Saturday, June 17, 2017 2 Comments

Book Review: The Tree With A Thousand Apples by Sanchit Gupta





A Poem From The Book
.
.

'Stand for your right',
You tell me,
And when I do
You beat me down
Break my bones
And crush my soul?
I may raise my voice
Close my fist, and demand;
Or seek and desire
With polite words and a patient heart
So that you and I can live in peace
Forever, I wish;
You should pray
I choose the latter


The Tree With A Thousand Apples by Sanchit Gupta (Niyogi Books) is my third book that's based on Kashmir and its people, their lives.

The author says the incidents are inspired by true events, and he has visited Kashmir and met people to know the culture, lifestyle and their problems. It shows. The book seems well researched.

The Tree With A Thousand Apples is a poignant, heartbreaking story of three childhood friends - Deewan Bhat, Safeena Malik and Bilal Ahanagar, living in Kashmir - their families so close - at the time of insurgency.

'For us, Deewan bhai, whatever it takes,' says Bilal.

As the conditions in Kashmir worsen, Deewan and his family have to leave Kashmir for the sake of a safe life while Safeena whose mother becomes a 'collateral damage', and Bilal are left with no other option but to learn to live in the dark battlefield that the paradise, Kashmir has become.

After 20 years, Destiny brings them together and they try to fix things in their own possible ways. And then one day, a *letter* - a dangerous letter - comes that brings sea changes in the circumstances and eventually their lives.

So, what happens? What this letter is all about? How their lives transform? What about their friendship? What about the brewing love? You will have to read the book to find these answers. Finding these answers would be a moving journey, I can say that.

The author has an interesting writing style. The language is beautiful and clean, narration quite smooth. The life of Kashmir is very well described. The atmosphere of insurgency, every aspect and impact, is captured well. The story is peppered with regional language but it has a helpful footnotes (plus a glossary).

Here are some thought-provoking quotes :

'You brought your Indian Identity Card? It proves that you are an Indian.'
'Who else am I?'

'Why do you worry, the curfew is over.'
'You foolish children! Curfew is never over.'

'It was too ambitious to think ahead. It was too luxurious to be alive.'

However, in order to capture the essence of Kashmir and rage of insurgency, the author has missed the protagonists' personal feeling (and its development) for each other. Also, the *letter* (I mentioned above) confused me. I wondered (and wanted to know) what caused that sudden provocation.

But over all, it was a beautiful, thought-provoking and engrossing read. Very well written. Recommended to any book lover, no matter what your preferred genres are.


I received this book from Writer's Melon for an honest review.





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Thursday, June 15, 2017 2 Comments

Self Editing On Your Mind? Try These 8 Practical And Effective Methods



‘I am not a very good writer, but I am an excellent rewriter.’ – James A. Michener

For a writer, I believe, this is a very good quality. 

Writing is all about re-writing and editing, and careful editing is the essence of writing. No matter how beautiful your writing is, it loses its charm if it has silly errors in it. Also, good editing is not just for published books. It should be practiced even before submitting your manuscript to the editors. It enhances your chances to get noticed.

It’s true that hiring a professional editor is always a better idea because it’s a little difficult to spot your own mistakes and get merciless towards something that you simply adore.

But, self editing is not that difficult. Also, when it comes to hiring a paid editor, you may face two problems :
1. You have to choose wisely, after thorough research because there’s no guarantee of great results.
2. Money. When you are going for traditional publishing, you find spending money on editing unnecessary. And, if you are going with self/paid publishing, you consider it as extra expense.

However, in any case, your manuscript should be error-free. Period.

So are you writing a book? Self-Editing on your mind? Read my article on Writer's Melon. I have shared some practical and effective methods. You may find these helpful. Before I start, I must tell you that these are the tips that worked for me or something I skipped doing and regretted later.

Read The Full Article HERE

You may read my other recently published articles –  






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Monday, June 12, 2017 10 Comments

The Curious Case Of Déjà Vu





Lord Ram refused blatantly to take Sita along when going for his 14 Years exile, but Sita was adamant, especially when she heard that Lakshman was accompanying him.

Out of reflex, she said, 'I go with you in every Ramayan, then why not in this Ramayan?'
She surprised herself. 'Every' Ramayan?

Was that a case of déjà vu, which means 'already seen' or 'been there before'?

Life is a vast cycle of occurrences. And mythically, History does repeat itself. Every moment we are living now has been lived before and it will be lived in future. Exactly the same. And, the cycle goes on. Isn't it spooky? I wonder if this is the reason of déjà vu.

It happens with me a lot. I still remember the first time (probably) I felt it in my childhood. I was sitting on the threshold of a door, my feet crossed in the corridor that stretched along and my eyes were on the sunny courtyard. And right then, my grandmother said something to me. I looked at her and she was smiling. This was the moment! I felt that it has happened before. Obviously, talking to my grandmother and her smile was not new, but that exact setting, our positions and the moment made me feel like that.

Also, while listening to any song, certain tune or lyric creates a sudden imagery, an unknown picture, place or setting in my mind, and then a flood of emotions hit me. Like I have seen that setting before. Like I had been to that place before. Like it is related to my life.

Is this anything psychological, something related to the (dis)functioning of our brain? Or something related to previous/next life?  Does this happen to you? Do you think I am insane?


Sharing with Chatty Blogs

P.S: Maybe this post seems unconvincing, but if you like reading romance with convincing situations and realistic characters, you will like my book, We Will Meet Again. It has been selected for KDP promotions by Amazon, so you can get your kindle copy @ a very attractive price of INR 24.75!






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Thursday, June 1, 2017 11 Comments

It Hurts



Image from Haiku My Heart

Crimson sky of love
                Turns dark, colours fade slowly
                      Fake feelings sneak in

The words she heard were not meant for her ears. This revelation was purely accidental, but some accidents are eye openers. She thought.

All her kaleidoscopic dreams started to merge with a black patch of despair. Just like the darkness of this silent night where the voice resonated without any barriers.

Why can't love be as clear as any other emotions? Why do people double cross? She had heard somewhere that real artists don't starve. Fabricating emotions is an art, isn't it?

It hurt and it was deeper and more painful because this emotional laceration was intentional.



Written for: Three Word Wednesday
                        Write Tribe

PS: My book, We Will Meet Again, a contemporary romance, got selected for KDP promotions by Amazon. You can get it @ a fab 75% discount!

From :
Amazon India
Amazon.Com


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Thursday, May 25, 2017 9 Comments

I Trust You





Niyati flinched the moment Shukla aunty left her house. She hastily walked towards her room, trying to avoid any cross-questioning from her mother.

‘Niyati,’ her mom called.

Niyati turned to look at her mother, feeling nervous. ‘It doesn’t matter what others say,’ her mother said. ‘I trust you, completely!’ Her smile reflecting warmth. ‘Come here.’ Her mother settled on the sofa. 

‘You know what, criticism is inevitable. Take it as a challenge. It encourages you. It makes you strong.’


Niyati gaped at her mother, she could feel her tension melting. ‘So I managed to fool you.' Niyati thought as she forced a smile.


Sharing with Write Tribe
                      Three Words Wednesday


PS: If you like reading contemporary romance, if you like realistic characters and convincing situations, you will like my book, We Will Meet Again. If you are Kindle Unlimited subscriber, You can read it for FREE. Do read and please share your views (On Amazon and Goodreads). Honest feedback is really important for a writer.




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Tuesday, May 9, 2017 13 Comments

Tricks For Distraction-Free Writing




In my opinion, the most challenging thing is to take a start - that's finishing your first draft. If you are a new writer, you can read my post, 6 Reasons You Can't Finish Your First Draft.

You are an achiever if you are a disciplined writer. Being a disciplined writer is tough. There are various distractions that inhibit the flow of your writing. I have tried and discovered some tricks for distraction-free writing.

Don't Wait For The Right Time

Whatever free time you get, sit down and write (even if it's 100 words). You don't realize how much time you waste just waiting for the right, relaxed and uninterrupted time.

Use Paper-Pencil/Pen

You don't (necessarily) need to open your computer/laptop. It's difficult to shut-up the editor in you - ignore the errors, those red-green-blue lines, that backspace/delete key. Even if you type in your document, turn off the spell-check. I prefer using pencil and notebook. I have written this post in my notebook in just 5 minutes before I typed.

Use Timer - It Works!

Set it for just 5-6 minutes and write. You will write 100-125 words approximately. Just make sure you have plotted the scene/description/dialogues before you start writing. It's important to write but meaningful writing is more important. Your story should make progress. Scribbling just anything won't be helpful when it comes to finishing your first draft (of novel/short story/article). Free writing is for overcoming writer's block (I don't believe in Writer's Block or forced writing).

Make a promise that you would do whatever distracts you most when your time is up. Take a break after this short writing session and then come back again with the timer (It's a great motivation, trust me).

One more thing that disturbs is that you think your writing, scenes or dialogues are not good enough. It's normal. Don't think about it. Trust me, you will get plenty of wonderful ideas later. Writing is all about re-writing.

So, what distracts you when you are writing? What's your trick to beat them?


Sharing with Chatty Blogs @ Shanaya Tales.






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Wednesday, April 26, 2017 5 Comments

6 Reasons You Can't Finish Your First Draft




When you plan to do something, the toughest step is to start off. It's scary, I know. But, once you dare to take that first step, everything seems to fall into place.

In writing, finishing your first draft is that first, crucial step. But, it's difficult, completing the first draft. After my first book, We Will Meet Again, I am struggling to write the first draft of my second book.

Reasons? Many. Here, from my own experience, I am pointing out some.

You don't have a story

In a sense, everyone can be a storyteller. But, having vague ideas and having a clear plot are two different things. If you want to write a novel, be clear about the story. Creating chapter outline helps you to progress. Make a rough route of the story. And, in my opinion, you should know the end of your story because if you don't know the destination of your journey (story), you may find yourself wandering.

You are over-thinking

It's true that you should be clear about the plot and the ending, but a novel is not just about a story and ending. Execution of your story makes a lot of difference. How do you want to take your story forward in an interesting way. Creating interesting incidents and dialogues - BUT, you don't need to know all of these when you take a start. Sometimes, your story, characters take the command and you just go with the flow. Sometimes, you get inspired by some real-life incidents or observation. You can add these things later.

In my novel, there are several things/incidents/even characters that I added after finishing my (messy) first draft. So, relax. Don't think you can have the entire story graph in your mind. Research is important but not in the first drat. You need to collect (and save) your thoughts and ideas first - this is the gist of writing first drafts. Stop over-thinking and start writing.

You are waiting for the right time

You may call it procrastination, and this is the biggest hurdle on the path of your writing journey.


There's no right time or every time is the right time if you think like that. I have wasted a lot of time after my first book. It amazes me when I see some writers working on several manuscripts.  But, admiring other writers won't help you until you take inspiration and start writing. 

You don't have to write x thousand words daily. Keep your goal small. It's okay if you write 200-300 words. Just make sure that your story makes progress everyday if you are working on a manuscript.

You seek perfection in your first draft

Attaining perfection is a myth. You will always find some faults in your manuscript. And, you will always someone better than you.

It's perfectly normal if you think your first draft is bad. Thinking that it's really good is highly delusional. Yes, First drafts are supposed to be messy. There is a term called 'Editing' and this term has a serious meaning. :)

Your first draft is not your final craft. You will get many chances to make corrections - you will have to revise and edit your manuscript - several rounds. Trust me. Editing is basically re-writing. So, don't seek perfection. Write your story first. Then, edit. If you can't resist editing while writing your first draft, your craft will go nowhere or even if it goes, it will move at a snail's pace. Want that?

You can't manage your time

Time management is all about your lifestyle. If you can't manage your time in 24 hours, you won't be able to manage if you got 48 hours in a day.

There's only rule that works - your own rule. Try and see what works for you. Early morning schedule or late night schedule. Avoid watching television (However, watching good movies is good for your writing.You can read about some good films I watched recently). Try to finish your chores on time. Try to fix a schedule. It helps.

You can't detach yourself from internet

This is the greatest distraction. I know it's tough as internet is addictive but controlling your online availability can be fruitful for your writing. We are writers because of our writing, not our online presence. Internet is useful but when you are writing, stay away from social media.

What works?

As Namrata (author of Metro Diaries 1 & 2 and many other anthologies) suggests, transcription (recording your thoughts/scenes/ideas when you feel lazy or doing something else, and ideas flash) works. Have you ever tried this?

Find a writing partner. Set a daily writing challenge (it's okay if it's 300-400 words) and share your word count and try to beat each other. This healthy competition is very motivating and actually works! Trust me.



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