Category Archives: Pep Talk

Sreemoyee Piu Kundu

Unafraid to be naked – A peptalk by Sreemoyee Piu Kundu

We are in the final week of NaNoWriMo and the excitement levels are shooting up as much as the wordcounts are. “Writing must be relished and the writer must be unafraid to be naked in their writing” says Author Sreemoyee Piu Kundu in her peptalk to the wrimos who are still to reach the 50K mark and also gives some publishing advice.

Over to Sreemoyee Piu Kundu:

I am often asked to give writing tips to aspiring writers and I think the best thing I can say is that listen to the beat of your heart. Honestly speaking I became a writer because I relished writing – it was and continues to be, despite the struggle to be heard in all the publishing clutter, the only way I know how to live – freely and fearlessly.

It was a natural progression thus when I look back today at my decade long career in print journalism.

The thirst to tell a story:

On the same lines, my eventual move to become a full-time novelist relinquishing a lucrative PR Vice-President job and forsaking the lure to return back to journalism honestly feels more like a continuation of the same journey. The thirst to tell a story, for it to have a larger and more diverse audience and finally to be limitless in terms of scope perhaps influenced my final plunge as a novelist four years ago when I started writing Faraway Music, that was my debut novel, published by Hachette that released in 2013.

Today, I feel writing has become hugely aspirational thanks to the whole ChetanBhagat phenomenon, and also due to the pressure of social media where everyone is posing with celebs and in search of their fifteen seconds of fame – but that to me personally, is not the reason one should be compelled to write a story.

Unafraid to be naked:

  • The aim should rather be to shed your layers and be unafraid to be naked.
  • Don’t judge the mistakes your muses make
  • Explore sensuality
  • Take risks and
  • Don’t copy trends of what books you think are selling and consumed by the need to join the best-seller bandwagon.

I think diversity is one of the biggest plus points of a good writer, and being able to surprise the readers is a huge asset that always works.

When I wrote my hugely successful novel, Sita’s Curse, for instance I had no idea it would be labeled as India’s first feminist erotica, and neither did I deliberately write a book that explored a married housewife’s suppressed sexual desires because I thought there was a vast market for the Savitha Bhabhi sort of writing – staying true to the intent behind a novel I think is critical, and determines the quality of writing that can easily be distinguished from a wannabe writer who’s just desperate to add the word writer to his CV.

Post NaNo Tips:

Also, one mistake a lot of young writers make is to fall into the pressures of publishing – how to impress a publisher and therefore they will do anything to please them – changing the manuscript, inserting more sex and violence just to be published at any cost. Always stick to your guns is my suggestion.

Another tip- ask for a marketing plan. I was told for instance by my publisher on the day my first book went to Print that they have zilch marketing budget. Bargain harder and never let your innate desperation get in the way of a sound book deal. Also getting an agent to represent you maybe a good idea. They can hard sell your book and are usually well networked.

Also, don’t fall into the celebrity endorsement trap – getting celebs to pose with your book or write a line or two or launch your book, unless you know someone personally. Books must sell on their own merit and stand their own ground. And you being the author must believe it will. Stand up and by your own creativity, as you are the biggest brand ambassador for it.

 

About Sreemoyee Piu Kundu:

Sreemoyee Piu Kundu

Sexuality, women, popular culture and gender is what defines author Sreemoyee Piu Kundu’s exciting career, preceding her literary foray. Having covered the broad gamut of national lifestyle and features – Sreemoyee held Senior Editorial positions in prestigious newspapers.  After being at the helm of a flourishing media canvas, Sreemoyee then diversified into PR with senior mandates of building key media strategy and leading lifestyle & entertainment verticals at Genesis BursonMarstellar and Hanmer MS&L, New Delhi respectively.

Sreemoyee made her literary debut with Faraway Music, (Hachette) in 2013. Sreemoyee’s second book, Sita’s Curse (Hachette)– an erotic fiction which earned her the epithet of Erotica Queen, launched in May 2014, was a national best-seller and widely covered in leading publications.

Sreemoyee’s third novel that is just out and already on the Bestseller list, You’ve Got The Wrong Girl(Hachette)breaks new ground as a woman writer foraying into the realm of lad lit in India, made famous internationally by writers like Nick Hornby and Matt Dunn. Sreemoyee has also completed her fourth novel Cut!signed up by Fingerprint.Written like a play in ten acts, Cut!pays a moving tribute to the parallel worlds of stage and screen as seen through the chequered life and times of thespian Amitabh Kulashreshtra.

 Sreemoyee is also a leading columnist on women’s sexuality and gender issues with Quint, Yahoo, I.diva.com& Daily O.A regular in television debates and newspaper columns, she’s also the recipient of the L’oreal NDTV Women of Worth award in the category of ‘Literature,’ this year and is also the Recipient of the Author Award by the Indian Council of UN Relations, from the Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit on the occasion of Women’s Day in 2014.

Sreemoyee has just been signed up for her fifth book, her first non-fiction on single women in India, Status Single by Amaryllis. She is an alumnus of Loreto House, Kolkata, and a gold-medallist post graduate from Jadhavpur University. She was recently a Tedtalk Speaker at IIFT, New Delhi, speaking on the plight of single women in India.

Sreemoyee now resides in New Delhi.

Know more about Sreemoyee’s books here:

Faraway Music – https://www.facebook.com/Faraway-Music-341486359282781/?fref=ts
Sita’s Curse – https://www.facebook.com/SitasCurse/?fref=ts
You’ve Got The Wrong Girl – https://www.facebook.com/Youve-Got-The-Wrong-Girl-1666284060303263/?fref=ts

 

Advertisements
Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar

Don’t get distracted: A peptalk by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar

More than 4K people in India attempt to write a novel every November. And it is no easy task, trust me!!! It requires a lot of willpower, stamina and ofcourse, a germ of a story. But along with that one needs the motivation from all those who have been there before. All those who have written novels and had them published. Over the years, then, Wrimo India has been fortunate to have had some of the best writers from India motivating the wrimos with peptalks.

This week we are happy to present a letter of encouragement to wrimos from well-known author, HANSDA SOWVENDRA SHEKHAR. Over to him, then.

Dear WriMos,

Greetings to all of you.

I might be a wrong person to give this peptalk, because – I will be honest here – I am the laziest person I have ever known. I think of writing something, but I just sit in front of my laptop with a plain page on MS-Word opened in one window while I am happily listening to songs on Windows Media Player or watching videos on YouTube. Some two hours of procrastination, and then I start panicking. Goodness! What have I done? I have wasted so much time!

I return to the MS-Word window, think a line, type it out, I am happy, and then I again return to the Windows Media Player. An hour later, I am panicky once again, and I return to the MS-Word. I usually write at night. So, by the time I am panicky for the second or third time, after having typed just two or three lines, I realise that it is 4 A.M. already and I need to sleep. So I just save those two or three lines, berate myself for being so lazy, promise myself that I would not procrastinate the next time, go to sleep, return to my laptop the next night, open my MS-Word file with those two or three lines saved from the previous night, and, again, I am busy with Windows Media Player or YouTube. At the end of the night, after two more panic attacks, I have a total of five or six lines done.

Word count: Fewer than 100.

So, seriously, I am certainly not the right person to talk to you guys about NaNoWriMo.

However, there is one thing I know.

And that is: When I am determined, when my mind is full of ideas, and there is a story inside me just seeking to burst out, I do not care if it is night or day, I do not care how many words I have written. I just go on writing. I do not even stop to think what I am writing or if it is right that I am writing what I am writing—for, editing can always be done later. For now, I have to just write. And that is what I would tell all of you to do:

Don’t think of other things while you are writing your novel,
Don’t get distracted,
Don’t think about editing,
Collect all your ideas in your mind or in a diary/notebook/mobile phone/computer while you are not writing, and then,
When you sit down to write, just close yourself to everything else and write.
Just write.
And when you open your diary/notebook/mobile phone to check your notes, don’t get distracted, don’t start checking out the apps.
Check your notes, and just return to your writing.

Trust me, it is easy, and you can do it. Good luck to all of you, and I am sure you will all have your novels ready by 30-November-2016.

Warmly,

Sowvendra

*********

hansda

HANSDA SOWVENDRA SHEKHAR is the author of two books: a novel, “The Mysterious Ailment Of Rupi Baskey”, which won the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar 2015, jointly won the Muse India Young Writer Award 2015, was shortlisted for The Hindu Prize 2014 and a Crossword Book Award 2014, and longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award 2016; and a collection of short stories, “The Adivasi Will Not Dance”, which has been shortlisted for The Hindu Prize 2016 and recommended for a course at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

You can check out the books at the links given below:

The Mysterious Ailment Of Rupi Baskey: http://www.alephbookcompany.com/book/the-mysterious-ailment-of-rupi-baskey-a-novel

The Adivasi Will Not Dance: http://speakingtigerbooks.com/books/the-adivasi-will-not-dance-stories/

Adivasi Nahin Nachenge, the Hindi translation of The Adivasi Will Not Dance: http://rajpalpublishing.com/item_details.html?cat_id=1021

BROKEN PROMISES – A Peptalk by Shomprakash Sinha Roy

Let’s pretend for a minute, that we haven’t lied to ourselves over and over again – as kids, we had those dumb new year resolutions and birthday commitments that none of us could stick to. Through high school, those last minute ‘revisions’ perpetually reminded us of our failure to comply with the one basic un-natural part of an otherwise terrible life – routine.

We’ve all done it. Broken a promise, swallowed our guilt, compensated for them with ego issues and we’ve all moved on from the horrors of our past.

And then some of us wanted to write. I did, and if you’re reading this then there’s more than a half-decent chance that you did, too. A short story to begin with, a novella to feel good about yourself and a novel, maybe – a novel, just to tell yourself that you can. And it isn’t exactly as simple as a diet plan or a workout regime – there are no tangible results in this department.

There lies the dilemma – you might’ve written ten thousand crappy words or a hundred words of pure beauty, but you will never know if the outcome was worth the effort. As a published author, I wish I could say something to negate that theory, but I really can’t. There will always be times when pages after pages, words after words and manuscripts after manuscripts will fail miserably in the cruelty of your own critique.

Why then, must we continue to do what we once dreamed of doing? Why must we let that tiny child-like voice in our head win? The one that keeps telling us that our lives could possibly become a whole lot more meaningful, provided we were ready to slog for it? Why must we create anything at all, when we know that it will all come crumbling down one day?

These are valid questions, I kid you not. Happiness, however profound it may appear at the outset, is temporary. It is perhaps this great design flaw in our species, which motivates us to run after things that have the potential of making us happy. Money, material acquisitions, food, sex, love – the idea of being cared for by someone other than yourself, they’re all little lynchpins towards that one surreal goal – happiness.

So the question really is, does writing make you happy? Does it, even for a second, alleviate the pain of all those years behind you? Does writing make you forget who you are, where you are right now? Does it make everything else seem so mighty insignificant that you could just write… or die trying?

If it doesn’t, you should stop right now. Because as harsh as it may seem, this is at once the tiniest and strongest obstacle you will ever face. Life as you know it will go on, and there will be a million urges to quit midway. People will tell you that your work is hard to understand, that it’s full of typographical errors, that it’s either not commercial at all or worse – too commercial to digest. People will inspire you, like you, admire you, push you, threaten you, hate you, insult you, they will tell you things that generate deeper pathos than George R.R. Martin’s character development techniques.

So if you’re someone like me (someone who has a history of breaking promises backing them up) and if writing doesn’t kick the living devil out of you, maybe you shouldn’t do it at all.

But you don’t want to hear that, do you?

No.

You are in pursuit of a greater dream. You, dear Wrimo, have embraced a journey that ends in victory or death, but never in embarrassment. You just followed every word of this post and felt your blood pumping through your veins, fighting the urge to close this window or maybe just throw your device away. You know what that is?

That’s a shard of your ego trying to carve its place where another, stronger emotion deserves to exist – discipline.

I’ve never been a strong proponent of the concept, but then again, I’ve never been a scientologist either. So I guess I can talk about it. More specifically, I need to say this on the Wrimo platform because had it not been for NaNoWriMo 2012, I would never have finished writing my first manuscript. I don’t know how my stars were aligned, or if the zodiac guys decided to call it an off-month or something, but November 2012 proved to be the month where my inhibitions about quality, temporariness and ego fell through. I was churning words faster than I had ever done before, and it all came down to one thing.

Discipline.

The urge to endure through the difficult phase of keeping a promise intact. The early mid life crisis of those who have dared to fall in love or maybe just to read a poem and appreciate it for what it is.

It is the one thing that separates ‘good’ from ‘easy’. And it will lead you to your path, however obscure your goal might seem right now. Of course, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you it was possible to write 50,000 words in just under 72 hours. It is humanly possible, yes. But the desire to accomplish that feat cannot be driven purely by instinct, or some twisted form of revenge.

So accept it – the temporariness, the void, the possibility of a million failed books, the sheer unfairness of the publishing world – let all of that go down the drain. This is war. It’s you against yourself.

You can’t afford to lose that one, right?

So write.

About Shomprakash Sinha Roy:

Shom pic

Shomprakash Sinha Roy is an author of fiction, of Indian origin. A marketing managagement alumnus from the Indian Institute of Business Management New Delhi, he has three titles on shelves so far (The Pink Smoke, Life Served Hot and 21 Things About Romance). With honors like the Whistling Woods International Young Achiever Award (2013) and a Forbes Nomination (2014) backing him up, he still cherishes his first literary win – NaNoWriMo 2012, where he finished writing his first manuscript. He stays in Bangalore and is a fan of grunge music.

For more about Shom, click here and for his books, here.

 

Milan Vohra asks, “Who said you should write?” – A NaNo2014 peptalk

There are way too many things we think we should be doing. At this point, at about 4:45 a.m. as I write this, I can think of about 199 things, off-the-cuff. They range from deep, soul-growth ‘shoulds’, like “I should meditate everyday”, “I should volunteer at the old age home next door every Sunday”, “I should be gentler on myself” … to more mundane ‘shoulds’ like “I should change the wi-fi password so my son lives more in his books and less on Facebook”, or “I should start making sprouts from scratch at home!”

There is something about the word ‘should’ that almost always makes me want to mentally suffix the word ‘but’.

‘I know I should, but…’

So let’s come back to the start. Who said you should write? Nobody held a gun to your head and said “Hey! <<Insert your name here>>, you should write!”

Why should you kill yourself and not watch ‘Gone girl’ before it’s gone from the theatres? (Reviews notwithstanding). Why should you have to wait till the dog is walked at night, the doors are locked, the rajma soaked and even the neighbour’s TV has gone silent so you can finally hear yourself think? Because you think you should write?

‘Should’ in my experience is a word best used to get teenagers to do the opposite of what you want them to do. “Sweetie, you should stay in bed all day today.” There’s a very good chance the kid is going to demand to know why.

So when that annoying voice in your head stopped you from meeting your friend for coffee, because it said you should write, did you ask the voice “why’?

Let me share a short true story. Some months ago I agreed to write a screenplay for somebody. After the initial delight and disbelief that somebody wanted me to do it though I’d never written one before and was even willing to wait for me to be freed up from my existing commitments – a delayed reaction set in. “I know nothing about writing screenplays!” “Aren’t there all sorts of rules about formatting…text that must be centralised, words that need to be capitalised?” What on earth was I thinking!?

“I know!” I told myself. “I should order some books on the craft of it and get educated.” Books, bought, speed reading initiated. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Heavy underlining. No words put down yet. “I should attend a workshop on it and fast track the whole thing.” I did. Only, another idea kept popping up in my head and on my pages. Seducing me with its possibilities and distracting me constantly from the screenplay I was supposed to complete by November 15th! The ‘hauvva’ or bogey-man of the unfamiliar format grew bigger. I was now waking up in regular cold sweats. “Silly silly me. I should get that software they all said is so brilliant at the workshop.” I did. It spoke in Geek to me. More tick-tock. Tick-tock with wings!

Any of this sounding familiar yet?

“I know I should write, but…”

But, but… I’ve gone and planned the story with characters living in countries I know nothing of. And none of these characters are even Indian! Of course! “I should research everything about these totally foreign characters, even the flavours of ice cream popular in these places!”

I should remember to back up. I’m sure I did. Yet – the software gobbled up most of what I’d done, one night before the deadline.

Every single ‘should’ that had built up into a series of obstacles merged and immobilized me into a ‘deer caught in the headlights’ reaction.

‘I should just quit!’ It was like a chant in my head. It would be so simple to call the guy, say, ‘I’m so sorry, here’s your advance, please take it back, please.’ Then I could sleep. 0h, I so wanted to sleep. Also, I wanted to cry. So I did. I had a quick, alone, why-me, poor-me cry.

And then I forced myself to write. Just one sentence, I told myself.

I sat back to look at it. “I should finish this screenplay.”

MV 1A

 

I heard my inner voice ask, ‘Why?’

Tentatively, I struck out the word ‘should’. Above it I wrote another word. ‘Could’

MV2 (1)

It felt a little liberating. That word ‘should’ carries so much pressure.

Maybe. “I could finish this screenplay.” Hmmm…

It felt better but still sounded iffy. I wasn’t convinced.

I added some more words to the sentence.

MV3

I made one last revision. Struck out that ambivalent ‘Could’ and replaced it with a decisive ‘Would’

This is what I finally had.

MV4

“If I really wanted to, I would finish this screenplay.”

I tell you, it was an epiphany!* Now when I saw that statement, I knew with a deep knowing that of course, I really want to! I knew when I took the assignment on, it excited me. In a good, scary way. It challenged me to do something new and actually I had grown to like these people in my story. I wanted to see them through to the end. To that last Credits Rolling shot.

I’m guessing you signed on for NaNoWriMo  for a similar reason. Because that good scary feeling when you decided to challenge yourself is something you chose to do. Because you really wanted to! Tell yourself this, with love, as you make those words appear on your page. Tell yourself…

MV5Final

And you will!

From someone who wrote and lived to tell the tale,

Milan

About Milan Vohra:

Milan Vohra is an author, advertising consultant and an insomniac. She enjoys writing ad campaigns by day and fiction by night. One of her short stories won a nationwide Harlequin contest and brought her into the international spotlight as the first Indian Mills & Boon author. Her book “The Love Asana” became an unprecedented bestseller and also brought her priceless experiences like being on a BBC show with the legendary Penny Jordan. The Love Asana is now being translated into several languages. Milan has also written YA (Young Adult) stories for Penguin in ‘Love like that and other stories’ . She has written short stories on subjects like sexual abuse and its genesis, transgender identity conflict for Unisun Publishers in ‘Vanilla desires’. And another soon  to appear in a Harper Collins anthology. Milan has written a musical comedy called “Maid in India’ and scripts for Season 1 of the Emmy award winning show Sesame Street for Indian TV. Milan’s latest book is ‘Tick-Tock, We’re 30’  by Westland Publishers, It is a fun, reflective rom-com about old friendships, new chemistries, and imperfect urban relationships.

Milan’s real claim to fame, she says, is that she is the world’s best worst dancer.

You can also connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

* thanks ‘Heal your life’

 

 

 

 

 

Kiran Manral says, “Breathe.” – A NaNo2014 peptalk

Dear NaNoWriMo Author,

It is mid November, your mind is sludge, you’re midway through a book you thought was just fabulous when you began but now that you are perhaps, 20k or 30k words into it, you look back, read through what you’ve written, shudder, tape your fingers together to prevent yourself from deleting what you’ve written because you think it is horrible, terrible and by god, it would be a Mother Earth Swallow Me Now moment if you ever let another living soul read it. What on earth possessed me to sign up for this, you tell yourself, while simultaneously self flagellating yourself with the Cat-O-Nine-Tails of negative self talk.

Breathe.

This is normal. We have all been there.

You will hate what you have written. You will go through doubt and schism and chaos. You will detest your characters, want to reach into the screen and give them a good shake up, you have also probably reached a dead end or two in your plot where you’ve needed to go back, retrace your steps, rewrite what you’ve written and change things around a fair bit. What you have down on the computer is nothing compared to the glorious, glistening gem of a novel you had in your head when you started out, in fact, it doesn’t even come close. You hate it.

Breathe some more.

This too is normal. And the urge to delete what you have written so far will pass.

Step back a minute from the page. Don’t look at what you have written so far. Don’t be tempted to re-read what you’ve done. What you have done is a first draft, and first drafts are meant to be reworked. And reworked. But it is essential to get that first draft down as swiftly as possible before that ephemeral magic of the tale you want to tell fades away. Write down your first draft.

Put down word after word, sentence after sentence, if nothing comes to mind, put down dummy copy.

Trust me that works. You can always go back and delete the dummy copy later.

Take a break while you are writing. Drink coffee. Make some phone calls to friends or loved ones. Read the newspaper. Distract your mind. Think about anything and everything except the book you are writing. Let your subconscious marinate the plot, the characters, the situations for you.

Set a timer. When your alarm rings, get right back to the keyboard and type. Don’t wait for the muse. She is fickle and rarely shows up when you want her to. She will linger around, watching, and when she sees you are going to get down and get writing with or without her around to help, she might just float beside you, look at what you’re putting down and if you are lucky, very very lucky, she might just consent to brush a smidgeon of her magic across your keyboard and clear the cobwebs from your mind. And when she does, you will know. You will feel it. But you can’t wait indefinitely for that to happen. You owe it to the book you are midway through to complete it, to see it through to the end, bitter or happy. Only you can do it, only you can put down the story in your head.

The thing is to write. To keep writing. That is the only way that books get written. You have to keep moving forward. A paragraph. A page. A chapter. Bit by bit, you build up the precious first draft. And there, at the end of the month, you have it. You will feel the pride, the sense of ownership, of accomplishment. And that nothing can ever take away from you.

Keep writing.

In solidarity,

Kiran Manral

 

About Kiran Manral:

Kiran Manral was a journalist before she quit to become a full-time mommy. She is one of India’s top bloggers and also a Tehelka blogger columnist on gender issues. She is also considered a ‘social media star’ on twitter by the TOI. IBN Live named her as among the 30 interesting Indian women to follow on twitter and among the top 10 Indian moms to follow on twitter for 2013. Sheroes named her as among the top 20 women influencers from India on twitter in 2014. (http://sheroes.in/articles/must-follow-women-influencers-on-twitter/NDAw)

Her debut novel, The Reluctant Detective, was published by Westland in 2012 and her second novel Once Upon A Crush, was published by Leadstart in May 2014.
She was awarded the Women Achievers award by Young Environmentalists Group in 2013.

Aarti V Raman says, “Fall in love.” – A NaNo2014 peptalk

I am listening to Jason Mraz’s Clockwatching and it’s such an apt song for what the month of November stands for, for a special breed of creature. This creature is recognizable by the copious amounts of coffee it consumes, has a perpetually glazed look and can be found muttering to itself, mostly in dark corners. Its best friend: A laptop.

I am talking about the WRIMO, my fellow writers, a creature so brave as to attempt writing an entire novel of 50,000 words in 30 days. Call it a quest, a hunt, an adventure, a dream come true, call it what you want but there is nothing braver and scarier than sitting in front of a blank screen and waiting for inspiration to strike you, much like lightning does. And chances are, lightning might, but inspiration is a very tricky babe. And then cajole, curse and coax this tricky babe into helping you out till you hit that magical number: 50,000 and THE END.

There are many pitfalls on this obstacle course (another nickname) but the first and all-encompassing one is called Writer’s Block. Or as I like to call it: ‘Go scream into the pillow because I am worth nothing’ Syndrome.

Some say write on, others say write crap, still others say sit back and review, don’t write till you’re sure. But when you’re writing your magnum opus in 30 days it’s a bit difficult to shake those gremlins of self-doubt and plod on. I, personally, suffer from Writer’s Block every other day that I am writing and I know of no cure to make it better except to fall in love.

Predominantly, I write about love. Two strong people falling in love, with each other, with life, with the work they’re doing and with love. It’s not necessarily always romance (of the hand-holding, declarations of love types) but it is love. Chaotic, consuming, can’t live without each other kind of love, as the inimitable Carrie Bradshaw says. And love, my friends, is like riding a dragon. The only way to tame it is to let yourself go.

And the only way to let go? Fall.

It took me four seconds to look at a W cover of a half-naked Hugh Jackman to decide I’ve found my hero, my Brandon Rice. The White Knight I am dying to write about. With Krivi Iyer, it was a mix of several different heroes, all of them hunky and damaged in their own ways. And with my new MS (that’s unfortunately not a part of NaNo2014) it is a single image of a strong man with very strong values and a work ethic, heroically not breaking down despite overwhelming odds. I got that image in my head and BAM! my block ended, I fell in love with my story and the words started flowing again.

Needless to say, not everyone has a hero’s image fixed in their head when they write, but it does help to fall in love with that one thing that keeps you connected to your story. Every day, for all the 30 days and nights that your laptop becomes your best friend and worst enemy: It could be an image, it could be the lines to a song, or a complicated plot map that you took ages to make and that is taking shape in chapter and verse.

Once upon a time a young girl (a two years younger me) had a small dream. She read Scott Westerfeld’s opening Nano Peptalk and imagined the honor, thrill and joy she would get if it was she who was talking to her fellow writer friends. If she was telling them to write on, never stop, not even when November ends.

And so, I will end my piece with just that thought. Write on. Never stop. Not even when November ends. Your novel deserves it and so do you.

XX

Aarti V Raman aka Writer Gal


BIO:

Aarti V Raman is an established novelist in the romantic thriller genre (White Knight, Kingdom Come). 28 year-old Aarti V Raman is a Mass Media graduate from Mumbai University. It was as a student of  Creative and Professional Writing at Deakin University in Melbourne that she learned to hone her craft and achieve her lifelong ambition of writing romances that had strong characters and stronger stories that remained etched in the reader’s minds.

Her first novel “White Knight” was published by Leadstart in 2012. In 2013, her work was excerpted in the Tamil Edition of Mills and Boon novels. And in 2014, her short story “Post-Coital Cigarette” was chosen to be part of the Rupa Romance Anthology, “An Atlas of Love,” curated by bestselling author Anuja Chauhan.  Her latest novel “Kingdom Come” (Harlequin MIRA) has enjoyed a brief stay on the bestseller lists of  Amazon India. She is represented by Red Ink Literary Agency, India.

Her book, Kingdom Come, is available on Amazon and Flipkart.
Check out White Knight here and here.

Aarti loves to hear from her readers and friends on email at kingdomcomethebook@gmail.com, on Facebook as Aarti V Raman-Author and on Twitter @RT_writes

 

Usha Narayanan says, “Have fun.” – A NaNo2014 peptalk

Hi WriMos!

So, you’ve climbed on the NanoWriMo bandwagon and pledged to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Congratulations! You’ve already taken the first step by signing on. And you’ll have the support of thousands of other writers who will be accompanying you on the journey. The euphoria is strong and you feel the wind beneath your wings. Make the most of it.

Start with your main characters. Have a broad idea of where your plot is going. Write down ten or twenty quick ideas and build your story around these. Pepper your story with conflicts. Move the plot forward with every chapter. Action, emotion, dialogue, narration ― everything has a place in your novel.

Feel the fear, the joy and the love that your characters experience and then recreate it for your readers. Liven up your scenes with smells, sounds and sights. And don’t leave your keyboard at the end of your day’s writing without some idea of what will happen the next day. Why is the heroine upset? Will the hero be able to fight off the threat? Let your mind work on it as you sleep.

Or write a few sentences of your next chapter before you shut down your computer. That is a surefire way to stave off writer’s block.

Yes, you may come upon that dreadful day when you sit staring at a blank page, not knowing where you are headed. Your title seems dumb and your characters foolish. You don’t know why you started this whole exercise. Don’t worry, that’s normal too. Just unclench your jaw and skim through what you’ve written till now. Maybe your characters have come alive and are refusing to go quietly down the path you have laid out for them. Good for them, and for you. That’s what makes them leap out from the page and grab your reader’s attention.

Play along. Have fun. If you are writing a thriller and get stuck, kill somebody. A love story? Have the hero do something crazy to woo his girl. Let your zest for life spill over on your pages. That’s the secret of a racy tale.

Good luck!

 

Usha Narayanan is a writer from the colourful world of advertising and media. Her first novel, ‘The Madras Mangler’, (http://goo.gl/lRMHgr) is chock-a-block with chills and thrills and has received several favourable reviews. Her next two novels, a romcom and an action-packed fantasy, have been picked up by leading publishers for publication in 2015. Connect with her at www.ushanarayanan.com, www.facebook.com/writerushaand www.twitter.com/writerusha.

Keep calm Nanowrimoers, it’s not 30th Nov yet – Ruchi Vasudeva

                      

keep calm      

So you’ve taken the leap into the giant wok of Nanowrimo and now find yourself floundering in the slippery oil of written – and unwritten- words. All around you, people are announcing they have crossed the mark, causing the pressure to mount as though you are the last wicket of Team India on the crease, required to score a winning six. A difficult but not impossible task. So keep calm. Not the count-to-ten type of keep calm. Rather, take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves and get typing. Yes, buddy, this is no time to be complacent!

Before we discuss the strategies which might help us go on, let’s examine why we lose our cool in this war of words J

Causes of panic

Help! I didn’t save my file The very top-of-the-list problem. And the most dangerous. It’s one of the things easy to know in theory and far easier to forget in practice. Nowadays you have a number of ways to backup. Dropbox. Pen drives. Hard disk storage. Even easier to do, just email the work to yourself. Back up, back up, back up…should be your hourly or rather every minute mantra!

My Muse has absconded! Muses are so apt to do that. Just when you need them the most. Though you might wish to, you can’t catch and bring back your Muse by scruff of his/her neck. The blank screen is the writer’s arch enemy but you have to find a way to beat it. One sure way is to read over what you’ve written and find that link, that off shoot that you forgot to explore. Now is the time to blend that loose thread in your story and make it stronger. Maybe your character left an old job to take up the current position. So why did she leave it? Get to the reason and it might show you a side of your character you never thought existed. Now you can write with a deeper understanding of your character.

For more ways to beat the writer’s block, check out this post from me.

Inner editor has woken up! The Inner Editor. Visualize Skeletor. Doctor Doom. Mahishasura. Inner editor is the enemy of the state for Nanowrimo-ers. There is only one weapon to tackle it. Only one word. IGNORE. Or prepare for your Nano winning dream to crash. This is not the time to worry about inserting the proper synonym or tempering your excessive adverb indulgence. Whether you write ‘walk quickly’ or ‘run’, just describe the action and get on with it. December is for fussing over things like that.

Now the positive steps to take to win this race. How to have that voice in your ear saying Bhaag Milkha Bhaag! 😉

To do’s

Seek inspiration Fill up the well continuously. Read. Take a walk. People watch. Take and make use of writing prompts from fellow writers…easily hounded at the Wrimo group J

Writing sprints I’ve personally found they are the best way to hike up your count. Sprints are great to make you focus and streamline your thoughts. Join in as many as you can.

Take proper rest and exercise. The mind is fresh only when the body is. Writers are all too prone to posture related troubles from spending too many hours bent over the keyboard. So do make sure you take stretching exercises or simply walk around a bit every half an hour. Your mind will be healthier if your body is fitter. So rest your eyes and your back and you’ll be more revved up than ever.

All the very best to all the participants. Remember that you’ve already won because I’m sure you’re doing better than you would have without Nanowrimo (at least I tell myself that to keep from sliding into deep depression of non achievement ;)) Kudos to the ones who’ve made it and the rest, don’t worry. It’s not 30th November yet!

Keep well. Write with love.

 Bio

Ruchi Vasudeva is a doctor by profession, a teacher by vocation and, in her own words, an author by destiny. The writing bug has long resided in her and a contest held by Harlequin for Indian authors gave her a golden opportunity to have her dream realized. She debuted in August ’13 with her book ‘Bollywood Fiancé For A Day’. Her second book is out in December, both being published by Harlequin. She also won a contest for getting a short story published with Harper Collins. She writes romantic fiction with conflicted characters who come into their own in their quest of reaching out for love. She loves to write about spirited heroines getting hurtled out of their daily life as soon as they cross paths with their rather challenging heroes.

She lives with her husband and two kids. When not bent double over the laptop, she might be found with her nose in books or at the movies or glued to the telecast of Team India or Chennai Super Kings in action. She likes to take long walks which help in brewing story ideas! 

Light at the end of the Tunnel – Sharath Komarraju

Hi guys,

Week three is almost finished, and I trust most of you are at least three-fourths of your way into your respective masterpieces. If you’re beginning to get dizzy with all the writing, be informed that it’s perfectly normal, and if any doubts have begun to creep in about the quality of your writing, stamp on them and kick them out before they grow too big to handle. Generally speaking, when you go back and read what you’ve written, you will see that it does not suck nearly as much as you thought it did, but even if does, so what? Having something that sucks is better than having nothing at all.

This message coincides with the beginning of Act 3 of your novels, which is basically a fancy way of saying that you’re on the home stretch. Here you will have a ‘big scene’ in which your main character moves from being in a rut to seeing light at the end of the tunnel, and he begins moving toward it. Here’s where most of your book’s conflicts will get resolved, and at the end, of course, your character will either get what he has been gunning for all this while, or he will lose the battle (and yet gain something more important).

The most important part of this all is the transition scene in which Act 2 ends and Act 3 begins. Just like the transition between Act 1 and Act 2, we’re looking for a feeling of ‘no going back now’. Unless that feeling comes to your readers, we’re still in Act 2. So pay particular attention to this scene. It should be immediately obvious to anyone who reads your novel that Act 2 has ended and Act 3 has begun.

The second most important part of it is, of course, the climax, which represents the end of Act 3 and your book. Needless to say, you will tie up all the ends, and you will show how the character has changed from his first-page version. At the end of it all, of course, he will go back to his old world, but he will do so a changed man, with a fresh perspective of life.

Good luck! Almost there!

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/

So you are a Nano Virgin? —Laxmi Hariharan

Why would anyone want to put themselves through the agony of writing 50,000 words in 30 days? That’s 1667 words precisely per day. Can you actually do it? Will you do it? Questions, killer questions. As someone who foolishly plunged in and managed to stay the course, here’s an interesting analogy. I wager thatyour first NaNoWrimois like falling in love for the first time. Here’s why:

  1. Just like being attracted to this person, you spend a lot of time circling around the idea of NaNo. Should you make the first move or not that is the question.
  2. Your head wars with your heart. Your heart says, go ahead plunge in take the step, you never know till you try. Your head says – what? Are you crazy? Right answer? No you are just a writer.
  3. Then it’s the turn of your ego. What if youfind out the feeling is not reciprocated (aka what if you don’t complete NaNo?) You are just going to feel horrible, terrible, awful, you know. Same ego replies: Aha! But wait till you start, for if you don’t finish I will be terribly hurt, so once you set off on this sojourn you don’t have a choice but to finish.
  4. You plunge in. Next thing you know you are falling—and already you sense nothing will ever be the same again. You feel that early flush of exhilaration, when you see everything in relief, like silver powder dusting the outline of here till eternity.Why did you ever hesitate?
  5. That is until that first signs of panic pierce you. Everyone else seems to be doing just fine, what about you?You have that sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach that you will not make it. Of course you never know what goes on between another writer and her words for each relationship is so unique. But then why are your pages failing you when you most need them?
  6. You look around in panic. Like a midsummer night’s dream your eyes latch onto the first friendly face you see. Help!
  7. Keep going, don’t look back. Eyes on the goal. Only see the centre of that target, your lover’s face. Don’t look left or right. Just straight ahead.
  8. Ah! There! The north star appears on the horizon. You know your feelings are about to be reciprocated. He loves you! He does. The words begin to love you back. You can see it take shape.
  9. Almost there! Just a couple thousand to go. Ha! How you have changed. Just a couple of thousand you said?That time is past when you measured your progress in hundreds of words. He really does love you. You can feel it. You feel more secure.
  10. He loves you. He really does and he said it aloud. Whew! So this is how it feels. You have uploaded your novel, got your badge. You have 50,000 repeat after me, 50,000 words under your belt. You feel like the queen of your own personal kingdom, and no one can take that away from you.

Now you decide you want to do it again. But you know it will never be as good as the first time!

Laxmi Hariharan is a kindle best selling author and a Huffington Post blogger. She completed NaNoWrimo 2012 – which is how she found her second novel in the Bombay Chronicles series. She also writes a weekly flash fiction series onthe mis-adventuresof Ruby Iyer, an unlikely heroine from the streets of Bombay city. Follow her @laxmi or at LAXMIwrites