Thursday, April 25, 2019

Q - Quick Self-edits: Authors' Tips A to Z of Writing

Dear readers and writers,

If you are reading the post series for the first time; in this series 'Authors' Tips - A to Z of Writing', eight authors – Devika FernandoPreethi VenugopalaParomita GoswamiAdite BanerjieReet SinghSudesna GhoshSaiswaroopa Iyer and I – write on various writing-related topics with the topic corresponding to the Alphabet of the Week.

The complete list is at the end of this post and today I am writing on the alphabet Q…

Let's begin...

Finished writing a story? Marvelous!
Kudos for completing one-third of your journey!

Yes, you read it right. Writing a complete story is only one-third of the job done. The next stage is to get it in a shape when it can be released to the readers. This requires editing, designing a cover and writing the blurb, and the last step is to publish and market it. All of these

So the next phase is editing. Every author self-edits prior to engaging an editor. So let’s dive straight into the various methods which help polish your dream story.

A word of caution don’t edit unless and until the story is complete, else you’ll end up wasting time and effort. A complete story is the entry criteria for the editing phase.

a) Cut the clutter: Read the story and remove anything which seems to be extra. Shorten the sentences as far as possible. The idea is to make every sentence crisp, thereby making the story well-paced and enjoyable.

“Second Draft equals first draft minus 10%.” —Stephen King

b) Remove the passive verbs: Specifically, look for passive sentences and where necessary change them to active ones without losing the essence of the scene. Remember not every passive sentence has to be converted to active.

c) Avoid the same start for consecutive sentences: A tip which I found on one of the critics’ site was that same word should not be used in three consecutive sentences in a paragraph. Change the sentence to give variation to the prose.

d) Revisit the dialogues tags: Relook at the dialogue tags and associated action beat. It is not necessary to have a tag with every dialogue. Only action beat with the name of the character also serves the purpose and makes the narration interesting.

e) Address your quirks: Make a list of your quirks which crept up while writing the first draft. For example, I have a habit of starting a few sentences with ‘And' or ‘But’, which sounds nice in internal monologue, but not in any other elements. After everything is done I take each of my quirks and correct them as necessary. This list will keep getting modified and will disappear as you gain expertise in the art and cultivate your own style.

f) Remove the niggles: Parse the story through the free functionalities of an automated tool; e.g. Grammarly, ProWriting Aid or any such tool. This will catch all the punctuation, preposition, articles, repetitions and spacing errors.

g) Read out loud: The last one is to take a printout and read out loud. This is the best way to catch odd sentence structure.

That’s it folks. Happy editing!


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Get To Know Author Esha Pandey

Today on ILF we have talented Esha Pandey, who juggles her various responsibilities of a cop, mother and author with consummate aplomb. She has written two romances, and as we talk to her she is promoting her new release 'Someone Exactly Like You'.

Over to the interview...

ILF: What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing?
Esha: I started writing as a young girl in school, when I didn’t even have a computer. I had a beige coloured notebook in which I wrote in long hand. My first story “Full Circle” won the award of excellence at the UNFPA. That gave me confidence to write. I have continued writing ever since. At every stage of life my writing was influenced by my circumstances. When I was writing as a young girl, I was mostly putting my dreams together in words. When I was writing as a wife or a mother I could understand the depth of emotions and that got reflected in my writing. I guess what I am trying to say is that I depend a lot on my experiences and emotions for writing.

Following a regular routine is not possible with my job. So there are days when I write 500 to 100 words daily and then there are months when I don’t write at all. That is when I try to read as much as I can.

ILF: How do you think you have evolved as a person/author because of your writing?
Esha: I have become more patient. Before I knew about Kindle Unlimited, I depended on traditional publishing and that makes you patient. Also I have learnt to accept my weaknesses. I know there are better writers, but I like to write and put whatever I write out with honesty. It might not be to everyone’s taste, but the best thing about this world is that everyone can find some audience.

ILF: Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad review?
Esha: Yes. My friends have been very ruthless in their reviews. Some of them even said that I should stop writing. My first book was poorly edited so there were many bad reviews. But I am not ready to give up. I feel you should listen to everyone, take positives from them, but believe in yourself. If writing gives you happiness, you should write. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to write, anyone can discredit you, but you should not let it affect you.

ILF: What is the easiest/hardest scene for you to write, why? (Love, action, fight, death, emotional, controversial, etc…)
Esha:I have written mostly romances, so yes, writing love making scenes is the most difficult.

ILF: What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?
Esha: I am still a struggler as far as writing is concerned, but I will say this, don’t be embarrassed of your work. Good writing needs discipline. If you really like the art, you will learn with each work that you put out there. That is what I am doing.

ILF: What is your favorite scene in ‘Someone Exactly Like You’? Why?
Esha: My most favourite scene is when Veer and Natasha take a walk and it starts raining. I have lived in Mussorie for a while and I was reliving those beautiful walks when I was writing that scene. Natasha is very close to my heart. I hope readers like her for what she is.

ILF: I'm sure they will. Thanks Esha for those lovely insights on your writing and projects. Wishing you all the best for your new release 'Someone Exactly Like You' and many more to come.

'Someone Exactly Like You' At Amazon.

A beautiful young girl, drenched in rain, is being chased by a couple of goons along the narrow meandering roads of Landour, Mussoorie, when a swashbuckling stranger comes to her rescue. She faints and on waking up, realizes she is in the company of the ‘bad boy’ of Bollywood—Veer Singh Tomar.

Natasha falls for Veer, who, incidentally, is married and dealing with a messy divorce. By some cruel twist of fate, Veer’s estranged wife Amyra comes back to his life. But by then, Veer is already drawn to Natasha.

Will Veer ever find his way back to Natasha?

About The Author
Esha Pandey, is an author and a police officer. She made her debut as an author with her book Kiss of Life and Other Stories, a collection of short stories.

Esha currently lives in New Delhi. She is an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 2010 batch, serving as Deputy Commissioner of Police Traffic. She was Superintendent of Police and Commandant IRBN in Lakshadweep during 2014-16, where she wrote her first book. Her posting as DCP Special Police Unit for Women and Children, in Delhi, gave her an opportunity to understand the problems faced by women, first hand. During her tenure, SPUWAC trained the highest number of girls in Self Defense and established a Limca Record.

Esha has a Masters in International Relations and Masters of Philosophy in American Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Before becoming a civil servant, she dabbled with the idea of being a journalist and worked with Times of India as a copyeditor. She has won a United Nations FPA Award for Excellence for the “Best Short Story”.

She can be reached at;
twitter.: @PandeyEsha
facebook :