WritFest Session Recap

Writing Engaging Stories by Preeti Shenoy

by Chandra Sundeep
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Blogchatter WritFest

Blogchatter is one of the best platforms for bloggers in India. Their creative team comes up with interesting campaigns every year, like #A2ZBloggingChallenge, #MyFriendAlexa, #CauseAChatter, #WriteAPageADay. I came across this platform only last year and took part only in the #TBRChallenge. This year, I am more active in terms of participation and engagement. It truly has been a wonderful experience.

BlogchatterWritFest is Blogchatter’s campaign for the month of March. It is a wonderful initiative bringing readers closer to the authors.

This is the line-up of the interesting WritFest sessions.

Mar 4 Relatability In Fiction with Meghna Pant, Kiran Manral and Kanchana Banerjee

Mar 7 Writing Engaging Stories by Preeti Shenoy.

Mar 11 Thrilling your Reader by K Hari Kumar, Chandrima Das, and Neil D’Silva.

Mar 21 Getting Started with Poetry with Sampurna Chatterjee.

Mar 25 Writing Books that Children Enjoy by Vibha Batra, Khyrunnisa A, and Vidya Mani

I was fortunate enough to attend the session Writing Engaging Stories with the talented Preeti Shenoy. She is among the top five highest-selling authors in India. She is also on the Forbes long list of the most influential celebrities in India.

The Q&A session lasted for a little over 30 minutes, and I spent every second learning and making notes on ways to improve my craft.

Person Holding White Ceramci Be Happy Painted Mug

My take-aways from the #WritFest session ran over four pages! Following is a summary:

  1. A story is engaging only if it holds the reader’s interest.
  2. Beginning with a hook is a sure-shot way of grabbing the reader’s attention.
  3. There is no such thing as a specific starting point. It depends on various factors—the length of the story, the kind of story we are writing, the characters, and even the incidents occurring in the story.
  4. It is important for the writer to know their character in detail. As writers, we should know everything about them, but not necessary to divulge all the information in our narration. Using a questionnaire to chart out the character’s likes, dislikes, family, living style, etc. helps in giving life to the characters.
  5. Our readers should emotionally connect with the characters. They should care about what’s happening to the characters. If we can establish this bond as writers, our writing would leave a mark and remain memorable.
  6. The author shared an important tip regarding writing true stories. The stories can be based either on real people or the writer can borrow characteristics from real people, but make them unrecognizable from their original selves.
  7. Shenoy reiterated that imagination is every writer’s greatest power and every writer should harness it to full.
  8. The pace depends on the genre and mainly serves two important functions. Either it can reveal more about the characters or move the story forward. Shenoy advised going with the flow while writing the first draft. We can polish the pace during editing.
  9. One question to Shenoy was regarding writer’s block. I found her tip to be extremely useful. She said, write a few sentences describing a room to a blind person.
  10. Though she avoids taking breaks, she advised to adopt the following for writers who are struggling to complete their manuscripts.
    • Leave the draft aside. Take a break and do something else.
    • Retrace your draft.
    • Read it from the very beginning in a systematic manner to understand it from a fresh pair of eyes.
  11.  When asked the difference between a short story and a novel, Shenoy emphasized the biggest distinctive factor being the word count. In a short story format, every word matters and there is no scope for meandering.
  12.  To avoid personal narrative from seeping into the stories, Shenoy advised mapping out the plot in depth, setting the world, and defining the characteristics.

At the end of the session, the author answered a few more queries from the participants.

“Don’t be scared of writing, thinking your story is not perfect.” Shenoy’s golden words will stay with me for a long time and motivate me every time I doubt my writing skills.

I thoroughly enjoyed this session and am looking forward to attending the rest of WritFest.

Written as part of BlogchatterWritFest

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3 comments

Pandian Ramaiah March 13, 2022 - 6:52 am

I agree with you about Blogchatter as I took part of WriteAPageADay and TBRChallenge. I could not took part of writfest due to work related commitments. I think they record the discussions in fb. I’ll go through one day. thank you for your informative post.

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Prasanna Raghavan March 14, 2022 - 1:47 am

I didn’t have a chance to attend Preeti Shenoy’s session. Thank you for covering it to the finest details. :)

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Chandra Sundeep March 14, 2022 - 2:23 pm

Glad to be of help :)

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