Blogger Recognition Award!

Hi everyone!

I had a totally different, totally sober post in mind for this week. But, BLOGGER RECOGNITION AWARD!!!!!!!!!

I am too excited to chill! Now, moving on to the Interview!

Thank the person who nominated you by linking their blog

Thank you so much for nominating me, Sudalai. I am very honoured to be nominated by such an awesome poet.

Please check out Sudalai’s blog for Tamil and English poetry!

Write a post to show your award

Duh. This is the post!

Tell how you started blogging

Interesting question. I believe I started blogging after very successful diary records of my thoughts (successful because the audience, a.k.a. I, totally loved the diary). My first blog at Google Blogger was a poetry blog due to an emotional upheaval I was going through about seven years ago. I took it down because I felt the poems too personal to share.

(You can check two of them out at Wattpad; Shattered and Canvas of My Life)

Then, I started a more comprehensive blog on my thoughts, also at Blogger. Somehow, college exams, interviews for job applications and irritability got in the way and I gave it up. And last year, I yearned to live my Writer’s Life and my very good friend suggested WordPress. Let me tell you one thing, WordPress is Love.

*beams in pleasure*

Advice to new bloggers

  1. Never give up on your blog. You might write an essay-sized post one day, but draw a blank slate on another. Despite it all, never give it up. Write about a beautiful cloud shape you saw that day if you can’t think of anything. The blog will induct more abstractness into it, for all you know.
  2. Read a lot of blogs and voice your opinions on them. This is a lesson still in progress with me. I don’t read a lot on WordPress. And I really want to change that. As you explore, several blog ideas pop up and you can also stand in awe of the Writing World here. It’s beyond beautiful.

Nominate 15 bloggers

Like I said, I don’t read a lot on WordPress. So, I’m just going to nominate some blogs which I have read in the past. I have no idea if they’ve at all received the Award previously (most likely, they have).

  1. Pages that Rustle
  2. Discover Deepika
  3. BEcoming Bala
  4. Hanady Kitchen
  5. Frank Solanki
  6. Musings Lounge
  7. Small World, Smaller Girl
  8. America Maaplai
  9. Beauty Beyond Bones

Love and lots of thanks,

PPD

What Bad Guys do

Hello!

I’m sure you must be jumping to conclusions about this ominous title. You can breathe easy, guys, I’m not about to talk about vices or crimes.

Let me give you some context. I have been waging my NaNoWriMo war this month, with more-than-required lulls. I have questioned my sanity, my decisions, my pride, and my pen, with no conclusive results. All of them told me, “Just stop grumbling around and go write! That’s the only thing you can do.”

(Suspiciously, all of them sounded like my bestie Ishu, and I don’t know what to do with that.)

So… you get some clues on my train of thought with this post? This is going to be about bad guys on writing. I do not mean antagonists. There’s this whole bunch of bad guys who are intermediate. I mean, for the reader, they don’t really matter. They could be someone who is mean to the protagonist, or a batty old lady who waves her off her precious lawn, or a cat who gives the hero a scratch when he disturbed her peaceful sleeping. So, you read the scene, and don’t think twice about the bad guy.

But enter the writer at this point of the story.

(I can only vouch for myself, and my conscience hurts bad with anyone hurting my precious babes, the protagonists.)

I am just lost when I put in one of these bad guys. My method is a simple one in general.

  1. I have my plot outline.
  2. I start at some point in the timeline which seems right to me.
  3. I spend an evening cooking up a few scenes in my head.
  4. I spend the next few days putting them into words.
  5. I write and I write and I write.

It’s a pleasant scene, he’s walking down the street, watching the birds, etc etc. I think ahead to the point where the guy is going to run into the obnoxious man who hates him with no reason.

My pen stills. Or my typing fingers grow heavy. I don’t want him to run into that path. I wildly try to make the guy take a turn-off which leads him to the softly strewn beach sand. I push in an ice-cream cart, with Ron Weasley ringing the bell. I make all sorts of excuses and go into my reflection mode, and basically, stop writing.

(You might expect the same with the antagonists, but, you see, antagonists bring out the brave warrior and the headstrong challenger in the protagonists, which is all very pleasant and hence I look forward to their entry.)

These guys are the bane of my existence as a writer. This is what they do.

  • They stop me suddenly out of the blue before they are even cued to enter.
  • They freak me out and force sudden plot twists.
  • They daunt me more than the antagonists.
  • They unconsciously make the hero stumble and the heroine tremble.

And the worst thing they do, they stun my mind, and stop further imagination. They put me off writing for days and I binge eat like an idiot.

That’s why I thought some writing is better than no writing at all and I landed here to vent out my frustrations. I hope this rant will put me right back onto my novel and I feel better soon.

Does anyone else feel the same way? Let me know in the comments!

 

Love, and lots of frustration, (which I don’t wish on you!)

Priya

 

PS : I know I could just change the character of the obnoxious guy, but I’ve firmly pictured him like that.

PPS : I know I could drop him out, but repeatedly doing so is going to make a Mary Sue or a Gary Stu out of my protagonists, and I will NOT have that happen to them.

The NaNoWriMo Disease

I’m back so soon!

This post is coming after the record shortest gap between posts, and I’m very, very excited about that!

Okay, rants aside, let me elaborate on the concept of today’s post. It is that time of the year again, November’s here, and it’s up and running!

I AM talking about NaNoWriMo! It’s the National (I don’t know which country; seems like a world-wide phenomenon to me) Novel Writing Month!

(I know for some of you it’s actually No-Shave-November, but it doesn’t apply to me!)

So, this post is kind of mandatory. I wanted to write about my past experiences with NaNoWriMo, and my plans for this year.

The Past

I have been a part of this in 2015. You see, what happened was this. I stumbled onto this competition for short story writing last year called the Write India Campaign, and I tried and tried each prompt as they were announced. But, it turned out that I was incapable of writing brief, short stories! This fact actually pissed me off because I’d been writing plot lines and poetry and what-not since I was about 12, and I figured I’d lost some of my flair for writing.

Slowly, I came to understand that the main reason for my suddenly hampered imagination was the fact that my reading list had been empty since I’d left school. That freaked me out even more and I was practically a mess.

Slowly getting out of this mini-depression was the worst phase ever. It took me quite a while to do it. I had so much help from my close friends and I turned back to my closest ones, my books. The Reading Challenge 2016 from Goodreads was literally my lifesaver.

One of the short story prompts which I’d left of half-written, had given me a grain of an idea. I’d got this idea back in 2015 before November, and NaNo 2015 seemed like a confident, doable dream with it. But then, my slow pen and my will power gave out within a week and I landed in the freaking-out phase. And this was the state of my pathetic NaNo 2015.

Lessons Learned :

  • Do not attempt NaNoWriMo while battling depression (not even simple, non-chronic ones).
  • Pantsing might not be the best idea when you battle to win a kingdom (kingdom, meaning a Novel).
  • Habits and routines will have to undergo modification during the battle.
  • Placing yourself in a state of productive anxiety will NOT help.
  • Family, friends, roommates, and co-workers can be safely approached for help as you attempt this mega-war. No one will judge or ridicule you, rather, you’ll get all the help you need from the ones you love.

The Present

This year has been much more positive than the last in several ways. For one thing, I got over my mini-depression. I have learned so much about self-confidence and stringing loose ends together. My empty reading list has been constantly full since and I absolutely love it! Bringing back my teenager self has been such a beautiful journey that I’ve fallen in love with myself again.

Coming to the novel idea, it has festered like an annoying but happy feeling. I’ve attempted Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July with very little success, but I’ve loved every minute of understanding my characters. They’ve been the best companions for me for quite a while now and I now know them as if I’d met them in person. And the little confidences I’ve made with my family and close friends about my writing plans have given me so much ideas which would help me stick to a schedule and just write. After all, writers are not made with their creativity so much as they are made with their persistence.

Learning from 2015, and from the pep talks for 2016, I’d decided early on that I would be plantsing this year. It would be a combination of a planning and a pantsing writer. I’d had a bit of struggle with sticking to schedules last year, mostly owing to my five-days-a-week full-time job, and my obstinate decision to ‘relax’ on weekends (it means I was lazing around and re-watching the many TV shows I like). And my not-always-helpful notion was that I’d write with much enthusiasm when I don’t know the plot line myself, that I’d write more fervently because I want to find out the story.

The last three problems gave birth to a new writer version of Priya this year.

Decisions Made :

  • Plot line is fixed in my head, details I’ve left to the fates of my imagination as I write.
  • Rehearsed shunning social media in case I feel like my deadlines are falling apart during November.
  • Given myself up into my natural planning mode because my giving it up hadn’t helped one bit last year.
  • Timeline graph of my characters is laid down for reference.
  • Put off all travel plans, shopping plans, and adopted a quiet, happy lifestyle of home food (cooking which would be one of my relaxation points), reading books which had been a part of my childhood, and little workouts accomplished at home.

So, all in all, my plans for NaNoWriMo have never been more concrete, and I’ve never felt happier about my decisions than I feel right now.

Do any of you write? Did you participate before? Do you plan to participate now? What are your plans? What have been your problems before? What-

Hold on, I’m getting too excited about this. I’m letting you guys talk about it in your own way.

Bye bye for now! *waves madly*

 

 

 

The Reader in Me

Hello everyone!

It’s been a long time! How have you all been? How’s autumn treating you all? Here in Bangalore, it’s been through a really warm couple of weeks with a blinding sun, then turned rainy and foggy two days ago, and my body’s been venting out with a racking cough and a blocked nose. So, I’m not enjoying the new season yet.

News from me would be several : finished outlining my novel to have a smooth NaNoWriMo this year, Diwali shopping is done, celebrated two birthdays in two weeks for both my roommates, exulted over the fact that my bestie Ishu released her second book recently, aaanndd started my re-attempt in everyday workouts!

(For explanations, NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month, follow the link for more details, and Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights, exuberantly celebrated all over India, falls on October 29th for the Tamil-speaking Indians, and do check out Ishu’s book here and here and here!)

This post is inspired by my friend Nandini’s post. This is a detailed listing of the kind of reader I am. Speaking as a small-time writer, I cannot stress enough on the importance of the reading habit. It brings you inspiration and happiness beyond measure. It warms your heart and cools your head. Reading is one of the most joyous experiences endowed to mankind.

So here’s my 21 facts about me as a reader.

  1. I like to read several books at once (recent addition to this list).
  2. I read sitting up, lying down, walking, and other ways in which the book remains steady.
  3. Sometimes, I plug in my earphones and play soft songs at the smallest volume level which remains audible, while reading.
  4. I can read in trains and flights, but not in cars, or anything on the road; something about the sharp turns makes my head swim.
  5. I always have a currently reading book in the Harry Potter series, ever since I finished them for the first time in 2008.
  6. I am recently loving logging on Goodreads, and I update progress with book quotes.
  7. I cannot give up food while reading, so I switch back and forth between hard copies and soft copies of the same book while not eating and eating respectively.
  8. I absolutely ignore sleep calls when reading and have a record hours of sleep lost due to engaging books.
  9. I started reading due to a magazine called Gokulam, which my Gammy introduced me to when I was about 10.
  10. My most-read genre is fantasy.
  11. My second most-read genre is suspense/mystery.
  12. I re-read so much that I go through even Funny Stories for Six-Year Olds several times, being 22 myself.
  13. I like physical books most, but I would accept Kindle e-books, and badly formatted pdfs if that’s what I get.
  14. I like to visit the bookstore in any place I visit just to smell the books. Sometimes, compulsively making sure I step in despite being in a hurry for something important.
  15. Anyone borrowing my books will be under subconscious policing by me until they return it.
  16. Books over movies or TV series’. Always.
  17. Non-fiction tires/bores me.
  18. Book ratings start at 3 stars in my head. Never lesser.
  19. My Goodreads Reading Challenge 2016 stands sadly at 15/52. And I am currently reading 7 books at once.
  20. I dream to read more realistic books, getting out of my comfort zones of Suspense and Fantasy.
  21. Comics do not capture my interest much.

There you go! That’s my list! Comment back about your reading habits, or follow my plan and do a blog post on it!

Thanks to Nandini for the idea behind this one! 😀

Love,

Priya

PS : Too many hyperlinks in this post, please bear with my excitement for sharing.

PPS : This is my sixth blog post, and the next one will be the seventh, seven being the most powerfully magical number. Hoping for something magical! 🙂

PPPS : The image is for representational purposes only. I do not have such a beautiful bookshelf. Although I would appreciate it very, very, very much if someone thinks of gifting me one. 😉