To be honest, I’d never thought of writing a novel. I never thought I had it in me to write it. I started with short stories. I wrote about three short stories before White Noise happened to me. Sounds a bit strange right? “White Noise happened to me.” Let me explain. When I was writing the short stories I had to think of my characters, develop them in my mind before developing them on paper, think of the ending as and when the story progressed, think of alternate endings etc.
But that’s not how I wrote White Noise. White Noise literally just happened to me. It came to me.
One fine day, I remember, I was on a flight when I suddenly wrote a paragraph describing ‘him’. I didn’t know who he was, I still don’t. I don’t know anyone like him but he exists in my head. But for ‘her’, he was real. His existence took over her entire life just like the two of them had taken over mine.
And immediately after I wrote the first paragraph of my novel, I also wrote the last paragraph. I knew how I would end my story. It was really strange because at that point, I didn’t know anything else. I didn’t even know there was a story to begin with.
But I’ll tell you something- the moment I wrote these two paragraphs I knew I had started something big, I knew I was on to something. What exactly, only time could tell.
And thus began the most beautiful yet scary journey of my life- The Making of White Noise.
If you’ve read my short stories you’ll know that White Noise is nothing like them. I was attempting to write something I hadn’t experienced even in the smallest way and yet I felt so close to it, so familiar with everything.
When I wrote my first chapter, I understood this was going to be a thriller, a dark romance; and for that I needed to find my dark place. Yes, all of us have a dark place- each one of us. It’s ultimately about that one thing that is capable of bringing it out from within us and White Noise brought it out in me like never before. I’ve written in the most bizarre ways. I’ve woken up suddenly in the middle of the night to write a chapter. I’ve been inspired by the strangest of things- real and imaginary. I think it’s safe to say that this book consumed me. I’ve lived with my characters; I am familiar with their pulse, their heartbeat. I know them, inside out.
And the day I wrote my last chapter, I cried. I cried because I wasn’t going to write about them anymore. It became very difficult for me to disengage. I started to feel like my characters, I started to behave like them too. Saying goodbye has been the most difficult aspect of the artistic process.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not insane. I know these characters are only in my head and now on the pages of my book; But for me, because I created them, they are my babies and all I have to do is shut my eyes to hear them all over again. I hope they never stop talking to me
This post was originally published on the storytellers paradise
So in the end, I firmly stand by the belief that there’s no such thing as writer’s block. It’s just you not wanting to break out of the safe comforts of not having to write. Or simply not making the time to write, and so if the novel that you were supposed to complete by March hasn’t been written yet – it’s probably your fault. Once you realize that, just make a writing schedule and stick to it. Or list out the things you need to write each day. This has been working out pretty well for me so far. Let’s see how soon you are able to see When Our Worlds Meet Again in the market.
difficult. Writing is not something like managing social media. I’m sorry Mr. Hemingway, but I cannot just suddenly look at the clock decide it’s time to write, so I’ll sit and bleed at the typewriter. I agree that writing is somewhere between torture and fun, and honestly, had money not been the issue I’d have gladly rented out a room to sit and write.
in your writing. Here are 5 rules that I’ve made for myself:
a plot hole. Also, people will come up to you and talk to you. Or ask you about some important work. You cannot expect them to understand that even a second of distraction, could make all that hard work go to waste. Instead write 500 word blog posts in your spare time at office. Those will be easier to proofread and edit, even if you have to leave off writing mid way to go tend to some work.
Go to sleep early, Wake up early: My mother has been telling me for years that
it is a far better idea to wake up early and work, than to burn the midnight oil. I’ve only recently realized how true that is. Even though I still sleep late sometimes, when I wake up early, I am able to log 2,000 words before getting to office.
deadlines. So, I found a way around it to work. There’s a lot of silence in office for the week and I am hoping to use the silence to write more. So much more. Wish me luck, you guys.
Some Thoughts About When You Write A Short Story
I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. Even a couple of months back, when someone would come up to me – tell me they read my work, congratulate and launch into the story of their own struggles with writing – it would irk me just a little bit. Writing was after all my comfort zone. The safe spot, as most of my cats would put it. But over time, I realized, there are more than enough stories for all of us to tell. There is more than enough ways to tell same tale too. In fact, it would actually be a crime on my part if I did not encourage these writing enthusiasts. After all isn’t it a criminal offense to deprive the world of a perfectly good story?
If you are writing a short story one of the key things to remember is to not have too many characters. When I write my short stories they turn into snatches of chapters from my characters’ lives. And that is what you should aim at. You cannot shrink the idea you have for your 400+ page novel, shrunk into a short story. Unless you’re writing the plot synopsis…(which is whole different thing and I will post about that sometime later. Especially if I decide to post advice for writers on my blog in a separate section in the future.) Pick either one, two or three characters that will create an impact for your story. You really don’t need a cast of characters for your short story. You are not writing a film script.
The next thing you should remember is that you can start just about anywhere you want in the story. Just as long as you are clear about the beginning, middle and the end. Some writers say it helps them to map out everything about their stories. I know this method helps when you’re planning to write a series. And good stories cannot be written in a day. They are kind of like making the perfect pot of tea. They need to be brewed properly, poured in the nicest looking teacups, with just the right amount of sugar and milk. People do have different choices and you really cannot go down the “one taste fits all rule”. Choose you audience, know your audience, and tell them the story they would like to hear. Which brings me back to the point: and you need to capture your audience’s attention from the very first line.
The first line of the story – any story, really – is called the hook. If you can find the perfect hook, you will be sure to find a lot of interested readers. Now, if you feel that where you story really began does not have strong enough hook, start from the middle. Then work your way backwards and forwards. Or start towards the end, work your way back and bring in the finale.
When you write in this manner it is a non-linear timeline or a fragmented timeline. Lots of authors have been able to use it creatively in their books. Just be clear with your use of flashbacks and flash-forwards. I have personally found that it helps to use page breakers or whitespaces. They denote that some time has passed before the next paragraph begins. Or the next paragraph is from a time before…your first sentence in this paragraph should clue the reader in. Do not leave them guessing: it frustrates and confuses them, and chances are they will give up on your story. The easiest way would actually be using date and time, and place stamps, I guess? You can always start with that.
Any story is mainly driven by two things: plot and character. When I write short stories they usually become character driven because I like seeing what two people would talk about when thrown in unusual circumstances. (My short story The Strangest Thing revolves around a dialogue exchange between a young girl and a cat, for instance. It has a linear time frame, and you learn at the end what the girl and the cat had been disagreeing on. So you could say it was character driven. While my other short story Something Wicked This Way Comes was my first attempt at writing a mystery, used a non-linear timeline and was very much plot-driven.) You need to decide what you are more comfortable with and begin experimenting with that. Remember: there is no one rule fits all, when it comes to story writing.
Despite the story being character driven or plot driven make sure your characters have an objective. Give them a goal: a physical one or a psychological one. Something they really want. Something they cannot have. It keeps the story interesting and definitely helps with the pacing.
And the final thing is the end of the stories can always be clear or be left to the reader’s imagination. Also no, just because when we were little we grew up on ‘and they lived happily ever after,’ doesn’t mean you have to take that route. Don’t if you don’t want to.
If you are confused about the ending of the story yourself, here’s what you do: you could always write the story with two different endings and see which one gets better reviews, and stick with that with your final version. Although as a reader I would personally prefer closure on the characters you introduce in your short story, as a writer I understand the need for the ambiguous endings.
I hope you have a lot of fun writing your first short story, or your hundredth short story. Because nothing will feel more like a task than an act of creativity if you don’t have fun when you write! Like I said, there are more than enough stories for everyone to tell – and I cannot wait to read yours. I hope this post helped you. And if it did, please leave a comment for me down below. Thank you!
This post originally appeared on Aniesha’s Musings.
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