“The Writer’s Digest Handbook of Short Story Writing Volume II” : Ed. Jean M. Fredette

All of us who love writing, and reading of course, can do with periodic reminders on how to hone our writing skills. That there is no end to learning is well known. In this context, I was happy to recently read, ” The Writer’s Digest Handbook of Short Story Writing: Volume II“, edited by Jean M. Fredette. 

This collection of articles on short story writing was published by the well-known Writers Digest Books in 1991. I came across this book in our Club library. It is striking that all the points made still remain relevant though nearly three decades have gone by since the book was first published. It is edited by Jean M. Fredette , who was an Acquisitions Editor of Writer’s Digest and has edited several of their books.

The only thing that has changed has been the process of submitting a manuscript. While the principles remain pretty much the same, much of the process has got simplified thanks to the progress in technology. We can now submit manuscripts over the internet, no longer being bound to print and send the manuscript in physical form in many cases. However, do check the submission guidelines mentioned by the publisher.

Seven chapters encompass a wealth of material in this book, covering sections such as, ” Getting Started”, ” Craft and Technique”, and ” Marketing The Short Story”. Each of the chapters have contributions from distinguished authors who have generously shared their experience and expertise. Principal amongst them are Adela Rogers St. John, Lawrence Block, and John Updike.

From very basic points which we sometimes overlook ( like repeating words/phrases so often that they jar) to more sophisticated aspects like Sentence Structure, Transitions, and Dialogue, this book has tips for the novice and the experienced writer alike.

Reading this book reinforced in me why writing is really a craft. The material in this volume really applies for any kind of writing . It is not restricted to short story writing as the title implies.

“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. Continue reading ““Life In The City””

Stock Take on Writing Projects

Ok, the A to Z Challenge is over, my third novel, “Let The Dead Stay Dead ” has been released on Wattpad, and NaNoWriMo is still months away. This is a good time to stock take on my on-going writing projects. This exercise which I do from time to time, not only keeps readers informed of my work but more importantly acts as a compass for me to prioritize my time and energies. I would advocate all writers should do the same, with the frequency of such a stock take dependent on their specific requirements.

Continue reading “Stock Take on Writing Projects”

Interesting Links

A confirmed web surfer, I am always on the hunt for things that may help me improve my writing.  Here are a few things which caught my attention over the last week:

  • “The Emotion Thesaurus” by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi is an interesting dive into what are the giveaways when people express emotions. Designed for the writer to be factually correct when he/she captures the moods of their characters, and writes about their body language and mannerisms, this book is truly one of its kind. A must for the book shelf of every serious writer.

Continue reading “Interesting Links”

“A Bouquet From India”

We now have just a week to go before we blast off for NaNoWriMo 2012. The objective is to write a novel of 50,000 words during the calendar month of November 2012, starting from scratch. Some choose to be “rebels” and do short stories instead. I have chosen to be part of this rebel band this year.

Continue reading ““A Bouquet From India””

Are you on for NaNoWriMo 2012?

Here’s a confession. Yes, I got to admit I am a sucker for the National Novel Writing Month, popularly called NaNoWriMo. I was initially hesitant about signing up for NaNo this year. Let me hasten to add that I have great regard for this initiative. It won’t be wrong to say that a large share for whatever little success I have enjoyed as a writer clearly goes to NaNoWriMo and all the Wrimos who I have interacted with.For the uninitiated, “Wrimos” are the folks who take part in NaNoWriMo.

Continue reading “Are you on for NaNoWriMo 2012?”