Wednesday, April 26, 2017 1 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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Tuesday, April 4, 2017 2 Comments

My Favourite Non-Fiction Books (Even Though I Don't Enjoy Reading NF)


I am an avid reader, but I enjoy reading fiction. I am not fond of non-fiction, but interestingly, I have read some non-fiction that really turned out to be interesting, insightful and helpful. Here, I am sharing four non-fiction books that I really liked. Moreover, you can re-read these books for motivation anytime, any chapter.

Kissing the Demon by Amrita Kumar (Harper Collins India)

Image result for kissing the demons by amrita kumar

I received this book from Writer's Melon for an honest review. As a writer, I find writing tips/quotes interesting. So, there was no reason to not get this book to read. And, I'm glad I read this book. You can read my detailed review, '6 Reasons Kissing the Demon is a Must Have For Writers' on Writer's Melon's website.




Don't Diet - 50 Habits of Thin People by Kavita Devgan (Jaico Books)

Kavita Devgan is one of the nicest person I have ever known (online - yes, I have never met her). When I got a chance to review this book, I grabbed it immediately as I find the theme of health and fitness interesting. However, there are chances that such books turn to be preachy, factual and boring, but here this books scores high. The author's friendly voice makes it interesting and motivating read. You can read my review (4 Reasons Don't Diet Will Keep You Motivated For Weight LossHere. Must have for those who are conscious about health and fitness.



Our Moon Has Blood Clots by Rahul Pandita (Penguin Random House)

This was the first non-fiction that I read. I found the title intriguing (and, for me, title matters). It's a memoir - deep and touching, enlightening and sometimes, shocking!

If you are interested in the history of Kashmir, you must read this. You can read my review Here



Everything You Wanted to Know About Freelance Journalism by Kavitha Rao and Charukesi Ramadurai (Westland Books)

Kavitha Rao is a very successful freelance writer who frequently writes for international markets. If you are a new or aspiring freelance writer/journalist, you must read this book. It would be really helpful as it carries several tips and ideas of successful (International level) freelance writers. Will help you to understand the national and international market.

Have you read any of these? How did you like them? Which one is your favourite non-fiction?






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Tuesday, March 7, 2017 9 Comments

Books I Love - Do You Reread Books?




'My Favourite Book' - these simple 3 words have very broad meaning. If you are an avid reader, you can't name just one or two, not even three books as your favourites. Different books affect you differently. Sometimes, three completely different books can evoke similar emotions.

Reading books is the fastest way to travel to different places, lives, without actually going anywhere. I think reading is one of the greatest forms of love. It keeps you happy. It diminishes your worries (for the time being). And, it has the capability to keep you awake all night.

There are many books I have loved (especially when I experimented with the genres) . But, I believe that apart from neat writing (of course) good books are those which keep you engaged throughout. You may close the book for some time, but it must have the hook that pulls you the moment you are free. While reading that book you don't care about your favourite TV show or social media. You don't want to sleep without finishing the book. The characters stay with you for a long time. And, most importantly, a book that you can read again!

No matter how much I like the book, I (usually) don't re-read any book. Usually because there are four books that I have read twice - just after finishing the first time! My first book that I re-read was Swami by Saratchandra, my all time favourite (Modified by Mannu Bhandari). It's a quick read, a simple yet beautiful take on love, marriage and family.

Alampanah is one of my favourite romances. A very popular serial 'Farmaan' was based on this novel. I regret watching that serial after reading the book. It badly affects my imagination. I don't watch the movie if I have read the book and vice-versa.

Then, it's Shukra Grah Par Dhawa by Prof. Diwakar that I had found in our mini library. It's a science fiction about an Indian scientist and his adventurous trip to Shukra Grah (Planet Venus) where he encounters a mad scientist. I read it first as a teenager. I re-read it after my marriage and loved again!

And, This Matter of Marriage by Debbie Macomber (one of my favourite authors. I love her delightful love stories).

Last year, I read a book Love Virtually. I couldn't believe I enjoyed reading emails - just emails! I was quick to order the sequel - Every Seventh Wave, and enjoyed that too. I feel I can re-read these books someday.

Have you read any of these? Do you re-read books? Share your absolute favourites!

Written this post for Blog Chatter (Prompt - Books I Love)




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Saturday, March 4, 2017 0 Comments

Book Review: Zoon by Selina Sen





Na pooch ehd-e ulfat, ek khwaab pareshan tha
Do not ask of the time of love, it was a bewildering dream

Faiz Ahmed Faiz


Set in the Kashmir valley, Zoon by Selina Sen (Westland Books) is a long journey of film making. It's also about love (two love stories both set in Kashmir but in different era), loss and betrayal.

Joya Banerjee gets an opportunity to work with Shantanu Rai, a reputed filmmaker who is planning his dream movie, Zoon that's based on a 16th century Kashmiri poet and musician, Habba Khatoon. With the progress of Zoon, Joya's relationship with Rashid, a Kashmiri Historian (who is also working on the project) progresses too, slowly and passionately.

A shocking incident brings the shooting to a halt. Brimming with guilt and a deep sense of loss, Joya returns to the valley after 10 years, to complete the movie, Zoon. How would she manage to create the same effect after 10 long years? Would she be able to complete the film despite the adverse working conditions in the valley? And, what about Rashid and their lost love?

Read this book to know the answers.

Humko maloom hai jannat ki haqeeqat lekin
Dil ko khush rakhne ko Ghalib ye khayal achha hai

Zoon has an intriguing plot. Who wouldn't want to read two different love stories rolled into one with a mesmerizing backdrop of Kashmir? But, this book lacks the passion and beauty that are required for such a story line. 

The first part of the book is painfully slow and dull. It reads more factual than fictional and imaginative. Overall, it seems like 'the making of Zoon'. It takes more than 160 pages to happen something shocking and significant (Had it not been for review, I would have left this book unfinished). No doubt, after that incident, the book picks up the pace and turns really interesting and gripping (So, the patience was fruitful).

Still, there's something amiss about the storytelling and the setting even though the language is good. The situations and characters are underdeveloped. There's no spark between Joya and Rashid. There's no expression of their feeling. The title character, Zoon aka Habba Khatoon hasn't got any exposure. I wanted to know more about her. I liked the character of Rashid but again this one is a half-baked character. Joya is the main protagonist, but she fails to mark any impression. Nothing concrete reflects from her personality. 

Also, the story covers the time-frame of 1989-1999, but the timeline is confusing. I really liked the starting chapter, maybe prologue of the book. The valley and its life are very well described in the second half. Poems by Habba Khatoon are nice but not sparkling. I did not like the cover. I mean why would anyone design such a boring cover for this intense story set in Kashmir valley? 

I picked this book with a lot of expectations, so for me, this was a disappointing read. You may pick this book if you are looking for a different plot, you like History and intense reads.





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Monday, February 20, 2017 5 Comments

Revisiting Memory Lane





Cursed by misfortune, 
Crushed by desolation
Clutched by the void within
I seek out a path to walk down memory lane
The familiar sunshine of smiles,
Bouquet of joy greet me
Oh, the whiff of bliss and solace!
Missed opportunities and zest clustered
A bunch of follies
Josh me
Laden with nostalgic emotions
Memories reach my eyes, 
Gleaming
Just like dewdrops in the sunshine


Through the blurred vision, I see a girl sitting under a tree. Her long skirt sprawled around the stone she is sitting on, her curls fluttering in the gentle breeze. She is my (much) younger, brighter, happier and care-free version. How happy I feel to see her! She looks at me and smiles brightly, the smile reaching her twinkling eyes. Golden sunshine filtering through the tree branches makes her face radiant. Then, she frowns. 'Why are you crying?' she asks innocently. Oh! I forgot I was crying. I shrug.

'Does crying change anything? Does it solve any problem?' she asks, I am surprised at her wisdom. But, you see, I am her older version, more experienced and wiser.

'No. But, crying gives you two important things. Some solace and strength. Tears rejuvenate your soul,' I say with a teacher-like look.

She doesn't understand this fact, and I am glad.

'Okay, can you pass me some happiness?' I ask.

'No. How can I? They're mine. You've had your share of happiness. But, you are supposed to create new forms of happiness. Haven't you created any?'

Her question feels like teasing. How wise she sounds. 'Can I have some wisdom?' I ask recalling the bunch of missed opportunities and follies.

'Oh yes!' She picks up a pebble and throws in the river nearby, the expanse so familiar.

'Why? Haven't I had my share of wisdom too?'

She rises to her feet, curling her lower lip. 'Maybe, but you can still take it. You have earned that out of your experiences, haven't you?'

Oh yes! Happiness is ephemeral, keeps changing, but wisdom - it remains with you. It keeps growing with your experiences, choices, mistakes. You just need to pay attention, and learn.

I open my mouth to say something, but vision starts blurring making her slim figure sway. I am back to the reality. But, I haven't returned empty handed. This revisit was a gentle reminder. The momentary happiness. New enthusiasm. And yes, I have to create my new share of happiness! I smile. Do I look like her?


Sharing with Blog Chatter (Prompt - Down the Memory Lane)
                      Poets United












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Thursday, February 9, 2017 23 Comments

Warm Memories





With every wave comes
A gush of warm memories 
Carved like names on rocks.

Fragrant emotions 
Wash over me, I smile
Like a crimson dusk

Screaming solitude 
Lingering sadness, I weap
Like a dewy dawn


Sharing with: Daily Post (Solitude) 
                   Haiku My Heart 
             Poets United 


P.S.: Wanted to say something about my first book, We Will Meet Again...The ebook version will be free for Kindle readers on this Valentine's Day. So, if you enjoy reading delightful romance with relatable characters and situations, my book can be a enjoyable read for you. Please download and read. I'll be waiting for your feedback. It's very important for a new author. Thank you for visiting! :)




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Saturday, February 4, 2017 3 Comments

Book Review: My Father is a Hero by Nishant Kaushik



'Your failures can never weigh as much as the burden of your regrets.' : My Father is a Hero 

I really liked this quotation. How true is this!

The story of My Father is a Hero  (Srishti Publishers) by Nishant Kaushik is based on  'Father-Daughter' relationship where a single father, Vaibhav, is willing to go to any lengths for his daughter's (Nisha) happiness.

That's all.

The first thing you notice in a book is its cover, and the cover of this book is very boring. So boring that I didn't want to read this book initially. But, so many good reviews prompted me to sign up for a review copy.

Now, about the story - the story of My Father is a Hero is very plain and predictable, without any twists and turns. It takes 55-60 pages to happen something that you may care about. However, last part of the book is interesting. 

Writing/narration is okay, but characterization is vague. Except Vaibhav and Nisha, not a single character leaves a mark. In my opinion, the character of Nisha's mother who seldom appears in Vaibhav's or Nisha's thoughts, deserved more space in the story.

Vaibhav is a good father indeed. I liked the way he handles her daughter so patiently. The author has described his restlessness and worries well. But, Nisha's character is very annoying. She 'never' behaves like a ten year old kid. I needed to remind myself that Nisha is a kid, not a grown up girl. She goes to salons and restaurants (even in Australia she goes to a place by herself without telling her father), and her 'single' father (who drops and picks her from school every single day) doesn't know. There's a certain scene/incident in the book that somewhat angered me. I don't know if ten year olds nurture/bother about such feelings that has been shown in the book.

Descriptions are inappropriate, sometimes. Like, an anxious father who has been summoned to the school (for a serious issue), visits the principal's chamber, and the way he notices another visitor's, a woman, attire (maybe it's from FabIndia, he thinks), her pumps, her accessories, handbag's brand etc. was a little odd. Maybe, it's just me, but I'm not sure if anyone would notice someone so minutely when they're nervous/worried.

Overall, for  me, it was an average read. If you are looking for a quick and easy read or a travel partner, you may take this book as an option.


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



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