Monthly Archives: October 2013

The NaNoWriMo Kickoff Meet in Delhi

A report by Arjun.S.Menon (A Pro Wrimo)

In the beginning, that is, till the midnight of the 27th of October,  we had the feeling that we will not be having a kickoff meet here in Delhi. During about 12:30am, Sonia Rao and Rohit were having a little chat about the Delhi meet, Rohit was too disappointed about the lack of enthusiasm from the Delhi buddies. Any way things changed in a couple of minutes and it was decided that Delhi Kick off meet will happen on 27th itself when all others are meeting at different parts of the country. By that time it was too late to inform our Delhi buddies. (However Dillivalon, we can keep our heads up. We are the fighters. We didn’t give it up till the last minute. The credits goes to Sonia Rao for the wholehearted support at that time of the night).

The CCD in Connaught place was so crowded that we couldn’t find a place to sit. Then we decided to settle in a KFC nearby.

The best thing about this meet was that there was no inhibitions for both of us and ice breaking was absolutely not necessary. We started talking immediately after we met at the station and didn’t stop till we went our separate ways for boarding different trains. We discussed a lot of things starting from the unusually crowded Metro train to different plots and characters of our novel to the enthusiasm shown by the members of the FB group in motivating others. We decided to have regular meetings in the weekends for inspiring and helping one another throughout this November.

We expect a lot more people from Delhi to join us for our next meet up. So those who missed this meet… don’t have to feel bad… “kyonki picture abhi bakki hai bhaai”.

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The NaNoWriMo Kickoff Meet in Mumbai

A report by Zubin Garda (first-time Wrimo)

We came. One by one. Separated by floors and unknown faces. A smile here. A questioning look there.

Few were late. Others were early. Some sitting and enjoying coffee, others with a big question on their minds — just how do we approach strangers and say, “Hey, you for nano?” Someone could get violent, you know.

The grand queen matron of NaNoWriMo India arrived a bit after a few had arrived. But at her arrival, all waiters began running helter-skelter at her commands to bring two tables together. And her demands for more chairs were met with bowed- head obeisance. She immediately took control, as she was born to, and voila! Four NaNo newbies converged hesitantly, but firmly. We were moved from first floor to the ground.

A few awkward introductions later (probably each one thinking – that’s not how he/she looks in her facebook profile!!) things began smoothing out.

At first, yours truly had to face the inquisition -Who are you? What do you do? Where are you from? Are you real? Do you write? Are you kidding me? (well, the last one was my own)

As time passed, the matron queen’s court grew in size. And many chairs were also insufficient. Someone suggested, let us go back to the first floor and grab the sofa seat! All aye’d the idea and we rushed upwards, but not before collecting the beautiful NaNo stickers!

A few riff-raff were sitting on the sofa. A withering glance from our queen and they quickly vacated their posts. You don’t mess with an All India, experienced NaNo writer now, do you?

With the most spacious area of the first floor ours, we began as more joined in and our ranks swelled. The queen patiently answered questions and everyone grew happier as their doubts evaporated and confidence abounded that the queen had their backs should anything happen in their quest for the 50000-hood.

We placed our palms atop pointy-thingys and avowed and pledged solemnly to complete 50000 words the next month, followed by amused stares and gawps of many others back there.

Then the pictures were taken. Food was ordered. Everyone paid their own, as per the queen’s orders. The tea (ordered by your’s truly) was called Montgomery mint. It tasted horrible. Then came my chocolate muffin. I swear the taste would put me off muffins forever. But others, wiser to the same, ordered more palatable drinks — iced tea, coffee, even the queen ordered latte.

Lots of noise. From us, of course. And the waiters brought around separate bills. Next time, they’ll probably put a notice saying ‘No NaNo-ers!’ I kid you, though. They enjoyed the show.

Finally, time to say good bye. We all exchanged our names, emails and numbers on Maheswari’s ipad we also got our promotional  NaNo calendars! (burn!!!bwahahahahahah!!!!)

Then, promising to meet again after NaNo for ‘serious novels’ we parted one by one, and in groups, thinking -goddamn! This was the best meet ever!!

And all thanks to Sonia. The one and only.

Do You Have A Novel Inside You?

Writing a novel is seen by many as a frightful, lonely thing. Writers and publishers constantly push this image of a novel being the product of great, protracted struggle. In the industry, if you write one novel every four years or so you’re average, if you write one every year you’re prolific, and if you write more than two a year you’re a hack.

 

This general view is held by the reading public too. An author who claims his work has been in progress for years instantly gains our respect, whereas for the upstart who says he finishes an average novel in six months we only have snorts of derision. The sub-text is clear; if you’re writing a lot, you’re probably not writing very well.

 

Let’s pause on that for just a moment. In just about every other field of human endeavour, it is understood that the more you practice, the better you get. Only in writing have I seen this almost fanatic obsession with slowing down, with taking your time, with deceiving yourself into thinking that you’re producing great work when you’re only procrastinating.

 

When you’re starting out – and I presume that most of you are – the worst thing that you can do is to slow down. If you wish to become a writer you must write every day, and if you wish to become a fiction writer, you must write fiction every day. Thinking about your novel is not writing. Plotting is not writing. Character mapping is not writing. Only writing is writing. And the more you write, the better you will get. It is that simple, and it is that hard.

 

Writing a novel is an exercise in creativity, yes, and in originality and in technique, but more than all of that it is an exercise in discipline. Come to your desk every day, write a certain number of words, and one day you will finish. Stephen King once said that amateurs sit around waiting for inspiration while the professionals show up. Day in and day out they show up. You must too.

 

NanoWriMo is not a magic wand. Too many people I know have signed up for it hoping for a miracle and have dropped out, dejected. It is a great platform for you to meet others, compare notes, discuss stuff, but make no mistake: NanoWriMo will not write your novel for you. NanoWriMo will not drag you to your desk. NanoWriMo will not pat you on the back and say nice things on bad days. You have to do all those things. NanoWriMo will help you, yes, but if you do not have the inner desire, I am afraid that you must first find it before you sign up.

 

But for those of you who know what’s in store, welcome. No matter what you do over the next one month, promise yourself that you would love it. Love the good days, but love the bad days too. Love the scratching of your pen, the clacking of your keyboard. More than anything, love your story. Fall in love with your world and its people so that when you tell us about them, we cannot help but fall in love with them ourselves. If you look deep within yourself you will know that this love is the main reason you’re doing this. Promise yourself now that you will nurture this love, that you will not let it die in the course of the month.

 

If you do that, I am sure you will be fine.

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Bio:

 

Sharath Komarraju is a mystery and fantasy author based in Bangalore, India. His first novel, ‘Murder in Amaravati’, was longlisted for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize. Now, as he awaits the release of his third novel, ‘The Winds of Hastinapur’, due out in November 2013, he’s busy thrashing out a manuscript that doesn’t yet know what it wants to become when it grows up.

   He spends most of a typical day locked up in a room talking to himself. He blogs about the writing life at http://sharathkomarraju.com/

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