Punctuation and More

How important is punctuation these days? We live in times when text messages have virtually corrupted the English language as we once knew it.  People write, “hv” for “have’, “4” instead of “for” and so on. Texting reflects the way we speak rather than the way we write. It pays scarce respect to punctuation making it seem as if  punctuation is a relic of the old days. However, I am sure aspiring writers realize that how you punctuate your writing, reflects your capability as a writer and more importantly, makes it easier for the reader to understand what you are trying to communicate. In this context the Top Ten Tips from The Punctuation Guide is a useful tool for aspiring writers who seek to improve upon their skills.

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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! Continue reading “Of Childhood and Enid Blyton”

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.

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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.  Continue reading “It’s That Time Of The Year Again: NaNoWriMo is on.”

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. Continue reading “Opening Sentences in Fiction”

#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. Continue reading “#Writing: A Hashtag to Follow on Twitter”

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.”  Continue reading “On Literary Magazines”

Inspiration For Writers

Apart from the much talked of “Writers’ Block”, there are many events that can send your writing schedule for a toss. You could face important tasks that you have put off, busy as you were with your writing. You could also lose some of the zeal for writing, if you were to get a rejection just when you were starting off on a new chapter in your work in progress. Believe me, at the end of the day, writing is all about how you feel at that point in time. Continue reading “Inspiration For Writers”