Naming The Writer’s Unconscious – A Little Girl And Her Puppy

I always read craft books not once, but several times. I guess that’s the best way to really get the techniques and the wisdom they have to offer. Lately, I’ve been re-reading Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott and came across a concept, more like a paragraph or two, where author Lamott mentions about naming the unconscious:

“My friend Carpenter talks about the unconscious as the cellar where the little boy sits who creates the characters, and he hands them up to you through the cellar door. He might as well be cutting out paper dolls. he’s peaceful; he’s just playing.”

I paused at this particular bit, as I did the first time I read this book, and started thinking about how my unconscious would be?

Here she describes her friend’s version as a boy sitting in the cellar. But I don’t like the pictures of him sitting in confinement. I like her version of the unconscious better, “instead of a little kid, there’s a long-necked, good-natured Dr. Seuss character down there, grim with concentration and at the same time playing.”

So as I said earlier, I thought about my unconscious and this is what I came up with:

A Little Girl And Her Puppy

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

My unconscious, The Boy In The Cellar if you will, is a Little Girl. And this Little Girl is me, of course.

And the Little Girl is not alone; she has a puppy with her. A GSD puppy of about 4 months. And yes, this puppy is Tiger, my deceased pet.

So that’s my unconscious.

The Little Girl sits in the middle of the aangan of my childhood bungalow, on a stone-tiled floor on a thick faded rug called dari. She’s sitting cross-legged, wearing a beautiful white frock that hangs loosely from her thin wiry shoulders. Her dark-roasted-coffee-brown hair hanging down in waves reaching her waist.

Fair as she is, she has a small mouth and small ears but big brown curious eyes. She’s sitting with her coloring book sprawled luxuriously in front of her among her uncountable Camlin crayons of every color you could possibly imagine. They are the ones that her father gave her.

Now she’s bent over her book and scribbling away with cyan color. She looks happy today.

The Puppy is sitting beside her in a relaxed fashion that only 4-month-old puppies can manage. His head is resting on the girl small knee. He is looking at whatever the Little Girl is drawing with his droopy doggy eyes that look like they’re falling down. He’s a healthy Greman Shepherd and is big enough to come to her knees when she’s standing. He loves the Little Girl immensely and enjoys looking at her draw.

As I said, she looks good, happy. That makes me feel very good. And the important thing is she is not alone, she has the Puppy with her.

She loves drawing and therefore she is always drawing something or the other. Sometimes it takes her days, sometimes weeks and sometimes months or even years to complete a “masterpiece.” And when she’s done, she looks up from her work and calls me and hands me over those drawings.

Sometimes these drawings are so clear that I can clearly see what she has come up with, but sometimes they’re all blurred and abstract and it takes me a while to figure them out, to understand what is it that she wants me to see.

This is how my ideas come to me or rather delivered to me by my unconscious. The Little Girl is not a fragment of me, but she

The Little Girl is not a fragment of me, but she is me. This is how I get countless ideas for my books, characters, plots, sub-plots, short stories, flash fiction pieces, poems, etc.

This is how I write.


Takeaway:

If you are new to writing or if you are struggling with it, then I highly suggest this exercise. It’ll help you attain the very focus you need to center your creative mind.

What about you? Have you ever thought about how your unconscious works? Do you have a particular image of that unconscious?


Further Reading:

If you liked reading this article, then you might like these as well:

A Pleasant Surprise – My New Business Cards

Last week was busy, to say the least, I went to my mom’s place as Vishal had some work with my step and so spent some really good time with my mom and brother. I also made a few changes to my website – Added ‘Upcoming Titles’ and ‘Praise’ sections to the Home page, added ‘Praise’ page to the menu, along with adding my short bio and book image to the sidebar, and I must say that I’m happy with those things because now if someone comes directly to my Blog page (which happens a lot) they can get a glimpse of me (and who I am and what I do.)

And this week, I got these beauties (my Ig, T, and Fb followers might already know):

Aren’t they pretty! I love them and everyone at Citrus is so giddy with relief that the designing and branding work is over now. We all can just take a step back now, admire our hard work and move forward with the tiresome things of sending ARCs to reviewers and doing the other media pre-promotions.

I’m so glad to be working with people who value talent over age and experience and as I tweeted today morning, “I’m in a very happy place in my life right now! And I intend to keep it this way.”

So that’s all for today. Oh BTW, see what my publicist did this week:

Hope you all are having a nice week.

Ciao.

Book Tag: Questions And Answers

It’s been over a year since I’ve done any tags. I love doing them (they’re so much fun), but early last year life got real busy and so many tags piled up on top of other blog posts that I decided to pass on all of them. But recently I was tagged by one of my favorite authors, John A. Heldt, and I simply couldn’t resist.

John, the author of critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series, is a longtime friend, and I always look forward to reading his books. He blogs quite regularly, so if you have a few minutes, do check out his blog and books.

Q & A

What book has been on your shelf the longest?

The Shinning by Stephen King. I’m a big Stephen King fan, but for some reason, I never got around to reading this masterpiece by him. I bought the book 2 years back but still haven’t got around to reading it.

What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

Currently, I’m reading Hanna’s Moon by John A. Heldt. My last read was The Beekeeper’s Daughter and my next read is going to be Under The Dome by Stephen King

What book did everyone like but you hated?

Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. I won’t say I hated the book, but I was simply not able to get into it in spite of most of my friends loving it.

What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read but you probably won’t?

Fifty Shades Of Grey by E.L. James and 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz. Both are horrific reads, first one figuratively and the second one literally.

What book are you saving for retirement?

Life’s too short to wait to read a book, but I do plan on re-reading several books after my “retirement” – ASOIF Series, HP Series, etc.

Last page: Read it first or save until the end?

Always save it until the end. Who the hell reads the last page anyway. If won’t make any sense, to say the least, and it would just end up revealing the end. Two big no-nos for me.

Acknowledgement: Waste of paper and ink or interesting aside?

Being a writer myself, I know how much hard work goes into a book and that is why I love reading acknowledgments page of every single book I read. It makes me feel more connected to the author and the people involved in the making of the book.

Which book character would you switch places with?

Arya Stark of ASOIAF series. It would be hard, but I’d do it anyway.

Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?

Game Of Thrones (ASOIAF #1)  by George R.R. Martin. I won’t go into the details but Ned Stark reminds me of my father a lot and the things that happened to him do too.

Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

I almost always buy my own books, so the most interesting way was getting 3 to 4 books delivered by my library at my doorstep every month for an entire year while I was a member. I’m not a member anymore as I realized that libraries are not for me as I hate returning books I love. So I buy them now.

Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

Yes. I’ve given the first copy of my debut novel to my husband. And will keep on giving him the first copy of all my novels.

Which book has been with you most places?

The World’s Best Fairytales by Reader’s Digest Association. It is a big book of fairy tales passed on to me by my grandfather. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember.

Any required reading that you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later? 

I’ve not yet read any of Shakespear’s plays because I never enjoyed them in high school.

Used or brand new?

Brand new only. I like my books to be mine and mine alone.

Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Yes, I’ve read three of his books: The Da Vinci CodeThe Lost Symbol, and Inferno.

Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

Not better than the book, but equally good – The Hobbit (all three movies.)

Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?

I love cooking (baking to be specific) and I bought The Chocolate And Coffee Bible a few years back. It has some amazing chocolate and coffee recipes and it still makes me hungry every time I flip through its pages.

Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

My blogging book friend Kim.

Is there a book outside your comfort zone you ended up loving?

None so far.

Okay, now for tagging others…

Kim at By Hook Or By Book

Phoenix at Phoenix Grey

Galit at Coffee n’ Notes

Kate M. Colby at her Fiction Blog

If anyone other than the above mentions wants to do this tag then feel free to consider yourself tagged.

Hope you all having a great start to your week!

What Is Writer’s Block? And 3 Things to Keep In Mind

There are a lot of people who don’t believe in the existence of Writer’s Block, but let’s face it, even though you don’t want to name it, there are periods of time in every writer’s life when you simply can’t write (no matter how much you want to!) You can call it a “bad phase”, a stupor or whatever the hell you want it all comes down to the same thing – You can’t write sometimes.

No matter what you want to name it, the truth remains the same – This “bad time” or whatever you want to name it wastes a lot of precious time of writers that can be otherwise used for writing.

This is what is called Writer’s Block. Think of it as just something to name this condition for the sake of convenience.

It’s not all bad if you can recover from it in a short while, say a day or a couple of days or even a week. But it gets pretty bad if you simply can’t get over it for a long period of time, say a month. Or maybe more.

I’ve come across a lot of stories of writers giving up when they suffer a prolonged period of Writer’s Block and it greatly saddens me because this is not a solution. Giving up never is.

In 3 years of my full-time writing career, I’ve gone through multiple phases of Writer’s Block, both short and long spells. And if there’s something I’ve learned from each and every time, it is these 3 things:

1.  Make use of this time

Many of us use our extra time for writing. We get a day off, we write. We get an hour off, we write. We go on a vacation, we write. Being a full-time writer also, I use my extra time for writing, so I practically don’t get any free time for other things.

Use this “bad spell” to do the other things like weed the garden, take a small vacation with your family, do the house chores, spend time with your family and friends (god only knows how limited time writers get to spend with others), go for swimming, movies, or do anything else that either needs to be done, or you’ve wanted to do but couldn’t because of writing.

2. Keep feeding your creative mind

Just because you can’t write doesn’t mean you can’t read, or draw or do research or can’t do anything else that’ll work as a fodder for your creative mind.

Remember, our minds are like a sponge, they keep on absorbing and observing things. So when you’re not writing, either read books in your genre or read some refreshing new genre, or sing or dance or do something that you like. But again, don’t do anything that stresses you. You’re just doing these things for yourself, not to please others.

I watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books, both in my genre of writing. It always helps me.

3. Don’t give up

It’s okay to take a break. In fact, the way I see it, Writer’s Block is a way for our mind to tell us to take a break. If you’ll notice it generally happens after you’ve spent a considerable time working on your writing projects.

So listen to your mind and give it a rest.

You’ll always bounce back eventually.

Takeaway:

Don’t over think. Relax and take a calming breath. Your mind simply needs a break, it is NOT giving up on writing. So do what you want to do, keep in touch with your creative side and don’t ever think of giving up.

In case if the Writer Block doesn’t go away after a while, then face the truth – It’s not the Writer’s Block, it’s you. You (maybe your subconscious self) are making reasons and coming up with stupid excuses to not to write. So get on your ass and start writing. It’ll be hard, but who said writing will be easy?

Do not give up.

What are your experiences with Writer’s Block?


Further Reading:

First Sample Copy Of Deceived

Hello, all. This is a late post, so please forgive, but life’s been extremely busy (particularly this month.) Being the Editor In Cheif at Citrus, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the first sample copy of Deceived.

This is a late post, so please forgive, but life’s been extremely busy (particularly this month.) Being the Editor In Cheif at Citrus, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the first sample copy of Deceived.

The cover came out a bit dark in the sample, so the covers are getting reprinted at the moment and most probably we’ll have the first batch of ARCs delivered to the office by next weekend!

Anyway, here are a few pictures [I loved it even with a slightly dark cover and spent an entire day holding this baby]:

On a side note, as my responsibilities have increased at Citrus and as I’m writing the second draft of my second novel, I’ve decided to take a break from podcasting for a few months. So the podcast that I was preparing for this month won’t be going up anytime soon (it really takes a lot of time!)

Though, I’ll try and share flash fiction twice a month as an additional writing exercise.

I hope you guys liked the book’s sample. Please feel free to share your thoughts below. Comments are always welcome!

Ciao ❤

Month End Updates: February’17

Hello, everyone. This is a monthly post in which I share about my writing, reading and life in general.

My month in:

WRITING–

READING–

  • Nika: A Seychatka Novella by D.H. Gibbs – 4/5
  • The Little Yarmouth Abduction by Tim Van Minton – 5/5
  • Sting by Sandra Brown – 1/5
  • The Monster Of Florence by Douglas Preston – 5/5
  • Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben – 3/5
  • The Man You Scripted by Calvin Honors – 4/5
  • Amber Alert by Dan Lawton – 4/5
  • The House Of Secrets by Brad Meltzer – 4/5

Series:

  • A Series Of Unfortunate Events – NPH is beyond awesome and I absolutely adore the cast of the kids. They are all so perfect for their roles. If you haven’t yet watched it, then do it right now! You wouldn’t want to miss out on this epic series.eine-reihe-betrueblicher-ereignisse-s1_3569
  • Sherlock Holmes – Finally(!!) I started with this series! I haven’t yet finished even a single season because Vishal made me wait for him to get the Thunderbird connector for my Mac so that we both can watch it on TV. So far I’ve just watched 4 episodes and I love them.

Movies:

On TV:

  • Saving Mr. Banks
  • Julie And Julia
  • 30 Days Of Night
  • The BFG
  • The Notebook

In theatre:

  • Resident Evil – Last Chapter
  • Hidden Figures
  • Lego Batman
  • John Wick – Chapter 2

Miscellaneous:

  • I’ve been appointed as the Editor In Chief at Citrus Publishers.
  • I hosted my first International Giveaway for Deceived. It was an exclusive subscriber giveaway, i.e., only for my Newsletter Subscribers. And the winner of the Giveaway was – Andrew (my very good Goodreads friend) – Congratulations!
  • Seeing a great increase in number of new subscribers in the month of February, I decided to giveaway an e-book of Deceived to a random winner and the winner was – Diwya – Congratulations!
  • Seeing such a heart warming response to my giveaway, I’ve planned to host one next month again, but this time it’ll be open for everyone and not just my subscribers. I’ll try to set up a Rafflecopter one so that it’ll be easy to keep scores and such. So stay tuned!
  • Also, this month I also hosted my very first Facebook Live Author Event powered by Mystery Thriller Week (MTW) 2017. I wasn’t expecting anyone to come and attend the event at the designated hour as I got late in making the announcements and inviting everyone. Also my time zones are different than my friends overseas, so I thought that it’ll be a huge barrier. BUT to my pleasant surprise, a lot of MTW members and my Fb friends showed up for the event. It all made me feel so grateful to be surrounded by such amazing friends!
    Next time I’ll make sure to invite each every one of you all in time.
  • Also, I won an award at the MTW – Instagram VIP!
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  • Also, near the very end of the month, Deceived got ranked #199 (as of today, it will keep on jumping up with each and every vote) out of around 700 books on Goodreads’ Most Anticipated Thriller Of The Month.
    If you guys have a minute, then please visit here and vote for Deceived to help me it get ann even better ranking! Each and every vote is greatly appreciated!

What about you? How was your month? What all books did you read this month? Did you meet your writing goals?
Did you watch any of the latest releases this month?? Please share about your month in the comments section below. I’m all EARS!

In order to stay updated and get exclusive sneak peaks, subscribe to my monthly Newsletter – SUBSCRIBE

Ciao ❤

My First Facebook Live Author Event

Today I’ll be hosting my first live Facebook Discussion session for Mystery Thriller Week. It’ll run from 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm, today evening as per IST (Tuesday, 21st Feb, 9am-10am as per EST). If you wish to know more about my upcoming release, Deceived, or my next novel, Sinister Town, or if you love Mystery & Thriller genre then do drop by to sayhello and have fun discussions about mystery/thriller books and movies.

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If you wish to know more or have any questions, feel free to comment below.

Here’s the link to the Event: Power Hour Host – Heena Rathore P.

 

Ciao!

First Exclusive International Giveaway for Deceived

I am hosting my first ever international giveaway for Deceived ARC! But wait, it’s an exclusive giveaway, which means there are terms and conditions – This giveaway is EXCLUSIVELY for my Newsletter subscribers!

So you need to be subscribed to my Newsletter in order to be able to participate in this giveaway. But that’s not a problem because this giveaway is open to new subscribers as well. So all you need to do is to subscribe to my monthly Newsletter and read the latest Newsletter in order to find out the details of this giveaway.


deceived-finalHow well do you know your loved ones? 

A girl struggling to cope with the murders of her mother and five-year-old brother.
A journalist chasing the ghost of a potential serial killer.
A thirteen-year-old girl who slaughtered her parents.
And a revenge-driven psychopath who is about to destroy everyone’s life.

After 9 years, a young writer is still coping with the brutal murders of her mother and five-year-old brother, as she moves into a house of horrors, to start a new life with her lover. Will friends and family be able to redeem Ally out of the impending doom in time? Will her infallible love become the key to the destruction of her already fragile world? Will madness prevail over love; true love over revenge?

Deceived is a gripping psychological thriller that mazes through the deepest, darkest emotions of human mind through the story of a vulnerable girl who treads in the mist of deception bred from a long unforgiven betrayal.


There are a lot of perks to becoming my Newsletter subscriber, for example, new subscribers receive a free copy of my mini-ebook – Writing Manifesto, they get exclusive and fresh news about my books and also receive writing inspiration, prompts and other writer-ly stuff in their inboxes once a month!
You can also read this post to know more about what my Newsletters are all about: My NEWSLETTER.

In order to get access to all these awesome stuff and/or to enter in this AMAZING Giveaway(!), you can subscribe to my Newsletter here: SUBSCRIBE

The giveaway is open until 25th February only! So hurry up!

I’ll be announcing the winner on 28th February in the February Newsletter. The winner will be chosen randomly by either a chit system or by a random name picker program. And the winner will receive a PAPERBACK ARC (advance reader copy) of DECEIVED!

So what are you waiting for – SUBSCRIBE, ENTER & WIN!

10 Questions To Help You Determine The POV(s) For Your Story

Choosing the main Point Of View(s) for your story is either the simplest or the hardest thing you’ll ever come across while writing your book. Determining the voice which narrates or unfolds your story is a tricky thing because if you select the wrong one your story is doomed.

Sometimes (a few precious instances), you don’t have to think about the POV because either you already have it figured out even before starting the story or know which one comes more naturally to you, the one that suits your writing style and feels like the perfect fit for your story. If you find yourself in this situation then consider yourself very lucky because otherwise, you might have a very hard time figuring it out.

question-1243504_640Rest of the time (i.e., for the majority of your writing career), you won’t know how to go about determining the POV for your story. This happens mainly due to the unyielding need for perfectionism. You want your story to be perfect (obviously!) but you can’t figure out which should be the main or the central voice that tells the story.
Ideally, more than half of the times the answer lies in using multiple POVs, but that comes with another set of problems that I’ll be covering in my next article relating to POVs. But what if you don’t know which multiple POVs to use?

When stuck in the latter situation, you’ll find yourself in a dark endless pit which will drive you to the brink of giving up, and we certainly do not want that. So to make the process of selecting the perfect POV(s) for your story, I’ve come up with a list of 10 questions that you need to ask yourself in order to get the answer to your POV worries.

The 10 Questions:

  1. How much you want to reveal? And how much you want to hold back?
  2. Whose perspective will be interesting for the reader?
  3. Who’s in the middle of most of the conflicts?
  4. How much information about the plot/story you want to reveal?
  5. How much information about the character you want to reveal?
  6. How it’ll affect the pacing of the story?
  7. What are you comfortable with? First person? Second Person? Or Third Person?
  8. How’d you like the reader to perceive your character and story line?
  9. Are there any parts of the story that need to be shown through different perspectives or through scenes that don’t have the main POV character(s) in them?
  10. How many stories are you trying to tell? And are these stories a part of the main story?

The process doesn’t end here. Once you’ve asked these questions to yourself, it’s imperative that you don’t only answer these questions truthfully but also try to understand them in detail so as not to mess it up. Once you’ve laid out the answers, 99% of the times you’ll be able to figure out the POV(s) for your story. The remaining 1% is your gut feeling which will either confirm your decision and make you feel like you’ve conquered the world or (at it happens to me most of the times) will make you doubt everything you just did and will force you to repeat the entire exercise again (and again, till you get it right.)

If you want my advice, never ignore the gut feeling. Otherwise, you’ll regret it later on.

Watch my video podcast on 10 Questions To Help You Determine The POV(s) For Your Story:

If you have any doubts regarding this post or want to share your experiences or anecdotes then please leave a comment below.

Further Reading:

Mystery Thriller Week (MTW) 2017

In late 2016 I was lucky enough to be contacted by Vicky Goodwin, one of the organizers of Mystery Thriller Week, the biggest event of the Genre, to check out this awesome event. When I did, I was sold and the very next day I signed up there as an Author.

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There are so many writers, authors, bloggers, reviewers, readers, writing mentors, etc. participating in this genre that it’d be a crime for a Mystery lover to not be a part of this online event. I wanted to do a post on this earlier, but due to time restraints, I wasn’t able to (I just hope that it’s not too late for new participants to join in.)

If you love Mystery (of any kind) then do visit Mystery Thriller Week’s Website and join in! There are so many amazing books that are offered for reviewing that I’m sure all the bloggers and reviewers will have a blast (Ofcourse, Deceived is also one of them, so don’t forget to check it out! To know more about the event check out their About page.

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I’ve even booked a slot for their Facebook Author Chat Session on 21st February (Tuesday) 9 AM to 10 AM (EST.) Don’t forget to drop by, especially if you’re reviewing Deceived in the coming months.

Hope you guys are having a great week.

Ciao ❤

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