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Showing posts from June, 2018

Keep It Simple by Avantika

When Sara decided that her memoir would focus on what happened at work from October 2016 to May 2016, what she had is called a ‘set-up’. It is the germ of an idea for the story. Could she expand it into an entire story?

Creating a synopsis will help keep you on track for any story that you plan to write. A word of caution, though. You must remember that you’re creating a synopsis at this stage and not a simple blurb.

When is it too simple? 
A few weeks ago, I received a message via Whatsapp from a writer. In less than 50 words, he told me that it was an inter-galactic tale and it had an ‘exciting ending’. The manuscript was 120,000 words-long and he wanted me to edit it. He was considering writing the story as a trilogy.

Although I could guess what was happening, I asked him to send me the synopsis for his manuscript. What I received in my inbox the next day was the same message he’d sent by Whatsapp with the addition of one character and the description of the home planet. This was no…

Who Cares by Avantika

“What if I spend all this time writing my story and no one wants to buy it? Or even read it? Then what?” Sara lamented.

Sara had a point. After all, there are thousands of books being published each year. What would make her story so interesting that everyone else will want to read it? When faced with such a dilemma, the elements of writing fiction become very useful even if your focus is non-fiction. The relevant elements are to look for ideas for your story and put a spin on old ideas.

Finding Strong Ideas
To do this, you must become a keen observer and listen to what people say and how they say it. Sometimes, a poignant remark is made with a turn of the head or a particular inflection in the voice. Such observations, when added to the text of your story, will make the story resonate with readers that much more.

For example, say Sara lost her father recently and couldn’t make it in time home for his funeral. These are some of the things writers will observe to help them understand Sa…

Why Should I Write My Story by Avantika

“What if I write the truth?” Sara’s question came after I wanted to know why she struggled to go past the first 1,500 words of her story. Here were some of her fears.


“If I write about what really happened, people will know I’m a failure.”“If I write about my ex-boss, will I be sued?”“If I try to share what I’ve learnt, it’ll be old news. No one wants that.”

I decided to help her by analysing the kind of book she wanted to write. In particular, she wanted to understand the difference between fiction, non-fiction, a memoir and an autobiography.

I want to tell a story 
We started with fiction. Like Sara, many people think these are story books or novels. That is, generally, true. Novels can be broken down into two broad types:
a) A plot-based novel where the events often appear in a sensible order and the emphasis is on the pace of the story, the twists and the plot.
b) A character-based novel where characters behaviour is analysed and the emphasis is on creating detailed, sympathetic and…

How to Tell My Story by Avantika

“I want to become a writer,” Sara declared about one-and-a-half years ago. This 49-year-old single mother was retrenched from her workplace of 25 years. Having been in the financial industry, she was in charge of the publication side of the organisation. Sara wanted to chronicle her experiences.

“Very good,”I replied.

I was about to offer some advice about what to do next when she said, “I will do this on my own and start in January.”

I wished her well, but remained curious about what would happen next. I’ve met people who utter such words and that’s it. They have no clue what to do next. Some find they have time. Some don’t know where to start. Some are sure that absolutely everyone is going to read their story. As I expected, by the end of the month, Sara was close to tears because she realised how large a task it was to write a book.

To help Sara, we started all over again. This time, I told her that she needed to keep in mind three things before writing the first word: the right m…