Tag Archives: Peptalk 2016

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

 

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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.