Friday, August 31, 2012

Sharing some writer pictures

Friday crept up on me and I realized that I had not written a blog post. Recycling was not a viable option as for that I would have to go through 227 posts. My post muse has gone on a extended weekend with his girlfriend of the moment, leaving me alone without a single blog idea in mind.

That's when the idea of keeping it simple crawled into my mind. I decided to make it  a pictorial post today. So, I am just going to share a few writing related pictures. Hope they will make you all laugh.

Hope you all liked the pictures. Have a great weekend.

P.S.  Picture courtesy. The pictures belong to the following people. Tom Gauld. Debbie Ridpath.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Using index cards to plot stories

I usually write a detailed plot outline, moving from one chapter to another chronologically, on paper. The plot outline for my last manuscript took me nearly four weeks.

 This time I decided to cut short that time as I am working on several projects and my crit partners have been asking about when am I going to send them my next story.

 My blog buddies have frequently mentioned index cards and white boards, that make plotting a novel easy. I decided to try them to see if it suits me. And believe me when I say that it works like a charm.

I tried to buy index cards from stationary shops near my house, but they weren’t available. Though I have yet to get a white board, I made index cards for myself. I cut paper I usually write in, to make rectangles of equal length.

On each piece of paper I have written a scene outline, just a few lines about the scene, what it highlights and the characters involved. It’s been fun visualizing the random scenes from the book. Half the index cards I have made are filled with scene outlines.

Though it’s the first time I am trying out the index card method, I feel its a wonderful tool to visualize the entire story. The major scenes are coming into focus. The characters are jumping out from the index cards to tell me their stories. The mood of each scene is also appearing.

Correct me if I am wrong, I feel that this way the extra words that usually plague our stories are minimized, as we know just what to put in each scene. I realized that there may be a problem trying to link the scenes, as they are not in a chronological order. But, I am sure I will surmount that small problem as I wade deeper into the story.

It’s also been fun to arrange the index cards in different ways to see what is going to work best for the story. As I am still plotting out the scenes, I haven’t given the index cards any numbers. As of now it’s just a collection of scenes.

How many of you use the index cards method to plot out your novels? For those of you who don’t use the index card method, how do you go about plotting your novels? Do you think index cards are the best way of plotting the stories and writing the different scenes? Please share your views with us. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

How do you choose your blog topic?

My blog buddy Gayatri from Life. Unordinary asked me a question some time back. “How do you manage to get such interesting blog topics?”

 What Gayatri doesn’t know is that at times I struggle to find a suitable topic to discuss.  Earlier when I was posting twice a week, I would go nuts trying to think of topics without repeating myself. Time constraints and a lack of topics is one of the reasons I have reduced the posting days.

As my blog is restricted to all aspects of writing, I have limited things I can talk about. I would hate to bore my awesome blog buddies and devoted readers by talking about I, Me and Myself. That’s why I choose writing topics that will interest everyone, even those who are not writers.

I often choose a theme/topic which I am struggling with or which I find interesting while writing my stories. If I am brainstorming a book, I blog about that. If I am travelling the revision road, that topic finds its way into my blog. If I am struggling with a resolution to a story, it becomes my theme for the post. If I come across an interesting way of describing things, I discuss that.

 Sometimes I blog about a topic on which I need an opinion from my writing friends. When I come across some writing tips, I am eager to share that through a post, so that my blog buddies too benefit from it.

How do you choose your blog topic? Like me, do you at times struggle to choose topics, or do the topics come knocking on your door? What kind of blog topics do you like to write and read about? On another note, which topics bore you? Please share your views with us?

Friday, August 10, 2012

What attracts you in a book?

When we pick up a book in a bookshop or a library, what attracts us in a book? Is it the gorgeous cover (I am floored by the covers of many Young Adult books.)  Whenever I visit a library or a bookstore, I am attracted by books with beautiful covers, but I definitely don’t buy a book based on the cover. I pick up the book, turn it over and read the blurb and then make my decision.

Are we hooked by the titles (few titles like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Under the Never Sky, Hunger Games, Divergent) definitely intrigue the readers.  Again, it’s the blurb that is the deciding factor for me.

Do the blurbs nudge you in the direction of the book? I can say with conviction that the blurbs help me decide whether the book is up my alley or not. If the blurb does not interest me, than I never take the book home.

Is our book reading or book buying decision based on reviews?  I feel that most of us pick up books based on the reviews it has garnered. Bad reviews definitely have me shying away from books.

I have also picked up several books solely by word of mouth; writer friends recommend a book, they praise the story and writing, it makes me eager to read the book.

Here I must make a confession; once upon a time I was biased towards the publishing houses that published books. For me the big six publishers was equal to great books. Not anymore. I have read some wonderful books by smaller and relatively new publishers.

What is your book buying or book reading decision based on: cover images, titles, blurbs, reviews, friends’ suggestions, publishing house that brings out the book. How do you make your decision whether a book should be bought from the bookshop or borrowed from the library? Please share with us about what attracts you in a book?

Friday, August 3, 2012

My August Reading List

In the last few weeks I have been reading quite a lot of books. Every book is teaching me something new. Its a pleasure disappearing into the world another writer has created.

I keep hearing that reading is like doing homework for writers, so I guess I am doing lots of homework this month.

I have a simple goal for August: to revise the manuscript I am querying, to outline the 3 books of the Zespirit Chronicles and read as many book as I can.

I am quite excited by my August reading list.

1. Servant of the Bones by Anne Rice. (I am keen to read it, its my first brush with Anne Rice)

2. The Devotion of Suspect by Keigo Higashino. ( The book is being pitched as the Japanese Stieg Larsson)

3. River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh. (I read the first book of the trilogy- Sea of Poppies and look forward to reading this.

4. Divergent by Veronica Roth. (I had to order this book as it was not available in India. I have been hearing a lot about it)

5. WITCH. (I try to add a Middle Grade book to my reading list every month)

What are your August plans? Are you writing, revising, editing, querying? I would love to know which books are on your reading list this month. Have you read any of the books on my reading list? If yes, what's your opinion about the book?