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?

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

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.

Prompt-Writing

Prompt-writing is one of the best tools for fiction writers. Period.

You’ll find various definitions for it on the internet, but for me, it is simply what the name suggests:

A topic around which a short piece of fiction is written promptly.

Generally, the said piece of fiction is in the range of 100-1000 words and you don’t think about it and work on it for days or even hours. You simply look at the topic (whatever form it is in) and write, generally within a set limit of time, say half an hour or an hour. You can revise or edit it later on, but the main part is written promptly. And that is what prompt-writing is really about.

When I say a piece of fiction it can be a scene, a story or an anecdote – it can be anything. Though it needs to be a complete unit in itself, with a beginning, a middle and an ending.

Prompt-writing is great for writing random pieces of fiction, which may or may not be used in your larger fiction works depending on how developable they may be.

It is very similar to Freewriting, but the difference is that in Prompt-Writing a prompt is used to kick-start the imagination and serves as the basis for the writing. But in Freewriting, there are simply no limits, neither of words nor of topics (that is if you are doing a timed Freewriting session.)

Read more about Freewriting here: Freewriting – Everything You Need To Know

It is an absolutely amazing tool for fiction writers because it cures the “blank page syndrome” as well as helps you in maintaining a daily writing habit.

You can download the PDF file for this prompt-calendar for August 2020 here.

The topics, usually referred to as prompts, can be of different types:

  • Word Prompts
  • Sentence Prompts
  • Title Prompts
  • Memory Prompts
  • Photo Prompts
  • Scene Prompts
  • POV prompts
  • Dialogue Prompts
  • Setting Prompts
  • Character Prompts
  • Theme Prompts
  • Object Prompts

The list is endless…

You can find the prompts online, or create ones for yourself (like I have done) or you can either participate in groups or subscribe to websites who share monthly or weekly prompts such as:

Please feel free to share your thoughts on Prompt-Writing int he comments below. Suggestions, comments and nuggets of information are all welcome!

Here are some of my own Prompt-Writing pieces:

So what are you waiting for? Get started with prompt writing today itself and see where it takes you!

Fiction Writing Masterclass

Hello, writers, and welcome to my Class of July 2020.

If you want to skip the details and register right away, please scroll down to the end of this post.

After having conducted Introduction To The Basics Of Creative Writing and Introduction To Novel Writing Webinars of 2+ hours each, I realised that writers needed more knowledge of techniques in order to be able to start their novels on the right foot and end them within a specific time (plus-minus a couple of months.) Therefore, I cut down right to the centre of the heart of it and came up with a specifically designed class for writing a fiction story from start to end.

About Fiction Writing Masterclass:

Fiction Writing Masterclass is a 4-hour long online workshop on writing a book. The workshop is on the 25th of July 2020 (Saturday) from 11:00 am to 3:30 pm and also on 26th July (Sunday) from 4:00 pm to 8:30 pm (there would be a half an hour break in between.)
It will be conducted by me, author Heena Rathore Pardeshi – an award-winning author and a literary critic and editor. You can read more about me here.

The workshop would be followed by an hour of doubt-clearing and writing discussions for all the participating students who want to talk to me and discuss their writings or book(s) with me. I’d be happy to answer any questions about the market, my own books and my writing journey.

The session would be followed up by another session of an hour for clearing more doubts – the day for it would be decided mutually by the participating students in the workshop according to everyone’s convenience.

Please Note: Because of heavy demand, and upon request of some students, this workshop will also be conducted on 26th July (Sunday) evening from 5:00 to 8:30 pm. So if Saturday doesn’t work for you, you can attend the Sunday workshop instead. They are both the same workshop.

Syllabus for Fiction Writing Masterclass:

  • Brainstorming a book idea and solidifying it with mind-mapping
  • The 10 Literary themes and how to choose the right one for your story
  • How to write the first full draft of your book
  • Basic elements of story writing 
  • Plotting – The 10 most-important plot-structures and selecting one for your book
  • Characterisation – Character arcs, inner conflicts, profiling, importance of backstory & using objects (literally and figuratively)
  • Exploring narration, point-of-views and different styles of writing 
  • How to write scenes – the correct execution of scenes
  • How to write chapters effectively and dividing your book into chapters How to begin and end the scenes in your novel
  • How to write dialogues – The 10 golden dialogue writing rules to perfect techniques, style and formatting
  • How to deal with the problematic middle 75% of your story – Pacing & Tension
  • What is Show & Tell concept, how to save your book from it and how not to get carried away in doing so
  • Understanding Climax, Resolution & Ending – the difference and their elements
  • How to self-revise and self-edit your drafts – a quick guide and a checklist.
  • How to finish your novel

So here I present the Masterclass that will cover everything a writer needs to know in order to start and finish a full-length fiction novel.

What is so special about this Masterclass?

  • It covers topics that other “writing classes or specialists” never talk about. Mostly, in my opinion, because they don’t write that much themselves
  • It is cheaper than any other writing class in the industry especially considering the variety of the topics and the scope of the class
  • Interactive lecture, where you can ask questions right after we finish discussing a topic
  • Lifelong support. Reach out to the instructor, me, at any time through my social media platforms and I’ll be happy to answer your query
  • Special discounts if you later decide to avail any of my writing services – manuscript critique, editing or proofreading. Or any of the publishing packages with Citrus Publishers
  • Certificate of completion from Citrus Publishers
  • Complete course notes along with assignments and exercises
  • Free evaluation of the assignments after the class for up to a month

Details Of Fiction Writing Masterclass:

Date:

  • Batch-1: 25th July 2020 – 11:00 am to 2:20 pm
  • Batch-2: 25th July 2020 – 04:00 am to 08:30 pm

Platform for the workshop: Google Meet

Fees for the workshop: ₹2,000 per person for Indian nationals and $27 for non-Indians (please email me for bulk bookings and discounts.)

Capacity: 10 students per batch

Once you make the payment, you’ll be sent the payment acknowledgement within 24 hrs.

Upon enrolment, you will be added to my Fiction Writing Masterclass WhatsApp group and will receive some reading materials and some writing exercises to do until the day of the workshop.

The main workshop notes would be emailed to you on 20th July (for both batches.)

What would you need for the Fiction Writing Masterclass?

You will need following for the class:

  1. Laptop, computer, tablet or smartphone – anything would do.
  2. If you are using a smartphone, then don’t forget to download the Google Meet app
  3. A good WiFi or mobile data or internet connection
  4. Printout of the notes that I will be sending you
  5. A notebook and pen to take down notes

What will you receive in the Fiction Writing Masterclass?

  • 3 hours of interactive lecture on writing your fiction novel
  • In-depth notes on the lecture (on all topics)
  • Bonus material to help in your writing on the WhatsApp group
  • Writing assignment and some exercises to defeat writer’s block
  • Course completion certificate awarded by Citrus Publishers (in printable PDF format)
  • Being a part of my Writing Pack – that is staying connected to me and other students through the WhatsApp Writing Group for life!

Registration

Please make sure to check the email address and the phone number before submitting the form otherwise I won’t be able to contact you.

Registration Form

Different Types Of Editing

Editing is the process in which a manuscript is modified, corrected and polished thoroughly. In the literary world, there are different kinds of editing. Editing is very subjective, depending upon what exactly is lacking or needs improvement regarding the overall quality of the individual manuscript. For example, in some manuscript, prose needs tightening, whereas in the other the overall plot-structure needs to be fixed, or in some, the scenes are not executed well or the dialogues are lacking in quality, and so on. So the first job of an editor is to determine (based on the sample chapters they are provided by the writer) to determine which kind of editing does their work needs.

Editing is the process of correcting and polishing the manuscript in order to make it stand out.

To understand this better, the editing can be categorised as following::

  • Substantive Editing
  • Developmental Editing
  • Mechanical Editing
  • Line Editing
  • Copy Editing

Now, let’s take a look at the definition of all the types of editing listed above and try and understand them better:

  1. Editing (in the overall sense): Editing involves minor changes that polish your manuscript technically by focusing on the sentence structure, punctuations, spelling mistakes, typos, grammatical errors, pointing out mistakes in the already revised text. While editing, the overall story remains the same.
    Here, ‘fixing’ the manuscript’s structure, as well as the overall plot, is the priority.
  2. Copy Editing: Copyediting, commonly known as line editing, is a light form of editing that lends a professional polish to a book. The editor reviews your work, fixing any mechanical errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
    Copyediting is the least-expensive version of editing. Some professionals divide copyediting and line editing into two separate edits, copyediting being the lighter, grammar-only edit, and line editing being a more intense look at each sentence’s meaning.
  3. Line Editing: Line editing is often used interchangeably with the term copyediting. However, when it is distinguished from copyediting, it refers to a unique edit that falls between copyediting and developmental editing in intensity. In line editing, the editor looks at your book line by line and analyses each and every sentence.
    The editor considers word choice and the power and meaning of a sentence. The editor considers the syntax and whether a sentence needs to be trimmed or tightened. Line editing helps in making the prose sing.
  4. Mechanical Editing: Mechanical editing refers to the application of a particular style, such as The Chicago Manual of Style or Associated Press (AP) Style. The editor looks at punctuation, capitalisation, spelling, abbreviations, and any other style rules.
    Mechanical editing is sometimes included in copyediting.
  5. Substantive Editing: Substantive editing considers a work’s organisation and presentation. It involves tightening and clarifying at a chapter, scene, paragraph, and sentence level.
    Unlike developmental editing, which covers the big-picture issues and deep-level restructuring, substantive editing deals with the actual prose. Substantive editing is sometimes referred to as line editing and can also be confused with developmental editing. Always check with your editor and put in writing what his or her services cover, regardless of the term used.
  6. Developmental Editing: The developmental editor looks deeply at the organisation and strength of a book. Think big picture. The editor considers everything from pacing to characters, point of view, tense, plot, subplots, and dialogue. Weak links are exposed and questioned. The editor scrutinises order, flow, and consistency.
    He asks questions such as: Is this the right number of chapters? Are the chapters and paragraphs in the right order? Are there any places in the book where the pacing lags? Is there a hole in the information or story presented? Are the characters likeable? Developmental editing considers all the aspects of a manuscript that make the book readable and enjoyable.
    Because of the extensive nature of this form of editing, it is more time-intensive and costly. However, it is worth the investment if you are serious about succeeding as an author.

So these are the types of manuscript editing a writer has to inevitably come face-to-face with, at some point or the other, in their writing journey. So it is always advisable to know these terms before you deal with an editor who might expect you to already know about them. Or better yet, it might save you from a trap if, god-forbid, you end up with an editor who doesn’t know what they are doing (believe me, there are a lot of people who just do things for the sake of it, and of course also for the money.) So educate yourself well, before negotiating any kind of deal with an editor especially while self-publishing.

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!

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.

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:

10 Questions To Help You Determine The POV(s) For Your Story

Choosing the main Point Of View(s) for your story is either the simplest or the hardest thing you’ll ever come across while writing your book. Determining the voice which narrates or unfolds your story is a tricky thing because if you select the wrong one your story is doomed.

Sometimes (a few precious instances), you don’t have to think about the POV because either you already have it figured out even before starting the story or know which one comes more naturally to you, the one that suits your writing style and feels like the perfect fit for your story. If you find yourself in this situation then consider yourself very lucky because otherwise, you might have a very hard time figuring it out.

question-1243504_640Rest of the time (i.e., for the majority of your writing career), you won’t know how to go about determining the POV for your story. This happens mainly due to the unyielding need for perfectionism. You want your story to be perfect (obviously!) but you can’t figure out which should be the main or the central voice that tells the story.
Ideally, more than half of the times the answer lies in using multiple POVs, but that comes with another set of problems that I’ll be covering in my next article relating to POVs. But what if you don’t know which multiple POVs to use?

When stuck in the latter situation, you’ll find yourself in a dark endless pit which will drive you to the brink of giving up, and we certainly do not want that. So to make the process of selecting the perfect POV(s) for your story, I’ve come up with a list of 10 questions that you need to ask yourself in order to get the answer to your POV worries.

The 10 Questions:

  1. How much you want to reveal? And how much you want to hold back?
  2. Whose perspective will be interesting for the reader?
  3. Who’s in the middle of most of the conflicts?
  4. How much information about the plot/story you want to reveal?
  5. How much information about the character you want to reveal?
  6. How it’ll affect the pacing of the story?
  7. What are you comfortable with? First person? Second Person? Or Third Person?
  8. How’d you like the reader to perceive your character and story line?
  9. Are there any parts of the story that need to be shown through different perspectives or through scenes that don’t have the main POV character(s) in them?
  10. How many stories are you trying to tell? And are these stories a part of the main story?

The process doesn’t end here. Once you’ve asked these questions to yourself, it’s imperative that you don’t only answer these questions truthfully but also try to understand them in detail so as not to mess it up. Once you’ve laid out the answers, 99% of the times you’ll be able to figure out the POV(s) for your story. The remaining 1% is your gut feeling which will either confirm your decision and make you feel like you’ve conquered the world or (at it happens to me most of the times) will make you doubt everything you just did and will force you to repeat the entire exercise again (and again, till you get it right.)

If you want my advice, never ignore the gut feeling. Otherwise, you’ll regret it later on.

Watch my video podcast on 10 Questions To Help You Determine The POV(s) For Your Story:

If you have any doubts regarding this post or want to share your experiences or anecdotes then please leave a comment below.

Further Reading:

Point Of Views (POVs)

Point Of View, casually known as POV, is one of  the most important literary devices that is used in fiction writing. Determining the perspective from which the story is told is often the making or the breaking point of a novel.

If you make a wrong decision, your readers will be highly disappointed due to lack of plot coherence, and not only this, choosing the wrong POV also affects the bonding between the main characters and the reader, thus, affecting your novel on the whole. But if the point of view is chosen well, the readers will not only love your story and develop a memorable relationship with your characters but will also respect your writing and look forward to reading your other works.

Hence, it won’t be wrong to say that the choice of point of view and its execution shows the writer’s ability, efficiency, and dedication to their story. And in order to make the right choice you need to have an in-depth and precise knowledge about all the POVs before settling on one (or more) for your story.

Definition:

Point of View aka POV is the perspective from which a story is told. Point Of View is what can be called as the voice that tells the story to a reader.

Following are the 3 types of Point Of Views (POVs):

First Person Point Of View

In First Person POV, the narrator is a character himself/herself. The story unfolds as a first-hand experience of the narrator or it can be said that the character is narrating the story.
The information is unreliable as its scope is limited depending entirely on the main character’s knowledge of/in any situation. For instance, if the character is delusional then it creates a problem if you’ll write the entire book from his perspective.

The First Person POV has recently garnered a lot of popularity as a lot of new authors are using it. The advantages of First Person POV is that the reader can relate to the main character quite easily and the bond that follows is very strong. But of course, it requires a high level of expertise to pull it off.

The pronouns used in First Person POV are – I, me and mine.

Types of First Person POV:

  1. First Person Central POV: When the story is told from the point of view of the main character it is known as the First Person Central POV. This helps in developing an intimate bond between the main character and the reader. It often includes internal monolog, personal feelings, etc, which help in making the reader understand the main character inside-out.
  2. First Person Peripheral POV: When the story is told from the point of view of a secondary or a minor character, who can also be an observer, is known as First Person Peripheral POV. This POV is detached and neutral and provides an objective look at the main character.

Popular books written in First Person POV:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Penryn And The End Of Days Series by Susan Ee
Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer

Second Person Point Of View

In Second Person POV, the narration is addressed from one person to the second person.

The disadvantage of this POV is that it is difficult to relate to. It is a form of direct speech and the narrator or the character refers directly to the reader as “you.”

The Second Person POV is rarely used in fiction-writing, though there are some authors who use it for writing their novels.  It is mostly used for instructional writing and how-to books.

The pronouns used in Second Person POV are – You, your.

Popular books written in Second Person POV:

Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney
If On A Winter's Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino
You by Caroline Kepnes
All The Truth that's In Me by Julie Berry
Booked by Kwame Alexander
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Third Person Point Of View

Third Person POV is the point of view in which a narrator (generally, the one who is not part of the story) tells the story.

This is one of the most widely used POV and most of the early literature and classic novels are written in this POV. A lot of contemporary writers still believe that only the stories written in Third Person POV are good, but of course, it’s their personal opinion.

The Third person POV helps the readers understand the main characters from a distance and many believe that this is what makes it so interesting and capturing.

The pronouns used in Third Person POV: He, she, it, him, her, they, them, its. 

Types of Third Person POV:

  1. Third Person Omniscient POV: Omniscient = All-knowing. In Third Person Omniscient POV the narrator knows and reveals the feelings, thoughts, and/or motivations of all the characters (at least partially.)
    Eg. Unwind Series by Neal Shusterman.
  2. Third Person Limited POV: In Third Person Limited POV the narrator knows and reveals the feelings, thoughts, and/or motivations of only a single character, the main character.
    Eg. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling.
  3. Third Person Objective/Dramatic POV: In Third Person Objective POV the narrator knows and reveals no feelings, thoughts and/or motivations of any of the characters. Rather, the narrator reveals only the facts and details about the story.
    Eg. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Popular books written in Third Person POV:

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Maze Runner Series by James Dashner
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Watch my video podcast on POVs:

If you have any doubt regarding POVs or want to share your experiences or anecdotes then please leave a comment below.

Further Reading:

The Font Effect

While working on my first book, Deceived, I hit the much-dreaded writer’s block at a very crucial time – right when my book needed revising. It felt like I hit the bottom of my creative well and I had to abandon my manuscript for almost 2 months.

I was completely devastated and after a few fruitless weeks of consoling myself that I’ll get back to writing soon, I started panicking and then began wondering about my writing altogether.

I’ve had my fair share of writer’s block since I started writing 2 years ago, but this one was the worst I ever dealt with. I tried everything to get over it. Everything. I followed different versions of Writing Rituals, went for jogs, went out for dinners, read 15 books one after the other to break this bad spell of stupor, took full day’s off several times a week, tried writing flash fiction, tried doing Freewriting. But everything backfired and left me completely exhausted. 😦

Every time I tried to open my manuscript, I felt like staring at a blank wall for hours. It really frustrated me that I, the girl-who-was-doing-so-good-with-her-writing suddenly turned into the girl-who-might-not-even-be able-to-complete-her-first-book!

It was literally one of the lowest points in my life because my first book meant everything to me.

At the end, almost giving up on my manuscript, I tried to divert my mind by agreeing to beta read a part of my Australian critique partner’s book. But then the most amazing thing happened!

As soon as I opened her book on my Mac and started reading it, I was struck by how beautiful and neat the file looked. And that was when it hit me.

I closed that file straight away and opened my own manuscript, and the moment I looked at the sad font of my manuscript and I knew why I wasn’t able to work further on it.

I immediately changed the of my MS from Courier Sans to Times New Roman. And…. Viola! Just like that, everything changed!

And the next thing I know, I was revising my manuscript!

I was done revising my manuscript in the next four days, and in those four days, I realized one thing – My book is really good!

You notice how I went from I-should-quit-writing to my-book-is-really-good? This is what I like to call as The Font Effect.

When I started writing my book’s first draft, I used the font Avener Book right till the time my manuscript was ready. Somehow writing in Avener Book helped me write for long hours without any headaches. I really liked it plus it looked beautiful in print. But when I was sending out the inquiries to Literary Agents, I formatted my manuscript according to the standard format and  changed its font to 12 pt. Courier.

Since then my manuscript has been in Courier only, and that’s where the problem began. Somehow my subconscious mind found it repulsive, or to be honest, plain ugly. I developed an aversion to Courier that I still can’t explain. I had a hard time reading more than a page at a time and that too without even it.

After changing the font to Times New Roman, I revised my book three times in one month, then edited it in the following month and sent it to my publisher (with whom I already signed an agreement by then) for the final editing.

Moral of the story – Fonts are very important. And we, as writers, should never underestimate their power.

As I see it, the importance of fonts, in general, is underrated, and most of the time their value gets completely lost amidst other “more important” things.

If you really think about it, fonts are one of the most used tools in a writer’s life.

Can you imagine what the hell would writers do without fonts?

What do you think about The Font Effect? What are your favorite fonts and why do you like them so much?

Feel free to share any stories or experiences you’ve had with fonts (or writing in general.) I love reading and replying to all your comments.

Freewriting – Everything You Need To Know

Freewriting is a very important prewriting technique that not only helps you to get over your writer’s block, but also to tap into your sub-conscience mind and see what all ideas and stories are hiding there.

Most of the times, we get stuck while writing a story, or an article, and simply don’t know what to write next, and sooner or later we find ourselves facing the age old problem – “What to write?”

The only thing that can solve this problem instantly is Freewriting. So, now you know why Freewriting is so important.

Today I will not only tell you what Freewriting is but also show you how it is done using a demo I recorded a few days back. I’ll also tell you how to pick up main streams of thoughts, or, as I like to call them, nuggets of gold, from any Freewriting session. (in order to watch only the demo, watch the second video: Ep. 04 – Freewriting Pt. 02)

Here’s my video podcast on Freewriting:

What is Freewriting?

Freewriting is a prewriting technique in which a writer writes continuously (without stopping) for a predetermined period of time, paying no heed to grammatical mistakes, typos, sentence structure or even the general order of words and sentences.

The whole point of doing Freewriting is that when the writer runs out of things to write consciously, he or she will unintentionally start to write unconsciously if they keep on writing. Don’t bother about what you’re writing. Simply keep on pushing till your predetermined time is over. As soon as the time’s up, stop writing. If you’re in the middle of a sentence, complete it and then stop entirely.

It unclogs your mind and starts a downpour of ideas. Most of the ideas will be crappy, but, trust me, you’ll find at least one idea that’ll be worth working on.

Remember, that it doesn’t matter how much you write or what you write, the only thing that matters is that you write.

How to do it?

Freewriting is the simplest of all writing techniques because you really don’t have to care about anything much other than writing. Following is the step-by-step method to do it:

  1. Grab a pen & paper, or your laptop and open your writing screen.
  2. Set a timer for a particular time (anything between 2-30 minutes.)
  3. Write non-stop, without getting distracted by anything, and by that I mean ANYTHING! If you don’t know what to write, then simply start by writing that, “I don’t know what the hell to write but I’m writing anyway….” and so on.
  4. Stop only when the timer goes off.
  5. If you feel that you have more thoughts coming to your mind, then do another session of Freewriting in a similar way.

Freewriting Demo:

Are there any rules?

Yes. Following are the thumb rules of Freewriting:

  • Write in a distraction-free environment.
  • Don’t bother with the grammar or vocabulary.
  • You can write about absolutely anything
  • You can even write scenes or dialogues this way
  • You can even write about a particular topic in Freewriting sessions.
  • Don’t stop till the timer goes off.
  • If you’re new to writing then start with a Freewriting session of only 2 minutes and then gradually increase the time period
  • You can have multiple Freewriting sessions in a day.
  • You can also do a second round of Freewriting session, immediately after the first one.
  • Never delete your Freewriting sessions. Save them on a disk or on a cloud service (personally, I use DropBox.)

What to do next?

When you’re done with your Freewriting session, follow it through by selecting its and bits of ideas out of it:

  • Read what you’ve written.
  • Make notes – highlight the ideas you think are workable.
  • Work on these ideas in your next Freewriting session to get more flesh on the subject.
  • Keep on doing this till you know what are you going to write about and what are you going to write.

Freewriting will help you tremendously in not only improving your writing habits but also to find some of the best ideas you’ll ever come across. Freewriting is a lifesaver when it comes to writing First Drafts, because it is when you write the First Draft of your project you always get stuck wondering what to write next, and that’s when Freewriting comes in handy.

***

If you have any questions or doubts regarding this article then please ask them below in the comments sections and I’ll try my best to answer them as soon as I can. Also, please feel free to share your thoughts on this topic in the comments as I always love listening to all my readers.

Thank you for reading!


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


The views expressed in this article are my own. This blog is under strict copyright laws and all trademarks have been registered.  If you want to use content on your own site, you must ask permission first before you do so under the restrictions. Thank you!