I feel deeply saddened by the death of an eminent Indian author, U. R.
Ananthamurthy. He was one of the most powerful and fascinating author of his times. Recipient of prestigious Jnanpith award in 1994, Ananthamurthy was a stalwart of Indian modern literature. He portrayed the finer aspects of human psychological quandary through his writing. No bookshelf is complete without his timely classics, such as Samskara, Bhava, Bharathi Pura, and Avasthe. We, at Storizen, express our condolence to his family and to all of his readers. In this issue, we have featured ace Indian blogger-turned-author, Kiran Manral. She shared her journey from being one of the most popular blogger of Indian blogosphere to a celebrated author. Sudipa Chakraborty has
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TEAM Editor Victor Basu
Sub Editors Mukesh Rijhwani Sumantra Chaudhury Features Writer Sudipa Chakraborty Copy Editors Atul Randev Saurabh Chawla Photo Editor Neloy Bandyopadhyay Designer Amit Mitra
captured Kiran’s intriguing journey in the cover story. We have also featured a very popular Indian book reviewer-turned-author, Anuradha Goyal. She has poured her heart out to Soumyaa Verma, while giving insights of her experiences, as a reviewer, blogger and author. In “My path to get published”, Monika Pant and Rikky Bharatia, share their inside stories of getting published. In the second part of his sequel on sketching the characters, Satyarth Nayak, has written a brilliant piece on how to sketch an antagonist of your story. We also have our regular sections such as poetry, book event and hot of the press in this edition. Do keep writing as always. Happy reading!
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A Maxim-umm Moment!
are three milestones that would make an author complete.
1. When you win an international prize (Man Booker/ Pulitzer) 2. When your book sells really well. (1 Million plus copies) 3. When you get a column to write. (Maxim!) When Maxim magazine asked me to be their Sex and Relationship columnist, I knew I had achieved at least one out of the three things I wanted from my career. But when they called me and told me they wanted to launch my book and me as a columnist in a grand event, I was overwhelmed. See, I have a confession to make; I am terribly afraid of public speaking. I feel anxious and nervous. I don’t sleep for several nights. I wonder incessantly what I will say, how I will look, and what I will do. When I finally went on stage my heart was fluttering and I had butterflies in my stomach. The Emcee asked me, “What inspired you to write Scandalous Housewives? Are any of these stories true?” And in that moment I lost all my inhibition. If I wasn’t going to be just me, what was the point? I took a deep breath and replied with a straight face. “Yes. They’re all autobiographical!” Then I smiled finally. And the audience laughed. That made the rest of the questions, the reading and the evening pass beautifully. When I spoke to Richa Chaddha the actress from Gangs of Wasseypur she told me, “I can’t believe you were so bold and funny. You inspired me!” My Sex column is in the latest issue of Maxim magazine. My book Scandalous Housewives is on Flipkart and Amazon right now. Two days later, I gave a talk in Indore on stage for one hour on “Love, Life & Chances”. And I have decided to give more talks in public about every topic I feel from my heart. I’ve realised apart from books, columns, awards and the limelight, I need to be me and talk about what I believe. And that should be the 4th goal of every writer’s life. Inspiration comes from everywhere. It’s all around us. And we need to give back to truly be successful. So thank you Maxim for giving me that step to do more with my life.n
Anuradha Goyal From book reviewer to author
Anuradha Goyal is one of the most diverse book reviewers
in India today. She developed her passion for the written word while growing up and started blogging the reviews of books she read, in 2004. storizen.com | September 2014 | 10
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If you’re an author or you dream of
becoming one, then the benefits of book reviewing are enormous for you. Reflecting on what you liked or not liked in a book, gives you an insight into what constitutes quality of a good book. It forces you to look at the word-building, writing style, characters, plot, matter and more, which a mere reading cannot compensate for. The more you understand your psychology as a reader, the better plots you’ll be able to create for your own book. It is safe to say that you achieve the best of something when you know the secret to not making it worse. Again, on the other hand, a review backed up by substance does equal benefit to the author and the readers as it does to the reviewer. One obvious
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advantage is that it helps the seekers to decide whether to buy a book or not. More people are likely to see clearly through a good review. Authors are benefitted as they get an insight into their own work, they understand what their readers are expecting of them and are, more often than not, encouraged. Let’s learn more about reviewing from the expert herself. Anuradha Goyal is one of the most diverse book reviewers in India today. She developed her passion for the written word while growing up and started blogging the reviews of books she read, in 2004. Today, she has reviewed close to 400 books by various authors, Indian and otherwise! She is an image consultant by profession and a traveller at heart, who runs three blogs
simultaneously- on Innovation, her Author that drives her to read the book, for example if a popular ManTravel diaries and Book reviews. agement writer attempts to write a book in a different bracket, she is Choosing a book With near 2000 books in her library, tempted to get her hands on it. she likes to read any and every genre Though, she usually reads old books she gets a chance to. From Fiction to either found in the bookstores or Management, Architecture to Spiri- recommended to her by friends and tuality, she has read and reviewed readers, Anuradha also receives books from almost all the genres some newer books by Authors or one can list down. So what attracts their publishers to review. her to a particular book? “It mostly depends on what the individual has What she looks for? interest in reading. As for me, I en- Anuradha tells us that there are four joy reading different genres all to- basic factors on which she reviews a gether. Thus, there’s no way of judg- book- Content, Language, Flow and ing a book unless I read it. When I Rasa. The content and the language have read it, the subject- new or old being inescapable features of a or a different treatment of a com- good book, the Author must also mon topic draws me to write a re- maintain a flow in his/her writing to view about it”, she says. Sometimes be able to carry the reader along it’s also the experimentation by an with the characters.
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Rasa is that feature in a book which makes it a piece of art and provides a medium for the readers to wander into. Like an artist, the reader must enjoy the piece of art in front of him. Anuradha attempts to pay heed to all these aspects in a book while she writes a review. “Other influences on reviews come from the different nuances that each book captures. Why the author chooses to write a particular book or tell a particular story also has its effect on the outcome of that book” she says. Her taste buds There are some demonstratively different criterions that she has adopted to review different genres. For example, in a graphic novel pictures and illustrations are given more importance to and the language holds a little less value. Whereas in a non-fiction, she would focus more on the subject and what the author chooses to say, or not say. Different formats, fonts and other such elements also help a book to stand out, according to her. Tackling the Author-Reader conflict Talking about how difficult (Or easy) it is to review a book when she does not completely agree with the author or has more profound knowledge about the subject concerned, she says that during such times she sees how sincerely and honestly has the Author carried out his/her restorizen.com | September 2014 | 14
search. He/she may not be competent but a genuine effort according to their capabilities is what matters to her. It is not fair to give the book a bad review only because the reviewer has different connotations. The conflict, however, must be mentioned in an honest review. “I have faced those rare occasions where Authors have been dishonest, and when I confront them about it, they try to convince me not to mention it in the review”, says Anuradha. Reviewing for assisting others Take it from book reviewers around the world, you cannot pay all your bills off by reviewing. Though you can start off by feeding your addiction, you might eventually land up building a good relationship with publishing houses and Authors. If you’ve been regularly putting up honest reviews and attracting readers, you will develop a good reputation online and not be away from the publicists’ eye. Small press authors too might get in touch with you. All this could help build up your online presence. “In this journey of 10 years, I have met a lot of Authors personally and we do keep in touch. I post an Author’s interview on my blog once every month. I interview an Author when I have a question for them or when they invoked a sense of greed in me, enough to ask for more” says Anuradha. Asked if the authors pay her for the review she writes for them, she adds,
“They do not offer to pay and I do not ask to be paid. I want to keep it that way so I have absolute freedom.” However, in due course, you could sign up with those sites and publishing houses that pay to their contributors and book reviewers. Getting her own book published Recently, Anuradha got her first book published. “I have been authoring an ‘India Innovates’ series for AII for two-three years now. In
that series we published Innovation case studies from off-India, but across verticals. So from there the idea to publish this book came. Random house is the first publisher I sent the idea to and they responded within a week. That’s it, rest is history”, she smiled and added, “My presence as a blogger and my image as a reviewer definitely helped me in publishing this book, because then people are a little more confident of dealing with you.” n
Soumyaa is a law student from Vadodara, Gujarat. She writes to satisfy her need to share her experiences and thoughts with everybody around the world. She is intrigued by human nature and loves to explore it in her articles.
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A life varied, multifaceted and endearing!
Amidst the crowd of myriad faces, she stands out: sometimes as a ‘star blogger’, sometimes as a social activist, and, sometimes as a best-selling writer. Behind the veneer of many names, who is the real ‘she’, we wonder! Is she kind, is she funny, or, do you think, she is petulant or grumpy? storizen.com | September 2014 | 17
Or, may be, she is sweet, patient and friendly! The mind wonders… after all. There is no cure for curiosity, they say. So, we wish to look deeper and look beyond the muchadored social media celebrity, erstwhile journalist, passionate writer and fervent social activist. We wish to take you all through an exciting journey to reveal ‘the person’ behind the ‘Creative Polymath’ Kiran Manral. Come away with us; as we learn, wonder, dream and believe with Kiran. The multifaceted Kiran- Blogger, Activist and Writer She is not the usual ‘story-teller’, to begin with: someone who hides like a ‘shapeless snail’ behind the ‘shapely shell’; that is not Kiran Manral for you. She doesn’t mind opening the closet of her mind to you. When we marvel and ask her about the different ways she manages so many things so well, she says, “I honestly don’t think I manage everything so well, I’m like the proverbial duck, all calm on the surface but paddling like mad beneath.” Phew! Hard to believe, isn’t it? So, we push the envelope further, looking unconvinced! And, then, she goes, “I do the work I want to do, I have taken on the challenge of now saying no to the work I don’t want to do, even if it does mean I am broke most times. I also like to think of myself as very disciplined. I am at my desk 8.30 am every week day and am there till 2 storizen.com | September 2014 | 18
pm, until the son needs to be picked up from school. And while I am at my desk, I work. Honestly, I believe if there are things you want to do, you will make sure you find the time to do it.” That perfectly explains the story behind two successful blogs that Kiran writes. Her blogs, Thirty six and counting and Karmic Kid are both in Labnol’s list of India’s top blogs. Karmic Kid has also been featured as one of the Top Five Parenting Blogs in India for 2014. Kiran quit her full-time job of a journalist to become a full-time mother to her 10-year-old son. The Times of India listed her as a non-celebrity ‘social media star’ on Twitter and IBN Live named her as among the 30 interesting Indian women to follow on Twitter and among the top 10 Indian moms to follow on Twitter for 2013. Besides, Sheroes, the organization that identifies Women Role Models and a career destination for women in India, also listed her as among the top 20 women influencers on Twitter in 2014. Kiran has passion for social causes too, she also works on long-term rehabilitation of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack victims and 13/7 Mumbai bomb blast victims with the help of a volunteer network, India Helps. She is also on the core founding team for two well received social media initiatives like Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month and Violence Against Women Awareness Month. And, she is also the author
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I honestly don’t think I manage everything so well, I’m like the proverbial duck, all calm on the surface but paddling like mad beneath. of two best-selling novels The Reluctant Detective, her debut novel which was published in the year 2012 and the recently-published in May 2014, Once Upon A Crush. But, Kiran remains unaffected by it all: poised and humble, punched with an interesting zing of humour. As she writes in her blog: The story of me Live in Mumbai. Live to eat and shop and read. Once upon a time I had a career as a journalist. Now I write books, freelance, earn peanuts and stay vain. Well...the composed, humorous, modest Kiran! No wonder, she has a huge following on her blogs. The language is immaculate and heart-warming, the expressions are ingenious, and the topics are just like the ones you and I would perfectly understand and co-relate with. She puts her heart and soul to everything she writes about. Even posts on everyday topics like beauty and age are insightful. May be, it is the compassion with which she writes sets her apart storizen.com | September 2014 | 20
from the rest. What describes her best: Writer, obviously! Among the various names, what describes you best, we ask her. And, she says, “I really don’t know. I think writer primarily. Because I was writing before I became a blogger, a journalist, a social media activist, and a mom. And I think I will continue writing long after I stop blogging, being a social media activist and I’ve already given up journalism yonks ago.” Kiran believes that she has always been a writer since her childhood. Her mother has notebooks filled with painstakingly detailed stories complete with illustrations from when she was not even 10! “Somewhere, I think I had decided for myself that I would eventually be a story writer, although I took my time getting here”, she reveals. So, why do you write? Is it something like ‘being ‘driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand’ as described by George Orwell? “Well, why do I write…to keep
the voices in my head quiet or they would need to march me off in a straitjacket by white coated men. Seriously though, I write because I must, because there are words spilling over inside me all the time, and I am not one of those who can talk those words out”, she explains. Her deepest admiration for her mother … and I am not one of those who can talk those words out…” That’s why, may be, she often uses the written word to express her admiration for her mother who has had an indelible impression in her life. Some of her blog posts are heart wrenching, they allude to her long-
ing for her father who expired when she was only nine. After her father’s untimely death, Kiran was raised by her mother with a lot of difficulties that came along the way. “My mother is a terribly strong, self-sufficient and independent woman. Today, she is 75 and just as feisty as ever. I wish I could be ten per cent as feisty as she is”, Kiran exclaims. It was a tough childhood and a lonely one, she says. But, as a true optimist, she prefers to see the brighter side of it all and adds that “the one good thing that came of it was that it turned me to reading and books”. That is something that has stayed with her always, she says. “It also toughened me up for the real world and that storizen.com | September 2014 | 21
Somewhere, I think I had decided for myself that I would eventually be a story writer, although I took my time getting here is something I am grateful for”. No, she doesn’t suffer from writer’s block or procrastination, but… At times, Kiran frets for not having enough time to do all the reading and writing she wants to do. But, the proverbial procrastination doesn’t afflict her, unlike many. She is of the species who would rather get a job done well in time and have that ticked off her list than go in for the last minute panic. But, the biggest evil she battled with “would be social media and how it insidiously eats up at time you could use elsewhere. But, I have since become rather strict with myself and deleted both Facebook and Twitter from my phone, and only allow myself windows during coffee breaks and lunch to check on my social media while at the computer. That is really helping me reclaim time”, she reveals. After being prodded for long, by friends, family, fellow bloggers and her followers on social media, Kiran published her first novel The Relucstorizen.com | September 2014 | 22
tant Detective in the year 2012. It was received very well by readers across all age-groups, especially women. “The Reluctant Detective isn’t really a murder mystery; it is more the story of a suburban upper middle class housewife trying to find herself in the sameness of her every day” she explains. Kiran drew inspiration from the women around her, in the suburban gated complexes and snippets in the city news sections of the newspapers about bodies being discovered on the backstreets and morning joggers found dead with no apparent motive for their murders. “All these came together to become the bare bones outline of The Reluctant Detective,” she adds. Her second book, Once Upon a Crush is a fun read, yet passionate and sensitive. It deals with a certain stage in the life of the protagonist where nothing seems to be going right for her and she questions everything about herself. The book explores all that is about love, freedom, heartbreak and confusion, and, much more! Without divulging much, Kiran has
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My biggest regret is that I haven’t travelled at all, except for within the country. But, I console myself by adding names of places that I want to visit to my bucket list. me forever because of the beauty, strength and wisdom of the writing”, she affirms. But again, she acknowledges that not every reader would be drawn to a book for the sheer So, what did the critics say? pleasure of writing. “Plots are very In the past, appreciation came in important. So I think, I am a little plenty for her, and so did arrive the more conscious of plot now, I make ‘not-so-welcome guest’ ‘criticism’. a bit of an effort. You live, you learn.” ‘Lack of plot’ and ‘too much of an internal monologue’ were labelled A peek into her world of books against her first book, The Reluc- Kiran has always been a voracious tant Detective. So, we wonder if she reader. Her world of books is inunagrees that ‘plot’ is the most im- dated with illustrious names, from portant ingredient for a successful PG Wodehouse to JRR Tolkein, from novel. “Not really”, she exclaims. “I Haruki Murakami to Stephen King, don’t know about successful, but I from Charlotte Bronte to JK Rowlbelieve, sometimes you don’t read ing…the long list is diverse and exfor plot, you read for language, ca- tensive. She finds it hard to name dence, thoughts and so much more a few and adds the names of Dave than plot”. Superb language has un- Barry, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens doubtedly been the hallmark of her and many to her ‘never-say-bye’ list. writing, be it her blogs, her columns We take a pause and bugged by the or books. That’s why she regards curiosity bug again…ask, “Any favou‘writing’ to be of utmost importance rite book of all time?” “I can read followed by characters and finally Jane Eyre and To Kill A Mockingbird plots. “Some of the most intricate- over and over again and never tire ly plotted novels have left me cold of it.” Before we hop onto the next and some of the most bare-boned topic, she adds, “I am also firmly in plotted novels have stayed with love with J K Rowling’s Cormoran allowed us to know that she is working on a couple of projects now, a fiction and a non-fiction. “Let’s see how they pan out”, she adds.
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Strike series under her pseudonym and New York, she has them all in that cherished bucket list of hers. Robert Galbriath now”. Looking back…any regret? Like a true student of life, she has lived, she has learnt and she has no complaints with life at all. But, KIran has nurtured a wish too loved, for too long now, “Perhaps, I wish I had travelled more”, she yearns. “My biggest regret is that I haven’t travelled at all, except for within the country. But, I console myself by adding names of places that I want to visit to my bucket list.” From the exquisite Seven Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon, the Golden Bridge to the Alaskan cruise before the ice caps melt to the fascinating cities of Venice, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, London
If she was not a writer And, if you were not a writer, what would you be? “I think I would have been a painter”, she looks back at those bygone years and ponders. “I was rather good at art. But, I never ‘studied’ art formally. Someday, I hope to get back to the easel.” Hopes are your paints Kiran, the world is your canvas. And, we know that you dream and you believe too! And, as they say, believing is the brush that converts dreams into a masterpiece of reality…create your masterpiece Kiran…the vibrant colours of your life, you have them as your palette!n
Sudipa Chakraborty is the Features Editor with Storizen. She is a passionate writer and an ardent reader with her share of experience in journalism and corporate communications.
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When two a
Parind Thereâ€™s a certain charm associated
who give the illusio
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with meeting frien-gers â€“ strangers on of being friends.
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There’s a certain charm associated with meeting frien-gers – strangers
who give the illusion of being friends. Strangers because you’ve never met them personally. Friends because you’ve read about them and read them. And you realize you’ve been so privy to this person’s innermost thoughts, known them so intimately that meeting in person is just akin to starting in the middle of a conversation. No introductions, no ice-breakers. Just an immediate connection that transcends the norms of a social meeting. I’m talking about running into fellow authors. Madhuri and I had met up on one midweek summer evening in San Francisco about a year back and painted the town red. Which is writer speak for ‘found a corner table at a quiet restaurant and talked our hearts out long after most patrons had probably turned in for the night’. We were eventually asked to leave, politely of course, by a blonde stud boy who we were apparently holding up from some sort of a life-threatening emergency. Our last ditch attempt to wrap up at a coffee shop was also futile. We promised to meet again and parted ways. If one must count on an external event to bring along some surprises, let it be the rains. This monsoon we met again in Mumbai, a city very close to my heart. It was an unplanned get-together. I was in for a treat watching Madhuri charm her way with the patrons at this lively restaurant in Versova. She has a zany energy about her, the kind that is very contagious. The entire restaurant crew was buzzing around her at some point. As writers we give so much of ourselves to what we write that I occasionally Pari d n a fear there’s nothing more left to us. You’ve written every uri h d a M word you know. You’ve put every thought that has ever crossed your mind out there. Has someone figured me out entirely by reading me? I’d never know. With Madhuri, there’s not even a hint of that worry. She’s a revelation every minute, seamlessly jumping from one anecdote to another, oscillating articulately between ideas. I’ve caught up with many writers over the years. Some, I meet regularly in various writers’ groups. The kinds I’ve known mostly are intense, speak at their discretion, every storizen.com | September 2014 | 28
word measured, and you walk away knowing less about them than you did when you met them. Then there are others who are perky, uninhibited, and sparkling conversationalists. Needless to say, I was in good company for the evening. With new books in both our kitties there was a lot to catch up on. But it wasn’t just that. It was the countless other things about the vocation that must be discussed, no holds barred; like the opportunities and the challenges, the high notes and the pitfalls, the thrills and the trepidations, the semblance of inspiration and the lack thereof. There’s a mystique element to writing if you are outside looking in but like with any other profession, only those in the same boat would nod vehemently as you verbalize the tiniest pain-point and offer you a tissue box when you weep like no one’s looking. It’s a cathartic relief, a joyous one. There are myriad other things about the world we inhabit that connect two like-minded people to each other – families, friends, enemies, frenemies and favorites. Favorite writers, favorite books, favorite author interviews, favorite quotes, favorite cafes to write in ; the list is literally unending when there are two girls in the mix. Then there’s the other favorite – favorite worst writers, the ones that make us cringe. Dissing is fun, did I mention? It helps you digest alcohol. Ultimately what makes a rendezvous memorable is how much inda you’ve “clicked”, the connection you’ve established, the stories you’ve shared and received and the encouragement, the stimulus, the inspiration you’ve walked away with. I’ll raise a glass to that… until the next time. n Parinda Joshi is the author of two novels, Live from London (2011) and Powerplay (2013). She has also contributed to anthologies like The Turning Point (2014) and literary journals and wrote a column for The South Asian Times (New York) and GQ (India). storizen.com | September 2014 | 29
Sketching the character
Antagonist Satyarth Nayak
We all love what is good but are fascinated with evil. The dark, the for-
bidden, the twisted is always attractive like the forbidden fruit. No wonder then that villains have continued to bewitch readers down the ages with their evil minds and actions. But how exactly do you create that perfect antagonist that keeps chilling our bones long after the book is laid to rest? Equal FootingThe greatest trick to make sure your antagonist approaches greatness is by making him as huge as your beloved protagonist. Many authors are so enamoured of their heroes and heroines that they give scant attention to their bad guy. The result is a lopsided book where the odds are already stacked against the antagonist because his creator was too busy painting the heroineâ€™s cheeks pink. What makes Batman the monumental hero is that Joker is such a monumental menace. Evenly matched combatants will always make a better battle and also keep the tension flying high. Also it brings the best out of the hero and makes his final victory all the more spectacular. Consider giving them qualities that complement each other. For example if the hero has strength, the villain can have wit or vice versa. Kaal in Krrish 3 works simply because he is as well-sketched as Krrish.
Real ThreatWhat makes an antagonist scare the bejeezus out of everyone is that the threat he poses is very very real. The more realistic his evil, the more scary he becomes. Don’t give your evil guy a motive so quixotic that it dilutes the whole impact. For example in the all-time classic Mr. India, Mogambo’s threat is instantly actualised when you see those three deadly missiles in his backyard. This becomes even more convincing when the antagonist believes that what he is doing is the right thing. He is the hero of his own story. There’s nothing more chilling than a serial killer believing that he has the moral right to kill. It magnifies the danger and gives him a goal. Their delusion and a central inability to believe that they are wrong leads to an emotional danger quite devastating. Grey MatterWhile evil is inevitably going to be at the core of your antagonist, painting him completely black may sometimes end up as plain boring. Think about giving him grey shades. They make the character more complex and his motives more debatable. Endow him with some positive energy and he instantly becomes more human. Pure evil can also become predictable and may even become its own caricature. Think of Macbeth and how Shakespeare achieves an immaculate balance between his innate humanity and the evil of his
ambition. Grey shades prevent your antagonist from becoming one-dimensional. You can also consider unfolding the action of your book from his viewpoint. This will make for an interesting vantage point and put the reader right next to that maniac mind. Shah Rukh Khan in Baazigar works simply because the character is perfectly grey. Fatal AttractionSpeaking of giving your antagonist attractive virtues may sound like an oxymoron but think of that femme fatale whose most potent arsenal is her bewitching beauty. Think of all the iconic ‘evil children’ like Damien in The Omen or Rhoda in The Bad Seed and their innocence makes their evil even more horrifying. Your antagonist need not look always look villainous. He could very well, as Shakespeare says, appear as the innocent flower but be the serpent beneath. Even the most non-human of antagonists can be personified with human qualities that make them credible. The greatest virtue you can endow is perhaps power. Give them political might or a social pedestal and it instantly becomes difficult for your hero to vanquish them that easily. Power also creates a support system around the antagonist and makes him a lot more invincible like Priyanka Chopra in Aitraaz.
Once Upon a TimeIf your protagonist can have a back story that tells me why he is so good, why can’t the antagonist have one too that tells me why he is so bad? A back story grounds your character instead of making him a free floating body. It creates a character arc for the antagonist and makes for a fascinating study of personality evolution. Show your readers that your villain had a past that made him the way he is. In Gupt, Kajol’s evil works because it comes from her intense love for Bobby Deol and hatred for anyone standing between them. A back story will give your bad guy a life and he will resonate a lot more. This does not mean that you condone the antagonist’s actions. It only means that you will be able to make your reader empathize with his evil. Empathize not sympathize. An origin story will also enlarge the reader’s perception of the antagonist and lead them towards a sympathetic nemesis. Love thy EnemyFinally you can also create what is
fondly known as the ‘beloved antagonist.’ In this case, the antagonist is actually someone near and dear to the protagonist and the tension is usually mild or gets resolved in the end without much ado. Examples would be the hero’s parents or friends or lovers etc. This is not your megalomaniac villain who wants to destroy the world but the hero’s mother who does not approve his girl or his best friend who falls for the same girl etc. Remember Sridevi’s hubby in English Vinglish? When creating this kind of antagonist, you must capitalize on the conflict inherent in the relationship and on the subsequent drama that arises. The interesting thing here is that someone with our best interests at heart stands between us and a goal. You care about the beloved antagonist and all you want is to convert their minds or change their hearts. It can be quite a challenge to keep the tension flying high in such a tale. Keep these pointers in mind and your antagonist will find his place under the sun. n
Satyarth Nayak is an author, script-writer & journalist. Former SAARC award-winning Correspondent with CNN-IBN, he did Masters in English Literature from St. Stephen’s. His debut history meets mystery novel ‘The Emperor’s Riddles’ is out. Acclaimed by Amish Tripathi & Ashwin Sanghi, the mystery thriller is already hitting several bestseller charts.
My path to
I had always been writing since I was
a child. Short stories, poems and articles that came out in the Annual school or College magazine. Even after I married my childhood sweetheart, there were stints of intense poetry writing, often in my pidgin Urdu, inspired by my husband who is a published Urdu poet of renown. Often, someone would come into our room, to find it strangely silent – each of us sitting on opposite ends of the bed, one staring outside, murmuring words to put down on paper and the other writing and rewriting furiously in a diary. And then, there was a lull. While I was raising my two daughters, there were snatches of poems written on the margins of official envelopes, or a short story which I wrote on the back of receipts, sitting in the car as I waited to pick up my daughters from school.
grade essays and stories written by 17 year olds, but also took charge of the College Magazine. Here I spun tales to my class, teaching them the nuances of story writing and report writing; and as I explained hidden meanings and moods of poems written by the literary greats, I began to find the inspiration to start writing again. So diaries began to be filled. I enjoyed my stint as the Incharge of the College magazine, editing and re-editing what the children and other staff members wrote.
Yet my journey as a writer would have remained unfulfilled if not for a life-changing event in 2004 when I was diagnosed with cancer and knew that one’s dreams cannot be kept at bay. I wrote of my experiences which ten years later was published as ‘Echoes From The Vortex’ by Authorspress India. This is a memoir interspersed with incidents I joined LaMartiniere Girls’ College, a from my life and some of my poems prestigious school in my city as a Sethrown in. The Tsunami of nior English teacher. I had to not only storizen.com | September 2014 | 34
Monika Pant December 2004 racked me from inside and I began to write non-fiction. At that time I also joined an Online Writing Forum called Caferati on ryze.com. I am indebted to the writers and poets on that forum most of whom have gone on to become writers in tholtheir own right. Amateur writers as ogies we all were at that time, we gave selished in Inrious critiques on each other’s vers- p u b es and stories which all of us reg- dia and abroad. ularly posted. We edited our work and improved by leaps and bounds. I deliberately set my debut novel, ‘Caught In Two Winds’, in the two citAnd then, “Chicken Soup for the In- ies I knew well – Lucknow and Mumdian Soul” came on the scene. My bai. I had been seeing the travails, non-fictional narratives got pub- the tussles and the joie de vivre that lished in most of the titles and I was 18-19 year old students of mine on my way. My writer friends encour- were undergoing when they passed aged me to write more fiction; and out of school, as many of them still I started writing short stories, then, kept in touch with me. I knew that ventured into novel writing. Many of a small city like Lucknow has a difmy poems and short stories started ferent ethos from metros and girls getting selected in Contests for an- who go for higher studies in big storizen.com | September 2014 | 35
cities often find themselves floun- grand ceremony at the 2014 World dering in shifting values. So my de- Book Fair, New Delhi where we were but novel was about these conflicts honoured. that they faced every day. It is an unbelievable feeling to see It had taken me two years to com- your debut novel in print and it was plete my novel. I had begun it in extremely satisfying that my pub2008 and completed it at the end lishers had done a fantastic job of of 2010. I was lucky to have Harp- it. Posing for pictures with the nover Collins India have a look at it and el in the hands of my readers, gogive me some positive feedback, but ing to other cities for book readings they had already taken a year and, and putting my signature on the like all debut authors, I had no pa- first page of the book for those who tience. I had simultaneously given bought it followed in due course; my MS to LiFi Publications Pvt. Ltd. and I have no words to describe it. which was kind enough to accept my novel and, after rigorous editing A word of advice to other new writby their esteemed editor; the novel ers though, believe in your work, write seriously and make a mark, do got published in December 2013. not take any short-cuts. Write such Not only was I called for a preview that it may have a long shelf-life. reading from my to-be-released And, moreover, publishers reject or novel at the 2013 World Book Fair, do not answer, just have patience. n New Delhi and given a platform to garner interest among the audience, but they also released the book at a
Based in Lucknow, Monika Pant decided in 2010 to leave her job as a senior English teacher and started writing full time. Her first break came in the form of stories in the ‘Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul’ series. She writes about human relationships and finds stories in events, conversations and conflicts around her. Her memoir as a cancer survivor is to be published soon. ‘Caught In Two Winds’ is her latest novel. storizen.com | September 2014 | 36
My path to
Writing a novel, becoming an au-
thor, and that too a published and loved one, well this is something that I never thought of even in my dreams, though I am a big time dreamer and have always dreamt to have a life like a fairy tale, though no more, now having experienced life I have realized that life is in fact a scary journey, where you donâ€™t know what will happen next! Anyways coming back to writing, as I said I never imagined about it as no one in my family and even extended family are remotely related to even reading, forget about writing, but I have no idea from where and how I got this bug of writing in me, I was passionate about creativity since my childhood like music, singing and writing, but career and education being my first priority, I was never able to nourish any of them. I always scribbled few raw lines since I was in 7th standard, that nobody read, and though they were special
to me, I didnâ€™t take them too seriously. At age of 17, I started writing short shaayeris (poems), that were appreciated by family and friends, who encouraged me to write more. It was only after completing my Chartered Accountancy that the author in me surfaced above the CA in me. About the topic of the book, the main inspiration behind the book is the confusion that teenagers of today face in their definition and understanding of what is love. Teenagers feel that falling in love is just by talking, joking, and meeting friends. Sad, but this fact is not true, all the time! On the other hand, sometimes, they think that their love is just good friendship. Most youngsters today are confused between love, friendship, and infatuation and those who get true love donâ€™t even know how to appreciate it ... Ironical but true! Through this book, I want people to understand the difference between crush, infatuation, friendship, and
kky Bhartia true love, to have faith in their love and wait for their time to come. Love is also about sacrifices and is in the hand of destiny. Love and destiny are co-related ... if there is love in your stars; it will come with time. Many people had been asking me how the story came into my mind, who are Harsh and Janvi and why such a strange title Me “N” her – A Strange Feeling, well the answer is Harsh is quite a lot Rikky Bhartia and Janvi his best friend, a friend to whom he dedicates this book as the book is inspired by her only, she was very special person in my life and its she only who inspired me to write, it’s her story in my words, she was a friend in need, she always stood by my side in my best and worst phase and supported me. She always loved my stories and shaayeris I told her and one day when I told her this story to be a story she fell in love with it, and asked me to
conv e r t it in a novel, as she loved reading, I first laughed at the idea and then started writing just for her, and named it on me and her and feeling we shared... By the time the book completed, everything had changed including the book’s story, she was no more in my life and I realised its worth sharing, shared with 2-3 most trusted people who liked it, but what’s next? I didn’t knew, obviously had no knowledge of writing world, by a lot of researches understood that first I need an editor and then a
publisher, editor search was tough and then came Rachna Gupta who did a wonderful job so that after a few rejections from big publishing houses Leadstart Publishing held my hand and converted my dream into reality in final days of 2013. I owe them to believe in me and give all support due to which my debut novel have already achieved a lot in first 5 months, a little popularity and readers throughout India who love
me and my book in just 5 months, bestselling on two e-commerce sites, newspaper coverages and many more, The best being given the tag of ‘Modern-Day Love Guru on fiction shelf’ by Asian Age. The path of my writing is still on and will continue with more to come. A co-authored anthology, a full novel and a short story in You Me ‘n’ Zindagi an anthology by Omji Publishing.n
Rikky Bhartia is the author of Me “N” her – A Strange Feeling. He is a Chartered Accountant by a profession working in an MNC in Kolkata. Loves reading, singing, listening to soft music and writing in his lonely and peaceful moments. storizen.com | September 2014 | 40
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Delhi Book Lovers Atul Randev
Delhi Literature Festival One of the most commendable achievements of the group was the impetus they provided in getting the Delhi Literary Festival on course in 2013. “Delhi has great architecture, historical and cultural importance that is beautifully captured in the works of numerous historians, writers and authors” Leher says “Delhi Literature Festival honours these creative thinkers and writers in the city.” Reading Sessions The Club mobilizes the literary community and reading enthusiasts of all age groups for special story-telling and book reading sessions on books in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere every month.
Smart once said that if you put
two realists in a room full of philosophers, they’ll find each other. The Delhi Book Lovers tell us that it is true for people who read as well. Founded in March 2012 by book enthusiasts Kunal Gupta and Leher Sethi, DBL currently boasts of 1300 members (and counting). “The main objective of DBL is to give its members the freedom to express their views about varied literature”, Leher tells us, “We, as a group, aim to reach every person who believes in self-expression through literature.” Club Activities storizen.com | September 2014 | 44
Author Connect DBL does numerous events in form of book reading sessions, interactive sessions and book launches with authors of repute. Popular writers such as Madhuri Banerjee, Meenakshi Madhavan, Nikita Singh, Kanika Dhillon, Parul Sharma, Siddharth Bahri, Neeta Iyer, Dinesh Kapoor and Amandeep Sandhu (to name a few) have been a part of these events in the past. Creative Writing It is stepping stone for those who are looking to improve their basic writing skills or feel a lack of inspiration to pen down their thoughts.
Connecting with people facing similar inhibitions has helped many people find the right expressions quite literally. Events planned in the future * The Launch of Sudesh Verma’s biography, ‘Narendra Modi – The Gamechanger’. * The Book Launch of a book on Privacy Laws in India, being released by the Finance & Defence Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley. * Book Discussion on the book ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn Joining the Club Joining the Club is easy. You can send a request at the Meet Up group or contact them through their Facebook Page. n storizen.com | September 2014 | 45
Catching the Departed By Kulpreet Yadav A lawyer found dead in a sleepy
village doesnâ€™t raise questions and even his family is just happy to be rid of an alcoholic. But one year later, Andy Karan, an investigative journalist in search for the actual truth, happens upon the loose ends that surround the death - the questions he asks opens a can of worms and he is kidnapped, drugged and dumped back in Delhi, one step short of being killed for the investigating the connections of the lawyerâ€™s death that reached far and wide. Though the magazine withdraws Andy from the case, a higher-up in the government wants the truth to be told and Andyâ€™s army instincts nudge him into accepting a challenge that might cost him dearly. It is just a matter of time before the old man disappears without a trace, leaving him to swim or sink in a sea of lies, deceit and violence. He seems to be caught between the devil and the deep sea and to make matters worse, Andy Karan is affected by the most debilitating conditions of all - love. Will Andy Karan emerge true hero? Or will his patriotism and vulnerability lead him down the darkness of impending doom? n
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Kulpreet Yadav’s latest novel ‘Catching the Departed’ was shortlisted by Hachette-DNA in a contest called ‘Hunt for the Next Bestseller’ and launched at ‘The Arts House, Singapore’ on 18 July 2014. He is the Founder-Editor of Open Road Review, an international literary magazine that has published over 130 writers from 20 countries in the last three years. As a Creative Writing Mentor, Kulpreet has conducted several workshops for aspiring writers in India. Shortlisted numerous times for literary awards, Kulpreet’s stories and essays have appeared in over 30 publications, in India and elsewhere. He lives in New Delhi. storizen.com | September 2014 | 47
no love. Never get completely drunk in public and never wear velvet. But life seldom goes according to plan.
For a bookworm there’s no better
joy than getting a novel with a personal note from the author. Written by charming Anjali Kirpalani, Never Say Never is like a fresh breeze of Monsoon in Mumbai. Never Say Never, is the story of Nikita, an unemployed twenty-five year old based in Mumbai who doesn’t know what to do with her life. To make matters worse, Nikita is in love with her best friend’s boy friend. Though Nikita has a boyfriend, she does not like him anymore. On the night of her cousin’s wedding, she makes a list of things she will never do. Never marry for money. Never doubt her abilities. Never have feelings for an unavailable man. Never stay in a relationship where there is storizen.com | September 2014 | 48
Book cover: Cover of the book is well designed and beautifully depicts the central character. The colour pink will definitely attract the ladies and especially those who enjoy chick literature. Plot and setting: The story moves in and around the western suburbs of Mumbai. The setting blends well with the story and the author has brought alive the experience of living in a city like Mumbai. The plot of a twenty something girl, taking a vow of Never.. is awesome. Although, the author could have done a better job in sustaining it throughout the book. Characterization: The characters are sketched out well. Anjali does a spectacular job in giving appropriate motivation to each character and brought out the grey shades. This is where the book scores very well.
Story: Starts of pretty well, drags in between but once the first half is over it is a complete delight. I love the way Anjali gives closure to each of her characters at the end of the story. Itâ€™s really an art to master. Language and Style: Throughout the book, Anjali carefully crafts each word keeping in mind the attention span of the Whatsapp-generation reader. She has an excellent command over the language and chose easy-read style in this book.
Pace: The story starts of at good pace. It however slows down dreadfully for about 50 pages after the 40th page. After that it picks up speed and is full of twists and turns to provide complete entertainment to the reader. It was hard to put down the book once I crossed the halfway mark. Final recommendation: A decent read for a lazy weekend afternoon, especially if youâ€™re in your twenties. n
Suparna Rijhwani is just an avid reader. Reading and writing gives her a true sense of self. Blogging gives her an outlet to express herself and pen her experiences.
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Love; once lost; is like fire; sof Love; once lost; fuses into an You turn into a lonely star; a little blurred at the edge, the bluish t translucent light; th Life never st Time never takes it back; like slow lonely wind, your breath t The seasoned intense wound that slowly An You emerge, evolve, expand without rag
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ft, subtle yet very much alive; nother story, of soul and sin; tinge of pain never really dies down yet soothingly bright with the he light of silence. teals it away; transports it; like a soft fragile kiss, your shadow protects it; slips into heart only to reflect in the eyes; nd ge, without revenge, without retaliation.
Indrani works as a journalist with IBTimes (Sidney). Her first book â€˜Rain drops in her heartâ€™ got published from Germany. She wrote for Hackwriters, Another Realm, Paragraph Planet, Bong Connect, eFiction India, Heartscapes- True stories of remembered love, TajMahal Review. Her poetries will be featured in International poetry festival 2014 . storizen.com | September 2014 | 51