threader, who was seeking justice (read: revenge) for the extinction of his race. The story is centered on the difference between justice and revenge, and how love makes its way into the equation.
5. Do you plan before you write or do you write by following the concept of “going with the flow”?
Stephen King has always been an advocate of going with flow. Considering the things that he has accomplished, it is only natural for lowly mortals like me to follow his advice, no?
6. Do you think writing is a skill that one learns or is an in born talent?
I honestly do not know. All I know is that I had to spend long nights learning the rules of grammar before I could ever hope to improve even an aspect of my works. Talent might have a role, but I do not think we can get anywhere without a good work ethic, sleepless nights and disrupted daily routines.
7. If you were to give aspiring writers five writing tips, what will they be?
Honestly, I am an aspiring write myself, and I do not see myself fitting to instruct others in the art I know very little of. However, if there is one thing that I have learned, it is that you need to let your imagination run wild.
8. Who are the authors from Pakistan and from abroad are among your favorite?
Saadat Hassan Manto, definitely! He might have written in Urdu, but there is no writer who has had a deeper impact on me than Manto. Other than that, I love how Elif Shafak sees the world and writes about it. And who could forget J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye”?
9. What are your plans?
I hope I knew, honestly. For now, I just wish to study at different universities around the world until I hit forty or fifty. A guy can dream, can’t he?
10. Your message for the youth of Pakistan?
I mean, a twenty-one-year-old advising the youth of a country would seem pretty bizarre, right? However, if you were to ask me one thing that I have learned from my twenty-one-years on Mother Earth, I would say that it could be: “Only a handful of people are going to, truly, believe in us in our entire lifetimes. We need to hold them close; but most importantly, we need to believe in ourselves, regardless of everything. No one will do it for us!”