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The Hungry and the Beautiful

a blog by Neharika Gupta

  • Writer's pictureNeharika

Writing Challenge Day 3: Learning to sail

Today was day 3 of 33.

I have zeroed in my protagonist's Hamartia and spent some time browsing around 'good' fatal flaws such as what Harry and Katniss have. Fyi I'm in the realm of perfectionism, without mentioning the actual flaw here :). But another flaw, came to my mind, one to do with daydreaming. I really liked both these internal conflicts and I explored the plot on paper and the themes I wanted to use such as power and the notion of a perfect society. I actually did a thought experiment as to how the plot would progress with each flaw and the answer was clear.

I feel it's better to get this down and shoo away any doubts at this stage. I have been in a situation where I end up playing around with the character's conflicts at a later stage and that results in having to do a lot of needless editing.

I'm also understanding that there is an intuition which develops and the writing process is all about learning to listen to it. When all else fails though, there are always thought experiments to hypothesise story directions and then come back to the starting point, knowing which way to go, rather than writing the story out, then seeing it doesn't work and rewriting major chunks of it.

I think this is a writing tip by Margaret Atwood actually, when you're stuck, just explore your plot in many different directions and you'll know what to do.

I was also able to spend a good hour reading today, which hardly happens, due to my wanting to do emails and social media and so I just took the time for it. (Also, I woke up earlier than usual :P.)

I'm currently reading The Handmaid's Tale. I first came across Margaret Atwood's poetry while doing my undergrad in English lit. I just wrongly assumed her writing would be dense like other Booker winners I've attempted but I am enjoying The Handmaid's Tale immensely. A little darker than I thought, I hope the goriness doesn't pick up. (I'm thinking my book will have more of The Hunger Games level of morbidity.)

Reading while writing is a different experience. For example, I'm reading on the same computer I'm writing on, and I can pay attention to the paragraphs Atwood makes. She has a particular style of writing deadpan realistic paragraphs which end with a statement that adds depth to the entire paragraph. Chills. And it's only the beginning of the book.

I'm also concerned that I'm spending a little time ideating and more time with research and reading. I think it's okay at this stage. I need to get my idea on ground before writing. When I end up plotting and writing chapters, that will automatically mean being in the flow for longer. Plus ideas need to sleep to take root and when I wake up and come back tomorrow, the idea will tell me what to do.

Also, 4 cups of decaf coffee were consumed. All in all a perfect morning.


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