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Archive for September, 2013

Book review – Tell Me Your Dreams by Sidney Sheldon

I think no matter how many Sheldon books I read the main line of the review would be the same, at least for all I had read till now, and that is: you can’t put it down. If you have the time in your daily routine and even if you don’t, it holds true. He’ll build on your curiosity and when it’s at the peak he’ll veer off to what looks a totally new direction, a haphazard tangent which is usually terribly frustrating to the reader. So much that you have to keep yourself glued to the book.

In this book a new rarely read and interesting subject has been taken. Mental illness, murder, anger all is intertwined tightly in a rope you will find hard to unravel till Sheldon decides to hand the thread. While I was reading and right when I finished it, all I could think of was one word. Brilliant. But now I have had a chance to look at it dispassionately and yes, I’m doing the author a disservice assessing the book after emerging from the cloud of absolute spellbinding fascination he’d woven with his tale. Anyway, on reflection, to me many things were too pat. Some characters were too easily fooled. Some questions left unanswered. That’s about the argument I can present without citing a spoiler.

I give it five stars for hooking the reader (readability), five stars on concept, four star for my takeaway impression.
If you want a book to take you away from your present and have you grappling with its incredibility, go for this.

If you’ve read it, what was your impression? Are you a Sheldon fan? Are you irritated by an overdose of suspense in his books? Share your views. I’d love to hear them!

Seven Tips for writing a Short Story

The short form of story telling is a different packet of noodles altogether. More like the instant kind. You don’t have the luxury to wait them to simmer and be done. No riffling comfortably through pages waiting for the build-up and the show-down. So, how to go about tackling a short story when writing?

I had never really thought of writing a short story. Having written a few for blogs and some more which I just toyed with and didn’t have the courage to submit anywhere, I tried my hand for a short story contest with Harper Collins India – and won! In the contest, I had to first outline an idea and then if the idea was selected, I had to write the full. When I sat down to write, I looked up lots of writing advice which gave me courage to believe I could write this format and that story is set to appear in an anthology out this December. Yay!

 So based on my experience and research, here are my tips.

 Stick to one problem or incident

 This is the  most important thing I’ve found worth keeping in mind. You can’t fit a lot of subplots in a short length, so it’s better to be specific. What is the problem confronting your character now? Which of the pressing issues she has to deal with right at the moment which demands action. Not desires or needs to be pondered on. What she has to do now.

 Chart your characters

 No matter even if it’s a short format, you have to know your characters or the aspect you want to come out in the story. It can be instinctive knowledge or deliberate sketch out, but anyway you should know how they will react. My suggestion is to think out at least one important incident about their childhood, youth and current situation each. It helps to define a character well.

 Make every word count

 This was really difficult for me as I’m given to repetition in my writing. I use it a lot for emphasis or escalation of feeling. For novels also it is inadvisable. But it’s a total no no where short stories are concerned. Had to learn that. The good was when I edited out the repeats, it gave me space for more. However, you don’t need to do the extra work. Stick to simple, stark description and strong verbs.

 Have a well rounded conflict

 Make it convincing from all angles. Writing is about emotion but without logic in your argument, you’ll have readers shaking their heads and putting down the work. For example, if the character faces money problems and has to do something illegal because of that, you can’t have her putting on diamond earrings in the scene. Well, you can but you’ll have to explain why she can’t sell them to take care of her troubles. So on. Always think out the motivation for the character’s action. Elementary but so easily missed in the flow of writing.

 Anchor your scenes

 This is especially difficult when you have little amount of words to work with. You cannot indulge in pages of description. Instead depend on the senses to anchor your reader. Smell. Hearing. Is your character in a boat? Have her feel the spray rather than describe the roll of the waves . Also it’s better to have just one or two changes of scenes in the whole story. Any more and you’ll be wasting words in description rather than using them to advance the plot.

 Pace 

 Keep it tight throughout. More importantly use the same tone in the whole story. Is it light and humorous; dark and with underlying threat of danger? Serious and delving into psyche of characters? I wouldn’t advise changing the mood midway, unless there’s special cause for it. Want to build the momentum? Use short sentences for speed.

 Resolution 

 The resolution should be well delineated. Satisfactory or cliffhanger? The cliffhanger which leaves you coming to your own conclusions is  more common in short stories. In any case, it should still make a statement and leave an impact on the characters…thereby on the reader.

Most of all have FUN writing!

So did you find this post helpful? Have any more tips to share? Let’s hear them. I’d love to know your views.

 

Safe And Sorry

If you play within the rules and always act sensible, will you keep yourself problem-free? Theoretically, you should. That’s how life works, doesn’t it? Obedient children don’t get to stand in the corner. Someone who hits the brakes meters away from the red light is unlikely to get into trouble with the traffic police. So the wise ones of us, the well-disciplined ones must always lead a smooth, easy life. shouldn’t they? If you’re careful never to lose your heart, you can’t get hurt.

Or can you?

Have you ever got stuck into trouble in spite of being wise?

That’s my heroine Vishakha’s quandary in my book Bollywood Fiancé For A Day. Her trouble is that she has kept on the safe side of life. She even agrees to an arranged marriage as per the Indian tradition. But fate doesn’t spare her from deception and hurt. That too, from her trusted ones. Her sister and fiance profess they have fallen in love with each other and all she can do is stand aside out of their way. At the same time earning pitying looks of her extended family.

If your pride was trampled and an attractive Bollywood idol offered you a way to rebuild it? Wouldn’t that be hard to refuse?

But can Vishakha trust him?

Should she? A glam Bollywood star so distant to her own universe.

What do you think?

What about you? Have you ever played safe and ended up still sorry? Share it here. I’d love to hear 🙂

Get to know Adite Banerjie

Please welcome Harlequin author and dear friend Adite Banerjie. Adite is looking forward to the release of her debut book ‘The Indian Tycoon’s Marriage Deal’. Let’s hear more about the book and the writing journey from the author herself by the way of this question-answer session.

Q: Tell us something about yourself and how you got into writing?

Thank you so much, Ruchi, for hosting me on your blog.

I have been writing so long that I don’t remember a time I wasn’t! Soon after I graduated from college I did a course in journalism and I knew that I wanted to be a writer. After a fulfilling and exciting career in journalism I decided to switch to content writing and researching/writing about social development issues, and consumer and marketing issues. I tried my hand at fiction writing and got hooked to screenwriting. For several years I would crunch numbers and write reports during the day and lurk on screenwriting forums to learn the craft at night. Writing a novel was the only thing that I hadn’t planned to do.  LOL.

Q: Your experience of writing a book – easy as pie or hard as nails?

Actually a bit of both. There were times when I was writing up a storm and the book was virtually flying off my fingers. And there were times when I struggled to write even 500 words. If I wrote 100 words I would cut out 150!

Q: What motivates you to write?

My life pretty much revolves around writing. If I’m not writing a book, I’m working on a script or an article or my blog.

Q: What inspired The Indian Tycoon’s Marriage Deal?

I have always been a fan of Mills & Boon novels that had a revenge theme. And I knew that I had to write a story about a girl who wants revenge. The rest just followed.

Q: Please describe your book briefly.

Here’s the back cover blurb for “The Indian Tycoon’s Marriage Deal”.

 “Krish Dev needs to find a bride—and quick! With a marriage arranged by his father looming, Krish finds the key to his freedom in Maya Shome, but is this dazzling beauty really all she seems? Maya has only one thing in mind: revenge. But when the host of the most exclusive high society party asks her to dance what is meant to be an innocent tango leads to an engagement to Krish—her enemy’s son! Arranging their own marriage could work to their advantage…if they can resist mixing business with pleasure!”

 Q: Tell us about the main characters in your book.

Maya Shome is an independent young woman who has had a pretty tough life. She works as a landscape designer. After the death of her only parent she vows to wreak revenge against the man who ruined him. Krish Dev is the reluctant heir of his father’s business empire. But he has serious issues with his dad and besides he is setting up his own business project. He knows how manipulative his dad can be and will do anything to stay out of his control.

Q: How do you overcome writer’s block?

I have come to realise that a bad case of writer’s block usually means that there’s something in my WIP that’s not working. So I try to look at the problem from different angles and brainstorm different approaches and then go with the one that I think would work best.

Q: Does writing get in your way of life?

Someone very wisely said, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” I think, in my case, the first one is infinitely easier than the second! LOL.

Q: What’s next in your writing plans?

I plan to finish a script that I have begun and am very excited about. I have just finished my second book for Mills & Boon which is set at a big fat Indian wedding.

And here comes our rapidfire round:

Favourite movie

Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (Hindi) and Casablanca (English).

Worst movie

Housefull

Any secret habits?

They are best kept secret! J

Actor you’d fall for in a heartbeat.

George Clooney.

Favourite book

Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh.

Fallback option when the fridge is empty 😉

Domino’s pizza or any other takeaway!

What comforts you when things go bad?

Playing with my dog.

Your most comfortable outfit

T-shirt and jeans. 

Great answers, Adite! Lovely to have you here and looking forward to reading your book.

You can find her at:

Website :  http://aditebanerjie.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AditeBanerjieWriter

Twitter: @adite

Buy her book at :

Infibeam

Makemeread

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