Wednesday, November 1, 2017

IWSG Post - Do you Finish your NaNo Projects?

 Unbelievable that this is the second last IWSG post of 2017. This year is flying past at a supersonic speed and before we know it, we will be sitting in the lap of 2018.

IWSG is the best thing to happen to writers all over the world. This is an online group of writers who post in support of Insecure Writers Support Group on the first Wednesday of every month. And luckily for us we can discuss all our writing blues, our writing insecurities and worries. And IWSG members all over the world pitch in to encourage and support us or air their own fears and doubts.

Ninja captain Alex J Cavanaugh (author of the Amazon Bestsellers: CassaStar, CassaStorm, CassaFire and Dragon of the Stars) is the founder of this awesome  group. Under Alex, IWSG has grown by leaps and bounds, it has members from many countries in the world, it has a website, it brings out anthologies every year, and it also hosted a Twitter pitch party which was a huge success.

The November 1 question is - Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

Sadly for me I’ve never done NaNo. From the past few years I tell myself I’ll do NaNo, but one year our main festival Diwali was in November, another year I was travelling for 10 days, then another year I had several freelance projects and this year I’m trying to revise and polish my adult novel. I think NaNo and my fate has not aligned. Maybe I’ll finally be able to clear all my assignments and tackle a project for NaNo sometime in the future.

I’m eager to see how many of you all have completed NaNo and how many NaNo novels have been published?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Celebrating the release of Elizabeth Varadan’s Picture Book Dragonella

Elizabeth Varadan is not just one of my first online writing friends, she is also one of the first few to follow me when I started blogging in 2010. Our friendship started then and we kept in touch through emails and facebook. And luckily for us, we met when Elizabeth visited India with her husband. She is the only writing friend and blog buddy who I have met. It was wonderful to sit with her in the park and discuss books.

Elizabeth is a woman of many talents, she writes across genres (picture books, middle grade and has also written a mystery) and she also teaches art.

When I came to know that her latest book Dragonella – a picture book for ages 7 and under, has been published in paperback and e-book formats by Belanger Books, I was super happy to see that one more of her writing dreams has come true.

About the book: "Dragonella is the only dragon at her new school. Other students - trolls, griffins and ogres - are frightened when she breathes fire. The teacher isn't happy when Dragonella's laughter melts the filing cabinet. But when Dragonella's flames save the day during the class party on Legend Day, the teacher and other students learn they shouldn't be quick to judge someone who is different."

Here is the link to Amazon, showing both formats of Dragonella, paperback and ebook: 

Elizabeth’s Blogs: 

Elizabeth’s FB Author Page:  
Elizabeth on Twitter

Link to her MG mystery on Amazon Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls

Here is wishing Elizabeth lots of success for her new book.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG Post – Personal Information Slipping into our Characters

Two more IWSG posts before 2017 bids goodbye to us. Its rightly said that time flies and incase of writers it flies past leaving behind a pile of deadlines that mock us all the time. And we poor creatures console ourselves that we are trying to polish the manuscript that will have agents thronging our doorsteps despite the muse playing hide and seek with us (we wish).

IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) is an online group of writers posting on the first Wednesday of every month. In our posts we grumble about our writing blues (atleast I do) discuss our writing insecurities and worries. Other writers join us either with their advice or like us they too air their writing laundry in public.

This awesome group was started by Ninja captain Alex J Cavanaugh (author of the Amazon Bestsellers: CassaStar, CassaStorm, CassaFire and Dragon of the Stars). Alex is a man of many talents: author, musician and blogger, who has made it his mission in life to help as many people (read writers) as possible. Alex will definitely qualify for sainthood, I can already visualize him in his white robes with a halo and wings guarding writers in the distant future, perhaps I may also be standing behind him with smaller wings and a less brighter halo. Under Alex, IWSG has now become a force to reckon with. Check out the IWSG website to read all the amazing posts by wonderful writers.

October 4 question - Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Yes, several times. I’ve seen that my characters mirror my fears and values. My MG heroine cherishes loyalty a trait I value the most in any relationship and she is also headstrong just like me. Another MG character a 10-year-old boy is scared of dogs, I too am scared of dogs. I would run a mile if I see one near me.

I’ll be hopping over to all your blogs to read your IWSG posts.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

IWSG Post Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing?

It’s time for another IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) post. IWSG is an online group of writers which posts on the first Wednesday of every month. In our posts we discuss everything related to writing, grumble to our heart’s content, freely discuss our writing insecurities and worries. Other writers who were in the same boat as us, but have now managed to get out of it and are sitting on the publishing shore, help us out with their suggestions and advice.

This wonderful group was started by Ninja captain Alex J Cavanaugh (author of the Amazon Bestsellers: CassaStar, CassaStorm, CassaFire and Dragon of the Stars). Under his able leadership IWSG has gone from strength to strength, it has published few anthologies. The IWSG website is full of writing information and now finds its place in Writer’s Digest 19 Annual 101 Best Websites for Writers and has also hosted its first twitter pitch contest on 27th July. That’s our Ninja Captain for you.

The IWSG September 6th question is: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example by trying a new genre you didn’t think you would be comfortable in?? 

Yes. I’ve just written a romance novel for adults, after years of writing middle grade and I’m surprised by my own writing. While doing my second draft I was quite impressed with my writing and myself and I enjoyed the new genre and age group.

I’m eager to read all your posts and find out whether you all are impressed with your writing.

P.S. I’m posting a day late because the Internet was down from the past few days due to heavy rains in my area. It has just resumed five minutes back.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Sacrifices We Make As Writers

The other day I was thinking that unlike some of my friends I neither watch too much television or movies nor do I spend too much time gossiping on the phone. The reason is I would rather spend that much time on reading books.

Many people tell me that nowadays the calls are so cheap, infact with the Internet packs we subscribe to, the calls are free, so why am I not calling them up? My reply more often than not is, “the calls are free but I am not.” My reply I’m sure must be rubbing people the wrong way.

Most people don’t get it that a writer’s life is seldom easy. There are so many things we do that are a part of writing: researching the characters (both the protagonist and the antagonist) and their hobbies and traits, plotting, writing the multiple drafts, critiquing someone else work, revisions, researching agents and publishers, agonizing over the query letter and the dreaded synopsis, that our lives are far from easy or simple.

Though we may not have a day job, but our writing is definitely more than a nine-to-five-job. Infact I would say it’s a twenty-four hour job, our characters are constantly running around in our minds and the erratic muse loves to play hide and seek, so whenever the muse appears the writer is busy writing to make the most of the inspiration.

Where does all this leave me the time to waste my hours in gossiping or watching serials or movies? I would rather polish my craft by critiquing my critique partners’ books or learning from other writers by reading their books.

What about you all? What kind of sacrifices you have made as a writer?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

IWSG Post What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

I look forward to the first Wednesday of every month, as that’s the time we write our IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) posts. This online group of writers gives me/us the chance to discuss everything related to writing, which would bore a non-writer to tears. As most of the other writers are in the same boat as me: going through writer’s blocks, facing rejection from agents, harassment from our characters, seeing deadlines whoosh past, getting overwhelmed with edits or first drafts, grumbling about the slow response or lack of response from editors and  agents, or low sales, it’s nice to discuss it with people who will nod in understanding, maybe even add their bit to it.

Credit for creating this amazing group goes to Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh (author of the Amazon Bestsellers: CassaStar, CassaStorm, CassaFire and Dragon of the Stars). IWSG has gone from strength to strength. It has published few anthologies, has a website full of amazing writing information and now finds its place in Writer’s Digest 19 Annual 101 Best Webites for Writers and has hosted its first twitter pitch contest on 27th July. Quite an amazing feat for a group that has been around just for a couple of years.

The August IWSG question is: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

While reading I hate it when a writer breaks the golden rule of show but don’t tell. I reviewed a book a few days back and the author indulged in a lot of telling throughout the book. Another pet peeve of mine is when a writer sticks to a stereotypical plot where I have guessed what will happen next. This bugs me no end. This too happened last week when I reviewed a book for the newspaper. And another peeve is when the authors repeats the same thing again and again. This happened in the book which I mentioned as having a stereotypical plot. I was just waiting to finish that boring book, write my review and be done with it.

I am looking forward to reading what your pet peeves are while reading/writing/editing are.

Friday, July 21, 2017

IWSG Twitter Pitch Party on July 27th

I know I’ve not been regular on blogosphere, neither am I posting nor am I commenting regularly, but life and its commitments are pressing in on me and making me go missing in action on blogland. I just hope my blog buddies missed my absence online because I missed you all. I’m also trying to get as many manuscripts as possible in shape for IWSG Pitch party on Twitter on 27th July.

Here are the details of the IWSGPit and the list of genres and agents participating and the rules of the pitch contest.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Twitter Pitch Party #IWSGPit on July 27, 2017 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Eastern Time.

All writers and authors are invited to participate in our very first Twitter Pitch.

Create a Twitter-length pitch for your completed and polished manuscript and leave room for genre, age, and the hashtag. On July 27, Tweet your pitch. If your pitch receives a favorite/heart from a publisher/agent check their submission guidelines and send your requested query.

Many writers have seen their books published from a Twitter pitch - it’s a quick and easy way to put your manuscript in front of publishers and agents.


Writers may send out 1 Twitter pitch every 1 hour per manuscript.

Publishers/Agents will favorite/heart pitches they are interested in. Publishers can either Tweet basic submission guidelines or direct writers to their submission guidelines. (Writers, please do not favorite/heart pitches.)

No images allowed in pitches.

Pitches must include GENRE/AGE and the hashtag #IWSGPit.

#C - children’s
#MG - middle grade
#YA - young adult
#NA - new adult
#A - adult
#AD - adventure
#CF - Christian fiction
#CO - contemporary
#F - fantasy
#H - horror
#HI - historical
#LF - literary fiction
#MCT - mystery/crime/thriller
#ME - memoir
#NF - non-fiction
#PB - picture book
#PN - paranormal
#R - romance
#SF - sci-fi
#WF - women's fiction

Participating Publishers and Agents:

*Authors, please check out the publishers and agents before #IWSGPit day and before submitting.*

Please join us and spread the word! 

How many of you all are hoping to join the IWSG Twitter Pitch Party?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

IWSG Post -The Valuable Lesson I have Learnt in Writing

I am really glad that I joined IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group), an online writers group posting on the first Wednesday of every month. After joining IWSG and reading other writers’ posts I realized that I am not alone with so many writing related fears and anxieties swamping my mind. IWSG Writers who have been in my position have helped me out with their suggestions and advice.

Founded by Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh (author of the Amazon Bestsellers: CassaStar, CassaStorm, CassaFire and Dragon of the Stars) IWSG is going from strength to strength. It has published a couple of anthologies, has an amazing website and has now been featured in Writer’s Digest 19 Annual 101 Best Webites for Writers and it will have its first twitter pitch contest on 27th July.

For today’s IWSG hop Ninja Captain Alex’s army consists of Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt, Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key and Doreen McGettigan.

The July IWSG question : What is one Valuable lesson you have learned since you started writing?

Though I have learnt a lot of lessons ever since I started writing, the one valuable lesson I have learnt is to believe in my writing. As writers if we don’t believe in our work, no one else will. We have to constantly motivate ourselves and boost our morale, because the road to publishing is an uneven road paved with many obstacles, each of them will lower our self-confidence and push us closer to frustration and despair. Lots of things in the publishing world are not in our control, the only thing in our hands is our writing and for that we must keep writing, inspite of the rejections. We must trust the fact that God wanted us to write for a reason, and we can’t just give it up so easily.

I’m looking forward to reading all the IWSG posts and seeing what was the most valuable lesson you all have learned ever since you started writing.

Friday, June 23, 2017

When life throws obstacles in my way

From the past few months, life has been throwing a whole lot of obstacles my way, and these have stopped me from working on my manuscript. I have been doing so many freelance projects that I have no time to write my own stories. I just managed to work on the second draft of my love story and it took me ages to do that and I’m sure I didn’t do a great job.

I have been so late for a book review that the editor of the newspaper had to send me a gentle reminder about it. But she was also very understanding when I told her that I wasn’t well.

My books to be reviewed list is piling up. My critique partner Mark Noce has sent me his new novel for feedback.

I have ignored my blog and blog buddies’ for days. I have no clue what’s happening in blogosphere.

I feel that to cope with all my other writing and writing related activities, I need to put aside my own manuscript for a few days. That’s the only way I’ll get any work done.

How are thing with you all? How are you managing your writing with other things?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

IWSG Post – Did you ever say I quit

Every time IWSG rolls into view, I realize that a month has flown past at a dizzying speed. I’ve completed a few writing goals for May, but my word count is pretty dismal. Every week I make a few writing resolutions and at the end of the week, I shake my head at my snail’s place.

IWSG aka Insecure Writers Support Group is a wonderful online group of writers who post on the first Wednesday of every month, which is our let off all the writing steam day (else we would all burst). We can grumble about our lack of attention, talk of our writing worries and fears, mourn our pathetic word counts, discuss our querying frustrations, or talk of any other writing related insecurity. Other writers who have been there and done that, help us out with their advice and suggestions. Check out the IWSG website for wonderful writing tips. You can read the other IWSG posts here.

Many years down the line Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh (author of the Amazon Bestsellers: CassaStar, CassaStorm, CassaFire and Dragon of the Stars) and founder/creator of IWSG will go down in writing history for starting this awesome group. When great scientists and inventors will be mentioned, Alex’s contribution to writers’ sanity will be remembered.

June question – Did you ever say “I quit?” If so what happened to make you come back to writing?

Several times I have decided that I will quit writing (by that I mean I will not submit my book to publishers or query agents), but every time God has other plans for me. Whenever the thought of quitting crosses my mind, there is always some writing good news ringing my doorbell (it could be plenty of freelance work, lots of agent love during a twitter pitch contest, an invitation to judge a competition in a school, a newspaper editor requesting a few book reviews, a short story to submit, or to write some course material for school books.)

Even if I am not actually working on my books, I’m always writing something or the other. Its then I realize that God wants me to keep writing, that he is indirectly motivating me to keep striving, to have patience and enthusiasm and not give up.

My “I quit” lasts just for a few hours as after that God’s plans for me takes over. I am super eager to read how you all have tackled the fatal disease of “I quit,” and how you all motivate yourselves to keep writing.

Friday, May 26, 2017

My book reviewing woes

I’ve mentioned many times that I review books for two newspapers. With so much responsibility comes a big headache. It’s not possible for me to like every book I read and review and my editor has specifically asked me to be very honest in my reviews and point out the flaws in the books.

Just two days back I finished reviewing a book for the newspaper, to be honest my review wasn’t a favourable one. Actually while reading the first few pages I realized that I didn’t like the way the writer had treated the historical character. Infact, she had made him look like a buffoon. I was absolutely shocked that the book had been published by a big publisher. I mean it made a mockery of an entire section of history, so as to come across as cool and funny, and it had such a flippant tone that I was tearing out my hair in frustration.

Sometimes I wonder how do the commissioning editors overlook all this. I mean when they have so much power vested in them, shouldn’t they be extra careful about the kind of books they publish? Shouldn’t they be concerned with the kind of writing that comes out of their publishing house. Here I’m not saying that the book was badly written with poor grammar and sentence structure. Far from it. I admit that the author had done a lot of research and familiarized us with things we had no knowledge of, but she could have done so without lampooning so many things in history.

Though my review has not belittled the author or her writing skills, I’ve mentioned what I didn’t like about the book (there were many things) and I have clearly mentioned all of them. I feel when the review is published in a few days, I will be ruffling quite a few feathers. But there was no way I could lie and give the book a good rating or praise it when it didn’t deserve it.

Do you think I did the right thing? Should I have overlooked what I didn’t like and not mentioned it in my review? What would you have done in my place?

Friday, May 12, 2017

My Interview on Victoria’s Blog

From the past few days I've been so immersed in family health issue that I had no time to come online, or post on my blog or even visit any blogs.

Last week on 2nd May Victoria Grace Howell of the blog Wonderer’s Pen posted my interview about my country and my writing.

You can read all about my favourite food, the places to see in Bangalore, the books and movies that represent my country best and our festivals and customs.

Hop over there for a small virtual tour of India.

Here is the link to the interview on Victoria’s Blog

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

IWSG Post – The weirdest/coolest thing I have researched for my story

It’s time for another IWSG post. The months seem to be hurtling past with my deadlines waving sarcastic goodbyes to me, my writing goals are just not getting accomplished and let’s not even talk of my reading goals and I won’t even mention my fitness goals. See how well I started my Insecure Writer’s Support Group Post (IWSG) by grumbling, grumbling and grumbling some more.

The purpose of IWSG is to allow the members to talk of their writing worries, anxieties, doubts, fears and grouses. On the first Wednesday of the month we post about whatever is bugging us where our writing is concerned. The IWSG has a fabulous website.

This wonderful group was started by Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh (author of the Amazon Bestsellers: CassaStar, CassaStorm, CassaFire and Dragon of the Stars). This online group works as a major stress buster for us writers, helping us let go of all our writing angst.

The May IWSG question: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you had to research for your story?

For my last book, I researched about dogs, and anyone who knows me well, knows about my fear of dogs (I can run faster than any Olympic athlete when I see a canine.) I spent one whole day on Youtube watching videos on dogs: how they walk, bark, run, chase and fight, wag their tails and believe it or not how they kiss. My mom who happened to enter my room at that time was shocked. I’m sure she thought I was going mad.

Two days back I completed a commissioned story for The Young World supplement of The Hindu Newspaper where I wrote a story on the Olive Ridley Turtle. I spent some time watching videos on how turtles come to the shore to lay eggs.

As writers we research a lot and trust me if someone were to see our search history on our laptops they would be shocked and spooked (perhaps they will stop keeping in touch with us).

I’m eager to read what is the coolest/weirdest thing you all ever had to research for your story?

Friday, April 21, 2017

My Deadline Has Waved Goodbye To Me

I had set a strict deadline to finish a book, so that I could revise and edit it in time to participate in a twitter pitch party. The deadline came and went, waving a mocking goodbye to me, and I realized that I was not even halfway through the project, though I managed to write a few pitches for it.

I postponed the deadline by two months. As this particular deadline is looming large, I realize that I still have a long, long way to go. If I do a rushed up job, I know I’ll be doing injustice to the project, as well as to myself.

This has made me push the deadline by a few more weeks. I am not sure that I’ll meet that deadline too.

I feel bad that I won’t be able to complete my book for that particular pitch party. I’ll have to wait a few more months for it to come again. By then I’m sure the book will be more than ready. I’m very angry with myself for this slow writing. But summer always has that effect on me. It makes me sluggish and grumpy and very lazy.

But luckily for me I have another book that I may be able to polish for that particular pitch contest. This idea has cheered me up quite a bit. Fingers crossed so that I am able to achieve this particular goal.

How are you all at handling deadlines? Are you able to meet them? Or like me do you keep postponing them?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

IWSG Post - My Panster Woes

We are already in the 4th month of 2017.  This year too like its predecessors is flying past at an alarming speed, leaving many of us writers stranded with our writing goals. A couple of my deadlines have whooshed past me, mocking my laziness.

 It’s the first Wednesday of the month, time for our monthly IWSG post. IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) is the place we writers hang around online, sharing our writing insecurities, anxieties, worries, clearing our doubts and learning from each other. As all the writers are at different stages of their publishing journey, there is a wealth of information on the IWSG website. we post on the first Wednesday of every month. To read the other IWSG posts, click here.

We all must thank Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh (author of the Amazon Bestsellers: CassaStar, CassaStorm, CassaFire and Dragon of the Stars) for starting this wonderful group, which works as a major stress buster for us writers.

This month I have given myself a strict deadline of finishing a manuscript I had started sometime back. For that I have to write fast and I am actually pansting quite a bit of the story. I haven’t done any heavy duty plotting and have only a rough idea of what the ending will be like and what the major turning points will be.

This panster way of writing is giving me anxiety attacks, as I like to have a plot outline in mind before I start telling the story. Though between plot points I give myself the freedom to move any which way, but whichever direction I take, I know where I have to reach because the next major plot point is waiting for me.

I am wondering how other writers are such amazing pansters. How do they write without any outline? Can anyone give me any tips? I am eager to read all your IWSG posts and see what writing worries are bugging you this month.

April 5 Question: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results? 

I have not used the A to Z Challenge to market my book or for the publicity of my book. I have done the Challenge just once and my book didn’t get published in the year I participated in the A to Z Challenge. But it sounds like a good idea for book promotion!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Wading through 100 pages of Research

Writing a book on Ganesha and Kartikeya has made me do such an extensive research that my mind boggles when I see the 100 pages of Hindu Mythology staring at me. As this is one of my most ambitious projects I don’t want to goof up by getting the facts wrong and incurring the anger of people. 

 As I write fantasy, I don’t do much research except to check for some facts and that takes barely a few minutes. For my last book on dogs I did quite a bit of research but definitely not 100 pages. And that was because I am scared of dogs so I needed to get their body language and behavior right. I also watched a few videos on You Tube to see how dogs walk and their expressions etc.

But writing a book on Hindu Mythology is not for the faint-hearted. The internet is brimming with information and it took me several days to download all the information I would need. Now I have a huge pile of printed pages to wade through.

One good thing is happening, as I am reading the pages, lots of character details and subplots are popping up in my mind. I’m just on page 17 and already I feel I can make this a series or atleast a trilogy. And ofcouse with all this reading there is the added bonus of getting better acquainted with our Gods and mythology.

How much research do you all do? Do you think such an extension research is required?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Is it Necessary for Writers to be on so many Social Sites?

Everyday I see that more and more writers and other people have joined so many social media sites: Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, G+, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Snapchat. I am astounded at the number of applications people download on their cellphones and the id’s they create on so many sites.

 It’s mindboggling to have so many accounts on different networking sites, to update them, follow people, see their updates, comment, like and share. Where does one get the time to focus on their work?

I’m a lazy social networker. If I am tweeting regularly, you can rest assured that I have ignored my blog and FB page. And If I’m blogging regularly, it goes without saying that my Twitter and FB accounts have been sent on a short holiday. I’m personally unable to handle so much social media all at once. My MO is a little at a time.

As it is I feel I am losing my writing focus from the past few weeks. And as I review books for the newspapers, I have a steady list of books on my desk at any given time. And on top of that if I had to handle an avalanche of networking sites I would go bonkers.

Whenever I see other writers managing so many different accounts and quite well at that, I feel a little envious and I wonder how do they do it? Do they have a secret ability that I haven’t got? Are they better multi-taskers than me? How are they able to juggle so many things, and work on their books, unlike me?

I barely manage to meet my writing deadlines, almost always missing my personal writing goals for the day. I sometimes feel I should just deactivate my 3 accounts for a few months and get some serious writing done.

How do you all cope with so many social media sites? What is your routine like? Any tips for a hopeless creature like me who is unable to manage her Facebook, Twitter and Blog and work on her books at the same time?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

IWSG Post-Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it?

Two months of 2017 have waved goodbye to us. Looks like this year is in a tearing hurry to be a blip in our lifetime. It's time for another IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) an online group of writers posting on the first Wednesday of every month. IWSG posts give us a chance to discuss all aspects of writing which we are unable to discuss with non-writers. It’s a relief to discuss the worries, anxieties, fears and insecurities which haunt our writing space. Other writers who have undergone these feelings and overcome them help out with their advice and tips. Check out the IWSG website for amazing writing tips. To read the other IWSG posts, click here.

If we mention IWSG, can Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh (author of the Amazon Bestsellers: CassaStar, CassaStorm, CassaFire and Dragon of the Stars) be far behind. This wonderful group is his brainchild. A4 (Amazing, Adorable and Awesome Alex) has ensured that we writers retain our sanity by giving us a chance to let off all our writing steam (stress, doubts and worries) in a healthy way through these posts.

March 1 IWSG Question: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Yes, I have pulled out a couple of old stories and reworked them. But to be honest, I lost interest midway while revising one old story and had absolutely no interest while tackling the revisions for the second story. I thought I was wasting my time, I felt it would be better if I spend that time working on a new story. I also felt that both the stories sucked and they were full of cliches and the writing was so crappy that I wanted to hide myself in that dusty drawer out of embarrassment.

I am eager to read all your posts to see how you all tackled your older stories which were gathering dust in drawers.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Can writers survive on income from their books?

As writers we all are so focused on our novels, that we seldom think of anything else. Ours characters, plot points, story arcs and chapter endings absorb our mind to such a large extent that we have no mind space for anything else. And once we are done with the actual writing, then our critique partners and beta readers come into the picture. After that we bury ourselves in the revisions process. And once the book is ready to travel out into the world onto its steady legs, we get immersed in the submission process. Instead of the current heart throb of the nation, we see dreams of agents and six figure deals, and if we are lucky enough maybe we even attend the premier of our book made into the movie, in our dreams. Writing our books takes a long time. Sometimes we work for more than a year or so on one single book.

What I am trying to say is that if we were to survive solely on the royalty from our books, we all would be on a perpetual diet, as our book/s income is nothing much to write home about. So, we all have a part-time job or a full-time one (where we write in our free time) that pays our bills. Most of the writers I know do a lot of odd writing jobs to supplement their incomes.

I was teaching creative writing part-time in college and I also write features for newspapers and do book reviews for two newspapers as well as create course material for Oxford University Press.

I am aware that almost all my blog buddies write books, but what I want to know is have you ever written for different mediums like the television, movie scripts, websites, school textbooks, newspapers, magazines, websites, video games, teaching in schools and colleges etc?

What do you all do other than writing books? Do you have a job and write in your free time?

Friday, February 10, 2017

My New Obsession – A T.V Show Called Zindagi Ki Mehak

I have said time and again that I hardly see T.V (I would rather read a book), as most of the shows being aired have never struck my fancy, neither do I have the time nor the energy to invest in a daily soap, where the villains and vamps rule the small screen, making things difficult for the lead pair.

But all this changed last year when I saw the promo of a new show called Zindagi Ki Mehak, when I was chatting with my mother while she was watching her favourite show. Something about the promos attracted me, and I decided that I would watch this show when it started. So on Monday 19th September, I sat down in front of the T.V. at 8 p.m. and started watching my first ever show.

The serial started off very well, it was about following your dreams and women empowerment. The heroine/female lead is a doll who has wriggled her way into every viewer’s heart and when the male lead made his entry, the entire female population of the country sighed collectively and went into a mass swoon. The story was fresh, there were no villains and vamps, and the lead pair has a sizzling chemistry that burns up the small screen.

The reason I’m discussing this show is because as a writer I’m constantly wondering that if this was my book or story, how would I tackle this plot point (which in television language means a track) and I also had no idea that when the makers mention an upcoming twist in the daily soap it means that a new track will start. My television knowledge has come via Amrita, a girl who would reply to all my tweets whenever I tweeted about this show.

It’s the story of this simple, middle class girl Mehak Sharma who loves to cook. She is forced by her aunt to join India’s Super Cook where she meets the celebrity judge Shaurya Khanna, a leading hotelier of Delhi and also one of its most eligible bachelors. Both of them are not aware that they chat frequently as FB friends, cause they haven’t revealed their real identity online. In due course they fall in love and their wedding ceremonies start.

When Shaurya ran away from his wedding, leaving his bride at the mandap, I joined the other fans in creating an uproar online. Plenty of Shaurya bashing started. My main concern was that this was sending out a wrong message, that a guy can fake love to a girl and then ditch her at the altar once his selfish motive (in this case a recipe book) is fulfilled, without feeling guilty.

Everyone who watches this show discusses it passionately online, and has an opinion on how the story should move forward, including me. Sometimes I wonder are we as viewers getting too opinionated and interfering with the story and spoiling things for the writers. Isn’t it a writer’s prerogative of how a story should move forward? The other day I had a strong pang of anxiety when I realized that as a writer would I like to be told how to write my story. Definitely not. I would welcome feedback but certainly not interference. I do feel that the male lead’s character is being butchered and it's going to be an uphill task to redeem his image in the viewers’ eyes. I hope the writers have a reason for it and the solution.

Okay, there are certain stereotypes of the suffering girl and the humiliation piled on her, the insults on her middle-class stature, body shaming her, jilting her at the altar, that makes me want to give the male lead and the writers a good shake, but at the same time the female lead is gusty and is always quick to get back on her feet after every fall and more often than not gives back as good as she gets.

I was just telling a friend that I feel I should just enjoy this serial, without screaming instructions over the creative teams’ shoulder or try to tell the writer (via telepathy) how to take the story forward. Have you had this problem? Do you keep thinking that if this was your story in which direction would you take it? Do you find it difficult to switch off your writer’s mind when you watch TV shows?

Picture Courtesy. I have taken the photograph from one of the fan pages.