Friday, January 20, 2012

Out of Sequence

I envy those people that can write large sections of their novels out of sequence. Because I seem to be unable to do the same! Outlining- no problem at all. Mapping it all out- totally fine. Actually writing it? My mind literally goes blank unless I return to the chronological point at which I left off.Considering that my characters are nowhere near the continent they need to be on for all of their real adventures to start yet (and one of their love interests!!), it's really very frustrating. I hope to get my MCs out of the States and onto a plane very, very, soon. Or I'll be the one going stir-crazy instead of them!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Visualizing Characters

I've never really been one to seek out specific actors for my characters, but that has changed to some extent for my current WIP. Part of is has to do with the fact that I'm at home right now and that I have a lot of access to regular Indian television. Considering the fact that western television doesn't have much in the way of South Asian actors and most of my story is populated by people of South Asian descent (obviously, as it takes place in India), I haven't had many chances to look beyond Bollywood. Thanks to Tellywood, though, my choices are varied and wide- and I have a face to the name for most of my characters now!

In fact, the name for my parallel male lead came from the character paired against my actress inspiration for one of my MCs in one of her shows! He was a character that didn't exist until yesterday,but now that he does, he has made my story a) more interesting and b) has solved an inherent problem in the structure of my story--that is, two young women traveling through India entirely by themselves without facing any problems. As optimistic as I tend to be, even I know that's not exactly realistic.

What about you all? Do you like to visualize your characters, or are they entirely imagined?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Interview With a Character! Link 2 in the AW January W1S1 Blog Chain

I am so excited to be participating in the AW W1S1 January blog chain! The prompt this month is "Interview With a Character." I'm number two on the list- number one is the lovely Izz!

I've chosen the characters of Deepika and Vishakha from my work in progress, Like Banyan Trees in Cornfields. They are the extremely sassy twin daughters of Tara Sen, one of my MC's aunts. Tara, Deepika, and Vishakha live in the bustling city of Kolkata, India.

Priyanka: Hi girls. Thanks so much for joining us for an interview today!

Deepika: Sure. Just don't forget to buy me the Sunsilk shampoo you promised you'd get me after this. I want hair like Anoushka Sharma.
Vishakha: And please make sure this doesn't take longer than fifteen minutes! My favorite serial is coming on then and I don't want to miss anything. The current track is very interesting.

Priyanka: ...Right. Anyway, so why don't you tell the readers a little bit about yourself? What are your dreams and goals?

Deepika and Vishakha: We're twin sisters.
Deepika: I want to be an actress.
Vishakha: And I want to be a screenwriter!
Deepika: I thought you wanted to be a poet?
Vishakha: Well what happened to you wanting to be a musician? [to audience]: She's a great singer.
Deepika [shrugging]: I changed my mind.
Vishakha: You're always changing your mind! And you've never even been in a play. Who's going to let you be in a serial?
Deepika: Everybody knows you just have to be good looking to be an actress. How many girls in Bollywood started out as models? I can do the same.
Vishakha: I can't believe we're twins.
Deepika: You're one to talk. You write and write in those notebooks of yours and you don't show anyone. You'll never get published if you don't try and sell it.
Vishakha: I don't need to sell my writing to know I'm good at it.
Deepika: And you think I'm delusional?

Priyanka: Okay!! So, moving on, how old are you?

Vishakha: We're 14.
Deepika: She's two minutes older than me.
Vishakha; Personally I think it's quite obvious.
Deepika: Okay Madam-ji. What are you, forty years old? "I think it's quite obvious." Stop talking like a textbook.
Vishakha: I'm going to tell Ma that you're being rude to her guests.
Deepika: Two can play that game. If you do that, I'll tell her it was actually you who taped over her favorite movie to record Bollywood's Sexiest Leading Men last week.
Vishakha: But that was you!

Priyanka: Okay, girls, let's try just one more question. What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?

Deepika: Obviously they love me.
Vishakha: Us. They love us.
Deepika: Yes, we're quite popular at school.
Vishakha: We're the only twins in Class 8. And all the boys are all flat for Deepika.
Deepika: Oh yeah,Vish,that reminds me- Rina told me the other day that Aditya Chatterjee has a crush on you.
Vishakha: Really? But wasn't he dating Anjali?
Deepika: Just to make you jealous.
Vishakha: Oh my god Deepu, I think I need a second to breathe. Adi is so cute.
Deepika: [grinning] Vishakha doesn't do so well with surprises.

Priyanka: No problem, take your time! Speaking of which, we're out of it, But I really appreciate you taking the time to join us-"

Deepika: Sunsilk. Don't forget the Sunsilk.
Vishakha: Deepu! Can't you at least wait until we're off the air?
Deepika: What? If I'm going to be an entertainment star my hair needs to look good.
Vishakha: Sometimes I question how it's possible that we share the same DNA.

Next up is rialrees! A complete list of participants can be found here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Villains and Antagonists

So one of my goals for this year is to try and write a little bit each day. It's January 10th and so far I haven't been doing so hot, but I've been keeping notes on potential short story sequence ideas that would be fun to pursue. One of them is a short story sequence of pivotal moments from classical/popular literature told by the antagonist or villain of the original work- say, for instance, from Miss Havisham's perspective in Great Expectations, or from Tom's in The Great Gatsby. Not the whole book, necessarily, but particular scenes.

Considering I as of yet am still doing the whole job search thing at home, I might as well push the boundaries with my writing!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome 2012

So I'm trying this whole writing persistently thing. And that starts with making a post on the first day of the year! Although I'm technically cheating- as I'm typing this out, it is 11:58 pm and almost January 2nd! Still, I started this on the first day of the year, so let's just say it counts.

I wouldn't say I'm super superstitious or anything, but I've always been fond of the idea of astrology and numerology, and apparently this year is supposed to be great for my creativity and in helping me push myself to my creative limits. And honestly, that is what I'm hoping for. I've been slowly working toward a lot of different goals, and now that I'm out of school, I hope I can find the time to focus all the way.

So, goals for 2012:
a) finish one of my novels
b) write at least 2 short stories per month
c) submit 12 and get at least two published
d) start the query process for my novel

I don't think those are unreasonable goals! Of course, I do have higher ambitions, but for ones that are written down and clearly feasible, I don't think anything I've put here is out of the question!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Beginning and an End

I have, admittedly, been absent from here for several months. And I have my reasons- I spend my time on the internet elsewhere, I'm too busy to blog, I have homework..but most of all, the reason I haven't posted here is because I haven't been working on my novel at all and didn't feel right writing about- well, writing.

But now, I've graduated (in the vaguest sense of the term- I'm just done with classes, but I won't walk until June with the rest of my class). So I suddenly have a lot more free time on my hands. Granted, I plan to use most of that time to work on an application for a job I really want as well as troll the sites of companies I like for positions, but I also now have a lot of time on my hands to work on this story that I'm so passionate about.

In its most essential form, it's a story of friendship that takes place on the road. And I'm just now realizing how much research this is going to entail if I want to give it any realism! So though I'm at the end of my undergrad journey, I'm only at the beginning of this discovery as I pick and choose places for my two MCs to travel through and the struggles I'm going to pit them against. I think it's going to make for an exciting time, but it's also going to be one that's going to take a lot of work. Still, I welcome it! Bring it on.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Writing Nonfiction

So last week, we had a Writer's Festival hosted by my university. It was the fourth year of the event, with one fiction author (Nami Mun), one nonfiction author (David Shields), and one poet (Maureen Mclane). There were several events which took place throughout the week, including several masters' classes, a guided discussion panel between the three authors, and readings by all three.

Although I unfortunately wasn't able to make it to any of the master classes due to class conflicts, I did make it to two of the readings- that of Nami Mun and Maureen Mclane. I thought they were really interesting, and seeing them in person, reading their own work, was really inspiring and made me wonder how I would present my fictional worlds to audiences if I had the chance to do so in the future.

But one thing I missed out on was David Shields' class and reading, which several of my classmates in the nonfiction class I'm in currently were able to attend. I'm regretting now that I wasn't able to go with them, because from what I hear, his talk was very controversial- the reason being that he says that there isn't really much of a difference between nonfiction and fiction. I wish I could have heard what he had to say in person, as what I heard by proxy through my classmates got me thinking about the topic regardless.

Now, I don't know if I believe Shields' position. It's true that I've read some wonderful pieces of nonfiction since entering the class I'm in- pieces like The Pain Scale by Eula Biss (who incidentally teaches at Northwestern as well) and Joyas Voladoras, a beautiful piece by Brian Doyle, as well as some great work by Joan Didion and David Foster Wallace (who I'd never heard of before taking this class; what rock have I been living under?) But all of these pieces are distinctly "nonfiction"-y to me. Their tone, the way they're constructed, all have a specific form and function.

I think they're wonderful and they're difficult, especially when I'm trying to emulate them (doing so is part of the assignments I have in class, and I spent the better part of the second half of my weekend trying to figure out how to imitate tone of The Pain Scale while using facts from twenty different books and trying to figure out how to retain my own personal voice in rewriting them). It's a challenge, and it's different from fiction.

Sure, maybe the goal is to reach the reader and to get them absorbed in what you're trying to say the same way you would drop them in a fictional realm, but isn't that just the power of great writing? I'm not sure I buy the notion that fiction and nonfiction are two different sides of the same coin. What do you think?