Show don’t tell – thoughts on the writing aXiom

I think one of my favouritest rules of writing – which has made the most sense to me – is show don’t tell. It took me the longest time to figure out what it meant though. It is the difference between saying He was scared and His throat was parched, his armpits were soaked in sweat and his legs were shaking. It is the difference between saying She ran across the street and She weaved through the running traffic, as she tried to keep an eye on her quarry while simultaneously avoiding being hit by a car.

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Veni vidi vici

I had a short story written for today. It was clever but I found I couldn’t abide my own writing. It may have been clever but it definitely wasn’t coherent. I tried rewriting it, I tried to salvage it, I tried to completely write another tale where I could use the phrase veni vidi vici and make it mean something but none of my attempts were successful.

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The other side of creativity

Any time I tell someone I’m a writer, I have received one of two questions. It’s either are you published. Or where can I read you. The second question is answered easily enough. I have a blog now and it is the most comprehensive way to read how or what I write. The first question though is always a dart through the gut. 

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What it means to be a successful writer?

When I first started writing, the only goal I had was to become a published author. Not just a published author but a best-selling author. The dream was very clear and when I finished my first manuscript, all polished and ready to be sent off to make me the next best thing, I was convinced that this was it. My golden ticket. Even though I had been warned that the hard part of writing begins after writing, even though I knew that publishing is as much about a good piece of work as it is about luck, timing and place, I was hopeful and gleeful.

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Thou shalt keep learning

One of the things I have always wanted to do was to take a course on creative writing. When I was looking for a Masters in 2012, I remember being told by my advisor to go through the courses and find 3-4 that excited me. I had obviously clicked on Creative Writing but the thought of spending lakhs of rupees to go to London to study writing instead of something that could give me some ROI made me click on business instead.

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How to finish a first draft

When you haven’t written anything longer than a blog post in months, you get into panic situations where you feel you may have burnt through the capability of sitting still for a length of time to write a full fledged novel. 

This happened with me recently – the panic, obviously – so I decided that the best way to handle it was to put myself in a pressure cooker by trying my hand at NaNoWriMo. Spoiler alert, I don’t like to abide by rules so I failed this second attempt as well.

But, surprise surprise, I did finish my first draft – a glorious 50,000 words that not only let me revisit a favourite character, but also was something longer than 500 words.

How did I manage it?

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