Tag Archives: writing and blogging

Writing Advice: How to create a relatable antagonist?

When writing fiction, we writers always want to create believable characters that we possibly can. But have you ever fallen into the trap of focusing so much on protagonist that you forget to flesh out your antagonist well? At best, the antagonist turns out to be total bad-ass, who is all dark and has no shred of goodness in him/her.

But we all know from our our time on Planet Earth that people are complicated. They are driven by different motivations. What you do might not seem right to me, but you might have a perfect explanation for why you do what you do. In my previous post, I talked about how being empathetic to all the characters in your story is crucial to prevent the story becoming a flat, biased narrative of a single person.

Today, I’d like to share with you a wonderful article that talks about why not making your antagonists pure evil is important. The article is written by K.M. Weiland, an author and a blogger. I love the writing questions that she shares on her Facebook page. Her questions make me ponder more about my Works in Progress and look for the nuances that can make stories and characters for complex. If you are looking for good writing advice, be sure to follow K.M. on her Facebook page.

P.S: As I celebrate one year of publishing Bound by Life, I shall be answering questions related to writing and publishing in June this year. I have learnt a thing or two about the writing/publishing industry in the past year and would love to be able to help you all out if I’m able to. So if you have any questions, feel free to email me at scribbles.arpita@gmail.com

Day 20 of Writing 101: What the Future holds

None of us know for sure what the future holds. We make guesses to shape the best possible approximations of what we think our future will be. Take me, for example. Last night, I continuously tossed and turned in the bed – as the day of my big move nears, I can feel its effect already. For the uninitiated, I am going to be in a completely different part of the country come next week, starting my first ‘real’ job, away from the warmth and protection of home. Needless to say, I am a nervous wreck at this point. Anyway, last night, while fighting insomnia, I formed last-minute plans for the things that I had been putting off for sometime: visiting the bank, going to the telephone office for porting my cellphone number to a different operator.

This morning I woke up and mother informed me that today is a national holiday. Of course, it is! Our father of the nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Gandhiji, was born today (And so was my mother! Happy birthday, Mom!). How could I forget about the national holiday? National holiday means both the offices I mentioned above will remain closed for today. This sent me into a panic mode. The things I mentioned above really need to be done, but tomorrow, Saturday, is a half day and I am so not sure if everything will go as per my plans. What if the bank manager decides not to come tomorrow?

You see? You make plans and then future screws them and has a good laugh at your expense. I could go on to give far more scary examples, but this is the last day of Writing 101, so I should aim to sound hopeful.

I won’t start by saying ‘5, 10, 20 years from now,’ because I live in a perpetual worry that I might not live to see another day (I am grateful for every single day I breathe in Earth’s atmosphere, no matter how polluted it is). My plans are fairly short-term as far as writing goals are concerned.

Writing 101 has taught me a few crucial things:

  1. If I force myself to respond to prompts, I churn out things which I didn’t even imagine myself to be capable of doing.
  2. Second point is somewhat related to the first point: I am what they say, an ‘organic’ writer. I do not plan, I definitely do not plot. I sit down before the blank MS Word page and let whatever story come to my fingertips. So much so that I have never really written stories off prompts for practice. But now that I have surprised myself with what I could do in response to prompts, I must do it again! Everyday!
  3. I can play with word count anytime I want. Even though, with the new job I may hardly find time to write longer pieces, I can surely write some six-word stories or hundred word stories while watching people eat at the office cafeteria! Remember the W101 task about writing in a cafe?
  4. Thanks to W101, I experimented with writing serialized stories on the blog for the first time. The story in point, Not Today, was published over three days. Each day as the story unfolded, I received feedback from the readers saying they enjoyed how the story built up that far. That excited me to write the next part. That also made me nervous, because I worried I might disappoint the readers with the next piece – which motivated me to think harder, try harder. For the first time in my life, I tried to make a conscious effort to plan things! Yay to that!

Armed with all these lessons, my aim in the immediate future is to write everyday. Even if it’s not a fully formed story, then maybe a character sketch or a vignette. But write I must, and everyday. This is important to me at this moment because I am unsure of how much the move will cripple me emotionally and how much time I have to devote to writing once work starts.

I have really enjoyed this 20 days of rigorous writing cum blogging. A big hug to all my fellow W101ers and the readers who visited my blog and inspired me to write more with their feedback. I hope you’ll come back from time to time and inspire me in the same way as you have done so far. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Copyright © 2015 Arpita Pramanick

How about you? How have you planned your future? Does the uncertainty of the future restrict you from making plans? Please join in the conversation and share your thoughts with me! As they say, blogging is all about connecting! So let’s connect.

Day 19 of Writing 101: My Top Five Reads This Week

Here’s a list of the top five reads from my WordPress Reader this week. Enjoy!

1. You Are Enough

In my early months of blogging on WordPress, I scoured the Internet for any SEO-related articles – I was so obsessed about channelizing traffic to my blog. Though I have since learnt that with blogging patience is the key, I wish this article was there just after I had started to blog.

2. Programmer vs. Artist – Small Shame vs. Big Shame

Anand, of Anand’s Parodies & Caricatures will never fail to make you laugh. However, even in jest, he raises a difficult issue in this post: The parental notion that being a Programmer is less shameful than being an Artist. I am sure many who pursue Art for a living (vs. becoming a doctor, engineer or architect) may have faced similar situations at some points in their lives. I know I did, though in milder forms!

3. Crumpets at Breakfast

Can you win an argument with a woman? Find out in this hilarious short story. It left me giggling like a little girl!

4.  Not sexy, but definitely happy

With this beautiful poem, Rosema at A READING WRITER, hits right at the heart of the raging debate: Does happiness depend upon body weight?

5. Is it possible to have more than one soulmate?

Thank you for starting the conversation, Shauna. Today it is not uncommon for us to be in more than one relationship at different points in our lives. What, then, is the definition of a soulmate in the context of the modern lifestyle? Can we name more than one person as our soulmates?

I totally enjoyed reading each of these posts. What about you? Let me know in the Comments.

Day 18 of Writing 101: The Package

The Package

Arpita Pramanick

It says it is in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra, India. I do not know if Bhiwandi is a city or a town. I wonder, though, what it looks like.

I am zooming in. The satellite picture shows green and brown, but nothing is clear. So much for technology!

A notification beeps in my cellphone. The package has moved. Now, the painful wait begins.

Three days later, criss-crossing the country, changing hands, it rings as the doorbell.

The man is dark. He is wearing dark blue coveralls and a blue-and-red cap.

“Two hundred and seventy nine rupees, ma’am,” he says.

I hand him the money, counted to the exact rupee. I know these people well. They never return the one-rupee change.

The man hands me the package. I caress it like a long lost kin.

“Thank you for shopping with us, ma’am.” The man bares his malformed teeth. Ugh!

“Yeah, okay, okay!” I shut the door on his face. I can’t wait one more second to tear the cover and hold the treasure in my own hands.

No longer I care what they say about my craft. If no one else buys my book, I will!

I know what I should do. I’ll just order another hundred copies!

Copyright © 2015 Arpita Pramanick

Day 16 of Writing 101: How important is Scribbles@Arpita for me?

Once upon a time I was a stats-freak. I checked my Stats page everyday to see how many views my posts had received. Of special interest to me were the keywords search that let the readers to my blog. As I get more feedback, that obsessive checking of Stats page has decreased considerably but I still do check it from time to time.

It is no secret that I wish to be a published author. When I started this blog in March, it was with no concrete ambition. Every author has a website/blog, so I must also have one. That was the idea. My interest in blogging started after I interviewed author Tammy L. Gray on the blog. It was nice to see how having a blog allowed you to ask people for interviews, because it was a platform.

A few months ago, I published an article about fiction magazines in India. In India, unlike in the west, the publishing industry is not very well-organized, in the sense there is not much information/tips available online for beginning authors. Some time after I published the post, I received an email from a lady who thanked me for sharing that information. I felt so good! The same person communicated with me some weeks later saying that her story had been published in one of the magazines listed in my article and thanked me again for writing the post, because it helped her find the magazine in the first place. Needless to say, I was on cloud nine. That day I realized what a beautiful feeling it is when your work helps others.

More recently, I have published posts that deals with my fears and my guilt, and the feedback I received from my readers instantly made me feel better. They showed me that there was a world beyond my perception and I wasn’t doing as badly as I thought I was. I was a welcome relief. So, in so many ways, my readers are those friendly ears who patiently listen to me and help me alleviate my worries, even though they are often on different continents. Thank you so much, dear readers, for this! I couldn’t explain in words how much this means to me.

To answer the questions how my writing would be affected if I were to make my blog private, I would say my story-writing wouldn’t be affected so much, because my fiction-writing is not entirely limited to the blog. I write because my writing is my voice. I write because I know no other way. I will still write, but there is a different thrill altogether to be heard for what you write. So, were I to make the blog private, definitely some charm would go away from my writing, as I would probably not get to write on things apart from fiction. How else am I supposed to talk about my self-publishing journey? How else how I get to discuss my fears, my inhibitions and hope for answers from my audience? My writing will definitely lose its variety. I hope, for the sake of my sanity, I never have to make the blog private, because it is one place where I feel like I’m home.

What about you? How important is your blog to you? Would you ever make your blog private? How would that affect you writing? Do share with me!

Day 8 of Writing 101: A (bitter) confession

Disclaimer: I never enjoy being in a  position of giving offence, but I’m afraid this post may not please everyone. I apologise beforehand for this, but sometimes, some things just need to be said. So, please forgive me if the following paragraphs irk you.

Thomas Dohling at Assignments recently wrote this article about how poor reader response to our blog-posts affects us. I could feel his grief, because I have faced the same issue from time to time.

In my introductory post of W101, I said my writing was my voice. My blog is my channel to articulate that voice. I write each post expecting reader feedback. Readers’ responses make the process of writing all the more joyful. I am sure most bloggers would agree with me on this.

I have been blogging on Scribbles@Arpita since March. I recently crossed the 150 followers hurdle. As more and more people follow this blog, I question myself: how effective is my growing follower count? When I had about 50 followers, I had five to seven people who regularly read my posts. Now that I have 150 followers, the number of regular readers may have increased to 10 (excluding the fact that I am currently taking Writing 101, which draws a lot of traffic). So, whereas my follower count has increased three-fold, my regular reader base has doubled, but to no big number. I don’t think you’d call that satisfactory.

That leads me to thinking why this happens? Why do people follow my blog and then disappear, never liking/commenting/interacting on any future post again? I know everyone is busy, but if someone follows my blog, is it not natural for me to assume that the person enjoyed the kind of things I write about and would like to read some more?

For example, before I follow any blog, I take the time to read a few past blog-posts. If I enjoy more than three (on an average), I infer that I like the voice of this blogger and would like to hear more from him/her. That’s why I never follow back every person who follows me. Don’t get me wrong, but there is only a few blogging genres that I like to read about. As much as I enjoy watching movies, I wouldn’t probably follow a blog on movie reviews. I religiously go through my WordPress Reader, reading the recent blog-posts by the authors I follow and giving feedback. It helps me build connections that last long. So, I follow only those blogs which I’d like on my Reader.

What I infer from the poor regular readership of my blog, in spite of the growing follower count is this: Most bloggers follow blogs on a whim. Say, I publish a picture of a cute cat in one of my blog-posts and immediately a few cat-lovers follow me. Sadly, I am probably never going to publish a cat-picture again, because it was once-in-a-while post. My regular posts are probably still going to be about self-publishing, fiction writing and some personal anecdotes. So here’s what I would say to the blogoworld:

  1. If I publish a cat picture (or a dog picture, for that matter), DO NOT FOLLOW ME. If I suddenly publish a cooking recipe, DO NOT FOLLOW ME, because my blog, in all honesty, is not about those. Those are truly once-in-a-while features, when I feel I have something cool to share and do not want to create a whole new blog to accommodate the craving to write about it.
  2. You don’t have to follow me just because I follow you. Seriously. I follow you because I like what you write, but that doesn’t mean you’ll like mine too. And I understand that.

Sometimes I think, wouldn’t it be great if all the the hundred and fifty people following my blog commented regularly on my posts? Sadly, utopia doesn’t exist. But we all do strive to reach it. So, on my part, I will try to make my blog-posts more consistent, so that readers can easily relate to it. As for you, dear reader, please take note of points 1 and 2 above before you hit that Follow button. I will be deeply grateful to you.

What about you? How do you deal with the high-follower-count-low-regular-reader-base syndrome? Would you make any changes to your blogging style to remedy this? Or do you have a message like me for your readers as well? Let me know in the Comments.

Liebster Award – Version 1

Yay! Another Award nomination. The musical Eva at The Musical Offering has nominated me for the Liebster Award. Incidentally, I have been nominated for a different version of the same award by Riddles and Pens (I’d get to that in another post). Thank you both for the nominations. I feel so honoured  to be in your thoughts.


The Rules:

  • Once you are nominated, make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
  • Include the Liebster Award sticker in the post too.
  • Nominate 5 -10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
  • Ensure all of these bloggers have less than 200 followers.
  • Lastly, COPY these rules in the post.

My Nominees are:

Fire and Ice

Riddles and Pens

The Idler Channel

Through My Eyes

The Musical Offering

Day 6 of Writing 101: Where do you write?

My first tryst with regular writing was writing in my diary. My cousin got me addicted into it, saying some day when I grew up I would look at those daily entries and laugh at who I had been years ago. The prospect excited me and I followed his suggestion religiously.

I wrote and wrote and wrote in my diary, taking note of every simple incident that happened in school or at home. If I went somewhere and could not take my diary, I would feel so bad about not being able to document that day. Eventually, I had to devise code-words to shield my diary-entries from my mother’s prying eyes – apparently, little kids aren’t supposed to have any secrets from parents!

My father used to get diaries as gifts on New Year’s Eve, and each year I eagerly waited for a diary of my liking to appear. I had no interest in the big, broad ones. My diaries were mostly the size of a paperback.

Even after I moved to college, I wrote in the diary. I had graduated to writing melancholy poetry by that time, besides writing what my new friends and roommates were like in the  diary. It was a different sort of peace to hold a pen in my hand and fill up the words. I felt at home writing about my days, in spite of how I was feeling.

In the second year of college, I bought my laptop. It was a whole new experience. Gradually, I saw the difficulty of storing too many diaries in my tiny room. Word documents were cleaner, you didn’t have to scratch through words you didn’t mean or want, and you could password protect them. Ever since I joined online communities for writing – I had another blog as early as in 2011 – I have written major stuff on my laptop – novel drafts, short stories or even some drafts for my blog-posts and all of them are in this folder named Writing Closet which lives on my desktop screen.

I also take notes in my phone, in an app called Evernote. But I am not so comfortable with the 5 inch screen. I prefer writing longhand to clumsily touch-typing on the QWERTY keypad of my phone.

At the moment, I am writing sitting at the table on which my desktop computer is placed (the laptop is with the brother for now). This table is my solitary corner and I feel like I am writing into a typewriter as I press the keys on the keyboard. Laptop keypads are hardly as comfortable as this one! This is so much more tangible.

I still scribble in my diary, from time to time, when I feel like holding a pen. And the craving comes without warning. I guess I will never have enough of filling up white pages with my handwriting.

I have read about writers heading to coffee shops or other such places to write. I have never done that in my life. Maybe, eventually, I will find a place for me!


What about you? Where are you most comfortable writing? Let me know in the comments section.


This is my 78th blog-post on Scribbles@Arpita. I have received regular feedback from you all ever since I started blogging. Though the response was low initially but it has picked up with time and I do thank you from the bottom of my heart for spending time on my blog. Please take a moment to take this poll. It will help me decide on future topics. For reference, you may browse through some of the posts on this blog before you vote! 

The Infinity Dreams Award

I am way, way too late in posting this, but better late than never, eh? The wonderful Trudy at Rendezvous en New York nominated me for the Infinity Dreams Award about a month ago. I was a bit caught up at the moment and couldn’t get on with the response-post, but thank you so much Trudy for the nomination. I met Trudy while taking a Blogging University course and enjoyed interacting with her. She writes about her experiences in New York in her blog, besides other things, so if you wanna know New York up close, do visit her blog.


The Rules:

1.Thank and follow the blog that nominated you.

2.Tell us 11 facts about yourself.

3.Answer the questions that were set for you to answer.

4.Nominate 11 bloggers and set questions for them.

11 Facts about Myself:

  1. I have no idea why tea is so important to people. I’d have some Cold Coffee at Cafe Coffee Day anytime, but I am not a coffee person, either. Find it weird, anyone?
  2. Music doesn’t speak to me. Yes, I do occasionally hum tunes, but I don’t have any music stored in my hard disk. My phone has only four songs! Oh, and don’t ask what they are.
  3. Popular fiction is great, but literary fiction is my thing.
  4. I will travel inter-state for the first time in my life later this year.
  5. The strongest love relationships that I have stemmed from an initial hate. Case in point: Tyrion Lannister, and recently, Jaime Lannister too.
  6. Height has always been one of my complexes.
  7. I hated computers in school. I took up electronics engineering in college to stay away from programming. Only, computers don’t quite leave you in the 21st century, do they?
  8. I have wanted to learn French since third year of college. I know ‘oi’ is pronounced as ‘owa’ in French and I am so proud of myself for that!
  9. I love blogging. And I love turning non-bloggers to blogger all the more. Since I started blogging on WordPress I had a teacher, a roommate and a cousin start blogging as well! A pat on the back, you say? Merci. Merci beau coup!
  10. The last movie I truly liked was Two Days, One Night.
  11. I think squirrels are as cute as rabbits, if not more.

My Answers to Trudy’s Questions:

1.How long have you been blogging?

I have been blogging on Scribbles@Arpita since March, 2015, but I had been blogging on Blogger on and off since 2011.

2.What made you start blogging?

I would answer that w.r.t to this blog, Scribbles@Arpita. The motivation to start this blog is written plainly in my very first post. Please check it out.

3.How do you relax?

Actually, I don’t. Whatever I do seems like work to me! Jokes apart, I binge-watch Castle or read a book or simply have a chat with my mother or a friend on the phone.

4.What is your favorite season? And why?

I love  the start of every season (after that the extremes each brings becomes too much for me). But if I were to choose a favourite, it would probably be winter. I love how the colours break all around me during winters: the colourful roses, marigold, dahlias and so many other flowers that suddenly sprout up in every garden of the neighbourhood.

5.Do you cook? Do you enjoy it?

I am only recently learning to cook, with help from my mother and I absolutely love it. I was afraid of fire and sharp objects before. Learning to cook have helped me overcome my fears. Most importantly, now I do not (hopefully) have to depend on the pathetic food when I live outside home again.

6.What is your favorite type of music?

Like I said, not a music person this one. But occasionally some Bollywood music catches my ears and I keep humming it until my mother gets bugged and begs me to stop.

7.What is your favorite television show?

I like TV interviews, detective series. Castle, for example! White Collar is another favourite. But GoT beats them all.

8.Are you a morning or night person?

Definitely morning!

9.Are you a sweet or savory person?

Sweet, I guess. But I am no judge of myself.

10.Are you an avid reader?

I try to be, yeah!

11.On your last trip where did you go?

In the nooks and crannies of Kolkata, before I left the city to come home after college ended.

11 Questions for my Nominees:

  1. Tell me, in one sentence, what is your blog about?
  2. Who is your best friend?
  3. Do you have pets?
  4. If you could meet one person from any period in history (it may even be fictional), who would it be?
  5. What is the sweetest thing someone ever did for you?
  6. Which were the best years of your life – childhood, youth or whichever age you’re now?
  7. Do you suffer from any kind of phobia?
  8. Can you spend the day without looking at the clock?
  9. Which is the cutest animal that you’ve ever seen for real?
  10. Do wishes come true?
  11. The last but not the least, the classic one: Love is ……………

My Nominees:

  1. A Reading Writer
  2. Anand’s Parodies and Caricatures
  3. The Idler Channel
  4. Blabberwockying
  5. What the Woman Wrote
  6. My Enduring Bones
  7. Can I Inspire You?
  8. Elle’s Adventure in China
  9. Simple Moments of Life
  10. Arpita’s Travelogue
  11. Staying the Course

I have been fortunate enough to meet some great people while blogging on WordPress and would have happily nominated them, only if they did not have the No Award Policy.

A word for my nominees: I know this Award makes you work hard, and the response post demands to be long, but what good is an Award if we don’t have to work hard for it? I’d love if you all accept the nomination. But if you don’t, that is okay too! So, have fun with the post. I’m looking forward to your responses.

Whoa, I have done it! And you’ve done it too – thank you so much for reading the whole post!

I Write Because…

I write because I still remember the thrill of seeing my name in print in the school magazine in fourth grade.

I write because years ago my cousin told me that if I continued writing that diary, someday I will turn over those pages and smile at the happy, sad, silly, worried younger version of me. I write because every time I do turn over the pages of my diary, I can see myself writing those words – I can remember the day, the incidents that led to what I wrote, and in those pages I see myself like I can see another person: my face, my expressions with no mirror in front of me and the images are as clear as in HD TV.

I write because I always thought no one understood me. I write because my writing is my way of explaining myself to the world and hoping some day, some one would understand me down to my bones and skin and love me for whoever I am.

I write because I enter a different world when I am writing; I wear a different face, different skin at the time and I can be who I want to freely, without pretense, without worrying.

I write because I am no painter and my writing is my way of capturing the memories for the desolate years of living alone or old age.

I write because what I have to say is important for me, even if it holds no value to the world.

I write because I crave attention. I write because I am no head-turner, but I am desperate to prove I am not as plain as you think I am.

I write because without writing I feel purposeless, dull.

I write because I may never tell you how hurt or sad or depressed I am. I write because my writing is my voice.

I write because I know no other way.