Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

Still wondering why NaNoWriMo?

Did Chris Baty (founder of NaNoWriMo) even imagine in 1999 how BIG AND IMPORTANT it would become for writers so many years down the line? If you’ve done NaNo you already know the feeling. But if you haven’t and always wondered what the hullabaloo was all about, we’ve got some wrimos to tell us why they took part in the world’s foremost and most fun novelling activity last year.


Name: Sunita Saldhana

FB name: Sunita Rodrigues Saldhana

NaNo Id : Sunita Saldhana

Years NaNoWriMo done/won: 2016, 2017

I always thought writing a novel meant just writing. I mean what does writing a novel teach you? You are spilling out your thoughts and guts and ideas on to paper. The learning happens before writing the novel, right?

Or so I thought. Was I mistaken!

I learnt to ignore unwashed dishes and unmapped floors.  I found friends and inspiration in the sprints and cheered every time someone reached the finishing line.

I learnt that I like to take my time typing out my story as it gives me a chance to get to know my characters a little better.

And the next time I am going to ask my characters to sign a contract that they won’t change direction in the middle of the story.

In spite of an unexpectedly heavy work load and illness, I managed 20000 odd words and 7 k out of those on the last day itself.

They say, the journey is much more enjoyable than achieving the goal and for me, this was absolutely true.

I am happy. I spoke to my characters, I fought with them, I let them run away before I got them back again. Yes, I have the makings of a good story.

But more than that, I enjoyed the camaraderie in the Wrimo India group. I have learnt a lot from them and they are people I am going to treasure all my life!


Name: Amishi Bhatha (same ID for FB and NaNo)

Years NaNoWriMo done/won: 2017

This was not only my first time at NaNoWriMo, but also my first attempt at writing a novel. Though writing a novel had always been a dream, so far I’d written only short stories and blogs. Yes, I completed my 50000 words, that too in just 15 days, and yes, I did churn out the first draft of my novel (an editor’s nightmare it is), but the best part of this month was the warm and welcoming Wrimo India community that I discovered. Writing with others during the organised sprints, with the very encouraging MLs and the fellow writers, made this whole thing achievable for me. I am thankful for the support extended by the whole community, the way we held each other up when we were down and gave the necessary push when required. This past month has been a fantastic month, where I tapped into my inner strength, achieved something that I had so far thought unattainable and found strength in working with a team.


Name: Srivalli Rekha (same ID for FB and NaNo)

Years NaNoWriMo done/won: 2017

This is my first NaNoWriMo ever I feel overwhelmed in not just participating, but successfully completing it as well. This was also my first attempt at writing historic fantasy and I got around 57k words in total (my highest ever!). Thank you, my friends in Writers Workout group and my MLs in WriMo India group who constantly encouraged me and others to keep writing no matter what. A simply thank you isn’t enough, but it is sincere and comes straight from my heart, so you’ll have to made do with it.


Name – Ankita Bhatia Dhawan

FB name – Ankita LPB / LifestyleProBlog

Nano Id – anks

Years NaNoWriMo done/won: 2015, 2016, 2017

I did 32k words this year and I consider it a huge achievement. Why? because, I was not planning anticipating at all. After last year’s experience. However, On 1st November, I signed up and began it – all because of the infectious energy of one group – WriMo India 🙂 The sweetest, most encouraging bunch of people on the internet can be found here. To know my experience from last year, head over to – http://lifestyleproblog.me/5-lessons-learnt-nanowrimo/


If the word-fairy has waved her magic wand over you, hop over to nanowrimo[dot]org and sign up. And if you’re looking for supportive company while writing, ask to be added to the Wrimo India group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/430678833652316/ . Make sure you answer the questions (easy-peasy ones, so no excuses if you’re a writer).


Why the last 4 days matter – A peptalk by Radhika Meganathan

If you think it’s already over, it’s not! Radhika Meganathan, a NaNoWriMo veteran and the winner of the PILF Award for her NaNo novel tells us why!

Psst…. Can I tell you a secret?

Okay, here it goes – I have won at NaNoWriMo. Not a conventional win, ever.

Yep. Even in 2014, when I completed 50000 words, it was not from the same novel. It was half of The Gurukul Chronicles (which won the PILF award in 2016) and a chap book I eventually sold to a book packager.

Granted, it’s not easy, writing all those words in 30 days. It’s not impossible, but yeah, let’s call a spade a spade, it’s not a walk in the park either. I know many folks who give up in the middle. Heck, I was one of them for many years. You start with the best intentions, you even have a decent number of chapters written and bam! life gets in between you and your word count. Suddenly it is the last week of Nano November and that target goal seems insurmountable.

But you know what is the best part about this fag end of the challenge? No? Well, let me tell you – it’s being STRESS FREE!

No pressure! No fear! No expectations. You know exactly where you are in your novel.

Either you are close to the end or nowhere near the end. You just have two choices now.

Sprint. Or, Accumulate.

I see you scratching your head. Let me explain better.

Sprint when you are just a few thousand words to your target. Come on, you can DO IT!

Accumulate your words, like a grade A hoarder with OCD.

Here is the truth – you tried. You were a part of this community. There is NO judging here. You are closer to the end of your novel now, than 30 days ago. NaNoWriMo has actually helped you in getting some word count that otherwise would have taken you several months (or an eternity). So… why don’t you enjoy it further? Keep writing for the next 4 days, and keep writing well into the next month?

Whether you sprint or accumulate, here’s what you can do for the next four days.

  1. Attend the sprint marathons on Wrimo India FB page and on the Asia::India region page on NaNoWriMo. Seriously, do that. You have a lot of friends in this last bit of the journey, so go guns blazing.
  2. We all know it’s impossible to predict the near future, but what about the next 4 days? If there is nothing life-altering happening at work (or home), consider taking a day – or two or four – off, just you and your manuscript. Come on, do it. Play skivvy, for your art. For your writing. The God of Creativity will approve.
  3. The above suggestions not possible? No problem, how about waking up two hours early just for the next 4 days, to write?
  4. Nothing works? Then you have to make use of whatever time you have. This means… your notepad or laptop wherever you go, whether it is the temple, the clinic, your workspace. I’d add the loo, too, if you really are that busy.
  5. As always take back up of your work every time you do a sprint or a writing session! The simplest way, one that I prefer, is to G-mail my chapters to myself.

I repeat, whether you sprint or accumulate, every word you write now is a word closer to The End, so do not miss these last four days of NaNoWriMo– all the very best!

About Radhika:


Radhika Meganathan is a Chennai-based author who is addicted to wanderlust, keto diet and cat videos. Her debut novel THE GURUKUL CHRONICLES, partially finished during Nanowrimo 2014, won the Pune Literature Festival Award 2016 and is available for purchase at https://www.amazon.in/Gurukul-Chronicles-SMARA/dp/B074N6HW1G/. She can be contacted at www.radhikameganathan.in

NAp NO! WRIte MOre! – A peptalk by Piorre Hart

When your Inned tells you to NAp, you must not! Piorre Hart, veteran Wrimo and author of PILF Award-winning NaNo Novel, tells us why.

Over to Piorre Hart, then:

So it is November again.

Pardon me, it is not just November, it is the second week of November.

What! Already? So soon?
(Don’t mind that voice… it belongs to Inned, my inner editor.)

So, well, yes… already! And soon enough, it’ll be the last day of November too!


Well! That’s melodrama-queen for you!

4500 Indians (that’s you… and yes, me) have registered their novels at the NaNoWriMo website for the year 2017!

Among these, there are a few who are the unchallenged official word-slayers of this country — those who’ve already reached the 50K mark in the first three days.
Then there are those who have religiously written the prescribed 1667 words every single day and are unerringly on track. Let’s salute them— do them a small namaskaar and proceed…
To the others–
Like me–
Those who have barely started.

So this write-up is, in effect, a shout-out to myself.


Was that loud enough? (Wonder if Inned even heard it.)

 There is no month like November to write a novel.



I say this with… (clears throat)… some experience.

My only published novel is a NaNo novel.
(Don’t believe me? Well, check the acknowledgements!)
And that’s not all!
It was written when my younger child was barely seventeen days old!
(Don’t believe me? Well, check his birth certificate!)

Yippee! Feels so good to be published!
(Inned is justified here: she got a chance to do a big job with the final editing, after all…)

Okay, yippee… So? Now what?

Well… Now… What? She blinks her eyes.


Write like there is no tomorrow! Write like this November has not 30 but only 25 days.

Err… well, just nineteen left now, if you please!

If you prefer to heed Inned and not me, let me tell you that you can relax.
Because, actually, there are 384 days remaining.

Until November 30.


You can afford to wait.

But, pray! Give me a chance! Inned, though she is thin-lipped and ruthless; she is pretty and attractive and prim and stylish and wears flowery accessories and all, but— let that NOT allow her to convince you.

Permit me to convince you… Please.


Because your 2017 novel must be put on paper (or on screen… yeah! Whatever!) NOW!

The WORLD needs your novel.
(Okay…yeah—that was stolen from NaNo’s logo!)

India (which constitutes a sixth of that world) needs your novel even more!
(That was original!)

Each one of us 4500 participants from India owe it—
To our region
To our country
To our MLs
To our online community—

Yes, even to our most loyal friend—our laptops…

And if Inned would allow me to say— to ourselves, actually!

We owe it also to that superb awe-inspiring-always-motivating-never-say-never-numero-graphical-software, the word-count widget!

The widget must be re-christened Harry. Because, it is a magical thing… like a wizard.

But the ‘Potter’ is the Wrimo community!

The community is the cult, the family. We writers belong there.

I’ve been hauled out from almost-definite doom— from the claws of defeat… I have been cheered and prodded during the last hour of the last day of a cold November evening by this very community— which is capable of transforming into a single gigantic fire-breathing dragon which roars at you… until you cross that 50K mark!

If you still think you can’t get yourself to write unless you are reprimanded?

Try this—

Declare it to the group.

There will always be someone willing to scold you.

Or to join you in a sprint.

 All you have to do is one little thing.


Leave the rest to NaNoWriMo.

NAp NO! WRIte MOre!


About Piorre Hart:

piorre 2

Piorre Hart is the author of the PILF prize-winning mystery novel “Where There’s a Will…” which was conceived during NaNoWriMo 2013. She is a surgeon by profession, a writer by heart and a bird in spirit. She thrives on books, on chai, on fictionalising philosophy and philosophising fiction.
She may be reached at: piorrehart@gmail.com or https://facebook.com/piorre.hart or https://twitter.com/satyaagraha or WTAW’s FB Page

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.





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

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:


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.


“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.


“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.


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

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).


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.


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 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.

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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 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?


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.


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.