Fundamentals of Creative Writing: A project based course to strengthen your writing skills. | Preeti Shenoy | Skillshare

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Fundamentals of Creative Writing: A project based course to strengthen your writing skills.

teacher avatar Preeti Shenoy, Best seling novelist, Speaker, Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Best way to do this course


    • 3.

      Where I get my ideas


    • 4.

      What are ideas


    • 5.

      The writer's notebook


    • 6.

      What to write in the writers notebook


    • 7.

      Using material from your own life


    • 8.

      Using anecdotes from friends


    • 9.

      Where to get ideas from?


    • 10.

      What are the three different point of views?


    • 11.

      Which POV to use


    • 12.

      How to create strong characters


    • 13.

      Use of settings


    • 14.

      Creating a coherent plot


    • 15.

      Essentials of dialogue writing


    • 16.

      Putting it all together


    • 17.

      Goodluck extra tips


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About This Class

Have you always wanted to write but you do not know where to get ideas?

Do you want to know how authors get their ideas?

Do you want to know about all the essentials that make up a great story?

Preeti Shenoy, one of India's highest selling authors shares all her tips and tricks,which she has  gathered over a long writing career spanning more than a decade.

Come, be inspired to keep a writers notebook, know what goes into it and start recording your thoughts and ideas. Learn how to start thinking like a writer.

In this  course designed for complete beginners as well as for those who want to improve their writing skills, learn   Where to find Ideas, What point of view is best, how to create strong characters, use settings to add depth to your writinglearn why dialogues are important and  finally put it all together.

At the end of the course you would have written your very own original short fiction. You will definitely feel more inspired to  write. Your writing will have more depth and clarity.

From the Indian of the Year, Preeti Shenoy, comes a course that is engaging, interactive and which will give you loads of practice, to enhance your own writing.

Meet Your Teacher

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Preeti Shenoy

Best seling novelist, Speaker, Artist



Preeti Shenoy, among the top five highest selling authors in India, is also on the Forbes longlist of the most influential celebrities in India. She is the highest selling woman writer in India. Her work has been translated into many languages.


India Today has named her as being unique for being the only woman in the best-selling league. She has been awarded the ‘Indian of the Year’ award for 2017 by Brands Academy for her contribution to Literature. She has also received the Academia award for Business Excellence by the New Delhi Institute of Management. She is the recipient of the ‘100 Young Indian women Achievers award’ in the Powerful leader category. She has given talks in many premier educational institutions such ... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. NEW INTRO FUNDAMENTALS OF CR: Welcome to my coasts The fundamentals of creative writing. Hi, I'm pretty Chinoy and I'm a novelist with many best selling titles thanks to my reduce. And today in the schools, I'm going to share with you all that I have learned in my long writing career how to craft realistic characters, where to find ideas, how to put together a coherent plot on how to write dialogue on how all these things come together to make a fantastic story. A very interesting story. Be it either a novel or a short story or any other creative piece that you may be working on. Now who is this course for? If you have never returned before? Welcome. Don't worry. All of us have to start somewhere. This goes is perfect for you on if you have written before but you're not too happy with our, you know, with the craft off your feast on, you want to strengthen your basics, then welcome. This course is for you to on the scores is going to be project based, which means that at the end of each lesson, you are going to get a writing project which you can submit your and it's gonna be a safe space. We're all going to be very supportive off each other, so join me and let's get started. 2. Best way to do this course: Now, before we begin the course, I just want to take a moment to tell you how to get the best out off the schools. The best way to approach this course is to listen to the lectures and then do the assignment given at the end off each section. Please do the writing exercises on Don't Meet, too hung up about the time limit given in those questions, you can take much longer if you like, but it's very important to actually do the right thing because it is only when you do it that you constantly improve. You can listen to as many lectures as you want. You can read as many books as you want, but only really way to improve your craft is to actually dive right in and right every single day. So please do the assignments. Take your time and don't be worried about you know it's my assignment. Good. Are people going to judge me? Is it good enough to summon? Don't think about it just right, but do exercises and join me as we go on to do fundamentals off creative writing 3. Where I get my ideas: before we go into the idea section, let me just tell you how I got my ideas for my novels on hopefully as a share it you will be inspired on. You will see what my thinking process is like and they help you probably to develop your own thinking process. I want to tell you about all my books because there are so many books I'll probably just tell you about, you know, the ones which are actually remember the distinct moment where I got that idea. So for one of my books, it happens for a reason. The stories about a single mother. So there was a Streeter account, which I followed, which was this was many years back. So I've forgotten the name off the account. But it was the handle off a single mom, and she was treating all the stuff that she did with her child. She has a daughter, and, you know, there was all this fun stuff that she was doing with her child. And I said, Oh, wow, what a cool personality. Why don't I create a character like that and write a novel about her on off course? The rest off it was imaginary. But that was the starting point off that idea, which later turned to the normal. It happens for a reason. And then there's this book off mine called It's All in the Planets on. Do you know that they It's a story about a young man on a young girl on There's an astrological prediction given at the start of each chapter on. By the end off that chapter, we come to know whether that prediction came true or not. So how this idea came to me. I was traveling from Delhi to churn bigger and in fact, I was going for the launch off my previous book on I happened to Open the newspaper I was sitting in Shot Abby on. I happen to open the newspaper and I read the Zodiac sign. All of us have this habit off just opening the paper and reading this Zodiac sign. And then I thought to myself, Investors actually come true. Do people just casually read about it and forget about it? And then I said, OK, what if I write a book with this prediction? I take one prediction and I write a chapter about it and the end of the chapter, the reader gets to know, Has it come true or has not come true? I thought, Oh, that would be a fantastic idea for a book on. I developed it further As the days went by, I thought about it, and that's how I got the idea for it's all in the planets. Take another book off mine, which is the most recent book 100 Little Flames on How I got the idea for that One morning I had gone for a walk on. When I came back up, I took out my father's old diary. It was lying outside, actually, and I don't know how it was lying outside. Probably somebody was pleading the bookshelf or something like that, and they must have left it outside. And I turned. The page is off the diary and I found a few pages missing. So that set me thinking, you know, I said, uh, OK, that story can be about a diary on on that very day, I had a conversation with my mother, where she talked to me about old people on how a lot off old people were being abandoned, didn't they? Were abandoned by their Children. They've been neglected on what you said shocked me. So both these incidents, you know, the fact that I had found that diary lying outside and then the old people being abandoned , both those things stuck in my head on As the weeks went by, I kept thinking about it and I said, Why not? I write a novel about it where I take it. There has to be some connection between the diary on an old person on. That's how I got the idea for that book. Onda. I used experiences from my life, for example, the cover in that book. There's a house in that cover. You know this this this house and it's exactly like the ancestral home. It's exactly like my ancestor who on that was a starting point off that look. So you see, ideas are everywhere. Ideas can come to you from daily life. It can come to you from, ah, places where you don't expect it to come from. It can come from conversations. I can get ideas from everywhere, but I think what this really important is to take the time out from our daily life to think about these ideas to develop these ideas. I do feel all of us lead a very rushed life in Were rushing from one place to another place , and we really don't allow ourselves to daydream. And I think it's very important today. Dream. You have to keep thinking you have to kind of let your mind wander. Oh, it's like a loving your mind to come out and play. That's when you get ideas from now. Fortunately for me, I have a dog and my dog needs a lot of walks. So when I take her on her walks, she needs at least three walk city. So you know, what I do is I just keep thinking because that's my idle time on when I was based in the UK My idle time was I didn't have a dog then, so I had to do the dishes, you know. So my idle time was when I was doing the dishes, so I found that ritual very comforting. As the dishes godly. My I allowed my mind to wander on. I found that there were so many ideas drifting in and out. Now how do we capture those ideas? How do we you know, how do we develop them later into stories? Watch my next lectures 4. What are ideas: Where do you find ideas now, before I talk about very confined ideas, I think it's important to understand what exactly are these ideas? You know, sometimes people say that I want to write something, but I don't know what to write. I don't get any ideas, ideas, essentially anything that you want to write about. If it's a story, it's, you know, what is your story going to be based on? What is it about? Is it about a rich boy falling in love with a poor girl? Or is it about a mother who feels stuck at home? Or is it about a guy who is not finding a job? All of these are ideas. Ideas just means something that you want to write about. Now I want to tell you something. That's nothing like a bad idea on Don't worry about, you know, has this idea being done before? Is it very common? You know what, What if others have written about the same thing? Because, honestly, if you take the Jonah romance Jonah, if you take the Romans, Jonah, it's just boy meets girl, you know. So from time and Memorial, people have written about the boy meets girl. So what is important is have you write about it? Have you present it? Onda up off course idea is very important to But don't worry too much about getting unique ideas at this point of time. Because if you keep worrying about that, you will discard every idea that you get, you know? And that's not going to work for you. So don't worry about that. Just focus on getting those ideas on how to get those ideas. Watch my next listen. 5. The writer's notebook: I want to tell you a little bit about the Writer's Notebook. What is this writer his notebook on? Is it really important for a writer toe? Have a writer's notebook, I can tell you in one word. Answers. Yes, it is extremely important on why is it important? Because ideas are extremely fleeting. You know, in a moment you'll get an idea on the next moment. Something else happens on ideas are so fragile they can be lost just then on. You never know that could have bean a normal. It could have been a short story, but our mind place strict Sonus. Something else happens, which interferes with our thinking on The idea is lost forever. So as soon as you get an idea, it is very important to immediately write it down in a notebook. Now what kind off notebook it can be any notebook. It can be a notebook lying around in your house. It can be a notebook that you go and buy, especially for it now. For me, I'll show you my writers. Notebooks I like Toe are invest in a lovely little handmade notebook. So these are some off my writer's notebook, so you can see this unit has gone a little shell, which is very pretty on this is one of my right isn't so. I have several notebooks, right, Several writers, notebooks and they're filled with the outlines off my normals, my ideas. My chapters. See, here is another notebook which really appealed to me. So whenever I go out, I'm always on the lookout for such notebooks. And this is another notebook, which I really like, as you can see. You know, I'm a little partial to a fabric and the feel off the notebook, and so you don't have to kind off invest in such notebooks. But if you're feeling excited about it, do go out shop and give yourself a little treat. But if you don't feel like doing that, you can just use any notebook. The kind off notebook doesn't really matter, but what matters is that you keep a notebook 6. What to write in the writers notebook: What will you write in the Writer's Notebook? You can write just about anything. Whatever occurs to you, you know, it's a bit off conversation that you overheard or some thought that occurred to you, which is on mature fetus. Unusual I don't think about Is it worth recording? It should really be a notebook where you can scribble. They can write anything because nobody is going to judge you on the basis of this notebook . Just remember that. So just make your writer's notebook on record. Everything that comes to you and it doesn't matter if it's half baked. It doesn't matter if it is just a snippet off a conversation you overheard. It doesn't matter what you write in it as long as you right. Whatever occurs to you that you think can be an idea because you say you don't know at the time what it can develop into. Ideas are like little seeds. So it's important for us to gather those little seeds and to protect it and to nourish it on. How are you going to protect those ideas? You're gonna do it with the help of your writer's notebook. So do start the writer's notebook on Keep writing in it on. This is not an overnight process. It's not that, you know, you start your right. There's no book today and tomorrow we filled up with stuff. It's gonna happen over many weeks, probably many months, but you keep that notebook handy and keep making notes in it. 7. Using material from your own life: Ah, as a child, I always kept a journal on that habit has continued even now, as an adult, I do keep a journal. I do record. Even. That happened every single day. From this year onwards, I have started writing every day, so there is no hard and fast rule about it. For some years I would write only when something significant happened to me. Something momentous happened to me on. But from this year onwards, I have returned every single day. So every day that is a one page entry on when I look back at my journals, I feel this so much Material Day, which I can are, you know, kind of develop into novels and two short stories. So if you can do it, there's nothing like it. Do start a journal and do right every single day on you will not realize it now, but many years later they can be starting points for stories, novels you never know 8. Using anecdotes from friends: not a very good source off finding ideas. It's an egg notes narrated by friends. You know, maybe you have a friend who tells funny stories every time you meet. Or maybe some other friend has narrated something really hilarious. Now they need not be hilarious. It could be some incident that happened to them, but you will have to off course change. Many details about it will have to bring imagination into it. Or if you're using the same anecdote, you will have to take permission from your friend. Hey, the sounds interesting. Can I put it in the book? Because so, you know, I don't think your friend will be very pleased if they find that what they told you in confidence has gone into a novel. On many years ago, I was traveling by flight, and, uh, I remember I had a cool passenger, a young boy, and he narrated a hilarious story to me. I didn't know I was a writer on. After he narrated this incident, I told him I'm a writer and I asked him, you know, may I use your incident on He was like, Oh, my God, I'm gonna be famous off course, you can use my incident. So many people are open to that. So many off these anecdotes can be the starting point off stories or novels. You can add a dash of imagination to it. But do remember these anecdotes which people tell you So the life off your friends conversations that you had with strangers, all of it can be rich sources for ideas. 9. Where to get ideas from?: a question that I'm often asked wherever I go for book launches for literary festivals. At my interviews, Everywhere I go, I must. One question is where to find ideas, where you get your ideas from. Now I can understand why this question is asked because if you're like most people, I think ideas kind of seem magical. You know? Where do these writers get these ideas from? So I'm going to share with you where I get my ideas from, and hopefully that will inspire you, and it'll help you get ideas to. So the first place where I get ideas, this from my own life. So they will be so many incidents that happened to us on. You can take ideas from that incident. For example. Think off your day today. You know, from morning to evening. What happened to you? Did your coworker talk to you? Did your mom say something? Are did your neighbors say something? Did you notice something unusual? You have to notice these things as a writer on, you have to kind off harvest your ideas from there. So the very first place or it could be something that happened to you in the past, which made a strong impact on you, which hurt you in some way, which you felt good about. And someday, all off those things. Incidents from your life can be the starting point for a new story. So one off the things which I always tell people who are aspiring to be writers is to keep a journal or diary. Are a writer's notebook personally, what I have this I have looking notebook and every idea that strikes me. I write it down no matter what time it was. It's David. It's nine to from sleeping if I get a great idea or even if I get a bad idea, because at the time, and the idea comes and you don't know whether it's a great idea. What a bad idea. I quickly jot it down in a notebook because ideas are so fleeting, you know, by the end off the day would have forgotten. And sometimes I get ideas from dreams when you're dreaming. Andi, when you have just woken up, the dream is still fresh in your mind. But as the days they goes on and ask, the days even interferes with your dream and the dream becomes more and more are faded and you don't remember what you dreamt about. So I think it's extremely important to write down whatever strikes you keep a small writer's notebook and write down ideas. Now suppose you don't want to take material from her life and you don't remember on what ever happened to you during the day is very uninspiring. Where do you get ideas from them? So in that case, the third place where you can get ideas is your daily newspaper. So I'm gonna take out to these newspaper. So this is the newspaper today on there is a little on. Have a look at the city paid. You know, there are so many unusual incidents get reported on the newspaper, so there's a news item right here where it says truck driver manhandles traffic cop video goes viral. So this is what the news item say's. A 30 year old truck driver was arrested for man handing a policeman in KR Forum, East Bangla on Ministry morning. The incident took a political color and a video off the incident shot by KR Poland Pulis as evidence went viral on social media charges that the attacker was an aide off a ruling party. Emily also flew thick and passed fast. So you can probably take the story off the stock driver. What other things? That could have possibly happened to him before he manhandled the cop. Know? Why was he pushed to such an extent? There's a story right there waiting to be written. What happened to him that morning? Was he under on new pressure? That something happened to him? Ah, Was he facing the debt off a loved one? Perhaps on Boisset the third of the fourth time that the cops were stopping him. What are the conditions that made him do it? As writers? It's our duty tow. Think about such things now. What I want you guys to do is take out a timer. It could be a time or on your mobile phone. It could be a stopwatch. It could be anything on. What? I'm going to walk you. What you are going to do is press the timer, set it for three minutes, press it, take out a pen on, write down all the ideas that occur to you for short stories. Now, this need not be great ideas this. No need not be fantastic ideas, but right down every idea that occurs to you at the end of three minutes. Stop the timer on. Share your ideas. You You know you can either. Either you can use longhand and write it out with a pen or if you're more comfortable to stop it out in a boat document. But do this exercise on. I look forward to your projects and let's see what the ideas, what ideas that all if you come up with 10. What are the three different point of views?: no. What point of view should be write our story from? There are essentially three points of view. The 1st 1 ISS the first person point off view. You know where you right from? I you use the pronoun I on your entire narrative begins with I. It's from that person's point of view. The 2nd 1 was you. You know, there are some books bitterness. You went there you saw here on that. That's a very unusual and rare form on the 3rd 1 which is most common is the third person point of view. So it's just like a narrator. He's like Only present is then every scene, and he's telling the story now. When I started out, I found the first person point off view easier to write because I could put myself in my character's shoe. So in my normal, it's all in the planet's It's written from two points off you. There is a protagonist called Indicate, and there's not a protagonist call needy on. The entire novel is written from their points of view, you know, for example, the first very first paragraph on it says here, indicate on you know and Aniket. It's not a treat and an IQ its voice. It's only when the strain starts moving. I realize how loud I was being by then I have been talking at least a whole 15 minutes and I midway through my life in that conversation with Subbu. But my fellow passengers do not know it and are giving me that glass. Damn, I feel like such an idiot now as I quickly Lobel my voice. So you see, the first chapter begins with indicates point off you on. Then again, I go on to the second chapter on the protagonist is needy here on, you know, done generating it again from the this point of view. The guy is nice looking slightly plump, maybe, but only ever so slightly. He stalled. Oh, and he has a five day stubble. If he loses a couple of kilos and makes a little more effort with his clothes, he would definitely be attractive. So you say both these sentences tell us a lot about generator. The 1st 1 tells us a lot about indicate and the 2nd 1 tells us a lot about Midi. But the problem with this kind off point of view is that the narrator has to be present in every scene because unless generated this present in every scene, so he will not be able to narrate what happens because you cannot suddenly change the point of view. So this this one has its limitation. The other one in my next normal What I did wassail 100 little flames. I used the third person point off you. So you know, then there it is a narrator narrating the story. It's like the boys over that you hear in movies. So this is how that normal begins. They were two completely unrelated incidents that happened on Sunday, which would change ions life forever. One he attended an office party thrown by his boss in a swanky uptown pub in pony to more than 1000 miles away in a small village in Kerala. Not identifiable by Google maps, his grandfather had a fall. So you say that to, you know, these are two different styles entirely. So point of view is very simple, I and for the purpose off writing, let's just take the first person point of view on the third person point off you. So I'm going to give you a little exercise on. I want you to write out a paragraph up. It could be any length. It could be 200 words. It could be 400 words. It could be 800 birds. I want you to describe your journey. Imagine that you are working at an office which is say about, you know, to Waas every and I want you to describe your journey from your whole to your office on write it with two different points off you. You know, you start from your home on you go to offer. Something unusual happens on the way. It can be anything. Maybe you made a homeless person, maybe the homeless person talk to you. Maybe you witness an accident. I leave that to your imagination. So bring in your own ideas on right. Two paragraphs. The 1st 1 from the first person point of view as though it happened to you. I set out at eight o'clock in the morning. I was late for work on it begins that way. The second person, that 2nd 2nd paragraph change, Change the point of UNC. He set out or she set out. So you see, you'll have to give your protagonist Probably a name. Probably agenda. Probably something more on Do this exercise submitted here on. I'll see you in the next class. 11. Which POV to use: Is there any best point of view to write a story? No, there is no one. Best point of view. It all depends on your story. Suppose you want to go into great detail about the emotions that go on inside the characters had on? Do you want to convey that very strongly? Then probably, And that is the driving point off your story. Then probably the first person point of view. It's best just tell your story. But suppose the narrator has cannot be there in every scene. And you want to say that while the protagonist was doing this. Meanwhile, in the other place, this is what happened. Then you have to write from the third person point of view. So there really isn't any one particular point of view, which is best suited on how would you know what is the best point of view? You will know that only by our trial and error. It's only when you keep writing stories. Will you discover that which point of view this act for your for your story, and that comes only with experience. So don't worry too much about that. Let's just get enough writing practice with different points of view. 12. How to create strong characters: how to create strong characters. Now this is something which people ask me all the time. I'm in order to create strong characters. You need to know your characters inside out. You need to know your characters as well, or maybe even better than the back off your hand. So there are some questions which I asked my sort of when I create my characters. Now the first thing which is very important to me is a gender off. The character is the person a male or a female is here transgender. You know what is what is his gender? That's one thing that that's of course, you have to decide as an auto. The second thing important to me is the name off the character. Now. It's not so for everybody. I know many writers who don't pay much attention to the name, but for me it is very important because I feel the name tells a story. Now. When I was writing one off my books, I had a character named Sue Booth on so but just didn't do it for me, you know, some would never came toe life on. It was just not ringing. True to the character. And when I changed his name to soar up, suddenly the character came alive. And, you know, suddenly he had dialogues and suddenly was dashing. And suddenly, you know, sort of worked for me. So you have to ask yourself, what is the name that works for your character? Because suppose a character has a very long traditional lib. No tells us so much about his parents about this Magnum. That's a character like his name on a side character. Like he saw her name, you know, provided the parents name him that lets you find his name and knowing. So these are things that you have to think about. So once you have the night off the person and once you have the name off the person you have to think about the role in the story is that the main role is the top side. Roll isn't an unimportant rule. Is it a supporting role? You have to be find that once you define that, you have to think about what is his occupation. What is he currently doing? For example, in my book are 100 little flames. I'll take the two main protagonists. One is a 27 year old iron, and the second is his grandfather on. The grandfather is in his eighties, and he's retired on I honest in her sub. You know, late twenties on So what? I have to think about this buried ion study. So I on went to school in Bahrain, and then he did his engineering in pony, and then he took hated his MBE. And then he took up a corporate job in pony. And what was his grandfather doing? His grandfather was a bank employees, and I have to map out where all his grandfather had booked. Now it may come in the story. It may not come in the story, but it's important for you as an auto toe. Have this background information about your characters. The next thing about our you know your characters is Do they have any mannerisms? Do they have something unusual about them now in the story for I on, you know I want the unusual thing that I gave to him was that he and his friend village have this thing where they talkin movie dialogues. So I answer is a movie dialogue and village guesses which movies from lyricism, movie dialogue and I am guesses which movie it is from. So that's another thing that you have to think about. The third thing you have to think about. Is there physical appearance? Are they tall? Are the short What kind of hair do they have? They have long had they have shot there. Are they bald? Is the hair spiky? What about the eyes? Is that brown? Is it green is blue. Is it black? You know how there is a, uh, set wide apart Are the sunken together? So this is great fun. You can give your character all those attributes on you can make them really come to life. It is this. You may not use every aspect off their personality in your writing, but it's important to define it because only then will your characters be well rounded on. Once you have the gender, want to have the name? Once you have the physical description, want to have the background? It's time to go into conflicts, you know, water, the conflicts that your character faces on. What are the internal conflicts? What are the external conflicts? Because it's only these conflicts which are going to make strong characters. For example, in this book, I aren't, you know he's got a domineering father on the internal conflict, which I am faces is that he never stands up for himself. He never That's what he wants to do. Instead, he's all the time trying to make other people happy. He's all the time trying to please his father, and his father is never pleased with him. So lack off courage is his internal conflict Now external conflicts, you know, What are the what are the circumstances which prevents the character from getting what he or she wants? Ah, Heiken. Just think often example like, say, your character is a girl in a village on this girl in the village Are you know she wants to go back to the city and she wants to study. However, all the others around her her mother, her father, entire community in the village thinks that girls should not study. They should stay at home and they should cook. So that is the external conflict. So remember this thing your character has toe warn something and there has to be some conflict that happens which province your character from achieving their objectives. Once you have defined all off this, your character is going to be very strong on this is how you craft strong characters now. What I want you to do is I want you to create three characters. You know, it can be anyone, so it can be a young person. It can be a child. It can be an old person on. So what I want you to do is create three characters on you. Don't give them life. Give give to them all the attributes which I have just talked about their name, their role in the story. You can be an imaginative story in your head, their occupation, their physical description, their internal conflicts that external conflicts. How do they dress? What do they know? What movies today watch, you know, Where do they like to go? How did they spend their free time? Create three strong characters and submitted in the project session section off the schools on? I hope to read about your characters soon 13. Use of settings: the next important element in the story is setting. You know, this is something extremely important because where is your story taking place? The reader has to know that if it's a future six story, what are the circumstances that surround your protagonist? It's very important to give the reader off, feed off the setting. Now I'm going to explain setting You know how I created the atmosphere in my normal 100 little flames. So I'm going to read out passages would give you example off a setting on. You don't have to have the setting right at the beginning or if it's a normal, you don't have to have the sitting every time you describe something, but at certain places, it's important to describe the setting toe. The reader has a good idea of what's going on and way the protagonist ISS on setting helps to create. At most few, it helps to add realism to your story on When I initially started writing out, I still not pay too much attention to setting because I was, you know, I was like, Oh, the action can take place on the characters will lead the story, and the plot will lead the story. Why why do we need settings? But as I have grown as a novelist, I have understood how important settings are to create that atmosphere. You, Noto added extra depth and dimensions to your story. So in my second chapter, this is how it begin begins. In my book, I'm reading out from my book 100 little flames with rains, the greenery to call New You hitter toe unseen and transformed the scene in front of Gopal Shankar into a watercolor painting. The fragrance off cardamom wafted across the air. Milliyet Group gets joke. The tree in the rubber forests nearby swayed to the wind, making Bush sounds as though they were dancers smoothing their limbs to a musical rhythm that only they could hear. The miles and miles of brain paddy field stretched out like carpets, contrasting against the endless light blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds. Still the horizon. It was a picture perfect setting, ideal for advertising Kerala as God's own country. Anyone who arrived here as a tourist would gas in the light when they first set eyes on this picturesque scene. But the beauty off all this was lost on Gopal Shankar. He was an angry man most of the time, his temperament brought on by age, creaky bones and, most ofall, a slow realization that navigating his eighties would not be as easy as a seventies. So you'll see the setting puts everything in context. So Gopal Shocker is there on. He's gazing across this picture scaler. It's beautiful. It's like a watercolor painting. So by describing the setting in a few lines, I'm giving the reader a very good feel off their my protagonist is, and I used this again. I usedto you know, the technique of setting again in the later chapters on Dhere. This where I on one of my protagonists, has gone to a result. And, uh, you know, I'm I'm describing the result a little bit because it is important to what happens later at the result. So I'll read out a paragraph day, and it gives you a good idea off the sitting when I am reached the place. His first reaction was that off this belief on unpaved road led to the result which was constructed in the style, often old Gaylor house. In fact, it looked a lot like that came with them nestled in a serene pocket off greenery with a stream running right through the result, it was breathtakingly beautiful. He was welcomed with a drink. Cool, tender coconut water, which refreshed I on the reception lobby, was decorated in the traditional care lobby. They were totally is full of water, in which little amps floated amidst red high buskers, flowers, intricately painted Carola murals, a down the walls, grasslands, miniature peacocks, which were about four feet tall from the ground student either side of the duties. The carved, polished deep brown rosewood beams on the ceiling made square patterns, crossing each other at right angles. Just as Ion was finishing his tender coconut water, Dheeraj arrived. Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore. He greeted Iron with 1/2 hug. I am couldn't help smiling at the greeting. So like I said before, so this gives you a very good idea off. The setting I am is at this result, and then he's greeted by the friend at the thing about settings. It gets tiresome if you introduce it in every scene. If everything are you know, if every everyone off your paragraphs begin with a long description of the same thing. It's going to be very boring. But the setting is important on you will have to develop your skill in describing settings if you want your story to have that extra depth. So for your next exercise for your next writing project, what I want you to do is describe three settings you know you can choose whatever it is. Do you want to describe a hospital or a school? Or maybe a high rise apartment? Maybe a dessert, maybe a forest on may be? It could be the highway that could be your setting where the story takes place. So think about three settings on going to descriptions, sort of the sounds that you hear. What are the sites that you see? What is it that you feel on? Describe these three settings. Any three settings. Choose from any there. Choose from your daily life on If you want some inspiration, you could perhaps look at the photographs in travel magazines. You could look at movies where you know you just mute the sound and look at the movies. Waters. The setting there in front, off you on. Describe it in a para and submitted in the project. Stab. I look forward to reading your settings 14. Creating a coherent plot: a question, which I get asked all the time is that you know, I have an idea for a story. How do I develop it into a plot? How do you develop an idea into a coherent plot? Not to understand that. Let's just understand what applaud this. A plot is nothing but a sequence of evens. It should have a beginning. It should have a middle. It should have. An end on end is usually preceded by a climax. You know that particular place where everything comes together on. It's the sweet thing that happens, like the climax that you see in movies. So how do you develop an idea into a coherent plot? No, for that what I would urge you to do. It's just right down the steps. What happens first, and then what happens? Something that happens first. Maybe something else happens that leads the protagonist into deeper trouble, which isn't which happens in Step two. Step three. Something else here does, and that becomes worse. Things become business as a writer. It is your job to trouble your protagonists. Everything can ought to be happy and lucky, and, you know it's fantastic and dreamy and that will not make for a strong story. If you want to have a strong story, something has to happen to the protagonist on. Things have to get progressively worse before they can get better. For example, in this book, in the very first chapter, Ion loses his job. You know the job is something that defines him. It means everything to him. On the very first scene, the job is taken away from him. Oh God, what does he do next? You know, the reader is eager to know. So that's how you develop the plot and what I What happens in this book is I under sent to live in the village with his grandfather and I am is a guy who was used to the Internet is used to his smartphone is used to the Internet is used to everything is used all comforts And suddenly all of that is taken away from him on. He has to go and live in this village which does not even have Internet access on the only company that he has this old grumpy grandfather. So that's how you develop the plot. So what I want you to do is take the ideas which you came up with with your brainstormed and came up with in step one off the scores. Onda, go to that. Go to that lesson. Go to that paper where you have written on that either the paper or the mod document. We have written down your ideas. Now pick out one idea from all those ideas with stands out the most to you. Andi, think about think about all the various ways in which you can torture your protagonists. You know what other things that are that mean the most to your protagonist? Think about how you can take it away from report protagonists on. Then those things are taken away. What is the protectiveness? Do you know? Does he fight back? Does he accept it on who else comes to his rescue on Right that in Steptoe on. Then he does that. What happens? Ask yourself these questions, right that in step three on, perhaps you may not have all the answers. You may. No. You may not know exactly what happens because these things are going to take a time. You have to take time to think about these things on when you think about it on. Take take maybe 15 minutes. Take half a day on or let it run through your head throughout the day on. Come back here on. Write a coherent plot from the ideas that you came up with, right. One coherent blood on submitted in the project session. I look forward to reading your plots. 15. Essentials of dialogue writing: next to a deal. But dialogue writing no dialogues are so essential in a story because the bay, a character speaks, tells us unload about that character. You don't have to describe the character. You don't have to go into details with just one or two sentences. Univ. N the diet when the character speaks and when you hear his voice that can tell you a lot and that can, you know, make the story more powerful because dialogues or something very interesting. Now, how do you write good dialogues in order to write good dialogues? You have to be a good eavesdropper to listen carefully when people speak. What are the usage is that they use house the accent? What are they actually saying? What is their body language on? Be a good observer. Try and record all this inside your head because you can't possibly take a phone and video Record them on When you come back, Try and write down what you here because as a story writer and as a novelist, you have to be a good observer. A good eavesdropper on you have to retain that information now to give you an example off dialogue I thought, you know, I would read out a little passage from my book. Ah, 100 little flames on What happens is this is a dialogue that happens over a Skype going because technology has intimated all parts of our lives on This is a very realistic dialogue on as I really will on after I finish reading, I'll explain to you why I chose, you know, the boats that I chose. So this is a dialogue there. Iron gets a message from his father that his father wants to talk to him on a Skype call on that. This is this. You know, this little bit that I'm reading describes what follows. I am got a message from his father that his mother wanted to speak to him on a Skype call and that they would call soon. The message asked him to log in and be ready for the call. I am decided to Skype from the veranda. He told his grandfather that he would be able to see his family when they called Videocon. I have read all about it. People have time to video call, but they do not have time to visit. That is the reason I don't even use a mobile phone. The best meetings are always face to face. Gopal Shankar waved his hand dismissively, shaking his head with the Sha. They're just substitute for face to face meetings. I haven't spoken toe up shoe for so long, but now when I see him and speak to him, it feels like a Hamilton said I on. Do you know that I have not even seen him? Oh, he said. Natasha and I am was angry on his grandfather's behalf. He hadn't until now considered fact that his grandfather had not even seen. Actually, yes, Gerard hasn't come here for 30 news or maybe more. I have stopped counting. He hasn't even come here after ACTU was born, the family traditions to give it to LA Bottom and the depiction. He hasn't even done that. The call came in on Ion answered it with video, actually was grinning into the camera. Cheetah Say See, he said, showing him a tiny god shaped like a full on which he had made. What does the duck shoe asked, Iron leaning forward to take a closer look. It's my paper phone, which opens up inside is a message. We're making this as a part of the class project. In communications. We write our thoughts inside this phone, and we stick it on a big chart that the teacher is making. The messages we write on our phone goes to a satellite and then the satellite sensor to the phone off the person we want to send. The message is to, Isn't it cool? He asked. It indeed is. That's how we are able to see each other now. Our computers communicate via satellite, said. I am so you see this bit off dialogue is between an 80 year old man, a 27 year old man on an 80 year old child. So you see the words that I have used for each person. When grandfather expresses his disgust over the modern methods of communication like a video call, he says, Spot, You know, what are these video calls that shows his disgust? Onda. When the eight year old kid speaks, he uses words like Oh, isn't a school, you know, because that's how you feel good stalking on, then I aren't speaks to his grandfather. His stone divorce on, you know, are so there are various things that come into a dialogue. Like the boats, they use their body language because at one place, I say, his grandfather waved his hand dismissively because if you observe people when they speak, you also notice their body language. Either their shoulders will be hunched if they're angry or they were looking very angry like this are there, shrug, are there be indifferent. So you have to be a good observer off what they're speak what they're saying the birds that there speaking as well s what their bodies saying sometimes when you're angry, you know, you fold your hands like this on your stand and you have to observe that. And if you manage to capture that in your dialogue, you make your dialogue rich. So what I want you to do is up for this writing exercise. I want you to write three bits off dialogue the first bit off dialogue writer dialogue between two people. It could be a girl and a boy, or it could be two boys and two girls. But they have to be students and they're studying for an exam. So right, A dialogue between two students studying for an exam, the second piece off dialogue. I want you to write between two women who are quarterly now. Who are these women, you know? Either they could be neighbours in a slum area, or they could be neighbors in an apartment complex. Or they could be cool workers. They could be friends. They could be strangers on the Internet. I leave it to you to use your imagination. So right, a dialogue doing to students. Write a dialogue between two women on For the third part. I want you to write a dialogue between any two people. You can pick the setting. You can pick the characters. You can pick what they're writing about. So you see this. This dialogue writing exercise is really going to help you to think about how people speak . You will have to observe people. You will have to go into that part off your brain, which records these information on. You'll have to draw from that. So right these three dialogues submitted on the project session, and I hope to be reading your dialogue soon 16. Putting it all together: Now we come to the final part off the class. How do they put it? All together we have loaned to wear to get ideas We have learned to create strong characters. We have learned about settings We have learned about how to how to develop the plot on. We have also learned about dialogue Now how do we integrate all of this together into a short story? So what I want you to do is you already have a plot outline from the previous lesson. So take that plot outline on You know you have a certain description now from the characters that you have created. Put your character into this plot, Onda, integrate him or her with this plot on, Develop it further. You have good outline now on. I wanted to use the techniques that you learned in your dialogue Writing on I want you to give realistic voices to these protagonists on. I want you to use their setting which you have described. You have described three beautiful settings or three closes sittings. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if you if you feel it sucks, it doesn't matter If you feel it's not realistic. It doesn't matter if you think it needs detail, but the main thing is that bring all off these forces together because you already have a plot. You have your characters have you know how to write a dialogue. So all you have to do is put it together in a short story. Now, please understand this. The first story that you're right may not be great. You know, you may think that it's not nice. You may think that it's lacking in depth. You may think that the plant is not good doesn't matter, because for the very first time I wrote to, you know, I really felt it was not all that great, but I wrote it. Nevertheless, writing is like every other thing. You get better and better and better as you write more and more and more on the important thing. ISS making that start committing to writing that story. So what I want you to do is bring all these elements together, left the story on submitted here, and I would love to read it 17. Goodluck extra tips: in this section, I'm gonna give you a little extra. So these are the questions that I get asked over and over. You know, there are people who have written a story and they're afraid whether their ideas will be stolen. They say we have returning book but were afraid to submitted to a publisher because they feel that the publisher may take their idea and give it to some other writer on that right on may take their story and write it. So I want to tell you this thing you know, being more than 11 years old in the publishing industry, that never happens. And I also want to tell you this thing that coincidences are not rare in the publishing industry. It happens all the time. I myself had return a normal which I, which for me was completely original, you know, 100. I was about 25,000 boats into the normal on When I happened to read the Sunday newspapers, I came across another novel, which was a publish novel by an iris. Traitor on the plot was exactly the same as the plot that I thought so You see, coincidences happen all the time and I didn't want people to think that I had copied from that Irish novelist. So I discarded my entire draft and thought of another plot altogether. So don't worry about this aspect. The publisher is not sitting there to steal your idea and give your work to some of the writer and go ahead and, you know, publish it. That does not happen. It also do not worry about that. So go ahead and be creative with your ideas, right? Something different. Try to be as original as you can, because only you know the story that you're telling. You know what you are talking about. It has to be your voice, your at idea. And if you come across another story with sound similar to the one you have thought about this card it think off a new story. So that's one thing I want toe, you know, tell you about on the second question, which I get asked a lot. And this is specific to publishing in India. Is Do you need an agent? So I want to tell you this. No, In India, you really don't need an agent to get published. What? You have to do is go to the publishers site on Have a look at their submission guidelines right to them. That's all I did in order to get my first book published. I follow their instructions to a T. I wrote to them. I said, Here's the story. This is what it's about. Here's a little bit about me. Would you be interested in the manuscript? Then the publisher will write to you and ask you to send three chapters. Send those three chapters. They will read it. They will get back to you if it interests them. They lost for more pages on. If it doesn't interest them, you will get rejected on if you get rejected. Do not worry. I got rejected so many times for my second normal. I think more than 40 times I got rejected. But I kept trying. And this is despite being published. My first book was already published, yet I got rejected. So rejection is a part of a writer's life, you know, loan to take rejection. Don't worry too much about it. Just keep writing stories. If you're living abroad, you know, I would recommend get the Writers and Artists Handbook because that has all the information that you need on getting published. It has the contact information off agents. He tells you what kind off stories they're looking for, what they're accepting on. You will find a whole lot of information there and hopefully that will help you. So good luck and keep writing stories.