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I apologise for the unedited, incomplete and typo-laden draft post you received earlier – instead of SAVE, I pressed PUBLISH. I know, I know… I blame it on an all-nighter, trying to edit a chapter book for submission :(.

Head in Hands

I slipped!


Hopefully, you will forgive me and read the now-complete blog post at 

Thanks for your understanding!

License to Daydream

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My family is religious and I help out every day at pooja. It is a favorite time, not for obvious reasons – but because it gives me time to daydream!

I do a lot of my “storystorming” there… while my hands are busy doing the routine stuff it is now used to do everyday, my mind is alert and churning out story ideas. Most of March’s chapter book plot was created while I put flowers on idols.

Fitting, I guess… for a writer, craft is her God and her commitment to create every singe day, is her pooja.

tool to worship

The Camphor holder

This is an art most writers have mastered. Writing time is fleeting and precious enough that if you also add plot planning or churning to that, you will takes years to finish your book.

So we end up plot-planning in all odd places… the waiting areas in clinics, the endless queues in malls or offices, all those times where you are physically tied and resting but mentally you are alert and can’t bear to go to sleep… these are the times a writer naturally does her storystorming and what if? scenes and holds monologues with her muse. But of course, you cannot practice this in certain situations like:

1. Driving - This is the No. 1 reason I don’t drive, in spite of knowing how to. My Dad offered to buy me a car a decade ago and I refused him, and I still refuse everyone’s advice that I get a car. I don’t want to end up hurting myself, my car or, horrors, some poor person on the street.

It’s one thing to be a slob and a Liberal (more on these soon!). It’s another to be an irresponsible driver. I’d rather spread my energy and time in doing something else.



Plus I am a capitalist. Why drive when you have readymade drivers (a.k.a taxis and public transport) out there?

And I am also selfish. Driving eats up time, and pretty soon it will end up eating my writing time, so I have refused to drive for a long time (my husband says I will, one day, when there is necessity. Well, till then, I will enjoy my driving-free life!)

2. Family Time - I am ashamed to admit that I do think of stories, even when I am spending time with my family. I am such an idea-monger that my mind constantly scourges for ideas and seeds from daily life. I get most of my ideas from real life, so no wonder my muse is trained to locate good ideas from each and every frame of a typical day. But I am trying not to do this! Because it is easy to miss life if you get sucked up in any one good thing.

3. Writing – Ah, yes. I used to do this a lot and only now I have trained my muse NEVER to woolgather or brainstorm while writing. There is a time to create and a time to write.

When you allocate time to write, just do that… books are written by writers, not dreamers :)

writing love

Do it bcos you love it.

Editing Your Chapter Book – Guest post

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ChaBooCha is short for Chapter Bookwriting Challenge. Author Rebecca Fyfe hosts it every March; the goal being, you guessed it, to write a chapter book in a month.

Since I was attempting to write a chapter book every month this year – and boy is it tougher than I ever thought it would be! – I was invited to write a guest post in the official ChaBooCha site. I talk about the process that I employ to get a raw draft to a readable draft – and why it is essential to edit your first draft two times before you send it for critiques.

Here’s the link -

editing first draft

Let’s use that one to edit!

Book 3 of CBC 12X12: DONE!

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title: The Diary of DDLJ

plot: Can DDLJ the dog ever come to trust a transit owner, a deceitful one at that?

words: 5950

status: THE END! For CBC 12×12, three books completed, 9 to go!

Lessons learnt from this month’s chapter book:

1. I bought Scrivener for $20 on a special promo, then discovered a free outlining system called LitLift. Together, they have made my projects so much easier (and my desktop so much cleaner). Even if you are not interested in the former, try getting a free m’ship at LitLift. It’s fantastic for keeping all your WIP info and outlines in one place.


2. Even though nobody else is on CBC 12×12 challenge with me (NO SURPRISE!), I found that the participants’ posts and guest articles at ChaBooCha really pepped me up. No matter how disciplined or strong (you think) you are, you always need some extra cheery and I’m glad I signed up ChaBooCha’s FB support group. There was a sluggish slump mid-month, and the daily word count reminders on the FB group kept me from slacking too much!

3. I was highly reluctant to write the story of DDLJ, because while I like dogs well enough, I’m a dedicated cat lover. So, I was very surprised when I discovered that I had no problem writing from a dog’s perspective. I understood that I don’t have to be dog expert to write a doggy story – a dog manual, yes, it requires a certain expertise, but to write a story with a dog in it, all I need is the willingness to do some research.

Moral: Don’t keep feeling afraid. Just dive in and learn to swim!


Credit: alikins /


The Writer’s Creative Cave vs. The Big, Wide World

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I love to write. It is all I have ever been good at, so I keep doing it, if only to prove that I am not a complete waste of a human body (cooking, housekeeping, swimming, sitting still, nothing works, sigh).

Sometimes, I get so sucked into my passion that I resent intrusion in any form. I am such an intense (boring) writer that I can’t even listen to music while I am writing. Family, friends, the inquisitive squirrel outside my window… at one point, it feels like they are conspiring against me, by trying to seduce me away from my writing, in the name of companionship, obligations or cuteness (Squirrel, you won’t get me yet!).

Naturally, one of my favorite daydreams is to escape to a deserted island and live in a shack, which miraculously has wifi and my entire writer’s almanac. No view, though, which could be seriously distracting. So, just me and a windowless shack, and from morning till night I can hunch over my darling PC and just write and write and write….

But wait a minute, if I am in a deserted island, then who I do write about? Who’s going to be inspire me and amuse me and hurt me and bless me and serve as catalysts that change an idea into a story? Darn, I need my humans after all!

Just like how JAMIE LEE WALLACE illustrates in this article :)

Originally posted on Live to Write - Write to Live:


It’s ok. Come on out!

Most of the aspiring writers I know wish they had more time to write. Their lives are busy, full of obligations and responsibilities. Practicing the writing craft is a luxury that gets tucked into the odd corner of the day, early or late and most often stolen.

My life is much the same and I bet yours is, too.

I make my living as a freelance writer, but my creative writing lives the life of a small, tenacious beast – always hustling and hoarding minutes, fiercely defending the small oases of available time like the precious territory they are. This clever little critter knows that sometimes you have to go underground to get things done, make yourself a hidden haven where you can do your work without interruption from the siren call of worldly duties.

But, sometimes, your creative creature needs to come up into…

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March’s Short Story: PROPHET

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This month’s Short Story 12×12 involved a blind review, i.e., participants submitted their stories without a byline.

So, during the critique process, each one will review stories without any preconceived opinion about the author’s style or mastery over her craft. I had advised everyone to write something different and make it tough for others to guess.

It’s a brilliant idea, because this link says so. And also because I had participated in a similar experiment a few years back at IIT Kanpur, and it was so much fun … what other way to flabbergast your fellow writers!

You thought you knew me? Ha!

Here’s a sneak preview on how I ended up writing Angel - my March story for SHORT STORY 12×12:

1. I had a clear plan – I wanted to write a proper fantasy story, because until now my co-challengers (is that a proper term?) had only sampled my contemporary stories for young adults. So I was determined to write an “adult” and surprise them.

2. Mahaaaaaaaaa…….baaaaarat (that’s how the title song went, you’d know if you woke up every sunday morning hearing that from the idiot box). It all starts with Sage Vyasa. I was not in the mood to write titillating stuff (all you who know the real role Vyasa plays in the epic, you will understand my apathy), so how about… Bheeshma? THE Bachelor. Long white beard. Mukesh Khanna. Kids love Shakthimaan. Arrrrggggghhhhhh. Must. Not. Write. Children’s. Story.

3. Hmm,  a different angle. King Santhanu, that old geezer who was always falling in love with stipulating women… Ganga, especially, you know, the women drowns her own children? Darn it – I am back to “children” again!


But no matter what you do, that seed will grow to be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple or an orange, but you will get a peach. – OOGWAY

4. But Ganga’s story… hmm, let’s see, can a woman do that today? Even the most besotted might not agree to be quiet while his wife murdered theirchildren! But perhaps, “murder by drowning” should not be so literally interpreted in 2014. It may be an act like.. an abortion. Or even birth control (yes, really, if you think about….!!!). So how about a case where the husband wants a baby and the wife does not and he can do nothing about it, since he agreed to respect her wishes?

5. Now where is the fun if the story ended there? In the myth, Santhanu was a mortal and Ganga was a river goddess. So I made my heroine a supernatural and the hero, a muggle who works in an IT company. Can anyone be more mortal than a software engineer?

So there you go. The genesis of a short story. The guy’s lurrrvvveees the girl, but the girl says no can do unless he agrees to zero kids, guy says yes without thinking, only to change his mind later; meanwhile, he also discovers that his wife is a clairvoyant.  But still, he loves her but he loves to have a child more, he wants one RIGHT now, and he is willing to go to any lengths to have one…

Want to know more? I will send you a link when it gets published :)