Category: Writing

A Winter Morning

I am a hopeless winter-person – you know, when a person goes overboard in hauling around shawls everywhere, wearing cardigans even when it’s barely cold, wearing socks while sleeping and using a heater or a hot water bag at night to warm the cold feet. I know I am not the only one so I decided to write this piece in order to give a shout out to all those beautiful people who love and adore and cherish winters as much as I do.

***

A Winter Morning

I wake up, suddenly from a dream, and feel the need to get some fresh air. Slowly I get out of bed, not wanting to wake him up as I know he had trouble sleeping early last night. But as soon as I set my feet on the wooden floor of our bedroom, I feel a sharp sting of cold and before I know it, it makes its way stealthily snaking and spreading through my toes and ankles, tickling the bare skin of my feet. I stand up quickly trying to find my slippers when a gust of cold breeze hits my face from the window beside my bed, suddenly my heart swells with happiness – winter is here!

Forgetting what I was about to do next, I quickly make way to the wardrobe, pulling it open frantically, taking out one of my favourite shawls – a pale blue one, oversized and thick. I slip into my slippers pulling the shawl over my shoulders and rush to the study room, which sits next to our bedroom. I open the curtains of the enormous window on the other side of the room overlooking the front garden of our home and the giant of a Gulmohar tree which happily covers half of the view. My hands tremble just a tiny bit with excitement and what I see fills my heart with such an enormous amount of content that  I haven’t known in a long time. It’s still somewhat dark outside, but I can see the faint orange-purplish glow of the rising sun slowly and steadily coming in view. I stand there in awe as the chirping of the birds gets louder and the leaves of the trees start rustling with their activity. The sun keeps rising ever so slowly as the world around me wakes up from their lazy dreams and cosy beds.

Both my cats come to me and rub against my legs purring with as much content as I feel from being a part of this beautiful morning. I sit down in front of the big window on the shag carpet and so does my little beauties. I scratch their backs as one of them settles in the crook of my folded legs and the other one curls right next to me on my shawl, her warm back resting against my thigh. They both start purring in a familiar rhythm, the younger one kneading on my legs looking lazily at me, while the elder one looking out the window considering if she should chase the birds off or sit in the warmth of my shawl.

The birds’ singing is louder now and it feels like they are calling out to the sun. Right then I smell heaven – the aroma of coffee wafting from the kitchen downstairs, not the instant one, but of strong espresso. I can also smell the faint undertones of hazelnut and smile that he has opened the new packet I bought 2 weeks ago. He was asleep when I woke up, but I think my shuffling through the cupboard woke him up and while I was enjoying the view with my furry-little girls, he went down and started the coffee machine. I think I fall in love with him a little more in that moment.

I look around me, then at my girls purring and sleeping and cuddling around me and when, at last, I hear the gentle footsteps of him coming upstairs, the smell of coffee leading ahead of him, I look at the sun that is almost risen completely now, showering me and the girls in its beautiful bright yellow rays that are filtering through the Gulmohar tree, I say a silent thank you to the Universe for all my blessings because at that moment I have everything that I have ever wanted, and will ever need, right there in that room with me.


 

Please note- This material is subject to copyright.

NaNoWriMo 2019 – Update

Hello, guys (After a long, long time!) I am here to share a quick update about my 2019 NaNoWriMo progress. For this year’s I am aiming to complete the 7th draft of Sinister Town and so far, i.e., in 15 days, I have written 29,132 words. I am trying to finish this draft this month itself as this is going to be the final manuscript, more or less.

Here’s how my NaNo stats are looking and I’m happy with the progress so far but I hope that I can keep up with it:

So that’s about it. How about you? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? What are your goals and how far along in your project(s) are you?

Worldwide Release of Deceived E-Book

I’m so, so, so excited to announce the worldwide release of Deceived e-book on the Kindle Store. Now Deceived can be read and enjoyed by people all around the world! This makes me so happy and grateful.⁣⁣⁣

If you haven’t already have it, grab your copies today!⁣⁣⁣

Deceived

You can get your copies of my book, Deceived, here:

Amazon (avaialble in India only): https://www.instagram.com/p/BSTpM3UAHk7/?igshid=vv73l9szd61s&fbclid=IwAR2_8RGudWBFe70PTtAC9S0iBNX2QezbIUaRnG8hFwQTfo5oqLWvzKCY1a4 

Amazon Kindle Store (avaialable internationally): https://www.amazon.in/gp/product/8193344901?pf_rd_p=649eac15-05ce-45c0-86ac-3e413b8ba3d4&pf_rd_r=V53C425J3EE582RJQTB8&fbclid=IwAR3-hdrwRfRPoxwleKjyhdri0smhcGhCDJVwCTM5KonfTSGkQ_iDxwFG0yo


I’d like to thank Citrus Publishers for fulfilling my lifelong dream of being a published author! It means so much to me to be able to live the life I have always dreamt of as a dreamy little girl 🤗🥰⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
And I’d like to thank Vishal for his relentless support, immense love and irrevocable belief in me. He was the only one who believed in me when even I doubted myself 💕⁣⁣

And lastly, thanks to all my readers, social media friends and followers for all your love and support ❤

Character Profile Sheets (CPS) – Part 2

Character Profile Sheets are a great literary tool that help you in profiling your characters, especially the main characters of your story. They not only help you in being consistent with your character’s traits throughout your story or manuscript but also help a great deal in creating as well as painting the character arc you desire for your story.

Generally, a Character Profile Sheets consists of the main physical, mental, emotional and social traits of your character’s life and personality along with their general likes and dislikes, their taste in music, their occupation, and stuff like what they like to eat, what they don’t their allergies and different kind of health issues, etc, etc, etc. Basically, your Character Profile Sheet consists of everything about your character.

Character Profile Sheets can be as long or as short as your want them to be, but my advice would be to keep them detailed because detailed Character Profile Sheets lead to good characters and good characters leads to good characterisation. 

Another great thing about Character Profile Sheets is that it greatly helps if you get stuck in a writing slump. Working your characters is a great way to jump start your brain to getting into the right mindset to start writing again.

Check out my video on Character Profile Sheets on YouTube or listen to its podcast on iTunes.

When it comes to Character Profile Sheets there are three things that you need to remember:

  1. If you are a punster then start with a basic Character Profile Sheet to begin with and add details as you go further because starting with a detailed Character Profile Sheet can be very overwhelming. But if you are a plotter then you can straight away start with a detailed Character Profile Sheet.
  2. No matter how long or short your character profile sheet is or how detailed or summarised it is always make room for character’s background in it because character background is very, very, very important an you need to be consistent with it throughout your story. Take it from someone who has written a book with a lot of characters, always make a room for character background in your Character Profile Sheet.
  3. Your Character Profile Sheet will evolve as you make progress with your manuscript so always keep on revising your Character Profile Sheet along with each and every single draft of your story. Otherwise, there’ll be either no point of maintaining a Character Profile Sheet or it’ll get too confusing for you and ruin your manuscript.

So that’s Character Profile Sheets for you. If you want a ready reference with links to some really good Character Profile Sheets then read this article – Character Profile Sheets (the links are the end of the article.)

If you have any questions or doubts or want to discuss Character Profile Sheets with me then leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Here are some more writing-related articles:

Thanks a lot for reading!

A Comprehensive Look At Literary Devices

As a writer, it becomes a necessity at some point or the other, to understand as many technicalities of the craft as possible. Whether you’re an intuitive writer or a deliberate one, there will be times when you’ll have to break the literary rules in order to create your masterpiece, but in order to do so, you first need to know what those rules are. So studying literary devices becomes essential and significant in order to become a better writer.

On the other hand, it is not only beneficial to know about literary devices as a writer, but also as a reader. As a reader, it will help you understand the purpose of the writing better and also to know the real focus of a particular written work. And, on a more practical note, it’ll help you write your school reports and book analysis or reviews better and score good grades (I’m sure that alone should be motivation enough.)

I have come to realise that it is a healthy practice to become a well-informed writer as well as a reader.

A Comprehensive Look At Literary Devices

 

 

 

The definition of a literary device on Your Dictionary, an online open dictionary source, is as a technique a writer uses to produce a special effect in their writing.

This definition is short and sweet but leaves a lot of unanswered questions in one’s mind. In order to fully understand the ocean of things hidden behind these two words, one needs to look at it very closely. So here’s my take on these two very beautiful words:

Literary devices are the techniques a writer uses in order to create a unique and powerful yet appropriate effect in their writing to help them influence the reader’s imagination while at the same time helping the reader to understand the writing effectively and on a much deeper level. It adds multiple layers of sense, feelings and emotions to the reader’s imagination and helps the writer in gripping the reader’s conception of their work in a very effective way.

To further understand literary devices better, they can be broken down into two parts:

1. Literary elements

Literary elements are elements used by the writer in the overall scheme of the things. Some of the main literary elements are:

  • Antagonist – a character, or a group of characters, which stands in opposition to the protagonist, which is the main character.
  • Characters – any person, animal, or figure represented in a literary work. There are many types of characters that exist in literature, each with its own development and function.
  • Conflict – A conflict in literature is defined as any struggle between opposing forces. Usually, the main character struggles against some other force. This type of conflict is what drives each and every story.
  • Dialogues – a technique in which writers employ two or more characters to be engaged in conversation with one another.
  • Mood – a literary element that evokes certain feelings or vibes in readers through words and descriptions. Usually, mood is referred to as the atmosphere of a literary piece, as it creates an emotional setting that surrounds the readers.
  • Moral – a message conveyed by, or a lesson learned from the story.
  • Narrative – a report of related events presented to listeners or readers, in words arranged in a logical sequence. A story is taken as a synonym of narrative. A narrative, or story, is told by a narrator who may be a direct part of that experience, and he or she often shares the experience as a first-person narrator.
  • Plot – literary term used to describe the events that make up a story, or the main part of a story. These events relate to each other in a pattern or a sequence. The structure of a novel depends on the organization of events in the plot of the story.
  • Point Of Views – he mode of narration that an author employs to let the readers “hear” and “see” what takes place in a story, poem, or essay.
  • Protagonist – the central character or leading figure in poetry, narrative, novel or any other story. A protagonist is sometimes a “hero” to the audience or readers.
  • Setting – the time and place in which the story takes place. The definition of setting can also include social statuses, weather, historical period, and details about immediate surroundings.
  • Structure – the arrangement of story elements according to purpose, style and genre.
  • Theme – the central topic or idea explored in a text.

2. Literary techniques

Literary techniques are the words or phases employed by the writers in their writing. Some fo the main literary techniques are:

  • Allegory – use of characters and events in a story to represent or deliver a broader message.
  • Alliteration – a series of words or phrases that all (or almost all) start with the same sound.
  • Allusion – an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference.
  • Anachronism – the action of attributing something to a period to which it does not belong.
  • Analogy – a comparison between one thing and another, typically for the purpose of explanation or clarification.
  • Antithesis – explaining an idea or thing by comparing it to something that is familiar.
  • Colloquialism – use of informal words, phrases, or even slang in a piece of writing.
  • Consonance – the recurrence of similar-sounding consonants in close proximity, especially in prosody.
  • Diction – the style of speaking that a writer, speaker, or character uses.
  • Epigraph – a short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, intended to suggest its theme.
  • Euphemism – a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.
  • Flashbacks – a scene set in a time earlier than the main story.
  • Foreshadowing – a warning or indication of (a future event).
  • Hyperbole – exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.
  • Irony – the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
  • Imagery – use of language and description that appeals to our five senses.
  • Implied Metaphors – a word or phrase that compares two unlike things to more clearly describe them, without mentioning one of the things.
  • Juxtaposition – the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.
  • Malapropism – the mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one, often with an amusing effect.
  • Metaphor – a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.
  • Metonym – a word, name, or expression used as a substitute for something else with which it is closely associated. For example, Washington is a metonym for the US government.
  • Onomatopoeia – the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named.
  • Oration – elaborate and dignified speech.
  • Oxymorons – a figure of speech in which two opposite ideas are joined to create an effect.
  • Paradox – a statement or proposition which, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems logically unacceptable or self-contradictory.
  • Personification – giving human traits and qualities, such as emotions, desires, sensations, gestures and speech, often by way of a metaphor, to things.
  • Repetition – the recurrence of an action or event.
  • Similes – a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid
  • Soliloquy – an act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers, especially by a character in a play.
  • Symbolism – using symbolic images and indirect suggestion to express mystical ideas, emotions, and states of mind.
  • Synecdoche – a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa.

So this is the in and out on literary devices. There are a lot more literary elements and techniques but the ones listed here are the main ones so they would be enough if you just want to know literary devices on the surface. But if you want to dig deeper, I’ll be writing another article in future exploring these and many other literary elements and techniques in detail.

If you are a new writer, or an established one stuck in a rut looking for inspiration, do read these articles:

Articles from Literary Devices and Stydy.com were of great help in finding the definitions for various literary devices for this article.

The 4-Act-Structure: Introduction

 

As almost all the plotters would swear by, outlining a story helps a writer greatly in making sense of the story for the readers. We, as writers, know what our story is and how it plays out, the difficult bit is to put in into words in a systematic way and have it make sense to its readers the same way that it does for us. And this is where the story structures come into play.

I used to consider myself a hardcore plotter until I finally realised that I’m more of an intuitive person who writes by the seat of her pants as much as I rely on planning my stories. So now I try to find a balance between pantsing and plotting. And I personally see story structures as an adventurer’s maps – you can have all the adventures you want to have by following your intuition, but occasionally you need the maps to take you where you want to go, especially when you get lost or stuck.

I used the 3-Act Structure for plotting my first novel, Deceived, but for my second and third manuscripts, I needed something more extensive as they are more complex than my earlier work, so I used the 4 Act Structure. In this article, I’ll be introducing the 4-Act Structure and its benefits and use. If you wish to know more about the 3-Act Structure then you can read the following articles I wrote a while ago:


The 4-Act-Structure: Introduction

the 4-act structure

What is the 4-Act Structure?

The 4-Act Structure is basically the broader version of the 3 Act Structure in which the elaborate ‘middle’ is broken into two separate acts. This method is very popular among writers especially those who write lengthy novels and the ones who struggle with the ‘infinite middle.’

  • Act-1: Setup of conflict
  • Act-2: Build-up
  • Act-3: Crises
  • Act-4: Resolution

Here’s a simple diagram to depict the 4-Act Structure:

This image is subject to copyright.

What are the advantages of using the 4-Act Structure?

There are many advantages to using the 4-act structure, just like any other outlining tool:

  1. It helps in dealing with the overall story better, in an organized manner (just like any other story structure.)
  2. It assists in specifically dealing with the problematic middle of the story – the 75% part of the story that is a bit vaguely structured in the 3-act structure of story writing.
  3. It encourages in figuring out the problems with the story plot and in combing out the plot holes that would inevitably make your story weak.
  4. It helps in understanding what exactly your story is lacking in order to make it into a near-perfect manuscript.
  5. It even aids in recognizing, and then getting rid of, the redundant scenes, side stories and subplots.
  6. It greatly helps in dealing with the most coveted enemy of any writer – writer’s block, when you get stuck in the inescapable limbo.
  7. It also serves, for many writers, as a quick fix to complete the drafts within a particular timeline. It’s not necessarily a short cut, but can definitely be viewed as an answer to many plot-progression related problems.

When should the 3-Sct Structure be used? Before starting the first draft, in between or at the of the nth draft?

Over the course of the last couple of years, I’ve discovered the hard way that it’s always best to first write the first draft by the seat of your pants, no matter if you consider yourself a planner or a pantster, because the first draft has to be as unadulterated and pure as can be, and that would be possible only if you let your imagination take over your mind and the muse and instinct guide your hands. The story structure, whether it is a 3-act structure or the 4-act structure or even the 9-act structure, should be applied for the first time to the first draft once it is complete. Then as you progress, it depends on how often you want to adjust your story according to the structure; you can do it while you write or revise your drafts or before or after that. It is entirely up to you.

I have come to realise that if the story structures are applied to the story in the initial stage of the conceiving of the plot, before or right after beginning the first draft (which is far too complex and difficult than one might think) then it corrupts the authenticity of the plot that otherwise might have been and makes it feel constrained. And such writing often results in an amateurish end product.

If you want a simpler story structure for your story, then read this: The 3-Act Structure: In Detail


If you are suffering from a writer’s block or are facing difficulty in getting ahead with your story, here are some articles I recommend:

My Writing Corner

Most of the writers don’t like to write in one place. And I am no different. I write wherever I feel like writing and it heavily depends on my mood as one day I find the living room very appealing and the next day I seem to find inspiration in the study room while at other times I prefer writing on the dining table in the dining area because I can see every corner of my house from there. But still, there is always one place in a writer’s home that is lovingly known as the “writing corner”, and for me, it is my home office – our study room.

My writing corner ❤

I have my very own desk which is actually pretty big and has two side extensions – two smaller tables with compartments – one for the desktop and one for the printer, I suppose. I keep my printer on the desktop table because I rarely use my desktop (and that too only as a hard drive for storing stuff that my Mac can’t store as it has got a massive storage capacity.) And I use the smaller table to keep my papers of the current project (god only knows how many papers I have scattered around the entire house!)

Also, I have a very snazzy and super comfortable chair that not only revolves but also reclines! Both, the desk and the chair were a gift from Vishal who himself has the same setup on the other side of the room (only his desk is pretty neat and has less of pens and papers and more of his layouts and designs and venue lists neatly stacked.

On the right-hand side of my desk (left side in the pictures) there a big window that gives me the view of the balcony outside the room and the gigantic Gulmohar tree that sprawls across our front garden. And the best part is that lots of birds, especially parrots, hang out on the lush branches of this amazing tree. We’ve also set up a small bird feeder right in the corner fo the balcony grill so they come there for that as well. And I cannot imagine a better place to sit in and think about and write my stories.

Camp NaNoWriMo April’18

Hello world, I’m back from yet another break!

Like every year since 2014, I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo April’18. For this month I don’t have a lot planned out, but just a basic idea of what needs to be done. I’m mainly going to go for 2 things this time – sorting out the ending of Sinister Town and writing the first draft of a story I’d started as a short series flash-fiction, Jessie.

Over the last couple of months, I’d have some really good, strange, outright hilarious and some really amazeballs story ideas and, strangely enough, I wrote them all down. I never really write down random story ideas anymore, I used to write them down very carefully when I started out as a writer, but after I heard the invincible, and my writing idol, SK mention in one of his many speeches, that if you can’t remember an idea for a year (or basically a long time) then it’s not worth

working on. That was the point where I abandoned scribbling down ideas and, now that I reflect on it, maybe that was one of the reasons for my major writer’s block. Anyway, so I’d been writing down random ideas, mostly because I’d been in a writing slump lately (for like a year and a half now) and so I just wanted something different to write about – something random that would help me in ‘pantsing.’

So I have those story ideas to develop too. One of them is a dark elf story and I can already feel it coming together beautifully as a full-length novel. So I hope I have enough things to write and meet my goal of 50K words as I really need to get back into my usual flow of writing, something that I dearly miss!

I wish all of you who are participating in Camp Nano April all the very best!

Ciao ❤

Naming The Writer’s Unconscious – A Little Girl And Her Puppy

I always read craft books not once, but several times. I guess that’s the best way to really get the techniques and the wisdom they have to offer. Lately, I’ve been re-reading Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott and came across a concept, more like a paragraph or two, where author Lamott mentions about naming the unconscious:

“My friend Carpenter talks about the unconscious as the cellar where the little boy sits who creates the characters, and he hands them up to you through the cellar door. He might as well be cutting out paper dolls. he’s peaceful; he’s just playing.”

I paused at this particular bit, as I did the first time I read this book, and started thinking about how my unconscious would be?

Here she describes her friend’s version as a boy sitting in the cellar. But I don’t like the pictures of him sitting in confinement. I like her version of the unconscious better, “instead of a little kid, there’s a long-necked, good-natured Dr. Seuss character down there, grim with concentration and at the same time playing.”

So as I said earlier, I thought about my unconscious and this is what I came up with:

A Little Girl And Her Puppy

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

My unconscious, The Boy In The Cellar if you will, is a Little Girl. And this Little Girl is me, of course.

And the Little Girl is not alone; she has a puppy with her. A GSD puppy of about 4 months. And yes, this puppy is Tiger, my deceased pet.

So that’s my unconscious.

The Little Girl sits in the middle of the aangan of my childhood bungalow, on a stone-tiled floor on a thick faded rug called dari. She’s sitting cross-legged, wearing a beautiful white frock that hangs loosely from her thin wiry shoulders. Her dark-roasted-coffee-brown hair hanging down in waves reaching her waist.

Fair as she is, she has a small mouth and small ears but big brown curious eyes. She’s sitting with her coloring book sprawled luxuriously in front of her among her uncountable Camlin crayons of every color you could possibly imagine. They are the ones that her father gave her.

Now she’s bent over her book and scribbling away with cyan color. She looks happy today.

The Puppy is sitting beside her in a relaxed fashion that only 4-month-old puppies can manage. His head is resting on the girl small knee. He is looking at whatever the Little Girl is drawing with his droopy doggy eyes that look like they’re falling down. He’s a healthy Greman Shepherd and is big enough to come to her knees when she’s standing. He loves the Little Girl immensely and enjoys looking at her draw.

As I said, she looks good, happy. That makes me feel very good. And the important thing is she is not alone, she has the Puppy with her.

She loves drawing and therefore she is always drawing something or the other. Sometimes it takes her days, sometimes weeks and sometimes months or even years to complete a “masterpiece.” And when she’s done, she looks up from her work and calls me and hands me over those drawings.

Sometimes these drawings are so clear that I can clearly see what she has come up with, but sometimes they’re all blurred and abstract and it takes me a while to figure them out, to understand what is it that she wants me to see.

This is how my ideas come to me or rather delivered to me by my unconscious. The Little Girl is not a fragment of me, but she

The Little Girl is not a fragment of me, but she is me. This is how I get countless ideas for my books, characters, plots, sub-plots, short stories, flash fiction pieces, poems, etc.

This is how I write.


Takeaway:

If you are new to writing or if you are struggling with it, then I highly suggest this exercise. It’ll help you attain the very focus you need to center your creative mind.

What about you? Have you ever thought about how your unconscious works? Do you have a particular image of that unconscious?


Further Reading:

If you liked reading this article, then you might like these as well: