Category Archives: Wrimo India

Shatrujeet Nath

Already on the other side – A peptalk by Shatrujeet Nath

What can one do in 72 hours? Write a lot of words? Perhaps you have 30K words left to write? Or perhaps you came to know about NaNoWriMo today and are wondering if you can do the 50K words in 72 hours? Shatrujeet Nath, well-known author of The Karachi Deception, and the The Guardians of the Halahala and The Conspiracy at Meru, the first two books in the Vikramaditya Veergatha series, tells you how it is done.

Over to Shatrujeet Nath, then:

A young Buddhist monk, journeying home from his monastery, took an unfamiliar road in the hope that it would get him home faster. His path, however, soon brought him to the banks of a deep and wide river, boiling with rapids. The monk stared in despair at the seemingly impassable obstacle barring his path, wondering how he would battle the raging currents and get to the other side.

He was on the verge of giving up his journey and backtracking when he noticed a famous Zen Master walking on the opposite bank of the river. The young monk hollered over the noise of the river’s churning waters to make himself heard. “Oh wise one, can you tell me how to get to the other side of this river?”

The Zen Master stopped and looked at the youngster who had hailed him. Then, pondering for a moment, he looked up and down the river bank. At last, he cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted back, “My son, you are already on the other side.”

Often, when we are in the midst of a pursuit of our own, we come across our own personal ‘impassable rivers’, and we struggle to find a way to the other side. The prospect of crossing over and completing the journey seems so bleak and daunting that we are even willing to forego the journey and turn back.

But, as the Zen Master so rightly pointed out, we are all already on the other side; it is just that we are so intimidated with what lies ahead of us that we discount the value of everything that we have put behind us in our journey.

To use another Zen example, a master and his young pupil are climbing up a steep mountainside. The climb gets more and more arduous higher they go, till they reach a point from where the last mile to the mountaintop is bare rock. The pupil throws up his hands and tell his master that he is prepared to give up on that last one mile that will take him to the peak. The master tells the pupil to turn around and look down into the valley from where they have ascended.

Pointing, he tells the pupil, “You are not giving up on the last one mile. You are giving up on the 20 miles that you walked to bring you here. You are giving up on that stream whose cool, clear waters refreshed you on the way up. You are giving up on that great tree that shaded you from the noonday heat. You are giving up on this gentle path that made it easier for you to walk. You are giving up on your faith that has carried you so far up the mountain.”

We all make ourselves a promise and get into a contract when we set out to do something. There is so much of ourselves that we then put into what we want to achieve and make happen. Throwing all away after having come so far is the greatest injustice we could do ourselves. It is just so much easier to persevere a little more, stay the course.

As the Zen Master said, we only have to realize that we already are on the other side.

 

About Shatrujeet Nath:

:Shatrujeet Nath

Door-to-door salesman, copywriter, business journalist & assistant editor at The Economic Times; Shatrujeet Nath was all this before he took to writing fiction full-time. He debuted with The Karachi Deception in 2013, followed by The Guardians of the Halahala and The Conspiracy at Meru, the first two books in the Vikramaditya Veergatha series. At present, he is writing volume three of the series, and is also scripting an ambitious Bollywood movie project for a large, Mumbai-based production house. Shatrujeet lives in Mumbai, but spends much of his time in the fantasy worlds of his stories. He can also be found at facebook.com/Shatrujeet Nath and @shatrujeet.

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

 

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

Krishna Udayasankar

Empower Yourself: A peptalk by Krishna Udayasankar

As NaNoWriMo 2016 begins, we at Wrimo India are always excited to read the peptalks from our beloved writers from India. We have a very fine lineup of writers this year too, and they will be cheering wrimos forward with their words of encouragement and motivation. Today, we have with us, Krishna Udayasankar, author of the well-known Aryavarta Chronicles and her latest book, Immortal. Over to Krishna, then 🙂

Let your choice empower you – Krishna Udayasankar

Congrats on signing up for this year’s #NanoWriMo. Now let me tell you a secret: I’m actually a bit in awe of you.

You see, the toughest part of writing a book is deciding to do it. I’m a six-books-and-counting author, but even now the beginning of a new manuscript feels like a mix of lifting a gigantic mountain,getting undressed in public and fighting off a really mean monster, all at the same time.

There’s the practical side of it; the sheer effort, the discipline required, the juggling a gazillion things in daily life, be it a job, kids, a household or health or…anything really. What sane person would add one more thing to their “to-do list,” and that too out of choice?

Then there’s the emotional side of it, the fear and uncertainty – a universe of what-if’s that make it so much easier to not open the Pandora’s box called “writing.”

You see, the toughest part of writing a book is deciding to do it!

What if I can’t finish? What if it sucks? What if I don’t find a publisher. What if I’m published but my book doesn’t sell?And let’s not forget that ultimate mean monster – call it time-sink, call it writer’s block, or call it simple blankness but it’s there… that state of wanting to make words on paper (or on a computer screen) but helplessly unable to do so.

I could tell you that every writer faces these problems and they never really go away no matter how much one has written or published, but I’m guessing you want to kill me right about now. Before you do, hear me out:

This sucks. This is illogical. This is painful.

The fact is, this is as good as it gets. It really, really doesn’t get better or easier than this. This sucks. This is illogical. This is painful.

And yet, here were are.

That right there, is the key. You’ve probably figured this next bit out, but sometimes it’s good to be reminded of why we do what we do.

We write because…we must!

We write, sometimes because we want to. But mostly, we write because the alternative – to not write – would… well, it might not destroy us, but it would come pretty close. But that’s the last thing we want to admit, to the world or even to ourselves. But we write because we must, and that is a very, very powerful thing.

They say history is made by those who show up, and you have shown up, you’ve decided to write, to do this, even though there may be many reasons not to. You have made a choice, a decision. You’ve signed up for #NaNoWriMo. Recognize that, acknowledge it and use it to empower yourself.

There may be days when you don’t make your word count, there may be days when you think of giving up. On those days, remember that fiery feeling in your belly that brought you here, even though it seemed to be the craziest place to be. The good news (finally), is that the problems don’t go away, but neither does the euphoria, the sheer thrill, joy, ecstasy – whatever it is you get – of writing.

You are here. From this point on, it doesn’t matter what you produce, how much you produce, whether it’s the best literature ever or a rocking-good action thriller or anything really. You are here. You’re a writer.

Have a great #NaNoWriMo and may the muse always be with you!

Warm wishes,
Krishna Udayasankar

(All pics kind courtesy: Krishna Udayasankar)

 

ABOUT KRISHNA UDAYASANKAR:

Krishna Udayasankar

Krishna Udayasankar’s bestselling debut series of mytho-historical novels, The Aryavarta Chronicles (Govinda, Kaurava and Kurukshetra; Hachette 2012, 2013, 2014) have received critical acclaim. She is also the author of Three, a novel based on the myths and legends surrounding the founding of Singapore; Objects of Affection, a full-length collection of poetry (Math Paper Press, 2013); an editor of Body Boundaries: The Etiquette Anthology of Women’s Writing (The Literary Centre, 2013). Her latest novel is Immortal – a contemporary fantasy-adventure novel that is “part American Gods, part Indiana Jones.” She is also the current Writer-in-Residence at Fort Canning National Park, Singapore, and her short fiction and poetry also feature in many print and online anthologies.

Krishna holds an undergraduate degree in law and a PhD in strategic management. She lives in Singapore with her family, which includes three bookish canine-children, Boozo, Zana and Maya, who are sometimes to be found at her laptop, trying to make her writing better.

Grab your copy of Govinda, Kaurava and Kurukshetra, here, here, and here respectively.
Immortal is available here.

A Celebration of Creative Writing: A literary collab of Readomania and Wrimo India

At 3pm, on Monday, the 12th of September, Kunzum Travel Cafe in HKV, New Delhi saw an eager-beaver crowd of wrimos and non-wrimos throng it for a workshop on creative writing, “A Celebration of Creative Writing” jointly powered by Readomania and Wrimo India.

This two hour session was an interaction with these three well-known writers:

3-authors

The session opened with an introductory welcome by Dipankar Mukherjee, followed by an introduction of the three authors and a brief about what to expect from the two-hour session.

The authors spoke about their journey of writing their first novel – the initial idea of the story, their process of writing, the struggle to get published and also the challenges they faced during and after their first book. It was a lively and interactive session with the audience asking questions and authors sharing their experiences, creative writing tips and advice.

The first speaker was Sriram Subramanian, author of Rain, who told us how he got into writing.

sriram

“I wanted to write something that would blow up everyone’s socks off,” he began, explaining his high ambitions for the book and his style of writing.

He shared the journey of his first novel which still remains incomplete and unpublished. His second novel, Rain, is the story of a man who is seemingly an atheist and questions the existence of God.

 

Sriram shared the thought process behind Rain and how the final draft came into being. He told the audience that Rain was based on one theme – the debate between reason and faith and had a story or arc of a characters that wasn’t a blind believer in God to begin with and whose experiences makes him question his faith even more. The book is about how the protagonist deals with it.

Sriram admitted there were two movies, Waqt and OMG!, with the similar theme of a man’s disbelief in God; the impact of natural calamities on his livelihood, and the extent of man’s limitations against such acts. He then went on to explain how his novel Rain is different from both movies.

Sriram pointed out the following differences –
  1. There is no act of force majeure in this novel.
  2. The moment of ruin is not early on in the story but halfway through the novel.
  3. It is a series of events and not one single life-altering moment as it was in Waqt and/OMG!
  4. The ending is different, too. The protagonist is experienced and wiser and yet still holds his beliefs.

The floor was thrown open to audience questions.

Question: “How much is autobiographical?”

Sriram: First novel almost all is autobiographical, for most writers, said Sriram. Second one that I writing now still has shades of me in it. But the third one is completely different.

Question: “How much of your character remains an atheist?”

Sriram: He remains a sceptic, but based on logic and rationality rather than blind disregard.

Question: “How many rounds of edit do you go through before you think it’s ready/complete?”

Sriram: There were several. Even at self-editing stage, I did a round of developmental editing followed by line editing. Then again two round of spell check and a final read through, so four rounds before I sent it.

Radhika Tabrez, author of ‘In Light of Darkness’ then took stage and narrated her journey of her first novel.

While wielding audience questions, Radhika advised the participants to figure out that one story that they feel most strongly about and cannot manage without telling it to the world.

rads

“Be dispassionate about your own work, and while it’s difficult initially, with time it gets easier. “

She advised that if during the process of self-editing, you give thought to what’s important at the core, you will find the irrelevant parts jump at you automatically for them to be removed. 

Manjula Lal, author of ‘ThePresswallah’s Journey’ who has also read both the books shared her feedback, after which she spoke about her own book.

She also narrated her experiences of working in newspapers, publishing houses and her journey as an author. She told the participants how she tries to be different as an author than what she is as a person. This meant that even though her novel is based on her experiences it may not necessarily be a reflection of the real her. This revelation was interesting for the newbie writers who for the first time realized it was possible to keep the two entities (of the person and the author) separate.

manjula

On her own journey as a novelist, she shared her frustrations, challenges and her journey of rejections for two years before Readomania expressed interest in her novel.

Her simplistic approach came to the fore when she said that a good book is one where you don’t struggle to reach the end.

That was not just surprisingly easy to imbibe but also encouraging for the participants as they realized they could well manage writing such a book.

What made the discussion even more interesting was that the Ms. SutapaBasu, editor of ‘ThePresswallah’s Journey’, herself a bestselling author with her novel ‘Dangle’, was amongst us and shared her insights and advice.

Some important take-aways for the participants –

Character driven/plot driven

Plot-driven is one where the story has an entire arc where the story unfolds, has a conflict that resolves and has an end. It is narration of an adventure where the protagonist may encounter and overcome challenges but the experiences do not change his as such. The reader’s interest is held together by ‘what’s next?’.

Character-driven is one where the story is about a protagonist’s journey, so they need to be strong enough to carry the story on their shoulders. It is a quest where the person beings with a different set of beliefs and principles, and by the end of the novel is a different person.

 

Creative Writing
POV

Point of view from the first person narrative or third person limited and third person omniscient.

How to avoid head hopping? Change in POV can be done across scenes or better still, across chapters (but never within the same scene or it amounts to head hopping).

Characterization

develop the person as if it’s a real person – give them quirks, likes, dislikes, give interesting traits, all along the way (right from the beginning).

Don’t let them become predictable.

Action

events should unfold interesting action. Don’t let scene not have anything happening in it.

Relatability – Seek reactions from people who are in the same profession as your characters.
Quality of Writing
  • Do not write as you would speak. Spoken English is very different from written English.
  • Let your writing sit for some time before you read/edit/approach it again.
  • Go through multiple rounds of self-editing, with a three-month gap between each edit, before sending it to a publisher.
  • Avoid Indian English. There is a huge difference in the usage of the words ‘marriage’ and ‘wedding’.
  • Introduce variation in length of sentences.
  • To be a better writer, read.
  • To improve upon a piece of writing that you think is not impactful enough, try reading it aloud.
Readability – 

Ask yourself, “what is in there for the reader? What is in there that prompts the reader to question or ponder, without it being preachy?”

(How to avoid) Plagiarism

Be extremely well read to be aware of what’s been done/written before. And after that try and narrate everything in your own voice. The settings, characterizations, treatment/resolution of a crisis would give an element of originality to your story, even if it’s been done before.

On taking Back -ups

Email your writing to yourself.

The engrossing session shot well past its time of two hours and had to be cut short with the organizers deciding to do away with the creative writing exercises due to lack of time. It concluded with a joint note of thanks from Readomania and Wrimo India. Participants were requested to share their feedback on the event page, along with a reminder to keep an eye out for more such events.

Overall, it was a great learning experience for all those present.

This report is written by Piyusha Vir, who is the NaNoWriMo co-ML for Delhi Region.

piyusha

Piyusha is a sometime sane reader, part-time crazy writer and full-time wacky alien. You can either find her on her blog Wandering Soul – writing insane articles that defy all logic; or in the kitchen trying to salvage the burnt chicken that her father will turn up his nose at. She, in partnership with a writer friend, has also recently started a writing-related venture – Beyond Coffee and Words.

 

Readomania is an Indian-based publishing house, making a splash in the Indian publishing industry with its different and interesting collection of offerings like Defiant Dreams, Dangle, Cabbing All the Way.

New writers and aspiring authors can publish their short stories, poems, and write-ups for readers and feedback on their online platform – readomania.com 

Wrimo India is the India chapter of the non-profit organization – NaNoWriMo. It was founded by NaNoWriMo ML for India region, Sonia Rao, as a safe space for wrimos to hone their writing craft through sharing their writings and giving and receiving feedback. We conduct write-in sessions, talks and meet-ups, to encourage aspiring novelists and NaNoWriMo participants to attempt writing their own novels. Know more about NaNoWriMo by visiting their website- nanowrimo.org.

Connect with Wrimo India on Facebook -https://www.facebook.com/NaNoWriMo.India/

(Pics courtesy Readomania and Piyusha Vir).

Wrimo India Meetup 2016 – Delhi takes the lead

A report on the first Wrimo India meetup of 2016 which was held in Delhi this evening,  by Wrimo Piyusha Purnima Vir.

The first Wrimo India meet of the year was held in Delhi, this evening. It was a fun event with seasoned and newbie writers and even non-writers joining us for a fun-filled chat about writing, expression, stories and experiences that shape our lives.

Delhi meetup5

Rain and a lack of space may have resulted in a change of plans from the original meeting place at India Habitat Centre but we quickly figured out an alternative and upon selecting a beautiful green spot in a shaded area, squatted on the ground in front of the Information Centre and got talking. In fact, when it started pouring again, we all huddled under umbrellas and continued talking, attracting amused looks from curious spectators.

The Craft of Writing

The discussion started with veteran  Wrimo, Arjun S Menon, sharing some light on NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo for the benefit of those who were not aware of them.

Delhi meetup6.jpg

We then got talking about the craft of writing and the processes and methods each of us use. The meanings of being a plotter and pantser and the benefits of each were discussed; with some participants sharing which method they preferred.

We rued the absence of a mind-reading app that could convert thoughts to words and spoke about speech to writing apps and handwriting reading apps. That took the discussion in the direction of a very interesting topic – which was a more effective and creative way to write, by hand or by typing.

Telling Stories and Making Friends

Opinions were shared and personal preferences talked about. The conclusion was that though writing by hand has its own charm, typing is more convenient and widely used. One of the brilliant suggestions, which found concurrence with all others, was put forward by Aashi. According to her, those who wrote by hand could bribe their siblings into transcribing their written notes or manuscript to computer.

Delhi meetup2

Our favourite topic of discussion was each of those present sharing their best and worst stories – some of the incidents were hilarious, while others thought-provoking.

Madhulika told us about a story she wrote on the twin atomic bombings while Esha shared how she wrote a horror story which she herself hated.

Prayank shared how he would meet up with friends and then write stories about them. They would read it on his blog later and hound him into telling them who it was based on. We all collectively gave him permission to make us characters in all his stories while threatening him to make sure we were all portrayed as heroes.

We were privileged to have been joined by a professional dancer who drew some wonderful comparisons between writing and dancing as a form of expression.

Let’s Meet Again

It was a great way for strangers to catch up over a common love for writing, and become new found friends with numbers being quickly exchange and Facebook friend requests sent hurriedly.

Delhi meetup

We were all so benefitted by this meet that all have agreed to meet again next week, this time for a writing session. The next meetup is planned for Saturday, 20th August, 2016. Please follow this blog or join the Wrimo India group and ‘like’ the Wrimo India page on Facebook to get advance information and further details about the meetup.

Some of us stayed back to enjoy the ‘coffee’ part of the meet-up, while others opted to stroll in the rain and headed to another event – the book launch of ‘In Light of Darkness’ by Radhika Maira Tabrez.

 

Piyusha is a sometime sane reader, part-time crazy writer and full time wacky alien. She blogs at https://wanderingsoulwriter.com/ She has successfully completed two Camp NaNoWriMos and is eagerly awaiting November.

ZERO HOUR WITH VAISHALI MATHUR (Executive Editor, PRH India) – Some insights, as collated by Ritesh Kala

During October, Sonia Rao, the NaNoWriMo ML for All India, organised a number of interviews and workshops in Wrimo India to get participants geared up for November. As part of this series, Ms. Vaishali Mathur, who is the Executive Editor at one of the most important publishing houses in India – Penguin Random House India – joined us for an online interview. She was amazingly patient with everyone, and took the time to answer every single question posed.

There were many insights, some which surprised me, and some which I have always known. An interesting point for me was that brilliant writing trumps almost all other considerations.

The following are the key takeaways from the interview:

  1. No market for short stories / novellas. Similarly, there is a very small market for science fiction. Traditional fantasy may be difficult to get published, as it would be compared to the books coming in from international authors.
  2. Ebook and paperback rights go hand in hand. Publishers will not do paperback only deals.
  3. Getting a literary agent can be important even though publishers accept manuscripts directly. It was clearly stated that manuscripts coming in from agents get read and considered first.
  4. Publishers do not reject a book outright. Also, how an author has been published earlier does not impact his chances now. What they do look for, is the author’s network and marketing capabilities.
  5. Publishing excerpts or even books on online platforms like wattpad or even social media are not held against a book. However, publishers will then consider how these postings have been received.
  6. Publishers are open to submissions from international self-published authors. This could be one way for authors to enter India, if they are willing to part away with India ebook rights.
  7. Publishers expect the author to shoulder the burden of marketing. This is especially true for first time authors. The author’s platform is something which can be the difference between acceptance and rejection of a manuscript for a debut author.
  8. A quick summary on things to keep in mind when approaching publishers:
    • For an editor to become interested in a proposal, it should ideally be short and crisp, with 3-5 sample chapters and a well written author bio. An author should look at getting an editor for the chapters being submitted, at the very least.
    • Poorly written proposals and proposals that begin with author’s story of desperation turn editors off and they thus have a higher chance of being rejected.
    • Also, a manuscript which is way too long for its genre will have a much lower chance of being accepted.
    • Besides this, it is fine to send the proposal to multiple publishers at the same time, but it is a good practice to mention that this has been done. Also, it is better to mention if the book is part of the series, and how many books there would be in the series.
    • The top three things to keep in mind when approaching a publisher are: You are competing with the best in the world, so writing has to be absolutely brilliant. Then pushing the book right from the word go and lastly, enough marketing.
    • Above all, the author should be sincere and should have complete belief in his work.

The above points resolved a lot of grey areas for aspiring authors. While the general guidelines as mentioned above hold true most times, I do believe a few things would change from publisher to publisher.

About Ritesh Kala:

ritesh_3

Ritesh is the founding partner of Read Out Loud Publishing LLP, a company started with the objective of bringing great literature to India. Read Out Loud is a Book Marketing and Book Distribution Company which aids authors to bring their books to book stores and online sales platforms in India. Read Out Loud also produces audio books.

You can connect with him on LinkedIn
Know more about Read Out Loud HERE.

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.

 

HOW TO GET OVER THE NIGHTMARE OF MID-NOVEMBER – A Peptalk by Aastha Atray Banan

For me, the thought of writing is fascinating. But the actual exercise a nightmare. I find it very hard to sit down, collect my thoughts and then just go at it. But when I do, I usually don’t think much about it, but write as it comes to me. I don’t make plans, or strategize what which character is going to say or do. I just write as it happens in my head, in that moment.

Long periods of writing nothing have taught me that sometimes, cliché as it sounds, reading is the only way to get inspired. I read when I have nothing to write about, or can’t get myself to articulate what I am thinking or feeling. But I don’t just read anything. I re-read. I re-read books I have loved along the way, books that made me want to be a writer. I read books that comfort me, either with their stories of lovers and families, or with lines and passages that are so beautiful that I am struck by what wonderful people writers are and how much the world needs them to make sure we never lose that loving feeling.

And so I often find myself reading Jane Eyre, that dysfunctional, melancholic tale of a girl who never just gets a break, even when she falls in love. It may be a sad love story, but it is also one that says, that love triumphs everything. I also read Rebecca, which is so beautiful in its sadness it makes my heart stop. It deals with that familiar emotion – the feeling that we can never match up with a person our lover once loved.

I also re-read Agatha Christie’s classic and brilliant book And Then There Were None every time I want to be reminded of the fact that writers are geniuses. They can do anything in their books! I also read any of Haruki Murakami’s books, just to know that a writer has the capability of changing lives by just a sentence.

Once I am inspired by these great writers, it’s easy to get back to writing. I realize that I am doing something that very few people get to do – put my thoughts and feelings on paper. And if I touch somebody’s life by doing that, well, then it’s the cherry on top pf the cake. Writing is hard, but it’s also cathartic, and when you write, you can be anyone, and do anything. So, writers, don’t give up. Your book could speak to someone miles away from you. Write for them.

I know right now, you must be feeling tense and nervous, and even overworked. It’s tough to stick to deadline and word limits. Nobody knows that better than me, a journalist who has daily deadlines. But get rid of the self doubt and just keep your focus where it’s needed most: on the writing. Pick a time in the day where you have nothing else to do, be it early morning or late at night. And just start writing, whatever may flow from your fingers. You can revisit it later and edit. Know that, at the end of it all, you will be proud that you wrote so much. And it will give you the push needed for the next project.

Best of luck.

About Aastha Atray Banan:

Aastha

Presently an assistant editor with Sunday Midday

Twitter: @aastha82

Instagram: @aasthabanan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aastha.atray

Books:
Games Girls Play (RUPA Publications)
His Monsoon Bride (Mills &Boon)

LOLLYGAGGING AND THE ART OF ZOOMING THROUGH NANOWRIMO – A peptalk by Krishna Shastri Devalupalli

Dear Na-No-Wri-Movers & Shakers,

If things have gone according to plan, you are all in front of your keyboards or touch-screen devices searching for that elusive first word of your high-speed novel.

Or, in front of typewriters or blank paper with fountain pen in hand, if you’re old fashioned.

Or, staring at the blank wall of your cave with a sharpened stone in your hands, if you’ve been transported to the Palaeolithic age via a time-machine made by S S Rajamouli’s art department.

Either way, you have 50,000 words to go and 30 days to do it.

That makes it 1666.66 words per day. That’s silly, isn’t it? What’s .66 of a word? Seriously.

I would’ve made it 25 days. A round 2,000 words per day. I tell you.

Be that as it may, here are a bunch of tips that’ll get you zooming through this like a jackrabbit on whatever it was that Lance Armstrong was having.

  1. Brag
    Get on FB/Twitter/Monkey Mail or whatever else your social media platform is and tell everyone you wrote 15, 653 words on the first day. Half the competition will drop out. Even if you don’t complete your assignment, who cares, you’ve got 3698 ‘like’s. I’d kill for that.
  2. Dress Right
    You’ve got the right duds on, half the battle won, dude. If you’re writing a period romance, dress in appropriate gear. Breast plate, thongs (for the feet, silly), codpiece, etc. Have a horse on standby. Personally, whichever genre I’m writing in, I wear an old Bombay Dyeing towel and an angavastram tied around my head like a turban. The former reminds me of Lisa Ray’s early ’90s ads and the latter keeps my head from exploding. Cool, right?
  3. Retell
    This is India, dudes – the land of a million copyright-free stories – where forty-year-olds go to sleep, nursing a warm glass of spiked milk, only when their wives tell them the same stories their grandmas did. So don’t break your lit-fest-craving-bestseller-hallucinating heads thinking up new plots. All you have to do is retell, repackage, rename and win this shindig. Where is that old Amar Chitra Katha collection, I say?
  4. Lie
    Announce, with immediate effect, that you’ve got a big-time publishing deal. You’re not lying if you’ve seen it clearly – even under the influence of over-the-counter hallucinogens. The thatastu devatas, prone to floating about without a care for no-fly-zones, might just say ‘So be it.’ Which is basically their job description. If that doesn’t happen, at least you’ve temporarily paralyzed the competition.
  5. Use Big Words
    If you’re running out of plot twists, do what I do. String up big words together in lyrical sentences. So what if they’re meaningless. Half the award-winning books are, too. For example, here’s a beauty I’ve used in several permutations and combinations:

The foofaraw of the hortatory was perspicacious. But did I prognosticate? Nay, you, pettifogger – poltroon that, you can’t lollygag me with your scofflaw!!

It is imperative to use several exclamation marks, semi-colons and hashtags.

All the best, my friends. More later.

About Krishna Shastri Devulapalli:

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is an illustrator, cartoonist, book designer, columnist and writer. He has written two novels, Ice Boys in Bell-bottoms and Jump Cut, and a play, Dear Anita.

How To Be A Literary Sensation: A Quick Guide to Exploiting Friends, Family & Facebook for Financial Gain his first work of non-fiction will be out in Nov 2015.

He is currently designing a car that can run purely on the gas generated at literary festivals.