The first Zoom session for the winners of Keekli Short Story Writing Contest was held today as our mentor for the morning was Minakshi Chaudhary, and what an invigorating session we had! Ms Chaudhary is a famed author of twenty-one books, including the best seller, Ghost Stories from Shimla Hills published by Rupa. She is the recipient of the OKARD Sahitya Samman and has been a former journalist.
Speaking to the fifty-one winners of the contest, Ms Chaudhary stressed on the need for discipline and hard work in a writer’s life. Elucidating on the aspect of imagination and picking up an idea, she stated that creativity is a friendship with the unknown. Once an idea comes to a writer, they must put it on paper immediately and not let it linger on, for it loses its zing in that gap period.
She further added that the reaction of the readers should not be of paramount importance to a writer. Once a book is out in the market, it no longer belongs to the writer. Hence a writer must always be prepared for varied reactions to their work.
Ms Chaudhary answered several queries of the children on publishing, character building, plot development, themes, etc.
Atharv Vats who wanted to, ‘What is the right time to write?’, received the answer that one needs to find focus in life and make time for what you love. Even though studies and exams are important, you can always make time by reducing your play time, games or avoid watching TV. Ms Chaudhary stated that as young kid you can make you own schedules and fix a particular time for writing.
Eira who loves reading and has a huge collection of books at a young age of seven wanted to know how she could follow a particular theme. Ms Chaudhary said that she should fan her imagination and sit in a comfortable environment to write. Always chalk out a theme as you begin and let time be the deciding factor of how well you can write and grow.
Riya Malhotra wanted tips on inspiration, to which Ms Chaudhary shared that one should look closely at his or her environment, like family, school, local culture, friends and write about things you love. It is easy to write about thing when you know about them as it helps in building characters and defining places.
Shubhan Dey wanted to know of various avenues of getting the stories published. Ms Chaudhary shared important tips on both traditional and non-traditional ways of book publishing. However, she also expressed that as writer you should not rush into getting published, but rather have your work critiqued and learn from the experience.
Ishan wanted information on how to work with a fixed idea, if many things are popping into his mind, to which she shared that always begin a story by writing a 20 to 30 point synopsis of the story you have in mind. Accordingly play with your characters, build their profiles and frame a story, while establishing a beginning, middle and an end of the story, otherwise it would be waste of your time. This also helps in avoiding any confusion.
Ms Chaudhary concluded with congratulating the young winners and herself felt inspired to see such creative talent. She told them that they were lucky and blessed to have this opportunity to be published writer through Keekli’s platform.
Even as the session came to an end, there were several hands raised and questions asked, which we look forward to answering in the coming sessions.