My Writing Journey
In the beginning of my career, writing was not a part of the core tasks that I was expected perform. My creative writing ventures had been limited to the submissions I made for my school magazine, or the speeched I wrote for myself for various events that were conducted at college or in my organization. Structured writing of research papers was a part of my curriculum during my MBA. But that was again a job that needed to be done within a certain premise. Years later, I came to be a free-lance admissions consultant to help candidates write and edit their Statements of Purpose and Essays to present their profiles in the best light. That was the first time, I came to understand story-telling. Though the scope was limited, but it was story telling nevertheless. I was helping people write their stories to answer the queries about their strengths, weaknesses, challenges faced in personal/professional lives and their greatest learnings till date.
The leap to fiction came much later, and before I knew I was writing fan-fictions and blog posts talking about my personal experiences as a mother. Within three years, I had penned over 200 blog posts, and published two books. I feel a sense of accomplishment as a writer, when people appreciate my style and say that they like to read my stories.
Yet, I always felt the need to acquire some formal training in the form of an e-course to further hone my creative writing skills. Thus came into picture the Creative Writing Course by Blogchatter. As a part of the program, we were provided several resources. Some of these resources were in the form of videos and tweet sessions by eminent personalities in the field of writing in India. Here is a glimpse into my take-aways from the sessions which I found were most relevant to my objectives. To start with I would like to list down my objectives of doing this creative writing course with Blogchatter –
- To learn from successful writers and publishers about the nuances of creative writing
- To understand the technical and not so technical aspects of developing a full-fledged work of fiction
- To explore the current scenarios and market expectations from authors
So, in line with my learning objectives, here are my observations from various sessions at the #BlogchatterWritFest
My Learnings from Samarpita’s session on Editing the Manuscript
- Choosing the right editor for your manuscript is the most important task. One should look for somebody who is a good writer themselves, and ask for references and talk to the other authors who have worked with the said editor.
- Self-Editing before submitted the manuscript to the editor is critical, as it helps cut costs. One should run a spell-check, grammar check and a round to structural check on their own. It will also help save time.
- If you decide to not hire and editor and self-edit your book – in addition to the above mentioned steps, also take care of the character development.
- In today’s age and era, it is suggested that one writes fiction not more than 60 thousand words. It ensures a larger section of willing readers.
Well, as a fiction writer, I realized that if I am to make my editor’s job easy and quick, I must focus on my characters and develop them well. But how to ensure that? The sessions by Chitra Divakurni and Kanchana Banerjee came to my rescue and helped me decipher the key to good character development.
Key take-away from sessions by Chitra Divakurni and Kanchana Banerjee on Character Development
- The characters need to be treated like real people. In most cases of long form writing, let the characters develop as the plot progresses.
- Real people can be depicted via various attributes, such as their physical appearance, their likes and dislikes, profession, family background etc.
- The key to developing complex yet real characters is to be a good observer. One must keep their eyes and ears open and make notes on the go for future references.
- The end motive is to make the characters capable of invoking strong emotions in the reader.
Dipankar Mukherjee on Creative Writing
My mega learning came from Dipankar’s workshop. This session broke down the process of writing into four parts namely – Theme, Plot, Character, Setting
- Theme – One ought to derive themes either from personal experiences or from in-depth research from other sources. When one is to choose the theme, one ought to look at the salability of the concept in the market.
- The eight point arc method is something I am going to research in detail. Yet, the basics of levels of plotting, chapter summary, plot continuation etc. are very crucial for creating a sound foundation of the complete story.
- Talking about the characters, I was amazed at the examples Dipanker used to explain the characters and how one could develop them. I understand that conflict and the back-story add to the details of a character and make it more relatable for the readers.
- Setting – The best way to develop a setting is to find a unique one, or add five senses to a normal one. This will add body to the setting and make the reading experience realistic.
Personal Branding with Kiran Manral
As an icing on the cake, after listening to Kiran Manral’s session on personal branding and social media, I have my job chalked out. The major tasks being –
- Build up a relationship on social media. I think I am on a growing curve with regards to this, as I am now more active in various blogging communities and groups
- I need to start blowing my own trumpet and talk about my achievements as a writer and a blogger. That I have been doing to some extent, with various blogging contests that I have won over the past months. I need to get aggressive on that front though.
- Word of mouth works, in reciprocation. Or rather I’d say that one has to be pro-active enough to build a community where people know what you do and will want to read your work, once it hits the shelves.
The entire journey at the #BlogchatterWritFest was an amazing one with so many lessons and guidelines to create a work plan to make writing work for me. The above mentioned resources and much more, will be etched in my mind with their specific goals. I hope to make the best out of this lessons and emerge as a matured author in the times to follow.