Written Stuff

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A paragraph using these 5 words

For the past three and a half months I’ve been teaching Creative Writing to the SYBMM (second year students of the Bachelor of Mass Media) students in St Xavier’s college in Mumbai. If there was just one word to describe them it would be ‘incorrigible.’ It’s pretty difficult to control a class of 60 students when most of them are constantly chatting and joking around. I thought they wouldn’t do well in the tests but they surprised me – even the ones who were constantly talking.
   One question in their test paper was this: Write a paragraph using the words ‘blue, minute, present, dog, wound.’  Here are a few samples written by these feisty 19 year olds
Rohan  Cooper
The unshaven man wound up the small object  and  set it  on a blue tarp. Then he disappeared into the crowd, like a salmon in a shoal of a thousand. A small dog seemed intrigued by the ticking object and started sniffing it. A few metres away, a young man presented the love of his life with a dazzling engagement ring. A few metres further, a  painter was completing the final touches on what would be his masterpiece. In a minute came the explosion. A massive ball of fire consumed the crowd with a searing rage. Then, there was only deafening silence.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

This is a story starter that I found quite interesting, so I threw it at the members of the Writestuff Writing Club on Facebook.

Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person -..
Two members replied and here are their stories:

 At first, she was rather confused. But then, when she realised that there wasn't much she could do about it, she took a deep breath and decided to look at the situation again. Then, as she sat there thinking before the mirror, a thought struck her. "How do I know which one is the right person, after all? I mean, it all comes down to how I want to be and who I choose to be. So, perhaps, there is never a right person." And she lived happily ever after.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013



Who's the smart person who said that there is a book in all of us? Well it's true isn't it? Don't you hear people say 'Oh I could write a book on that subject'? Or 'I could write a better book' ?

Modern technology has made it much easier to publish a book. Here are a few tips for you, just in case you decide to write a book.

The first thing you need to do is to set a reasonable deadline for your book. Most of us procrastinate because we want the book to be perfect, or because we're afraid of failure. As a result the book remains in our heads or on random pieces of paper and it never gets published.

Think of your first draft as version number one. Once that's done you can improve on it and call it version number two. Just like Microsoft now has version no. 8 – each time is an improvement on the last one.

Nowadays there are a lot of self-publishing houses where you can print on demand. At a reasonable cost you can print just a few copies. The advantage of this is that this will enable you to see what your book looks like in print.

Of course before you do that you've got to have a good outline and table of contents. Some people write a book and then try to work around the table of contents.

If you're not sure of how to go about it then use a best-selling book in the same genre as your book as a model. Try and imitate the structure of that particular book.

Now once your book is ready you need to get publicity for your book right? Otherwise your book will just sit on the shelf collecting dust.

So how do you make your book stand out? How do you get media exposure? You need to have a 'hook'. You need that one line that they can use to attract an audience. Just as you need to sell your book, the TV and radio producers need to look at their ratings. So give them that one line that will help them get viewers.

Let's say you're a dietician and you've written a book on 'Healthy Fast Foods made in a jiffy'. The TV anchor would probably say 'Coming up..... Fast foods that can actually be good for you'. The people listening or watching the show would be interested in something like that, right? And they'll wait to see what it's all about.

Think of it as 'Coming up ….........' Now what do you need to add to make it interesting? Once you've done that you've got your hook.

Now go and write your book.


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Joe Bunting has a great blog on writing called The Write Practice. He has also published a book called   Let's Write a Short Story!  Here's one of his recent blogs:

Don’t be a Resolution Writer

With a clear conscious, I can promise that desire had little to do with the conception of this post. If my desires dictated when this would be written, it would be put off a few more days. Fortunately, my will, and not my feelings, determine my actions as a writer.
desirePhoto by Nationaal Archief

 An underrated attribute – the will of a writer

What separates the in-shape person that works out year-round from the unhealthy one that each new year vows to start working out again? The unhealthy one is riding the emotions of the new year, banking that they’ll feel those same emotions for the next 365 days. Every day is a new decision with new circumstances. Extra work. Early morning. Other priorities. As the emotional high lessens, so does the frequency of their ‘yes’, until finally, the question no longer exists.
For the other, the decision has already been made. Each day from that point on confirms their decision to be healthy. There is no longer a choice, the only option is to be in-shape.
I love writing. I desire to write. But I’m not thrilled about writing every single day. Some days, I’m distracted. Other days, my brain just isn’t working, or I’m not feeling confident. Of course, the desire is to write when inspired. There’s nothing wrong with that. We’re artists. It’s the days that don’t inspire that separate an in-shape writer and an unhealthy writer.

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”

Don’t be a New Year’s resolution writer. There is a cycle for this kind of writer:
Inspiring high -> emotionally-based decision to write  -> inspiration lessened by time ->which lessens willpower ->which lessens confidence ->personal disappointment enters ->willpower gone -> writing ends until next inspiring high.

Three ways to not depend on feelings

1. Writing is a privilege

Without realizing it, we look at writing as a sacrifice. The late nights, the writer’s block, the low pay, it all leads to a self-pity way of thinking that weakens our will to write consistently. Calling yourself a writer is a privilege that many wish to do, but never will. When that privilege is understood, you’ll take a new approach to your writing.

2. Practice undesired writing

Look at those times you don’t feel like writing as gifts to practice – like swinging a weighted bat before stepping up to the plate. When you don’t even feel like a writer and can still write well, you know you’ll be  ready when that moment of writing inspiration shows up.

3. The decision is a noun, not a verb

Don’t struggle anymore with the daily decision to write. The only decision that needs to be made is, “Am I a writer?” If the answer is yes, the actions will follow. Writers write. If it’s who you are, you won’t be able to make any decision other than to write.
The posture of our thoughts will decide if writing will be an aspect of day to day life.
Are you relying on feelings and desires to write consistently?

Friday, 22 February 2013

Not exactly Valentine's Day

 Two days before Valentine's Day I challenged my young friends to write a most romantic first line followed by the most romantic second line. I had seen this in one of the newspapers a few years ago and thought it would be fun to do.
As an example I gave them these lines:

I see your face when I'm dreaming
That's why I always wake up screaming'

Love may be beautiful, love may be bliss,
But I only slept with you cos I was pissed.

A few of them took up the challenge and came up with these funny lines.

Aditya: when you broke up with me, you gave my heart a blister.
Doesn't matter, where's your sister?

Jenny:  Won't you be my valentine, you groovy frankenstein

Pranay -You are my love, you are my life.
But seriously, just can't be my wife!

    Ainee - I love the way you look tonight,
    but isn't it too early for Halloween night?

    Priya  I love the crackle of your laughter,
    How I wish hyenas didn't sound better !

    Robin - Won't forget that day we got close.
    .thank heavens I had a blocked nose.

    Aanchal -   violets are blue and roses are red...
    if you utter the 'love' word, you are dead...

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Alphabetical Advice

The following piece of advice is a collaborative effort by members of the Writestuff Writers' group. 

Always be punctual
Be kind to one another
Call if you need help
Do what makes you happy
Each one teach one
Fear not, the Lord is with you
Give and you shall receive
Have healthy food and stay healthy
Instinct is something you can often rely on
Join forces as a team and you will find success
Keep the doc away by having an apple a day
Listen to your parents / elders
Meditation will calm your spirit
Never say die

Thursday, 22 November 2012

I am Thankful for

   In the USA the fourth Thursday of November is celebrated as Thanksgiving Day  In 1621 the colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared a three-day feast to celebrate a successful autumn harvest.
   In India we don't have Thanksgiving Day but we definitely have a lot to be thankful for. Here are the views of a few members of the Writestuff Writers' Club.

Priya: I am thankful to my family, my friends, for having a roof over my head, getting my daily meals and most of all I am thankful to God for carrying me through troubled times.

Aanchal: I am thankful to be born as a woman who can love, nurture and inspire.
To belong to a family who has gifted me with values and good upbringing. To belong to a country with a rich and varied culture, natural beauty and great history that is every neighbour's envy. To be blessed with everything I need and some more to share with others. To be healthy and wise so I can take care of myself and others.

Ayushi: I am thankful for the mistakes, as they are the best teachers, for the faults in me as they inspire me to be better, thankful for the hard times as they keep me hopeful for the good ones, for all that is lost as it prepares me for something new and better to come and I am thankful for my failures, so I can enjoy the process of trying again.

Phorum: I am thankful for mistakes, imagination and a heart that beats – no matter what.

Riccu: I am thankful that we have more holidays than America

Ayush: I am thankful to whatever made me stubborn, for without it, I'd never have travelled this road I'm on. I am thankful to Nature, because she provides for all – you only need to look in the right places. I thank my parents, for not agreeing with me, but supporting me nonetheless. I am thankful to my friends, for hanging around when no one else did, making sure I never strayed back into dark waters. And last of all, I am thankful to you Patricia, for believing in me, for the gazillion references, and for being the reason I'm writing this from an actual workplace!

Karthik: I'm not sure what I should be thankful for. How can someone be thankful for only some things in life. It's not possible. I do think though, that we keep forgetting to be thankful for everything that we do have

I think Karthik said it for me. We should be thankful for everything.