No longer merely a wandering writer

No longer merely a wandering writer

Daniel Tan



After three years of hard work and determined writing, senior’s novel finally gets published

It's funny how he contradicts himself.


“You don't live in a fantasy,” says senior Arjun Baokar as we sit on one of the brown, metal benches outside of the library. That's because Baokar is living in one.


You wouldn't be able to tell, with his amply pocketed khaki shorts and white T-shirt, sitting on the metal bench. Nor from the fact that his three favorite hobbies are taekwondo, reading, and swimming at DACA. He seems like any other ordinary senior with a hole in his schedule, hanging out until his next period.


But it's there. His fantasy exists. Because after nearly three years of working on a novel, he's finally become a published author.


During his last year of middle school, Baokar formed an idea for a fantasy novel in his head. But the story, now titled “A Wanderer's Legacy”, only took off while Baokar spent part of the summer before freshman year in India. Without the Internet or any company, save for a then 5-year-old brother, armed with only a laptop and an interminable amount of time, Baokar wrote about 130 pages of his novel. By the end of his freshman year, he had finished all but the ending.

Senior Arjun Baokar flips through his newly published book, “A Wanderer’s Legacy,” on Sept. 16. The book, a fantasy novel in which the main character is thrust into the scene of a civil war, is a 260-page effort that took Baokar three years to write.


Taking a break during 10th grade, Baokar returned to finish the novel his junior year. He slaved away tirelessly, especially while writing the ending during the winter break. “He actually worked almost four nights continuously, when everybody else was enjoying Christmas-time, almost until 4 a.m., sleeping only two or three hours a day,” said his mother, Anjali Baokar.


But not all of it was pure writing time. During that period, Arjun was conflicted between many different possible endings, eventually deciding on a plot twist. It's one of the parts of the book of which he is most proud.


“It changed everything,” Arjun Baokar said, adding that the ending was based off morally challenging questions. He wouldn't divulge any more information about it.


After the book's completion, Arjun Baokar searched for a publishing company for five months. He was unsure of what sort of response to expect and at times he believed that he wouldn't be able to get his novel published, but a letter of approval arrived in May.


According to his mother, Arjun Baokar deserved the reward. “He definitely worked really, really hard for this, to complete his book,” Anjali Baokar said.


In fact, Arjun Baokar worked so hard that much of the published story isn't even what he started with. He began with an original goal of just 100 pages in eighth grade. But after reaching it, he believed what he had written wasn't good enough, and so Arjun Baokar started over, still with the same general idea, but with completely different characters and a brand-new story line. He even created a cheat sheet for himself, so that he could keep track of all of the characters and not mix them up with any of the old ones.


But even after he finished writing, Arjun Baokar wasn't quite satisfied with his story. For two months after that, he spent roughly three to four hours every weekend to edit his novel. “I probably changed 200 to 250 pages of the book,” Arjun Baokar said, counting the 100 pages that he scrapped in the beginning. His final novel is about 260 pages.


Arjun Baokar's book is the product of hard work and determination, which was not surprising to his friend, senior Tomer Assaf. “He is very dedicated, very committed to whatever it is he does. Even if he thinks it is not important or just downright stupid, he goes all the way with it. If he starts it, he will finish it,” Assaf said.


Yet even while hard at work on his novel, that didn't mean that Arjun Baokar couldn't have fun. “I play video games, actually, 'cause a lot of times, you need to visualize something, and then you can turn it into words. A lot of [the] settings [of my novel] came from video games.”


So even then, it wasn't just for relaxation purposes. It was still about finishing his novel.