Diction in Fiction #AtoZChallenge

Diction – choice of words! Yes, so this post is all about choosing the right words. Most of the Indian authors lack here, especially when they try to write erotica or something that has to be said with a different tone and a set of words. There are books that had the worst lines because of their wrong choice of words, and there are books that are extremely good just because the author choose the right words to express.
Diction is not about fidgeting the synonyms or checking thesaurus, sometimes it is the innate quality.

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Examples:
Let’s take an example of a sentence from a novel that had poor diction, am not naming the book here, even if you make out, please don’t comment on that.
P.S: Adult Content
Example of poor diction:
                “I continued to squeeze and occasionally lick the best organ of her body”
“Then removed her black panty, revealing the slightly hairy organ between her legs”
Are you screwing your face already? Yes! Any would actually do. It was pathetic to read a normal romance genre with words that make it not so good to read
Example of good diction:
“The familiar throb between the crest of her thighs was deep-seated and gaining momentum.”
“Her breathing was no more than a shallow pant as he negotiated his fingers between her slick folds into her velvety entrance. Eliza’s head tipped back into the metal door and her eyes fell shut”
The above is from an erotica genre, where explicit content and usage of frank language is pretty much allowed. Yet, the usage of words are not cringe worthy. This is the power of diction!
There are books with complex stories with great storyline and tight plot, but failed miserably due to the diction. There are books that with the simplest storyline, but with extremely good diction that would just take the level of the book to a different level. On par with excellence.
To improve diction:
  • Read international books
  • Pick and choose Indian authors who write better in your own genre, this will help you to evaluate yourself and better your writing
  • Note down good choice of words, lines, sentences and quotes in a notebook or an app on your smart phone
  • Pick a few words from your current read and try to use those words in a small piece of creative writing every day
Tighten your language for better, try to use less count of words. This is not possible with your first draft but it is with the second. Write thick, edit lean – is the most powerful mantra.
Diction is not just a choice of word you choose to express something, but it also conveys your feelings toward the literary work.
Diction is one of the major filters to pick out good writing from the lot, firstly, it is important to use the right word that accurately matches the emotions and meaning that are to be conveyed. It should be used in a proper context and it is better to choose words that go easy on all types of readers.

Twists of Fate – Priyanka Naik

Received the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
First Impression: I loved the blurb, because it reminded me my other two best friends from school days. Apt title, yes! But the cover could have been better. As much as I love the message conveyed using a sand clock – it didn’t fit in the cover as expected. An experienced cover designer – would have been better. This book, based in Mumbai, travelled along with me in Chennai, yet, took me to Mumbai virtually. That’s how enticing the book is! I remember my friend Solomon Manoj recommending this book to me, and then, somehow,  I received the book from the author herself. So I started with good expectations and bang! The book did live up to my expectations
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Overall Impression: Priyanka Naik stands tall with a decent debut with the choice of genre, story, style of writing. I have been reading too many Indian debuts and was bothered, but, with this book, I indeed felt good reading it. Such a heartwarming slice-of-life novel! Kudos! There’s nothing in this book that one might hate but relate.
No matter how old you are now, this story will take you to your teenage and adolescence. You would see yourself with your two best friends posing and enacting the story, I bet!
What I loved in this book?
  • Storyline
  • The way she handled writing three different characters with the distinguishing character sketch
  • Lucid yet good diction peppered language
  • Proper grammar and tight writing
  • Bang on – a proper vein runs right from childhood of the three friends who turn soul-sisters, and go through the usual Indianized pattern life. They fall in love, get married, stick to their career goals, but what twists and turns life throws, and how they handle takes you through their life
Frown factors:
  • For the storyline chosen, the book is a bit lengthier. A bit more scissoring, would have left the best impression
  • Book cover – didn’t impress at all
Definitely an author that Indians can look upon, Priyanka Naik has great talent and am sure she will do great with her upcoming novels because she throws in her heart while writing a novel. Her passion for writing is well portrayed with her debut.
If you’re looking for a heart warming read – let the book be “Twist of Fate”

C for Chapters #AtoZChallenge

Let’s say that your book is handed over to a good number of folks and you give them ten minutes each, all they can do is to read any one chapter of your novel. Post ten minutes, you grab away the book from them. How many of them do you think will buy the book?
  • More often, people start reading the first chapter. So it is important to write a compelling opening chapter
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Writing Chapters that hook your reader to the novel – shall we dive deep?
  • Don’t bother to introduce the characters. Just imagine that all your characters are interacting in a room – your readers enter the room out of the blue! Will the characters stop to introduce themselves to your reader? – NO. Your reader will stand there and try to figure out what they are talking, and mentally figure out who is who. But, if the interaction between your characters are not interesting – your reader will exit
  • One proven method is to start off with a hot interaction or a verbal fight between your characters
  • Write the soul scene of the novel – the one that grips the entire novel
  • Write the most interesting scene, don’t bother repeating it in the novel at a later stage
  • Start with a scene that would leave questions in the mind of your reader
  • Writing conflicting scenes – write a sequence and pick the next unexpected, to surprise your reader
What to write in the first chapter though!
The above pointers say about the first scene or rather a page, but what next?
  • Give utmost importance to editing and proofreading here, because, once your reader thinks this isn’t good – flunks!
  • Don’t give unnecessary detailing or description right in the first chapter – please!
  • Introduce the lead character, or the most interesting of the lot in the novel – either a character to empathize or someone utterly different from those we meet day to day for a change, or someone that your reader would like to know more about. Hint: Remind them their ex 😉
  • Reveal the theme of the novel – let the later chapters swirl around the first chapter
  • Ensure that you write your first chapter in such a way that without it, the reader would not understand the rest of the story
  • Write tight – chuck away the adjectives in the first few pages, don’t distract your reader – their mobile phones are already doing it
  • End the first chapter with a cliffhanger – write something that would tickle the curiosity to read more than the first few pages
Write short chapters with a cliff hanger and reveal the mystery further, not necessarily the next. Leave hints that sits somewhere in a corner of your reader’s mind, but never voices out unless you reveal it further while braiding it. Never ever leave a loose-ending. Ensure that your readers expect only the unexpected.
Have you read such books that hooked you and never left your hands? Comment the recent one! Let’s keep it rolling!

B for Blurb #AtoZChallenge

Am so glad that urban dictionary defines blurb as “The short summary of a book, usually on the inside cover or back, that most people read so they can say they read the book” and the other meaning listed also are synonymous to the same definition. Feels really good that this word has no other meaning tagged along.
Blurb – The second thing that one would notice, first being the cover image and title. An interesting blurb is the pitch which will make the person who spent a minute reading it to pay 200-300 INR to spend more than 2 hours to read your book. How vital is that?
Bad books with a good blurb sells more than good books with bad blurb – (jaws dropping nah?)
Things you might already know:
  • A blurb is a short bio of your novel in about 100 words or so, which will pitch your novel to the person who crossed your book. If one feels hooked to the blurb or feels connected or gets the vein of the story – tada! You see a copy!
  • A blurb is NOT a summary of your novel – never, never, never do this!
Nitty-gritty:
  • One proven method is to use a catchy paragraph that defines the settings of the book and end the blurb with a few questions for your readers to find the answers in the novel – read the book to get the answers’ type
  • A blurb should talk about the genre, should talk about the key takeaway, should focus on the theme
  • Ensure that the blurb is nitpicked from spoilers
  • Using the protagonist names are not necessary
  • Start something out of the blue and hook your readers
Tips:
  • Don’t write the blurb yourself, because you as an author will be involved in the story whereas a blurb takes a non-microscopic cloudy outline – The best person is the editor or beta-reader who read the story once
  • A blurb for a fiction is totally different from the blurb of a non-fiction, so first take the right examples
  • Refer books that fall under the same genre
  • Don’t use sophisticated words or vocabulary rich content, but, never give diction a toss. Strike a balance!
Shamelessly! Using the blurb of my own first novel – I don’t wear sunscreen here, as a sample! It did gain the necessary highlight and it was written by my editor Harika Bantupalli after reading the manuscript.
Blurb of IDWS:
For Laksha, life is a gift wrapped in red ribbon. But that’s all shattered when she falls for the misogamist. His ambivalence and vacillation always keeps her at bay, turning her into a neurotic. She gets betrayed by the most credible, loses her job, feels devastated and dejected as incidents crowd upon her corrupting her naiveté.
Enigmas unfold revealing every glitch. Who will clear her blurred skies? What invigorates her career and life? Will she ever forgive her beloved? And how will Laksha survive?
The story also revolves around her rapport with Pallavi, a childhood friend and the relationship she has with her silver-tongued mom. Focusing on how experiences change perception of little things, this contemporary tale gives a better meaning to friendships, relationships, solitude, pain, compassion and success.
More often than not, Life drags you down to the adversities and thrusts outward to shine. It is your grit that truly matters when you reach rock bottom, and left with no choice other than to pick yourself up and leap forward, however arduous it may be!

A for Agatha Christie #AtoZChallenge

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Agatha Christie – a very well-known household name, isn’t it? One of the finest authors ever! Yes, this post is about Author Agatha Christie.
One of my most favorite authors, not just to me, but for most who love reading books, nevertheless, Mystery and thrillers are the best hot picks ever.
Why you should read Agatha Christie book?
  • If you want to play hide and seek in your mind – her books are your solace
  • If you are traveling and are looking for quick reads that would keep you busy for the next few hours – Pick her book without any second thoughts
  • Her characters are almost alive, ardent readers would never think that they are fiction – especially Poirot and Marple
  • Her books are best of the lot with simple and lucid language ever, that are mostly grammatically right – if you want to improve your language for better, pick her books
  • She carves beautiful characters with descriptions that would paint the character on the back of your mind
  • I bet – you can never find the murderer!
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Are you an author who needs inspiration? – Her first book took five years to get published and also it was rejected by six publishers.
Any mediocre library is one, only if they have stacked her books.
All her books and novels are the best, if you would like to pick a few right away, here are a few recommendations that I loved reading!
  • Murder on the orient express – I loved this novel – Story line: One gets killed in a train, and the detective picks the clues left at the crime scene, investigates the travelers and finds out the murderer.
  • And Then There Were None – Oh! This novel would fool you literally. Read on to find
  • The murder of Roger Ackroyd – A must read, period!
  • Collection of short stories with Poirot as the main lead
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Almost all her books are bestsellers indeed!
If you’re an ardent reader/writer – you can never ever miss her whodunit books.            Read her books to understand the main elements of a crime novel. Her books shape the essential ingredients of a thriller with essential thrills and hints that would make sense once you are done with the novel. To plot and write a thriller/crime novel with nil loose-ends, you already know whose books to choose.
So, what are your favorite Agatha Christie books? – Comment the same, let’s go book binging!