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Fiction Writing Basics – 5-Day Online Workshop

Hello dear readers and writers, after some exhausting and mentally strenuous months, I am back with another workshop.

Fiction Writing Basics – 5-Day Workshop

Last year I conducted multiple batches of Fiction Writing Masterclass and Creative Writing workshops and the one thing I noticed in all of the students was that most of them did not know how to write and where to begin. Keeping this in mind, I wanted to start the workshops for this year with the most basic course, spread over 5 days so that the students can get enough time to not only learn, but to understand, implement and discuss each and every topic.

When I say students, I mean all the people who attend my class – right from 15-year old teenagers to 80-year old professors, I teach everyone whoever is interested in learning writing.

I implore you to read through my bio and profile to know exactly why you should learn from me, a self-taught award-winning fiction writer.

Details:

  • Date: 3rd May to 7th May 2021 (Mon to Fri)
  • Fees: Rs.1000 per person (10% off for old students)
  • Medium: Online
  • Platform: Google Meet
  • Study Material: Notes will be provided
  • Duration: 2 hours on all 5 days
  • Critique of exercises: Peer critique (all homework & exercises will be discussed in the class)

Topics:

DaysTopics
Day-1
3rd May’2021 – Monday
Introduction to Creative Writing & Fiction Writing
Genres in literature
Discovering The Writer Within
Ways of writing and the best way to write
WHAT to write – finding and developing ideas
Important Terminologies
Important Literary Devices
Writer’s Block
Writing Styles
Literary Themes
Day-2
4th May’2021 – Tuesday
Understanding Drafts
Importance of First Draft & Second Draft
Exposition, Narration & Point Of Views
Rules of Fiction
Elements Of Fiction Writing
Tools Of Fiction Writing
External conflict & POVs
Understanding Plotting a story
Elements of Plot Structure
Aristotle’s Basic Story Structure
3 Traditional Plot Structures
Day-3
5th May’2021- Wednesday
Characterisation basics
Types of different characters
Character as per their narrative function
Character arcs
Inner Conflicts
Character Motivation and Stakes
Character Backstory
Profiling the characters
Day-4
6th May’2021 – Thursday
My Story Framework
Show, don’t Tell technique
Dialogue writing basics
Understanding Pacing & Tension
Structuring a scene
Conflict, Resolution and Ending
Self-Revising and Self-Editing
Day-5
7th May’2021- Friday
How to improve your writing
Reading to improve your writing
Writing-Related Concepts
– Freewriting
– Morning Words or Pages
– Blank Page Syndrome
– Prompt-Writing
– Idea Journal
Biggest Insecurities faced by Writers & Security Blanket For Writers
Using MindMapping and Brainstorming to write

Extra Perks!

  • Detailed Study Material will be provided
  • 60 Writing Prompts for you to write and practice
  • 50-traits Caracter Profile Sheet
  • 50% off on my Online Writing Consultation Service (for one hour consultation)
  • 20% off on Manuscript Critique Service (1 critique)
  • 1 month access to my Blog’s Monthly Subscription Service. To read more about this, please visit my website: http://www.crazycatwriter.com

Registration & Payment:

The fee for this course is Rs.1000 per person. There is a 10% discount for my old students – people who have previously attended at least one of my paid workshops.

Please register yourself for this workshop here: Registration.

Once you re registered for the course, you will receive the payment details and further details via email.

What Is Camp NaNo WriMoWriMo?

If you are writer who’s even mildly active on social media then you might have heard about the NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. But what about Camp NaNoWriMo?

Camp NaNoWriMo is a spinoff of NaNoWriMo which you can customise as per your own needs. In their own words:

Camp NaNoWriMo is your next, great writing adventure! Every April and July, take the chance to do something new with your writing… with all the flexibility that Camp offers. You can set your own writing goal (you’re not locked into 50,000 words!), and work on any writing project, novel or not.

Camp NaNo Website

It has no restrictions of word count so you can look at it as a flexible NaNoWriMo.
It is good for all writers, especially for those who are new to this format of writing because of the flexibility it offers. You can writer either 10K words of 100K – there is absolutely no word count limit (minimum or maximum.)

You can sign up for Camp Nano here and join the most awesome writing community on the planet. This would be my 8th year, and I will be working on the proof of Sinister Town for this April’s Camp Nano.

So what are you waiting for? Going Camp NaNoWriMo today and get started on your writing project. You can even join writing groups there or create one of your own.

Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo April 2021?

3 Classic Female Authors You Must Read

I have always felt that somehow when it comes to classic fiction, women do not receive as much hype as men do. So let’s explore some excellent classic female authors this month for women’s day.

3 Classic Female Authors You Must Read

The top 3 female authors for me when it comes to classics are:

  1. Anna Katherine Green (I recommend: Miss Butterworth Trilogy)
  2. Virginia Woolf (I recommend: A Room Of One’s Making)
  3. Mary Shelly (I recommend: The Haunting Of Hill House & The Lottery)

There are many other great female authors, but if you want to get started, these three are pretty excellent.

Happy Women’s Day!

Evolution Of The Influencer Trend

Digital marketing has seen steady growth in the past decade, but last year – 2020, was a significant game-changer for everyone in this industry as there was an extreme upsurge in the growth of the entire digital marketplace.

As consumption of digital content saw an all-time high, there was an equally exponential rise in the number of digital content creators too. Whether it was blogging website giants like WordPress, Medium and Square Space, micro-blogging sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, or visual platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, all the digital platforms saw a boom in the increase of content creators who were brimming with creative ideas.

The emergence of new content creators inevitably changed the digital marketing format to a great extent. Gone are the days when only bloggers were the main content creators for the entire social media marketplace, now we have a new generation of content creators who are equally as good as the old bloggers – Influencers. The influencer industry is composed of all kinds of content creators – Instagrammers or Bookstagrammers, TikTokers or BookTokers, Author Tokers and FashionTokers and YouTubers or BookTubers, AuthorTubers and FashionTubers to name a few.

Here’s a brilliant interview by author influencer Angela Maiers, who was announced as the Top 100 Social Media Influencer by HuffPost (2016) and IBM’s Top 20 Global Influencer (2017,) sharing insights into being an author and entrepreneur influencer.

The entire social media marketplace has changed and evolved into this amazing influencer industry. And in hopes of keeping up with the changing needs, almost all content creators have now started to lean towards being influencers instead of only being bloggers or only content creators. I personally feel that it is great to have one single umbrella term for everyone who creates different varieties of content for digital consumption because it is very liberating to not be categorised by any single platform one prefers to use.

Keeping in mind the current content needs and trends, I too have tweaked my own social media strategies and have started my own Bookstagram and AuthorTube channels. Where I only used to blog before, now I try to create a variety of content that is more diverse, creative and varied in terms of lengths and formats. I still write blog posts, but now I also create Reels, Shorts, Stories, Videos for IGTV and YouTube channel as well try to incorporate more and more of the current trends and hashtags into my content.

The expansion of the influencer industry has made me, on a personal level, realise that I am capable of way more creativity than I ever gave myself credit for. Where in the past I thought I was camera-shy, I am now creating videos on reading, writing and promotional videos for my brand as well as others. Therefore, I believe that this drastic evolution in social media trends has also led to the evolution of creativity in all content creators as well. And this is the aspect that makes being an influencer so lucrative to everyone, especially the millennials and the newer generations, though that does not mean that others don’t feel the same way. Influencer industry is open to one and all, no matter where they are from and no matter what they do or how old they are. If you have something to say or share, then, by all means, start creating content about the things that are most dear to you, including your career, passion and even hobbies.

What about you, are you tweaking your social media content strategy to stay ahead in this ever-changing game? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I’l love to hear all about it!

Image by expresswriters from Pixabay 

Plans For 2021

As the unpredictable 2020 is over and 2021 has arrived with the vaccine, I have decided to focus on the things that I really either want to learn or want to do for the entire year of 2021.

I wasn’t able to blog as much as I planned to in the last couple of years, but 2020 was a better blogging year for me and I plan to continue it through this new year too. So here is a list of things that I plan to do in 2021.

Plans for 2021

  1. Complete 3 levels in my piano class
  2. Complete and give exam for French A1
  3. Finish Sinister Town
  4. Finish Pandemic
  5. Finish the Writing Book
  6. Read 80 books
  7. Start WOW – Word Of The Week, the weekly feature which I discontinued a couple of years ago
  8. Start a monthly flash fiction challenge
  9. Vlog regularly
  10. Lose weight – as much as I can
  11. Strengthen my bones, especially my left leg
  12. Work on my back – lumbar spine, to strengthen it
  13. Go meat-free most of the week and eventually for an entire month
  14. Start submitting articles to a magazine or newspaper
  15. Participate in one writing competition
  16. Gain 1000 YouTube Subscribers
  17. Gain 5000 Instagram Followers
  18. Stay away from toxic people – already on it!
  19. Concentrate on and be more grateful for all the good things around me
  20. Try and not adopt another cat
  21. Spend more time with my fur-babies
  22. Learn candle making (probably through an online workshop)
  23. Start learning guitar
  24. Develop a habit to meditate for 10 minutes 2 times a day daily
  25. Write every day – a bit of a stretch, but we’ll see.

So there it is! I will be re-visiting this post in 6 months and we’ll see how it goes.

What are your plans for 2021?

Writing Vlog #2: Writing A Short Story From Scratch

In this video, I have tried to capture my process of writing a short story. If you are a new writer or are curious about how writing is done, then I am sure you’ll enjoy this video. I you are a veteran writer then I am sure you will be able to relate to it a lot. In any case, I hope you enjoy watching it.

I was contacted by one of my writing buddies for contributing in an anthology, so this story is for that. I have already submitted this story (on 28th December’20) and will update here once it will get published.

For this particular anthology, I had to write on a particular theme, therefore in order to brainstorm the concept for my story I have used Prompt Writing. If you don’t know what it is then read this: Prompt-Writing.

In this video, you’ll get a glimpse into how prompt writing is helpful in coming up with story ideas. Following are the days on which I shot this video and the corresponding time in the video for each writing session:

Writing A Short Story From Scratch For Submission

I hope you enjoy watching this video! Do share your thoughts on how you conceptualise a story that you have been given a theme for. I’d love to hear all about it!

7 Types Of Characters In Fiction

Characterisation is one of the most important elements of any story, long or short. If you don’t get the characterisation right, chances are that your story will fall flat on its face and no writer wants that to happen! So the best way to make sure that your story stays with the reader long before they’ve turned the last page is to nail the characterisation.

And for that I am here to share the 7 types of characters that can be created in fiction writing. There are the 7 types of character that you can, after reading this post, easily identify in the books you’ll read – even in the fantasy books with complex characterisation.

This post is a followup to the 2 hour Webinar I conducted on my YouTube channel. You can watch it here:

So let’s have a look at these 7 types of characters.

7 Types Of Characters In Fiction

1. Dynamic Characters

Dynamic Characters are the characters who go through a significant transformation in the story. As a result, they end up being different at the end of the story than how they began at the start of the story. The change or transformation they undergo can be for the better or worse.

Examples of Dynamic Characters: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Nevile Longbottom in Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Theon Greyjoy, Sansa Stark, Jamie Lannister and Samwell Tarly in A Song Of Ice And Fire series by George R. R. Martin. Bilbo and Frodo in Lord Of The Rings series by J. R.R. Tolkein

2. Static Characters

Static Characters are the characters who do not go through any significant transformation in the story. They remain more or less the same way at the end of the story as they were at the beginning. These are generally strong-headed characters.

Examples of Static Characters: Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Professor Dumbeldor and Hagrid in Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Arya Stark, Jon Snow, Danerys Targaryan and Cercie Lannister-Baratheon in A Song Of Ice And Fire series by George R. R. Martin. Gandalf in Lord Of The Rings series by J. R.R. Tolkein.

3. Round Characters

Round Characters are characters that are multi-layered, well-developed, possess multiple intricate personality traits and are insanely interesting. They have complex personalities and are mostly reader’s favourites. They help in driving a major chunk of the story forward and often are a part of sub-plots (if they are not the protagonist fo the story.)

Examples of Round Characters: Harry Potter, Neville Longbottom, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Professor Dumbeldor and Hagrid in Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Arya Stark, Jon Snow, Theon Greyjoy, Sansa Stark, Jamie Lannister, Samwell Tarly, Danerys Targaryan and Cercie Lannister-Baratheon in A Song Of Ice And Fire series by George R. R. Martin. Bilbo, Frodo and Gandalf in Lord Of The Rings series by J. R.R. Tolkein.

4. Flat Characters

Flat Characters are characters that are single-layered possessing 2-5 basic personality traits and are not at all interesting. They appear only in limited scenes in the story and play only a very specific role beyond which their character is not explored further. Most of the times they are unimportant and uninteresting to read, but they do play a key role in a few scenes in the entire story.

Examples of Flat Characters: Crab and Goyle in Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Most characters from Meereen, Yunkai and Astapor and even the Sand Snakes in A Song Of Ice And Fire series by George R. R. Martin. Merry and Pippin in Lord Of The Rings series by J. R.R. Tolkein.

5. Stock Characters

Stock Characters represent a ‘type of people or personality’ rather than an individual. They portray a specific stereotype based on social prejudices and/or cliches. They are opposite of Symbolic Characters and are usually used to depict the negative traits.

Examples of Stock Characters: Mean stepmother, abusive husband, estranged father, con artist, billionaire bachelor, gentle giant, tough guy, nerd girl, hopeless romantic and so on.
Professor McGonagall and Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Jorah Mormont, Davos Seaworth, Melisandre the Red Priestess, Olenna Tyrell in A Song Of Ice And Fire series by George R. R. Martin. Gollum, Saruman and Sauron in Lord Of The Rings series by J. R.R. Tolkein.

6. Symbolic Characters

Symbolic Characters represent a theme or concept larger than them. They always have dynamic personality and qualities and stand for a class of certain type of symbolic traits rather than an individual. They are the exact opposite of Stock Characters and depict positive traits and greatness in a broader sense of the word.

Examples of Symbolic Characters: Professor Dumbeldor in Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Eddard Stark, Tommen and Robert Baratheon in A Song Of Ice And Fire series by George R. R. Martin and in Lord Of The Rings series by J. R.R. Tolkein.

7. Foil Characters

Foil Characters are the characters that are used as a foil to highlight the qualities of the main characters. They are generally polar opposites of the main characters and authors use them to bring out the qualities of their main characters indirectly.

Examples of Foil Characters: Draco Malfoy is a foil to Harry Potter’s character in Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Sansa Stark is a foil to Arya Stark and Jamie Lannister is a foil to Brienne Of Tarth in A Song Of Ice And Fire series by George R. R. Martin. Gollum is a foil to Bilbo and Frodo’s character in Lord Of The Rings series by J. R.R. Tolkein.


So these are the 7 types of characters in fiction. Did you know about them already or was it the first time you heard about some of these? I’d love to hear about what kind of characters you personally prefer while reading fiction books or writing your own stories.

Here are some other great resources on types of characters and characterisation in general:

Thanks a lot for reading!

Creating Realistic Characters

Creating Realistic Characters is an hour-long webinar on characterisation basics. I will be doing a follow-up Webinar with the advance techniques used for characterisation, so make sure you attend this one.

Webinar Details

Date: 5th December 2020
Time: 11:00 am to 12:00 pm (can go on till 12:30 pm) – Indian Standard Time 
Platform: YouTube Live
Link to the Webinarhttps://youtu.be/70aOMZjtBzc
Link to my YouTube Channelhttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGJRUGymFvQJ3m6TdvCzOhw 

Subscribe and press the Bell Icon 🔔 or ‘Set Reminder’ to be notified when I go Live.

Topics:

  • Types of characters
  • Levels of characters – Inverted Pyramid
  • Types of characterisation
  • Character Profiling
  • Backstory
  • Character Arcs
  • Character conflicts or internal conflicts
  • Character motivation and stakes

But wait… there’s something special this time!

I will be giving away some really exciting gifts for this Webinar! 

  1. 1 Signed Copy of my novel Deceived
  2. 1 Signed Coffee Mug.
  3. A kick-ass Character Profile Sheet Template with 50 character traits.

For these prizes, you will have to earn points and here is how you can do it:

  • 1 Point for retweeting/sharing my tweets and posts related to this Webinar – 1 point per tweet/share.
  • 2 Points for sharing about this Webinar on your social media platform.
  • 3 Points for sharing about this Webinar on your blog or website.
  • 5 Points for creating a reel about this Webinar or my Youtube Channel.
  • 1 Bonus Point for any kind of social media shout out for this Webinar.

Please make sure to Tag Me in your shoutouts, videos and posts otherwise you won’t be able to earn any points.

The participant with most points will received a signed copy of my book Deceived and the Character Profile Sheet Template
The runner up will receive the coffee mug and the Character Profile Sheet Template.
The next 8 people with highest points will receive the Character Profile Sheet Template.

So what are you waiting for?! Start sharing and earning points!

I’ll see you on the 5th of December!

5 Elements Of Plot In Fiction

Plot, one of the 5 main elements of fiction writing, is a term that confuses many new as well as veteran writers. When it comes to Fiction Writing, there is a big difference in the Story and the Plot. If you want to learn the difference between Story and Plot then read this article: Story Vs Plot.

Plot is basically the logical sequence in which events happen in a story. These events and their sequence should make sense and take the story forward. They always follow the pattern of cause and effect or action and reaction and thus have a great impact on the characterisation too. Therefore, while working on a fiction story, it is very important to outline your basic plot before plunging into the depths of structuring.

Let’s have a look at what exactly makes up the plot:

The 5 Elements Of Plot In Fiction

1. Inciting Incident

The event that kick starts the story or the point where the story begins is known as the inciting incident. This is where your story will begin.

2. Crises

The problems faced by the protagonist(s) which forces them into action. Please note crises is different conflict. Conflict forces the protagonist to make a choice or a decision keeping in mind the consequences and then facing those consequences.

3. Rising and Falling Action

Rising Action is the sequence of events which lead to rising tension in the story because of the varying intensity of emotional turmoil the characters go through in the story leading the plot to the Climax. RA includes many patterns of action-reaction in varying intensity which keeps the readers engaged and interested in the story.

Falling Action is the opposite of Rising Action and is the sequence of events that leas to the falling tension in the story because of the resolutions of the sub-plots and side-stories leading to the final resolution of the main conflict. It follows the Climax of the story.

4. Climax

The highest point of tension in the story. The point at which the main conflict of the story is faced by the protagonist of the story.

5. Resolution

Resolution is the end of your story. It is the point at which the main conflict is resolved and all the loose ends of the story are tied up. This is where your story ends.

And with this you can take your first steps into the deep ocean that is plot structuring. These are also the events that have to be decided on while outlining a story, so next time you want to outline a new story or an existing one then begin with these 5 elements.

If you have any queries or want to share your experience with plot lines or plotting then don’t hesitate to comment in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you!

Storyboard A Novel in 5 Easy Steps

Storyboarding is a wonderful organising technique, that I feel, is highly underrated when it comes to fiction writing. It is a great tool to plot your novels and to put it all together in a coherent plot-line.

I am an intuitive writer but working on multiple long-form fiction projects can be downright scary at times because you tend to forget where you are in a particular story and what needs to be worked and re-worked on. Things get disorganised and that totally sucks the fun out of writing, even for a Panster like me.

And this is where storyboarding comes in. I used it to plot my first book Deceived and I am using it to plot my other 3 books too. So I thought it was time that I shared a little about how I storyboard. Organising tools can be dealt in any way one finds it comfortable, but many writers feel at a loss when they are to put their story into a coherent form and give it a structure. Therefore, I highly suggest using this amazing tool to streamline your novel and make sure nothing is left out or out of order. It is also a great way to let you know what to work on next and how much work has to go into a novel before calling it finished (which a lot of writers generally struggle with.)

So, here is how to storyboard a novel:

Storyboarding A Novel In 5 Easy Steps

Step-1: Base

The first thing that you’ll need is a surface, that we’ll call as our base. It can be a cardboard sheet, drawing sheet, whiteboard or even a clean wall. Basically, you’ll need a big surface are where you can plan your novel.

Now select a fitting plot structure for your novel. We all begin our stories with at least one plot structure in mind so if you don’t want to get too technical or like doing things intuitively then stick to the basic ones. If you are a plotter and good at organising stuff, then you might already have 2-3 plot structures in mind for your story, so put them in use now. If you are not into plot structuring or don’t know about it much, then go for the basic 3-Act Plot Structure.

I generally use the 3-Act Structure, developing it into 4 and then 5-Act Structure and then adding different curves of tension and plot-points. I also tend to use the Fichtean Curve a lot in my graphs, especially for tension and pacing.

Once you’ve decided on the plot structure to begin with, draw horizontal lines leaving a gap of 5-6 inches in between them. Draw at least 5 lines so that you have enough space for all your islands.

Read:

The 3-Act Structure: Introduction

The 4-Act-Structure: Introduction

Step-2: Scene List

Prepare a list of scenes that you have already written, presently working on or plan to write. For this you will have to name your scenes for quick and easy reference. For example, if in a scene, the heroine meets with an accident, then simply name it Accident. If suppose there are two or more scenes of accidents then name them Accident I, Accident II and Accident III and so on. These won’t be your final scene names, they are just for your own reference, so don’t fret over them much and waste time doing it.

Step-3: Plot Points

Make a list of all the major plot points in your story – anything of significance that defines your plot. These plot points will help you see your story in an objective way, helping you determine the key moments, the points of no return and the climax and resolution. If you feel something is missing, then better start working on your plot points now, before you go ahead.

Step-4: Islands

Now is the time to take the post-its or the index cards and start putting down each and every scene on them. These would be known as islands. Simply put the heading of the scene and write 2 lines describing it on each post-it or index card. You need to do it for all your scenes and plot points.

I usually colour-code as per how finished the scenes are, for example, the pink stickies I have used here are for the finished scenes, the blue ones are for the plot points, the peach ones are for scenes that need re-writing and the yellow ones for the scenes that are yet to be written.

Step-5: Put It All Together

Now put up all the post-its or tape the index cards as per your plot-line. Go as per the sequence of the scenes and plot points and start putting all the islands on your base.

Note: Do not paste your islands on the storyboard using glue otherwise you won’t be able to move them around without messign up your board.

And that is how you storyboard your novel.


After you’re done, have a good hard look at the overall story and if you feel some scenes are missing then simply create islands for them and add them to the Base.

How do you storyboard your novel? Don’t forget to share your experience with storyboarding in the comments section below!

October Webinars

Hello, dear writers and readers. I am here with some exciting as hell news! I have two upcoming Webinars! Read on to find the details, timings and some extra exciting stuff!

Webinar #4: Decoding Horror Genre For Writers

In this Webinar I will be covering the following topics:

  • What is Horror Fiction – The basics of Horror Fiction
  • Plot Structures and schemes used in Horror Fiction Writing
  • Common Tropes used in Horror Fiction
  • Elements of Horror Writing 
  • Literary Devices that help in writing Horror Fiction
  • Study of the sub-genres of Horror in Literature: Discussion of the infamous Gothic, Macabre, Morbid and Psychological literature
  • Discussing some famous works in Horror Fiction – both in literature and films/television

BONUS: At the end of the webinar, registered members will receive a Horror Writing Tool-Kit in their emails. So don’t forget to register for this webinar!

Webinar Details:

DATE31st October 2020
TIME (as per IST = GMT+5:30)5:00 pm to 6:00 pm (can go on till 6:30-7:00 pm)
PLATFORMYOUTUBE LIVE
COSTFREE
LINKhttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGJRUGymFvQJ3m6TdvCzOhw
Webinar #4 Details

Webinar #5: Understanding The Relevance of NaNoWriMo For Indian Writers

In this Webinar I will be covering the following topics:

  • What is NaNoWriMo
  • Benefits Of Participating In NaNoWriMo
  • The relevance of NaNoWriMo for Indian, or any non-American, writers
  • How to make the best out of a WriMo
  • How to prepare for NaNoWriMo
  • How to successfully win NaNoWriMo – planning your WriMo around Diwali and holidays in November
  • What if you fail? And the important lessons to learn from it about yourself and your writing
  • How, in the end, NaNoWriMo helps you get better at being a real writer irrespective of winning or losing the WriMo.

Webinar Details:

DATE26th October 2020 – Monday
TIME (as per IST = GMT+5:30)5:00 pm to 6:00 pm (can go on till 6:30 pm)
PLATFORMGOOGLE MEET
COSTFREE
LINKhttps://meet.google.com/hvx-bqov-bkx
This link will work at the time of the Webinar only
Webinar #5 Details

10 Ways To Prepare For NaNoWriMo 2020

NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month is around the corner and I am really looking forward to it particularly this year because of the entire lockdown situation. I simply cannot wait to get back to one of my story’s draft and start writing again motivated by all the NaNo energy on my social media feeds! I love NaNo and there are more than a million reasons for it, the first and foremost being that it helped me write my own novel!

If you are new here, I’d like you to know that I wrote the first draft of my debut novel Deceived in NaNoWriMo 2014. Though I ended up changing the story later, the foundation was laid in NaNoWriMo’14 itself. Therefore, I have a very special place for NaNoWriMo in my heart.

As per NaNoWriMo rules of participation, a writer cannot begin actually writing the draft of the story that they are planning to work on for the WriMo but they can start prepping for it in advance. In fact, they totally encourage all writers to prepare well and they have a really awesome name for it too – Preptober (Prep October.)

So let’s get down to business and look at the 10 ways you can prepare for NaNoWriMo 2020. It doesn’t matter if you are beginning a new story or working on the draft of an old one, these points would be useful, and even handy, either way.

10 Ways To Prepare for NaNoWriMo

1. Finalise The Idea

The first thing that you’re going to have to establish before working on the draft of any story is to settle on an idea (probably two ideas in case if you’ll be working on multiple projects.)

Unless you’ve finalised an idea or two, don’t even think about entering the waters because WriMo is all about pushing your limits and belting out words. And you can only do that when you are not confused about what exactly to work on.

A lot of people make the mistake on beginning a random project thinking they’ll figure it out once the WriMo begins but mostly those projects either end badly or simply don’t end at all and get shelved.

Read: Finding The Right Idea

2. Develop That Idea

The last thing you want is to get stuck with an idea that cannot be developed further after a certain point. You will curse the day you settled on that idea and it’ll make you lose your momentum making you start all over again with hunting for a new idea. You need to develop your idea beforehand otherwise you’ll end up with a half-baked book.

3. Establish The Theme

Next, you need to figure out the theme, i.e., the main point you (as a writer) are trying to convey through your story.

Knowing the theme of your story will prevent you from straying and wandering from your story and help you to end up feeling lost or, worse, with a confusing plot. You can have multiple side-themes, but we are talking here only about the main theme. If you don’t know about it yet, then first identify it and then work on it.

4. Work On The Plot Outline

You need an outline if you really want to work on your story and at least finish one of its drafts. It doesn’t matter if you’re a planner or a pantster, you’ll have to keep it handy because while participating in a WriMo, you simply cannot afford to lose time fretting over the outline (which you should’ve have prepared in advance!)

There are a lot of people who like to write by the seat of their pants, but the problem that creates in WriMo is that you do not have the liberty to get stuck! When you’re writing on a schedule, you need to have at least some sort of a plan to help you move forward, even if you write intuitively and refer to it only if needed. I strongly suggest creating at least a basic outline for your story before starting work on it for WriMo.

Read:

The 3-Act Structure: Introduction

The 3-Act Structure: In Detail

The 4-Act-Structure: Introduction

5. Develop The Conflict

Conflict is the main conflict or the main argument of your story.

The conflict will make your story come alive because it is, by all means, the heart of your story. You first need to establish it and then make sure that it works for your story. The entire story would be woven around it, so make sure you get it right.

6. Build The Characters

The most important thing after the plot of the story are the characters. Characterisation is an entire universe in its own and while working on a story you can either concentrate of putting the story on paper or building your characters, so do it now!

Start brainstorming your character’s personality, physical as well as behavioural traits, their personalities, mannerisms and most importantly their backstories. Get to work now. And remember don’t just work only on your main character but also work on the side characters too.

Read:

Character Profile Sheets

Character Profile Sheets (CPS) – Part 2

7. Organise Everything

Organise all your notes, scribbles, brainstormed papers, potential plot points that you worked on, POV ideas, sub-plot ideas, scenes and anything else related to your story in one place. Either put them all in one big folder or simply put them all in a file. You will be writing quite a bit in prep, so you will have even more things to add to your file or folder by the time October ends, so prepare for it from now itself.

Read:

10 Essential Tools For Writers

8. Clear Your Schedule

Clear your schedule for the entire month of November, except for the really important things. If it can be done before or after then move it on your schedule and free up days for writing. You do not want to have more than 5 Zero Days (and if you are serious about your story, which I think you should be) then keep those 5 days in reserve for emergencies only.

9. Work Out A Writing Schedule & Space

Try a couple of different timings and find out the one that suits you best. Some writers find comfort in writing late at night, whereas some love writing in the wee hours of morning (I certainly do.) Some like to write in the quiet hours of the afternoon while others like to write in the evening. So figure out what works best for you.

When I say create a writing space, I do not mean to buy a desk if you don’t have one. Write wherever you feel comfortable and prepare that place for yourself. For example, in spite of having a dedicated writing space with a huge desk, I love sitting on my dining table for writing. So I will prepare it by decluttering the table and making space for writing. You can do it anywhere, on the terrace, your balcony sitting area, your garden, on the kitchen island, on the dining table, your bed… anywhere really.

10. Let Everyone Know

Now, this is the last part of the prep. You need to let everyone know that you’ll be participating in WriMo and will be busy throughout the month of November. If they can’t do anything else to support you, they should simply leave you be for the entire WriMo month so that that you can work on your story undisturbed.

Social media is another great tool to announce your participation as it makes you feel excited for your project. Try and connect with your writing community or other writers participating in WriMo to discuss your preparations as well as to know how others do it.


Questions: Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo before or is this your first time? Are you excited for NaNoWriMo 2020? How are you preparing for this Corona- infested year’s NaNoWriMo?

Do share your experience as I would love to know about it!

Related:

My First NaNoWriMo

5 Keys To Writing 50K Words In 30 Days

Coming next week: Relevance of NaNoWriMo for Indian Writers

Thanks for reading!

October Buddy Reads At RMFAO, My Bookclub

Hello, guys. Finally, we have the book picks for the October Buddy Read at RMFAO. The books that were selected by voting are If It Bleeds by Stephen King and My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell.

I you’d like to participate in either or both the buddy reads then following are the respective Threads Of Discussion for each of the books:

Buddy Read (BOTM #1): If It Bleeds by Stephen King

Buddy Read (BOTM #2): My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Everyone is invited! So do come and join us for these month-long buddy reads 🙂

5 Bookish Websites That Every Book Reader Must Know

I strongly believe that to be a better writer, you have to be a reader first. I mean, why would you even write, if you don’t like reading in the first place?! I have a very strong opinion about people who want to write even when they don’t like reading, but I’ll discuss it some other time. Today, I want to discuss the 5 Bookish Websites That Every Book Reader Must Know.

I have been reading stories in various forms like comics, storybooks, magazines, and of course, novels since childhood, but studies and life came in the way and, well, I wasn’t able to read as much as I had wanted to. 2012 was the year when I dropped out of my Engineering College and decided to find my calling. Having nothing to do to distract me, I started reading and, to cut a long story short, 2 years and some 50-60 books later I realised that I wanted to write. Fast-forwarding to today, I am a published author with one full-length novel published along with an anthology, 3 books in various stages of publishing and another 3 in various stages of writing and it is all because once I started reading, I simply never stopped.

Today, I read about 80-100 books a year without having affecting my writing (well, sometimes I do leave my writing behind to finish a novel that I really like.) And on this beautiful journey if something remained constant then it was a couple of websites that really, really helped me! In my list of 5 Bookish Websites That Every Book Reader Must Know, I have introduced these treasures as well as some recent favourites. So do check out these awesome websites and let me know which ones you already knew about and which ones are new to you.

To sum this video up, here’s my list of 5 Bookish Websites That Every Book Reader Must Know:

  1. Goodreads – The biggest social media platform dedicated to books.
  2. Project Gutenberg – The one place where you can find all the classics available in the public domain.
  3. Librivox – Get all the classics in audio format that are available in the public domain.
  4. NetGalley – If you don’t know what NetGalley is, then read this article I wrote a couple of years back (and which is still one my most viewed articles of all time): Are you a “Professional Reader” at NetGalley?
  5. Audible – Amazon for audiobooks (literally!)

If you are already on Goodreads, then feel free to send a friend request to or a follow my Goodreads Author Profile.

If you’d like to explore new books and crave discussing books with other book-lovers, then I’d love to invite you to my Book Club – RMFAO, which stands for Reading my Frigging A** Off.
If you’re not on Goodreads and still want to join my Group then I do have a RMFAO Facebook Group for it and even a WhatsApp one – to become a member of RMFAO WhatsApp group please email me your WhatsApp number along with your name at rmfaobookclub@gmail.com

Please feel free to share your personal favourite websites that help you in your everyday reading as I would love to know about them!

Live Stream: Common Writing Mistakes Webinar

Hey guys, you can watch the live streaming of ,y 3rd and latest webinar here:

Due to some technical glitch, I had to shift to Facebook live after the Webinar to answer some of the questions, so you can watch that 20 minutes feed here:

For your reference, here a list of all the 30 mistakes I covered in this webinar:

Fiction Writing Masterclass – 4-Week Intensive Workshop

Learn to write a book from start to end in this 4-week intensive workshop – Fiction Writing Masterclass. It is recommended for writers who have an idea and don’t know where to begin or how to write the book. It is also suitable for writers who have already started their book but are not stuck somewhere along the way no knowing where to go and whom to ask for help.

This workshop will teach you the coveted art of writing a book as well as finishing your book within 6-8 months.

Please register here to receive further details For Fiction Writing Masterclass:

What people think of our workshops:

Webinar #3: Common Writing Mistakes

I’m here with another FREE WEBINAR!

Join me in this hour-long webinar to learn all about the common mistakes all creative writers (especially fiction writers) make in their writing. The mistakes I will be discussing will range from complex exposition-related mistakes, dialogue formatting mistakes, grammar mistakes to use of wrong narrative style, under-writing, over-writing and a LOT more.

This webinar is free for all, so do come and join in the discussion!

Benefits of registration:

  • You will receive the direct webinar link directly in your inbox
  • You will receive the streaming link in your inbox after the webinar to watch the webinar again later
  • You will receive a reminder for the webinar 1 hour before the webinar begins on Sunday, 30th August 2020. 
  • You can ask questions to me regarding the mistakes I discuss in the webinar even after the webinar is over

So what are you waiting for? It is a great opportunity to learn about writing mistakes and improve your writing!

Register today as there is less than a week to go for the webinar!

Make sure to have a hot cup of coffee or a chilled glass of iced tea at the ready and a pen and a notebook for taking notes. That’s it.

Hoping to see you all on the day of the webinar on YouTube Live.

Register Here:

How To Write A Book Analysis

Analysing a book is too often confused with writing a book review. It is a very common misconception and one that needs to be busted especially if you are planning to become a writer or are one already.

A book review is an informal way of sharing one’s thoughts about any book of the reader’s choice and can, quite literally, be done in any way. There are no rules, no particular way or structure that needs to be followed, it should just be informative that’s all. Whereas a book analysis follows a structure and has to contain certain bits of information in it. It is a formal approach to studying a book and is often given as practice exercises by professors, teachers or lecturers (like myself) of creative writing to their students for some particular book or story, fiction or non-fiction. As I primarily teach fiction, the scope of this post will be limited to fiction Book Analysis.

So let’s see how it is done because a lot of writers, especially in our country where creative writing is not taught in schools or colleges, don’t know the right format for it.

HOW TO WRITE A BOOK ANALYSIS

Before we begin with how to write a Book Analysis, let’s first have a look at the structure of the book analysis so that you’ll know what notes to take while reading the book or text.

Book Analysis is made up of three parts:

1. Introduction:

It should contain the name of the book, the author, the time period in which the book was written, genre, the time and settings of the book, a brief outline of the plot (preferably in 1-2 sentences) and any other relevant information related to either the book or the author.
Look at this as the opening of your Analysis, therefore try and give information regarding the book you’re going to analyse, who it is written by and what exactly is it about as if the reader of your essay has no idea about the book you’re analysing.

2. Main Body:

The main body of the analysis consist of more than one paragraph (2-3 are ideal.) This is where you will have to summarise the book and give brief descriptions of the main events.

This is followed by your analysis of the work – what you think of it and how you interpreted the book you read. Write about the story, main themes and ideas, characters and their development, writing style employed by the author, symbolisms used, the overall structure of the story or any obvious pattern or style used to write it. Also, write about the literary devices used in the book and make a note of any positive or negative traits about the plot of characters you notice.

3. Conclusion

The conclusion is where you make your main point about the book – do you agree about the book or not and why? You need to present your argument in a respectable and friendly way not showing any kind of bias. using quotes from the book is a great way to support your argument. Though make it a point that if you do not agree with the author, there are instances when it happens, to try and add a line or two showing why do you think the author thinks a certain way – remember to be respectful.

For example, if the author is being misogynistic then try to understand why he is being that way, maybe it is because of the time period in which the book was written and the general mentality of the masses.

So this is the structure of a Book Analysis, Fiction Book Analysis to be specific, though however, for most of the non-fiction stories, especially biographies, autobiographies and memoir you can follow the same structure. Though, if you are writing a critical analysis on a factual book or a research paper then you’ll have to follow a different format which is similar to this one but focuses on the facts and the author’s previous works and thesis heavily.

Here’s a handy graphic depicting how a book analysis is written:

Please give appropriate credit – Heena Rathore-Pardeshi, and a link back – crazycatwriter.com, while using this image.

Now le’s have a look at the steps in which you can examine a book critically and prepare your argument:

  1. Reading the book and identifying the main theme, narrative style and literary devices used. Also, keep a keen eye out for the language and the settings used by the author.
  2. Make use of online dictionaries, encyclopedias or articles to understand the ideas that may be foreign to you or to understand the overall mentality or thought-process of the people of certain parts of the world or time period.
  3. Take notes of paragraphs or sentences/lines that particularly resonate with you or stand out.
  4. Write a summary of the story (in about 300-500 words) for your own reference.
  5. Make a special note of how the book made you feel emotionally because it is important as it will form the basis of your argument.
  6. Take note of any illustrations or maps added in the book
  7. Note down your thoughts as you read the book as they will help you in writing the analysis.
  8. Re-read the book or the story again. You’ll have a better understanding of the story and a lot more clarity upon reading the book or the story a second time. You will also come across a lot of things you might have missed in the first reading. I strongly recommend a second reading.

Book analysis can, and if I am being honest then should be, practised as a necessary exercise by creative writers because it is a great way of learning the intricacies of creative writing that can only be learned through reading. Analysing a book helps creative writers to critically study a work of writing that has already been published and therefore, helps them to learn from it and absorb details that cannot be all taught by someone else and can only be picked up through reading.

What do you think about writing a book analysis as a creative writing practice? Do you do it or, like most fiction writers, you dread having to write it? I’d love to hear your thoughts about it so feel free to share your experiences and related resources int he comments below. All comments are welcome 🙂

Thank you for reading.