Friday, 30 November 2012

NaNoWriMo: Nine things I knew not

I became a first-time Wrimo this year when I signed up for the 30-day challenge that NaNoWriMo motivates one to take. This was, however, not my first time at deadline writing and definitely not my last one. As much as I enjoyed this thrilling ride with my Wrimo-friends and my own characters, I must say, the past four weeks have shown me enough of my own meddlesome virtues and prosaic dramas. 

You have to write at least 50,000 insane words of your novel in 30 days which gives you no time for research in between, in case you want an excuse to stray. 

You don’t consult with people, for the more you consult, the more confused you will be. You don’t let anyone read it, for you know it in your heart that none can understand your twisted plot but you. You can’t delay - the more you delay, well, the more you will delay. You can’t quit, for if you quit, you will forever regret it. All you do is finish all the superficial worldly work and write. You write and write and write each day.

Writing like a maniac and observing other Wrimos for the past 29 days has made me realize a few things. 

Your plot will seem to be your BEST idea ever… just for the first week, though. Your October will be spent in thinking about your story, your characters, their names, their backgrounds, their choices, their principles. Mighty prep, I tell you! The first few days of November-writing are cool but then will come a time when you will wonder about other ways of punishing yourself and chuck Nano altogether ‘cause it’s too damn austere. 

NB: Don’t let go of that story. It might be the worst thing ever written in the history of literature but just carry on. The day you finish it, you’ll be proud of that same silly piece that you wrote despite all those evil voices that cheered you to quit.

There will exist a killing relation between time and you. People procrastinate. Writers are people. Writers procrastinate. Deductive logic!
When you plan on writing your novel each day for, say two hours, do consider the time you’ll happily spend with the lovely internet and your pets and your daydreams and the internet again. You wicked master of words, accept it… you just need a reason to kill time. Even the guy with the best schedule will procrastinate.

NB: If you want, you can disallow yourself the pleasures of procrastination, there are articles at your service. Read and apply!

Writing a book is NOT easy. Even if you have millions of story ideas and your craft of expressing through words is beguiling, I feel very sad to break this out to you but writing a novel is not a cakewalk. I guess, I’d never be able to give a one-star to any of the books I read from now on just for the fact that their authors took the plunge and finished it. Well, okay, I will, if it’s too bad but you get the point. Having ideas is not the hard part, the hard part is to start and finish.

NB: Don’t let it bog you down. In the words of David Viscott, “If you could get up the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.” 

Every word matters. No matter how large the fonts are, the number of words will not increase till you type them down. Of course, this is common sense but I was so pissed off by this universal fact that it just needed a mention here, didn’t it?

NB: Write!

Bet on writing those 1667 words ‘every day’ and you’ll lose. One can plan to write everyday but it is not the same as actually sitting down to type those words out. There will be times when you’ll not know what dialogues to write, what conflict to add, which scene to focus on, which way to execute, or maybe just how to stop the darn Facebook. Each delay that you make will strike back like a furious girlfriend. 

NB: You don’t really need to beautify anything. For now, just write!

November is anything but novel. November is not noble enough to let you write your pretty novel. It is the time of festivals. Gah! Society summons you, cleanliness calls you, your blanket beckons you and the internet invites you. Pretty valid reasons to keep your novel aside and excuse yourself. But, my friend, your novel needs you, too.

NB: If November is a month of distractions and responsibilities, so is every other month of the year. Celebrations or no celebrations, you have work to do.

Your inner editor is an ardent follower of your work. It is the capricious Tigger that will spring back and forth no matter how earnestly you try to shoo him off. Editing is not for November. November is for writing. You write and you benevolently give your inner editor a 30 days leave. Even if that snarky mister wants to hang out with you, you should know how to deal with him.

NB: A She inner editor is a tougher case to handle than a He. 

You will want to quit… many times. Believe me when I say this but I wanted to break free of this ordeal almost each day of this month. I had to, in fact, promise myself some lavish chocolates and what-nots to keep writing. It’s undoubtedly tough to prepare for exams and do the Diwali chores and attend the Facebook notifications and, to top it all, create a whole new world and decide its dimensions and practicality all at the same time. Phew! Are people listening? Writers command respect. Now, don’t they?

NB: No, no, no! Do not quit! It’s easy to throw in the towel. Trust me, the first draft of your manuscript will give you more joy than you ever would have thought. Stay focused to experience that joy.

If you really want to do it, then you will. Despite all odds(and I don’t care if this sounds cliché) but despite all odds, you’ll achieve it if you decide it in your heart. That is why it is said, “It’s not about can you, but will you.”

NB: Neil Gaiman worded it for you, “This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It's that easy, and that hard.”

Whatever your word counts are, all you people who dared to step out of your comfort zones to fetch that coveted purple ribbon, you are no less than those managers that work in top-notch companies... rather, I'd say, you are better. You manage the chaos each flaming day without going to any B-School yet with such aplomb that you deserve a Masters in Time Management. 

Kudos! Go, flaunt your progress!

Friday, 9 November 2012

'Why I appreciate Diwali more as an NRI' by Laxmi Hariharan

Enjoy the Diwali Giveaway we have by our very own Laxmi Hariharan, the author of The Destiny of Shaitan, the winner of The Summer 2012 Readers’ Pick Award Contest.

Get to know her more by the post she shares with us today.

Why I appreciate Diwali more as an NRI
Of Laxmi Bombs, Mysore Paks & not fighting to break rules anymore

“Oh! We must buy some fireworks this year for Diwali in fact I’d so love to burst some Laxmi bombs….” I stopped. Good God! Had I just said that? Since being mercilessly teased by the neighbourhood boys about the Laxmi Bomb as a teenager, I had pretty much decided to shun Diwali on principal. What with Silk Smitha painted on every single billboard in town, at that time, the last thing I wanted was to be put in the same category as that bombshell; and being given the alter-ego of a Laxmi Bomb certifiably brought the images of Silk to mind. This was much before The Dirty Picture was released, confirming Silk’s official home in the annals of Indian pop culture trivia. But, apparently the passage of years had dulled the heartache, for here I was, actually pleading with my husband to buy firecrackers—especially phooljhaddis, the sparkly fountains, and uh! The rockets, ie. those ‘L’ bombs

Actually it’s more than that. Gone are the days—I suddenly realized—when I would shudder at the thought of spending yet another Diwali in the bosom of my family.  Obviously I had conveniently forgotten the rite of passage of what it meant to be subjected to the cruelty of the hated festive season. Of being slapped awake at dawn by Amma; then forced to squelch til-oil with mustard & jeera on my hair before washing it with the toughest shampoo possible so as to rub all the squish out—ending with hair that resembled a bottle brush; moving onto wearing new clothes and greeting elders; then bursting the traditional Diwali fireworks by 6am—thus waking up irate neighbours who complained about those strange Madrasi’s next door over their hangover; and finally gobbling up a massive breakfast of the choicest Muruku, Mysore Pak, Kesari & Boondi Ladoo before falling into a food induced stupor for the rest of the day. Yes, guess that was all water under the bridge now.

Where had my dread—of being surrounded by chattering relatives who vied at matchmaking me with that (shudder!) horrible curd-rice eating banker from USA—gone? And when had I turned into one of those ‘older’ relatives who loved to find out more about family politics. Who is divorcing whom? Who is fighting over the family inheritance? Which brothers have fallen out?

 Perhaps it had all changed when I realised that I had a choice. I was no longer forced to do anything. In fact I could decide where I wanted to participate, and pick the family occasions to attend on my visits back to India (all the better for it was the only time I could wear my gorgeous sarees.) At some point over the years, I had become more comfortable with my identity as someone who has the confidence of breaking societal rules. Of course now that I have broken some of them, there’s no fun in fighting it so I am happy to fit in

More than anything I now yearn to celebrate Diwali as an NRI, because it is a way to show that I understand and respect the values of my roots, for they have never let me down. Of course, above all else Diwali is also the time to worship the Goddess of Wealth who I am named after, something I never to fail to tell all my western born friends. Soaking up the wonder they express at that revelation helps too!

About Laxmi Hariharan (in my words): Though born in India, wanderlust drove me out of my home country, and I lived in Singapore and Hong Kong before being based in London where I now live. It was in embracing my roots that I found my voice. My debut novel The Destiny of Shaitan is available on Amazon Reach me here:

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The Destiny Of Shaitan   

Inspired by Indian mythology, The Destiny of Shaitan is a coming of age story, painted against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world.

When Tiina accompanies Yudi on a mission to save the universe from the ruthless Shaitan, she seeks more than the end of the tyrant; she seeks herself. Driven by greed and fear for his own survival, Shaitan bulldozes his way through the galaxy, destroying everything in his path.  Tiina wants Yudi to destroy Shaitan, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Shaitan being killed by his son. But she finds that Yudi is hesitant to do so. The final showdown between Tiina, Yudi, and Shaitan has unexpected consequences, for Shaitan will do anything in his power to win the fight.  The stakes are high and the combatants determined. Will Shaitan's ultimate destiny be fulfilled?

Please click on the link below to enter to win the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hope this Diwali brings health, happiness and such amazing prizes.  *smiles*

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