Neharika Gupta is the author of Adulting. Here are some key takeaways from her writing workshop:
- Crafting a millennial character
- The millennials and Gen Z of the 21st century must relate with the challenges that the characters face in the book. For example, some of the issues Neharika writes about are body shaming, identity crisis etcetera.
- The character must have a core conflict such that they are not unidimensional.
- Pay attention to how the character looks. Making a basic silhouette of a character helps Neharika write them better and visualise them.
- Give the character either a behavioural quirk or a distinct physical feature that will make them memorable for the reader.
- What does a typical day in their life look like?
2. Theme and Genre
- Start with a theme that you care about. It could be something that annoys you and/or something that you want to change about the society.
- Write what is intuitive to you!
- Mix and match the themes to different genres
Neharika’s writing prompt for all you budding authors is –
If your character is facing a city wide lockdown for 63 days, what will they do?
- Will you set this in a detective fiction world? Have they suddenly discovered a crime scene?
- Is it fantasy? Does the character have any superpowers?
- Do they fall in love with their neighbour such that their story is a rom-com?
- Or is it set in a science fiction world where there is a biological warfare happening?
3. The Hero’s Journey
Neharika recommends keeping Joseph Campbell’s ‘The Hero’s Journey’ in mind while thinking about the structure of your story. Most stories in the world could fit into this cycle. This is also helpful when you are stuck with advancing the plot of your story.
If you are finding it difficult to add depth to your characters, Neharika recommends taking the help of archetypes. An archetype is a typical character, an action or a situation that seems to represent universal patterns of human nature.
5. Writer’s block
- Make sure you wake up in the right space of mind in the morning. Meditate, listen to music, or do anything that calms your mind and sets the right tone for your day.
- Don’t force creativity to come to you. Invite ideas and thoughts, and treat them well so that they bloom.
- Always keep a notepad handy – ideas never have an appointment!
- Revisit things and/or writings and authors that inspire you. Neharika uses an inspiration box in which she collects and stores objects, her previous writings and other things. You never know what can trigger a stream of ideas in your mind!
Don’t stop reading and writing, and and keep tuning in to the #ReadInstead Litfest!