Dheera's Workshop of Whimsy


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Posted on May 24, 2010 at 10:36 AM Comments comments (0)

CHARACTERS AND SETTING have a few things in common. You have to know both of them well. Even if your main character is wicked, the reader must like him to read about him/her.

It is true in real life that even the wickedest have some good in them. Give your character a balance of good and bad. It can be more good than bad if you like but some quirkiness is essential to make anyone interesting.

Similarly the bad guy must have some redeeming feature.

Choose your characters from everyday people you meet and then magnify certain aspects of heir personality.


Make the setting of the story interesting. If you know the place you are describing well, you will be able to paint a word picture which the reader will be able to see.


For style and tone, just remember that your language must be simple and the story line clean. By that I mean don’t go into flash back and come into the present so many times that you confuse the reader. At first, just try to tell a simple tale with a beginning a middle and an end. Try not to narrate too much. Intersperse it with direct speech, it makes the page look lighter and makes for easier reading.

And finally edit your story several times before sending it in. Use the best words, phrases, sentences that you can. Ask yourself, is this the very best I can write? If the answer is yes, press send!


I am waiting!





Posted on May 17, 2010 at 12:48 AM Comments comments (0)

Hello again!

I have chosen one questions to answer this week.


Suamna (13 years) says she finds it difficult to show something happening. She is more comfortable telling the reader about it. She asks why it is better to show rather than tell.


Answer: Telling is recounting the tale and is not as impact ful as showing it happen. By showing it happen, through conversation/interaction or even by a description, you are making the reader a part of what is happening. To give a small example. You can say, the boy felt sad. Or you can say, the boy’s chest heaved and a tear rolled down his cheek. The former is telling and the latter showing what really happened.

To work on this skill, thinkof little incidents in everyday life and first just describe them, then rewrite them in a ‘showing’ way.

Do send me  your pieces when they are done!





So then back to plot.

Plot is the structure or sequence of events in your story. The boy went to the market…has no plot. The boy went to the market on the day there was a bomb blast…has the beginning of a plot. So basically, the way the story unfolds is the plot. The story itself is the plot.


Here is an exercise: Take whatever you are writing currently and divide it up in summary form into : 1) the description of character and settings; 2) the action in which conflict develops; 3) the climax; 4) where the resolving process begins; and 5)  the final resolution. This then is the structure or plot of your story.


Write away the summer heat!






Posted on May 12, 2010 at 12:36 AM Comments comments (0)



Or Point of view. Who tells the story?  You can tell the story from one point of view, POV, or multiple POV. It can be a story told in first person…I saw my father building a tree house and wondered who it was for…

Or third person…Sam saw his father…

Dancing on the Edge by Han Nolan is a first person POV book to check out.

Third person book to checkout: Everyone Else’s Parents Said Yes, by Paula Danziger


You can also choose to write in the third person omniscient POV.This means that the author knows everything. If three people experience the same incident, the author can express how each one is feeling at the same moment.

Winnie the Pooh is one such book.


The thing to do for your own story is to write in the voice you are most comfortable with. Try reading some of the recommended books and see which voice fits best with your style of writing.

And then begin!


Do let me know if you have any preference for next week’s blog. I was planning to discus plot next.

All the best!




Posted on May 4, 2010 at 2:05 AM Comments comments (0)



I will answer the many questions I have been asked. Thank you all for the interest and for writing in. I have taken your permission to mention your names and ages. The writers who wish to remain anonymous have been respected but their ages have been mentioned.


Seema (14 years) asks: How many times should one edit a story? How does one know when it is ready to go?


Answer: A difficult question, but I will tell you what I do. I write the first draft just to put my thoughts down. Once I am happy with that, I mix and match the sequence, which most times makes the piece better and gives me new ideas. By that I mean, I bring the middle to the beginning and take the beginning to the end. Not always but just as an example. I juggle the format and get the structure going. Then I include interest elements so that the story never sags. The next edit is to improve the language, add a description, delete an unnecessary detail and so on. Most times, I discover that I don’t like large chunks of the story or that the story is not holding together as well as I would like it to…so the edit goes on. When I ‘finish’ with it, I put the piece away and let it cook on a slow fire while I pretend it doesn’t exist. Taking a few days away from your story helps a lot.So the answer to your question, as you can see, is difficult!There are no fixed number of edits that complete a story.


Rohit (13 years) asks: I prefer to write in rhyming verse. How do I write a story?


Answer: Write a story in rhyme, Rohit. My latest book which will be out by the end of the month is a book of stories in verse. They are long stories…sometimes too long but they are all in rhyming verse.


Pia (15 years) asks: Could you give us some out of the box exercises to do on a daily basis, just to improve on the writing habit you mentioned in the first session on your blog?


Answer: This was a challenging one, so I did some research in my library of ‘Writing’ books. I like the exercise Bonni Goldberg suggests in ‘Room to Write’. Choose any one of the following words that have more than one meaning: bear, lie, tear, desert. Copy the word and start writing and don’t stop until you reach the end of the page. When you are done, read what you have written and better still, send it to me!


Inky (12 years) asks: What is VOICE in a story? I’m confused.


Answer: It is the voice of the author. It develops through writing and writing and writing some more. In a story it is the view point voice of your main character. You must get into the head of your main character and know what he/she thinks when she is faced with situations in life... being bullied at school/ scolded by his parents/ losing a game of tennis/ sitting for an examination/stuck in a lift. Try working on this and let me know the results.


Next week we will discuss Voice in depth, with suggestions for exercises to work on.


Keep the questions coming please, I love it and I’m sure the others like it too. Until next week then!









Posted on April 26, 2010 at 11:13 AM Comments comments (0)






Know the subject of your story well. If you have decided to write about a Mudskipper for example, learn all about the little amphibian. Know the fact that it is mainly seen in mud puddles in the monsoon, that it builds mud castles to live in. Make sure you know that it has scales and large moist eyes and all the other details about the creature before you launch him into a story, like I did, in my latest book, MAYA.


A plot is best described as the ‘why’ for the things that happen in a story. There are 4 elements to plot construction. (If this gets too complicated for you, please do ask and I shall try to explain it better.)


The description or explanation needed to understand the story.


The conflict


The process of resolving the conflict.


The final resolution which bring the story to its end.


In ‘Where the Wild Things Are’,  by Maurice Sendak, these 4 elements are clearly explained.

Max is rude to his mother.EXPOSITION

He is punished. CONFLICT BEGINS

He goes into his imaginary world of wild things, faces danger and RESOLVES THE CONFLICT.

The final RESOLUTION comes when he returns to his own world and finds hot food waiting for him.


So it would be fair to say that plot is the conflict the main character goes through. It is what makes the reader wish to go on reading. If the conflict is missing the reader interest will fade. Low tension equals low interest. Try to look at your story in scenes and build tension in each one. Start with a high voltage situation and try to keep the tempo going. In a short story an element of mystery and high conflict keeps the reader involved.

Make your beginning impact-ful and then build on it.


Good luck. Until next week then!