Student voice 5 Mar 2024

Grade 12 Siddh S. publishes his first novella "Overdose"

By CIS Communications
Photograph by Siddh Narayan S.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with grade 12 student Siddh Narayan S. on the publication of his first novella Overdose. What started off as a short story written during a creative writing workshop a few years ago turned into a full fledged novella published last month. In this interview, Siddh shares about his love for creative writing, the inspiration behind Overdose and his writing process. 

Tell us a little about your background in creative writing.

My interest in storytelling sparked when I wrote my first short story in grade 4 during the PYP ‘how we express ourselves’ unit of inquiry. Creative writing tasks continued to excite me and storytelling became a beloved hobby and my chosen form of self-expression. Being a published author seemed like a distant dream to me. Thanks to my family and my publisher, I was presented with the opportunity to build on one of my short creative writing pieces and turn it into a formally published novella.

What inspired you to write Overdose?

I had just finished reading Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner when I initially began drafting my novella. Hosseini’s distinct writing style and ability to create gritty atmospheres with rich details inspired me to create a meaningful story of my own where I could manipulate settings and time to transport my audience into immersive surroundings.

Overdose is the fruit of a creative piece I wrote in grade 9 as part of a short story writing workshop. What started as a short story evolved into a gripping narrative about the consequences of living life with a reckless disregard for the moral right and wrong. As a high school student in the crossfire between childhood and adulthood, it is often difficult to find a balance between fun and responsibility. Through my story, I wanted to explore how the pressure of choosing right from wrong has the ability to consume us and turn us to destructive paths.

What were your biggest challenges while writing this novella and how did you overcome them?

Time (a lack thereof) and writer’s block were major hindrances in my initial writing process. Any writer can testify that the creative process requires effort and consistency, both of which are contingent on the availability of free time. As a high school student battling deadlines and personal commitments I was often short of time.

I challenged myself to write at least 50 words a day. These short bursts of writing eventually turned into extended periods of work on my story. I used this strategy to overcome writer’s block in my Extended Essay as well.

Do you have any tips to share with students who want to become published authors?

This is cliché, but the answer will always be ‘No!’ until you ask. The opportunity to be published won’t fall from the sky.

As a writer, you have the ability to communicate and express a part of your truth through storytelling. If you’ve written something you want the world to see, be proud of your work. Artistic authenticity is rare and publishers appreciate it. Don’t be afraid to share it with friends and family - it might make its way into the hands of a publisher, and you’ll get to call yourself an author too. The first step is seeking out the opportunity.

How do you see creative writing fitting into your plans post-graduating from CIS?

I am interested in pursuing undergraduate studies in Business Studies and Economics in-line with my extracurricular commitments and DP course choices. However, my exact postgraduate plans are a work in progress as I will be enlisting in the Singapore Military for national service later this year. With that being said, creative writing will definitely continue as a passion of mine, and I look forward to writing another book (this time, a full novel) in the near future. I am certain that national service will spark additional inspiration for my next story. So watch this space!

Thank you Siddh for sharing your insights and congratulations once again on the publication of your novella. At present, Overdose is available on Amazon, Flipkart, and across various book stores in India.