Prem Rao

Stories from a Story Teller

Of Childhood and Enid Blyton

Many of my social and cultural background in India started reading English books as kids thanks to Enid Blyton. I still have vivid memories of the characters in the Noddy series:  apart from Noddy himself, Mr. Plod the Policeman, Big Ears and Tessie Bear though I must read about them over 50 years ago. More recently  I enjoyed reading them out to my grandson! Read more…

To Be A Better Writer

Who doesn’t want to be a better writer? However great you think you are, there’s always scope to improve your writing further. I would like to share a few interesting blog posts full of sensible advice to writers and would be writers:- Read “The One Book That Shines” which details the 5 Characteristics Of A Great Book.  The first fact mentioned puts things in perspective. Most literary agents receive 2000 or more submissions every year and only 1 % of the agent’s “slush pile” is rewarded with an offer of representation.  Also that publishing is a business like any other where the owner of the publishing firm wishes to see fair return on his investment. Keep these two points in mind whenever you sit down to write. You cannot afford to forget them.

Read more…

“Life In The City” Work In Progress After NaNoWriMo 2014

I am delighted that I successfully completed NaNoWriMo 2014 where the challenge was to write a novel of 50,000 words during the calendar month of November.

” Life In The City” is a collection of short stories, 14 in all, which capture different aspects of life in a city in contemporary India. Since I live in Bengaluru ( recently made the official name for the erstwhile Bangalore) most of my stories tend to be set here. I guess the issues are the same in different cities of India. While the stories are largely a figment of my imagination, I must confess that the inspiration for at least a few of them came from real life incidents as reported in the daily newspapers.

The stories feature a wide variety of characters and situations which I hope most readers will be able to easily relate to. They involve, amongst others, an elderly woman who gets a fresh lease of life; a bored housewife caught up, thanks to her addiction for the internet, in a net of deceit; and, a couple who settle down in Bengaluru to come across ghosts from the past.

This is now work in progress and I hope to share more details of this project with time.

“Life In The City”

As mentioned in many posts in this blog, November finds me busy with NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month, an international event in which we aim to write a novel of 50,000 words in the calendar month of November. The rules permit the writing of short stories too as long as the collection has a common theme. This year, like in 2012 when I did an anthology of short stories called, “A Bouquet From India”, I have embarked on writing a collection of short stories once again.

The common theme is that they are all set in the cities of India, a land I know best having lived in different parts of this vast country, all my life. It was natural then for me to select, ” Life In the City” as the title for this year’s effort. Read more…

It’s That Time Of The Year Again: NaNoWriMo is on.

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. November, for me, and for thousands like me from all over the world who love writing, means it time for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo,)  Some one once asked me in an interview,  “When do you write?” She meant to ask whether I wrote in the mornings or in the evenings and did I have a preferred time slot for writing.  I replied, ” In November!” with all seriousness. Strange as it may seem, for the last few years , ever since I became a full-time writer, virtually all my writing has taken place in November of each year. Here’s where you can order all my books.  Read more…

100 Word Story

Janet Reid needs no introduction to writers and would be writers, does she?  She’s a literary agent with FinePrint Literary Management and her blog must be one of the most widely read of them all.  I happened to see a contest that’s playing out there a short while ago. The task is to tell a story in 100 words or less, using five words selected by her.

The five words are: ” oil”, “boom”, “mother”, “ice” and “shower.”

This was my first shot at an exercise of this kind. I decided to give it a go.

As required, we pasted our “stories” as comments under the  blog post in question. You can see my effort along with those by many others.

It doesn’t matter whether you win something or not, it’s an interesting experience and I look forward to taking part in more such contests if I come across them.

As a writer, it underscores to me the maxim that, ‘Every Word Counts.”

Try it for yourself. It is fun, isn’t it?

Opening Sentences in Fiction

In this blog, I try to share  posts and articles I found interesting. They relate to the writing process, the lives of writers and the business of books. They say that the opening sentence is one of the most important parts of a book. Legend has it that famous authors have spent months sharpening that one sentence to perfection. The Guardian has this wonderful collection titled, ” The 10 best first lines in fiction.” You might or might not agree that these are the 10 best, but they do make  good reading. Mark the variety of these opening lines which underlies the point that there is no one way to score an ace. Read more…

#Writing: A Hashtag to Follow on Twitter

Most authors are on Twitter these days. You have to be, to tell the world about your writing and learn from others how they improve their writing skills. I follow the hashtag #writing very closely. I must confess that I have gained a lot from simply reading the links provided after the tweets with this hashtag. I have also developed my social network in the process. More than anything else, I love the learning bit as we come across interesting information and perspectives linked to this hashtag. Read more…

On Literary Magazines

A confession: I haven’t really paid much attention to literary magazines. Till now. To be honest, I never even knew so many of them existed, jostling for attention in a crowded market place. It was this article by Joe Bunting in The Write Practice that captured my interest. In an interview, Linda Swanson-Davis, co-founder of Glimmer Train speaks of “How To Get Published In Literary Magazines.”  Read more…

Military Characters I Have Admired From Fiction

I gave a talk recently on “The Joys of Writing.” In this I dwelt on the immense pleasure, which is hard to describe, that an author gets when he creates a character in a work of fiction. There are so many memorable characters from the pages of fiction: Sherlock Holmes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Tom Sawyer from Mark Twain,  Jeeves and Bertie Wooster ( and indeed a host of others) from P G Wodehouse, Rhett Butler from Margaret Mitchell and closer to our times, James Bond from Ian Fleming spring to mind. Read more…

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