Wednesday, September 2, 2015

IWSG Post – Fear of hurting another writer

I always look forward to the first Wednesday of the month, as it’s our monthly IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) post. This awesome and inspiring online group was started by Alex Cavanaugh, Author of Amazon bestsellers: CassaStar, CassaStorm, CassaFire and Dragon of the Stars. 

In our IWSG posts, we discuss everything related to our writing: from the troublesome first draft to the million and one revisions we writers do, we also cry over the heart-breaking query process and vent out our writing frustrations, anxieties and insecurities. Let’s not forget that we also support and encourage each other. Don’t forget to check out the IWSG website for awesome writing tips.

As many writers and even publishers request me to review their books on my blog, I always feel guilty turning them down. It’s next to impossible for me to review all the books that people want me to review. For one I won’t get the time to read all of them. The second reason is, I have this big fear that I may not like the book.

So many people who approach me have self-published their books. Trust me when I say this, the quality of writing sucks. Most of these writers haven’t bothered hiring a free-lance editor. As the soft-hearted girl that I am, I hate to hurt other writers, especially when they have self-published their books. I politely decline and wish them good luck.

I’ve nothing against self-publishing. It’s the quality of writing that worries me. This is not to say that the quality of writing that comes from the bigger publishers is good. Sometimes, even the books published by the biggies suck big time.

In India, there are just a few publishers (good ones) and I feel that by being honest in my review, I will be rubbing a lot of people (read editors of the publishing houses, the marketing and sales team who have a say in which book to publish and the writers themselves) the wrong way. Honestly, I’m not here to make enemies. It happened with me once, I was honest in my review of a book, and to make matters worse, the said editor had three chapters of my manuscript. You all can guess the outcome of my three chapters.

I’ve decided that I’ll not review a book that I didn’t enjoy reading. Never mind the fact that it’s been published by a big publisher or I know the writer or the editor personally.

How do you all handle such delicate situations?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Weaving stories around titles

I have mentioned several times that I started my writing career by writing short stories. And then features. It was only much later that I started writing books.

When I started writing short stories, I would sometimes get a story idea through a title, that would just drop into my head. Or maybe an image of the character. I never found it difficult to weave a story of 1200 to 1500 words around that title.

 It may come across as crazy, but I have written several stories around catchy titles. I don’t know how it used to work at that time, but whenever the title would jump into my head, so would the main character, as would the different strains of the story, like the secondary characters and the way the story line would move.

I have a similar approach whenever I write my books. No, I would never dare to write an entire book based on just a catchy title. Because for a novel, I definitely need my plot points in place, a rough outline with the beginning, middle and an ending, very clear in my mind.

But, as I can’t give up my love for titles, I use the title method to give my individual chapters nice titles. Each individual chapter must have a title. For me the title works as an inspiration on how to handle that particular scene or chapter. I know it sounds crazy but that is the way my brain works.

What about you all? Have you ever written a short story based on a title that just dropped into your head? What’s your take on chapter titles?

Friday, August 21, 2015

A few writing quotes and my take on them

Today, I will keep it short and simple. A few writing quotes and what I think about them.

Treat all your secondary characters like they think the book is about them. -Jocelyn Hughes

I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.- Flannery O’Connor

Be courageous and try to write in a way that scares you a little.- Holley Gerth

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.- W Somerset Maugham

Don’t talk about it. WRITE. - Ray Bradbury

If I waited till I felt like writing I’d never write at all. - Anne Tyler

This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy and that hard. - Neil Gaiman

My takes on these quotes.

If I were to treat my secondary characters like the book is about them, then my book would be around 1000 pages.

Sometimes I write the different scenes and then link them together, so you can say that only when I read, then I know what I have written.

My writing usually does scare me, especially my first drafts.

After writing for so long, I still don’t know the rules for writing.

Nowadays, I don’t talk, I just write. But talking is fun and much easier.

There are days when I don’t feel like writing, but I force myself to write. With or without the muse, the writing party goes on.

Writing is sometimes easy; the words flow in a torrential downpour, sometimes they trickle drop by drop. Either ways we just have to write.

Which is your favourite writing quote? And what’s your take on that?