Today, I bombed badly at Write Club.

The theme for today was ‘A Twist in the Tale’ - I was required to have a twist in my story. I did manage to write something, but they were just rambling thoughts, and had no structure or meaning to it at all.

Let me go into self critique mode, and try to guess what went wrong :-

  • I reached the venue late, and people had already started writing. I was cursing myself for getting late all the while in the metro too, and was probably not in the perfect state of mind to write. I think it is important to reach a bit soon, settle down, pick your own sweet spot, blend into the environment, and then start.

  • There were a couple of prompts that interested me - Exhausted one evening you head to sleep to wake up hours later in an ambulance, and A meteor is scheduled to hit earth in less than 32 hours. As a police officer, what are those hours like?. Last time, I saw the prompt, instantly connected it to a setting I had seen, and immediately started writing it. I did not stop till 40 minutes was over.

    This time, I did connect the first prompt to a it-happened-to-me setting, and tried finding a suitable twist to no avail. I then started thinking about the second prompt, and decided to make it a setting of two police officers in Mumbai trying to clear the streets before the meteor collision. It started off well, the setting was pretty good IMO, but since I had not thought about the twist earlier, I got stuck very soon. At this point, I gave up :(

  • One problem I faced while trying to think of a suitable twist for the second prompt is my obsession for scientific accuracy. For example, another guy who wrote (quite beautifully, with a fantasy-inspired twist) put in that ‘there was a storm due to the change in the gravitational fields’. Now if this would really happen, I don’t know - and that was exactly the reason I got stuck. I didn’t want to make unsubstantiated claims.

  • I also felt that my inability to write twists was because I haven’t read or watched a lot of mystery, suspense, sci-fi etc. The ones that I have are really long ones which take their time to establish all characters well.

This was a nice setback after the good run I had last week. Writing is not really an easy task. Here are some takeaways from today’s debacle

  • While writing, always choose the PoV in such a way that it has maximum emotional impact.

  • Establish a rough story in your mind before writing it.

  • Write down any and all ideas that come up whenever in a Keep note.

  • Reach the venue before time

  • Develop objectivity. Take off the student of science hat or any other such subjective hats before you write.

  • Read more fantasy, sci-fi and thrillers. Well, at least try to.

Until next time, bye bye!