Saturday, 21 April 2018

Scene Building Tips for the Busy Writer

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Writing is a bit like a long distance race. First and foremost, you have to be passionate about it--ask a runner why she runs and you'll know that it's all about passion. But is passion enough to make you a good professional athlete or a writer?

For a writer, passion is a great starting point but it's not enough. You need to train, prepare, hone your craft, practise, practise, practise.

But where is the time to do all that, you may ask. The large majority of writers struggle with day jobs, caring for children, pets and parents and multiple other activities. And, there are only so many hours in a day. Passion will get you to a point where you find the time to write. But passion alone is not enough. You need to learn your craft. That would mean reading about the  art and craft of writing as well as reading books--both within and outside--the genre in which you are writing.

Reading is important because that will define and develop your tastes in writing.

Skipping these essential elements will only make you struggle harder and longer at writing your own magnum opus. I often hear newbie writers gripe that they end up spending their precious writing time staring at a blank computer screen and wondering what exactly should go into the scene. After all, they have carved out one hour from a hectic 16-18 hours of their waking time to devote to their passion and they have no time to waste! Sure, they have an overall plot idea and a basic outline, but are clueless about getting the ball rolling on a particular scene. 

Crafting a Story one Scene at a Time

Scenes are the building blocks of your story. Each scene builds on the last to craft a complete story. Through scenes you create compelling characters, convey their emotions, build conflict into your story and engage your readers. Normally there would be scenes to establish setting, deliver important information (exposition), transition scenes that get the characters/story from one place to another (either in terms of location or time).

So, before you sit down to write a scene here are some tips to reduce your staring-at-a-blank-page time.

1. Spend some time to read the previous scenes that you have written and figure out what happens next in your story. You probably already have an outline worked out. Or even some rough notes on what needs to happen in the story. It is always advisable to have a rough outline about your story.

2. Jot down some points of the things that you would like to happen in the next few scenes. It always works to have an end goal in mind. For instance, if you are starting out with a party scene where the Hero and Heroine meet each other, make notes about what is likely to take place in the scene and the next few scenes. Perhaps they decide to go on a date or the party ends on a note of conflict with the Hero being manhandled by the Heroine's friend.

3. It always helps to have a mood tracker for your scenes. For example, if you start on a positive emotion for one of your characters in the scene at the end of the scene or a couple of scenes, the mood could be a negative one. So, to quote the party example, the scene begins on a positive note with the Hero and Heroine's cute-meet but ends with conflict and tension. This postive-to-negative (or vice-versa) balance ensures that there is enough and more happening in your scene.

4. If you are still stuck, pick up one scene that you know has to be there in your book. Don't worry about its placement, for now. And don't be afraid to write in non-linear fashion. This helps you get started. The good part of this method, is that you can always tweak the scene later to fit in with the scenes that precede or follow.

5. Scenes are often designed to convey information (also known as exposition) to the reader about the character's traits and/or plot elements. But often it can lead to 'information dump'. To avoid that make sure your scene does double duty. For instance, in a romance novel, conflict and banter are often pegged with something that is going on with the plot. That helps keep readers engaged and yet provides them with the necessary exposition.

 6. As you write, you might find yourself deviating from your outline. So it helps to keep the outline updated. It keeps you on track and ensures that your story does not go down a completely different track! Or if the new track seems like a more compelling storyline, it helps to have an updated outline as a quick and easy reference.

7. Finally, here's a little cheat sheet... A resource that provides  16 different kinds of scenes that could be there in your story. If you're well and truly stuck, reach out for this list and am sure you will be able to find one (or a combination) of these types of scenes that fit your story!

Hope you find these tips useful. And do share your methods to kickstart your scene writing when you're staring at a blank page.

Happy Writing!











Sunday, 1 April 2018

#Ebook Promotion offer for Destiny's Girl

Time flies, doesn't it? Summer is already upon us and the temperatures are set to soar. It was only in February this year that I launched my book Destiny's Girl on Amazon. The response from readers has been overwhelming. Amazon Kindle Unlimited readership has soared to 95,000 (page reads) in this short period and I can't thank my readers enough. 
So here's a "hot" offer for those who haven't read the book yet. For a limited period, the ebook will be available for a discounted price of $0.77 on Amazon.com and INR 50 on Amazon.IN. But hurry, offer ends soon!
Still undecided? Check out what new readers have to say about the book. 
***** Maya desires revenge. Krish desires freedom from an overbearing business magnate of a father. Love is not the first among their list of priorities. But destiny brings them together. Adite's writing had a mellifluous flow where you can neither keep the book down, nor are you starved of the smallest detail that adds color to the story. Must read if you are love romance stories with strong characters. - Amazon Reviewer.
***** I have read all the books by Adite and I found this story the best one. It has all the ingredients to keep one turning the pages. And I just love the cover. A recommended read for all romance lover. -- Amazon Reviewer.

**** I came across the book on a writer's group on Facebook. It has been a while since I read a mills and boon-style book, but this was definitely worth the time and the money spent! It was the cover that caught my attention because as far as I have seen, most M&B stories focus on the male and the female. The author's decision to use this as her cover has paid off. For starters, I could not put it down from beginning to end. Both the lead characters Maya and Krish were developed with an incredible skill throughout the book. The sizzling tension and sexual chemistry between the two was quite captivating.-- Goodreads Reviewer.
So, hurry and grab Destiny's Girl at an unbeatable price: 
Hope you enjoy the read. If you do, please, please, please leave a review. Have a great summer ahead! 


Monday, 19 March 2018

Contemporary Romance in Indian Fiction

Recently I was invited by SheThePeopleTV to participate in a panel discussion on Contemporary Romance along with other authors at the Women Writers Fest. It was an interesting session and threw up some fascinating insights into how authors (and editors) approach the topic of romantic love in fiction writing.

Are darker themes replacing feel good romance? This was one of the issues that was debated.


Real life love stories often have a gritty edge to them. We read about women being stalked, being killed by jealous lovers. In the age of instant gratification and Tinder-dating, where does that leave romance and more importantly fictional romance? Is lust more relevant than love to readers?

The concept of romance has always been shaped by mainstream commercial movies and the classics. Romeo and Juliet is the ultimate love story and it ended in tragedy! But can it be classified as romance?  Love and romance, though often used interchangeably, they are actually not one and the same thing. Romance is what happens when a couple is sexually attracted to each other; it's the dating game, the push and pull of emotions, the surge of oxytocin. In 2012, researchers actually found high levels of oxytocin (often called the love hormone) in people who were in the first stages of romantic involvement.

Dating however is not an end in itself. Biologically, we are hard wired to find the perfect mate. Someone with whom we have that special bonding and without whom our lives would not be 'complete'. Call it what you will...but to me it sounds like Love. The subtext of it all is to find a Happily Ever After (HEA). And for that reason alone, HEA will never go out of fashion in contemporary fiction!

What are your thoughts on the issue? Please do share....





Sunday, 4 March 2018

Holi Book Launch - Sharvari by Ashvini

Hope you all had a fantastic Holi. May your life be painted with all the colors of Holi in the days and months to come.

On this festive occasion, here is a sneak peek into a romance novella written by Ashvini. Set in ancient India, Sharvari is the first standalone novella in the Royal Romance Collection. If you love intriguing and steamy romances with a guaranteed HEA, do grab your copy from Amazon

Sharvari (Book 1 of Royal Romance Collection)


Betrayed in love and war, Sharvari makes one final attempt to save her people by offering herself to the victorious rival King of Sindh, Brihadrath. The handsome king gives her hope of a new start. But life at her new home is ridden with challenges. While she is coping with a slew of palace intrigues and assassination attempts, the man from her past haunts her. Can Sharvari overcome the hurdles and find love again?

Excerpt






“Move!” The goad hit her shoulder. She heard another soldier forbid the first one from hitting her again. It did not matter. She had grown numb to the pain. The second soldier caught hold of her bound hands and yanked her back to her feet. Many pairs of eyes stared upon her dusky hued limbs, a feast to eyes, for the wolf skin tunic that had made for the most of her clothing had been cast off long before. Save for the ragged jute that covered her breasts and her loins, her youth was on a display.


Modesty was the last of things on her mind as her legs gathered whatever strength they could to walk in to the court. Her lips quivered at an odd lewd word she heard while walking ahead, the ropes still pulling at her hands. But her eyes stayed fixed on the ground, on the marble flooring of the court hall, on the art that adorned the floor, on the flowery carpet that covered the stairs to the throne seat and on to the feet that wore the intricately carved sandals.

The Victorious King! Her gaze froze there. A cheer erupted in his name. “Long live King Brihadrath!”


Sharvari felt her limbs go numb. With an effort, she lifted her gaze to sight the blue silken Dhoti held in place by an ornate golden waist band. She then saw the garland of flowers around his neck, a whiff of their fragrance swept till where she stood. Strings of precious gems shone against the sunlight. King Brihadrath knew to groom himself! Or at least he knew what it took to impress a woman at the first sight.

Is what I heard about him correct? She prayed it was. As disgusting as the idea was, that was the only way she could save them all.

Her eyes met his. Sharvari saw them widen for a second before his lips parted as he signalled to the general to come closer.

“Were women captured and dragged along?”

The forbidding frown that momentarily passed on his forehead locked her gaze upon his face. Sharvari thought fast. She was ready for this. At least she thought she was.

Found the excerpt interesting? Download the book here: Buy Link: hyperurl.co/m0d8cl




About the author

Ashvini is a management professional turned storyteller. She loves to dream history and waves romantic fantasies set in ancient India. She lives in Bangalore with her husband and daughter.












Monday, 26 February 2018

Cover Reveal of Reet Singh's new book 'No Escape From Love'

Hi Everyone,

Today, I'm very excited to showcase my friend Reet Singh's new book cover. The title of the book is "No Escape from Love". And the cover is just as gorgeous as the title.
But before you get to it, here's what Reet has to say about her new book.... Over to her...

Tejopur, Punjab

Will the demons from their past tear them apart?

After personal tragedy strikes, Mohini Kapoor runs away from the city to her grandparents home in a village in Punjab. Though she manages to pick up the pieces of her broken self, and even builds a life for herself, the horror of her experience is difficult to forget. She buries it deep down inside her subconscious mind until the arrival of a stranger threatens to resurrect the old demons.

Reputed photojournalist, Aalok Ahuja, has to hide out for a few days to escape circumstances beyond his control. When his friend recommends Tejopur, a remote village in Punjab, Aalok expects life to be simple there and, perhaps, even boring - instead, his world is thrown into chaos by a woman more desirable, and vastly more complicated, than any he has ever known.

When their destinies collide, attraction flares, but secrets threaten their new found feelings. 

Here is an excerpt - a few hours after Mohini and Aalok meet for the first time

The dinner tasted like ashes. In any case, Mohini barely noticed what she ate, her whole being focused on keeping her gaze averted from the acres of bare skin on display.

Acres.

The man was large - and tanned and muscular - and almost indecent in short shorts and a sleeveless T-shirt, this time his own.

She hoped Tejopur's famed mosquitoes would make a meal of Aalok - but while she swiped one away every now and then, he seemed unharmed.

Thick-skinned!

Mohini sniffed and, displeased at the blatant bias, smashed an errant mosquito against her wrist with unnecessary violence, then returned to pushing the food about in her plate.

 

 And now for the fabulous cover of No Escape from Love ....

 

 

Isn’t Mohini gorgeous – and doesn’t she seem pensive?
Aalok is clearly getting to her. Does she get to him, too?

Pre-order it from Amazon here!


The book releases on 3rd March and is available at a reduced price now.
It's free on Kindle Unlimited!

It should serve as the perfect companion as you recover from the festival of colors.
Happy Holi to all my friends and fans. Thank you for your love. -- Reet Singh.








 

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Updated: Winners of Valentine Month Contest - #ShadesofLove



To celebrate the Festival of Love this year I am hosting a fun flash fiction contest along with eight of my author friends. I invite all aspiring romance authors to participate. Here are the details.


Shades of Love Flash Fiction: Nine authors. Nine Prizes to be won!!

All you have to do is write a story based on any of the listed books’ titles and characters. To know more about the books, check out the Amazon links listed below.


1. You can write the story on your Facebook timeline or your own blog and post the link as comment on the Shades of Love facebook event page.  Do mention the book that you have selected as the inspiration for your story.



2. You can send in one entry or multiple entries based on any of the titles.



3. Your story needs to be inspired by the storyline/characters of the book(s) you pick. You can do a spin-off based on the characters. Use your imagination and wow us with a wonderful new scene.

4. You can use the banner for your posts on your blogs and/or Facebook timelines.

5. Maximum word-count: 500 words.

6. Open for India contestants only.

Contest Starts: 14th Feb 2018

Contest Ends: 28th Feb 2018

Prizes to be won: Amazon vouchers worth Rs 2250/- to be won.

There will be 9 winners and each author will pick one winner. Rs 250 voucher
for each winner.

And don’t forget to check the Facebook event page for updates from the authors about their books & characters, inspiration quotes and more…


Happy Writing! And look forward to reading your entries!!


Amazon Links to Books:



Adite Banerjie's Destiny Girl

Reet Singh's The Cure was Love

Preethi Venugopala's A Royal Affair

 Devika Fernando's Tantalising Temptations

Sudesna Ghosh's My Singapore Fling









Esha Pandey's I Will Meet You There

Ruchi Singh's Jugnu

  Saiswaroopa Iyer's Avishi

 Paromita Goswami's The Santa's Gift 









Thanks to all who participated. It was fun to read your take on the characters/storylines that we authors created. And now.... HUGE CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS!!!