Tag Archives: writing

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.

A WORD FROM THE WRIMOS:

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).

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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!

Screams…

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.

I CAN DO IT. I WILL DO IT.

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

 There is no month like November to write a novel.

NONE.

Period.

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! THAT’S WHAT!

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.

2018.

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.

DO NOT WAIT.

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.

DON’T GIVE UP.

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
 

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.

 

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

Dear NaNoWriMo Author,

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

Breathe.

This is normal. We have all been there.

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

Breathe some more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep writing.

In solidarity,

Kiran Manral

 

About Kiran Manral:

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

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

BITING THE BULLET – ATTEMPTING FICTION: A NaNo Experience by Madhuri Maitra

My novel Equinox, is a NaNoWriMo baby, product of my diffidence and perseverance through the month of November 2013. I had decided to bite the bullet- attempt fiction, after my books of poetry.

I made preparations. My favorite comfy clothes were laundered and ready to wear. I threw in a quick beauty treatment a day or two before so I wouldn’t obsess over that stray hair or overgrown nail. I stocked up on dry fruit, my healthy nibbles; several flavored teas, too. Bought grocery for the month (hubby promised to take care of weekly veggies – buying and sometimes cooking them as well). He was also advised to forget that I existed except when I wanted to sound out my ideas – he was happy, or relieved , and always interested in the fate of my characters.

How I loved November 2013 – an exact year ago! I would wake up at 5am, make a tankard of coffee and hit the keyboard, get in a couple of hours of writing. I had planned my characters and I distributed the 50000 words among them. I had plotted the events on a scrap of paper. Both word distribution and plot eventually went askew, but when I woke up each morning, I knew what I had to write about that day. It was usually ready in my head, so I only had to let it spill on the screen.

Around 7 I took a break to do the daily chores, and sat down again by 9 or 9:30am. I would work again until lunch, a quick nap and back again.

I am a day person – my work day ends around 6 or 6:30pm. On an especially inspired day, I would work until 8, but never later. The research happened sometimes, concurrently with the writing, on an as- needed basis.

In 15 days or so, I had crossed 40,000 words, went out of town for a wedding.

Upon my return, the last10,000 words were not the piece of cake I had expected. While I was able to pick up my routine, I had not thought the story through and had to really chew my pen for an interesting ending.

Next time, while I shall reprise the dry fruits, the fave comfy clothes and the teas and the coffee (and occasional brandy), my priority will be to think through several alternate plots even before I begin.

Good luck to all those writing this year!

 

About Madhuri Maitra:

Madhuri Maitra is a teacher, a writer and a film enthusiast. She has written Haiku and other Micropoetry, an offering of about ninety short poems on nature, love and God. Her maiden novel Equinox (buy it here or here) is a slice-of-life that takes you all around India.

She teaches Creative Writing and Film Appreciation at Symbiosis International University; writes poetry, fiction and non-fiction; and devotedly watches as many celluloid offerings as her schedule allows.

She conducts Life Skills workshops under the umbrella of Dignity Foundation, an NGO for senior citizens. She also conducts training sessions in English and Soft Skills.

Currently, she is planning her travelogue and she continues to savor the pure joy of reading, writing, praying and living.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the only way to let go? Fall.

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

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

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

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

XX

Aarti V Raman aka Writer Gal


BIO:

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

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

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

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

 

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

Hi WriMos!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck!

 

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

The Next Step – by Sharath Komarraju

Hi Wrimos,

So NanoWriMo has come and gone. I will first speak to those of you who did not finish the target number of words, because there will be more of you. If you’re feeling disheartened, don’t. However many words you finished this month, repeat the process for as many months as necessary to finish the novel. For example, if you’ve done 10,000 words, all you need to do is repeat whatever you have done this November over the next four months and you will be done. A novel in four months is better than no novel at all.

To those of you that have finished and have received their ‘winner’ certificates, here’s a bit of a bitter pill: most of you will not be able to publish your books as they are. If you aspire to publication – and you should – then your rounds of proofreading, reviewing, editing and rewriting begin now. Since you already know the merits of a self-imposed deadline, you will set yourself a date and time by which you need to finish these things and make your manuscript ready. After that you send it out.

Another question you must ask yourself is whether you really need NaNoWriMo now. After all, there are eleven other months too which are exactly like it. So if you were able to write a first draft in November, what’s stopping you from writing another first draft in January? And March and May and July? Once you send out your manuscript to publishing houses you will find a lot of free time on your hands. What will you do with it? I suggest you write – and finish – another novel.

NaNoWriMo is great, but it’s also manufactured reality. Nowhere in the real world do you become a ‘winner’ by just finishing a task. Now that you’ve finished writing a book ‘in the lab’, as it were, see if you can write one – and many more – out on the field.

Congratulations to all of you. You have taken the first step to being a published novelist.

Bio:

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

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