A very long time ago, I read Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. I’ve not revisited the novel in years – the last time was seeing the 1995 adaptation featuring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet (and oh, how I still miss Alan Rickman) – but this week memories of it surfaced while I worked on my current novel.… Read More Sentimentalism in Fiction
I’m a language purist at heart. You know the type. I know I’m not alone. How many of you insist on writing out words in full, even when you are texting? I like seeing every letter painfully spelt out. It brings me joy, masochist that I am. Not for me, the LOLs, TIAs, BTWs and… Read More The Threat of Smileys and the Superficiality of New Technology
Language is powerful. We have seen recently on the world stage how the choice in language can sway large groups of people to either reject or identify strongly with orators. I feel the power of language when my fingers slide across the keyboard, or when I nail a phrase that perfectly captures my thoughts. And… Read More The Power of Naming
Over the last few weeks comments from my novel beta-readers have been trickling in. It’s the first time I’ve been through this process for a long project. Common wisdom says I should collect the responses and read them all at once. This way, it’s easier to get an overarching view of the novel’s reception and… Read More A Sense of an Ending
This week I’ve been thinking about motifs in literature: recurrent images, symbols or ideas an author employs to paint a picture in the reader’s mind. Motifs are woven through the books we read, used by authors to add depth and convey meaning. They might be colours (red for passion or victimhood, for example), the elements… Read More Motifs in Literature, and a Poem: The Hell Hound at the Tree of Life
One of the mysteries of writing is how our processes evolve. We try our hand at different techniques until we find one that fits best. Distilled down to simple binary choices: plotting or pantsing, laptop or notebook, cafe or home, desk or lap, pant or pantless. Starting a blog was central to toughening up my… Read More On the Writing Process, and Letting Go
A friend of mine recently asked me how I manage to find the time to write. She has young children, younger than mine, as well as a start up business, and it seemed to her that she’ll never be able to steal a moment for her writer self. She’s wonderful, this friend, passionate and committed… Read More Creative on Demand: On Time and Tricks to Get your Mojo
The processes we use in our creativity are individual. None of us work the same way: creativity is intuitive, our thoughts and approached vary. That’s not to say a template isn’t useful to guide us. Besides, it’s tempting to look over the fence and see what the neighbour has done with her garden. To this… Read More Self-editing for First-timers: Polishing your Novel
I know the answer to this question, and if you are like me, you will be jumping up and down saying: everything! Everything is fair game in art. It is the role of the writer to imagine new worlds, entertain, explore themes, and ultimately to hold up a mirror of truth. It is why the… Read More What is Fair Game in Art?
It’s been two and a half years since I started blogging. Two and a half years during which I’ve learnt an incredible amount. Some of it is unmeasurable. It’s the result of Twitter conversations, writer friendships, reading blogs and craft books, research, workshops and self-practice. It’s the result of the shift that happens when the… Read More On Writing and Exposure
It’s been a long summer and the kids are just settling back into their nursery and school routines. I have yet to find my writing rhythm, the one where I feel no resistance, where I believe in myself and the work is a joy. More than a few days away from my desk and my… Read More Writing Inertia: Did You Work on Your Dreams Today?
I’ve been working recently on a novel that has grown from a short story I wrote last year. It’s a literary romance based in Mumbai about a drifter called Akash. He continued to fill my head after I wrote the last line of the short story and I realised his story was unfinished. It has… Read More Fiction Writer’s Guide: How much Research is too much?
A few weeks ago I asked my husband if he would take a picture of me. I wanted to update my website. The old avatar was tired, a headshot cropped from a family photo. J was happy to help, and I posed awkwardly. It has always seemed a bit narcissistic to me, individual pictures, apart… Read More On my Blip with Twitter and Access to your Contacts
I’m going to be 33 years old in a few weeks. Hardly any age at all perhaps, although the white hair springing up around my temples would tell you otherwise. I remember how at 14 years old those in their thirties seemed to me to be dinosaurs. As a child I was sure that by… Read More Are you a Dreamer or a Tigress?: Setting Goals to Get Ahead
Ever since @amicgood founded #FridayPhrases last year, many of us have been spending a large part of our Fridays crafting and reading micro fiction. For those of you new to the phrase, micro fiction is a very short story, usually prose.Although Twitter has helped it gain in popularity, micro fiction has in fact been used… Read More Can Micro-Fiction Ever have the Impact and Appeal of the Novel?
There is a frail old lady in our neighbourhood, who wanders the streets in the afternoon dressed in a sari. The saris are always tatty and loosely worn. The old lady passes fellow pedestrians without acknowledging their presence. It is as if she does not see them at all. If you say hello, she barely… Read More Losing and Finding Stories
I have a confession to make. The content of my email inbox, with the exception of pictures of my nephews and the blogs I subscribe to, is uninspiring. My virtual letterbox tends to be filled with bills, receipts and reminders. Emails save time and money, yet still I long for days past. I’d like to… Read More The Forgotten Joys of Longhand Writing
Seek criticism. We can all improve. Art is not made in a vacuum. Blogging is a source of support and good training for writing regularly. Close the door. Dream. Even during the day. Eat well…it’s far too tempting to shovel anything in to win more writing time. Finish your stories. Make them be the best… Read More I’m No Saint Either: an A-Z of Tips for the Sinning Writer
I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember. As a child, I used to sneak away from family gatherings to devour another few chapters of a novel. I hid stories and a pen torch underneath my bedcovers for use after lights out. As an adult, I sometimes take my book with me… Read More What I Wish I’d Known at the Start of my Writing Journey
Why have a beta reader? A beta reader gives you feedback on your writing before you set it loose on the world. You’ve worked on your manuscript for months, maybe years, and it is likely that you are so invested in your story that you can no longer see it through a reader’s eyes. A… Read More Beta Readers: the Magic Elves of the Publishing World