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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Older and wiser…again

24 January 2018
Posted in: Books, Gaming, Reviews, Scratchpad, TV, Web design, Writing | No Comments

It’s stock-taking-of-the-year time and the only thing I can think of is, 2017 was the year I discovered Berena!

Well, in the larger scheme of things, the year that just went by was a horrible one. Right-wing bigots continued to be in power, the digital enslavement of Indian citizens went on, the economy remained effed, human beings found new ways to hurt, kill and maim each other…if I go on in this vein, I’m going to have to crawl back into bed and cry myself to sleep. Thus, I’m choosing selfishness, and will look inwards into the tiny confines of my own life for the moment.

From a personal perspective, fortunately, the past year has been pretty decent. There was reading and writing, travel to old and new destinations, the discovery of new TV content, and there was chocolate. Of course, there were troubled times, but one lived to tell the tale, so let’s chalk all that down to life experience.

How did I do on my to-do list from last year? Let’s see:

  1. Writing:Yes Though I didn’t exactly stick to my resolution of finishing a fantasy novel, this was a good year for writing. Also, Hit for a Six came out almost on the dot of the year end, while the US edition of Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean was published in March. A short story of mine was also accepted in Harper’s Flipped anthology. Finally, I submitted two other shorties for anthologies—one a spec fic collection on India in another 70 years, the other a volume on the theme of exams—both of which have been accepted.
  2. Fitness: Yes Late in 2016, I discovered FitnessBlender.com, and rebuilding my fitness regime ensued with great success.
  3. Gaming: Yes Could have gone better, but it wasn’t too bad. A brand new game, Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition is lying in wait for me to inaugurate (early birthday present from Marie). Oh also, a couple of weeks ago, after almost two decades of gaming, I finally managed multiplayer. The grand plans didn’t quite go as anticipated, but still, I’m not hard to please. Sometimes.
  4. Travel: Yes In June 2017, we were invited to the wedding of some friends in Germany. With them, we visited Rathendorf, a village in Saxony; Leipzig; and Mecklenberg, the German “lake district”. On the way back to India, we popped into Prague too.
  5. Website redesign: No Oh, shut up. x-(
  6. Blogging: No Well begun but not even half done. Sigh.
  7. Self-publishing: No To be fair, this was a good year on the writing front and not the right time for self-publishing.

So now on to the list of things I intend to tick off before I turn 43:

  1. Write aforementioned fantasy novel: I wrote a short story in late 2017 that I’m keen to flesh out into a novel. Since the story is already there, I’m hoping this will actually work out pretty quickly. Just the little matter of a publisher saying yes…
  2. Keep up with the fitness regime: Not expecting a problem on that front.
  3. Take up drawing again: Well, yes.
  4. Redo the website: Don’t laugh. I’m really sick of the design.

Check back here in 365 days to see how I did.

~PD

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No.11 of #52Stories: Hit for a Six — The middle-of-the-book test

2 January 2018
Posted in: 52 stories, Books, Writing | 2 Comments

52 Stories 2017(Criminally late update? Let’s brush that under the carpet, shall we?)

Back in 2010, the Guardian suggested the page-99 test to find out if you want to read a book. In short, you read page 99 of the book in question to decide if it’s worth your time.

Since my new book, Hit for a Six, is a slim 148 pages long, I fear a page-99 test might be too much of a spoiler. Thus, here’s a middle-of-the-book test:

Chapter 8

“I’m not very interesting, I don’t know why you want do a biography of me,” said Laila.

“We are supposed to pick someone ordinary,” replied Samir. His eyes widened in shock immediately as he realized what he’d said. “Sorry, I didn’t mean that you were boring or anything!”

“It’s fine.” But she was slightly stung anyway.

She had agreed to meet him in Chandnisarai’s new coffee shop called Conversations. It was not a very apt name because the music was so loud, you could barely hear yourself think. Also, everything was very expensive. Laila had ordered the cheapest thing on the menu, which turned out to be black coffee and was revolting, even after emptying four sachets of sugar in it.

Sorry it’s such a short excerpt (chapter opening page), but what did you think? Would you buy this book? (Hint: You can get it here.)
~PD

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No.7 of #52Stories: A Helping Hand

28 February 2017
Posted in: 52 stories, Books, Social issues, Writing | No Comments

52 Stories 2017Back in 2015, I was asked by Vidya Mani if I’d like to do a book on the theme of fitting in for the StoryWeaver open-source repository of stories. She was commissioning a set of books on the broad subject of emotional intelligence. Of course, the answer was yes.

The result was A Helping Hand, a story about a reluctant ‘mentor’ who slowly thaws towards the new girl in his class.

There’s a new girl in class and our teacher has asked me to be her friend and show her around. But I’m not sure I want to – she’s… not like the rest of us!

Vidya is an exacting editor, and refused to give up as the story went through a few “meh” drafts. The final result is what you see on StoryWeaver, illustrated wonderfully by Vartika Sharma. I loved how Vartika gave her own interpretation to the epistolary format of the story. It was interesting also that I imagined the protagonist as a boy (though chose not to give him a name) and she saw her as a girl. Such surprises are what make up a truly collaborative work. Vartika’s style and the silhouette-y nature of the figures are what keep the story from being just a collection of boring, childish notes.

You can read the whole story here right now:

A Helping Hand has since been translated many times—into Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Odia, Tamil, Telugu, Konkani and even Indonesian. Since it’s a StoryWeaver publication, it is available under a Creative Commons licence, open to being downloaded, read, read aloud, printed, translated, re-illustrated and more. So feel free to read it, share it, download it, and pass it around.

~PD

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