Keekli Newspaper held the third Zoom Session for the winners of its Short Story Writing Contest on 17 July, 2021 with writer, editor, poet and translator Neelam Bhatt. Even though technical glitches interrupted the session, there were some meaningful takeaways for the winners.

A recipient of the ‘Navodit Lekhak Puraskar Pratiyogita’ for her poems, Neelam quoted William Wordsworth as she summed up poetry writing as ‘the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings’.

When asked about the iambic pentameter, forms and structure in poetry, Neelam stressed on the need to focus on putting raw, unbridled thoughts on paper before we work on understanding the technical aspects of poetry. A knowledge of structure and form can certainly enhance the craft but before that one must allow their uninhibited imagination to take over. It is with practice that technicalities can be later incorporated into our poems.

Should poetry rhyme? Busting the myth around poetry being all about rhyming words, Neelam said that all poetry requires is rhythm, a musical quality and flow. Rhyming and poetry are certainly not synonymous, she added.

Another question on how to create a cliff hanger that actually catches the interest of the reader and makes them to continue reading was answered by Neelam. She said, that usually when writing a novel and breaking the sections into chapters, the ending of each chapter should have some mystery, an intriguing statement or a question, something that will entice the reader to continue on to the next chapter. The interest of the reader should be piqued to want him/her to continue reading.

She also spoke about the role of reading in a writer’s life and the need to read non-fiction in order to grow as a reader and a writer. With her own experience in the field of graphic writing, she also introduced the children to some graphic books which she has been a part of, introducing them to an alternative form of writing in the process.

Just like her predecessors, she insisted on the need to write honestly, for she said honest writing is sure to strike a chord with your readers.

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