Introduction to Storytelling by Pixar

Introduction to Storytelling by Pixar

I am a fan of Pixar’s storytelling style. I don’t know if you have ever read their famous 22 rules of storytelling? If you have not, you must. Some of the tips are really super useful to newbies like me who are fascinated enough by the magic to want to be a magician. But for now one has to be grateful that I am getting to read the magician’s book of spells before he returns. I make a quick note of rule number 2 in the Book of Spells.

Why is company culture hard to emulate

Why is company culture hard to emulate

Apple and Samsung trade charges of intellectual property infringement. But you have never heard of anyone stealing the culture of another company. Culture is a proprietary secret that is hard to hide because every employee knows what it is. Yet, even after you know everything about a company’s culture, it is impossible to replicate.

I Have Written My Novel – What Next?

I Have Written My Novel - What Next?

The shelf marked Indian Fiction has been a comparatively recent happening. The list of Indian authors is growing. One could argue that the authors who write in English have had a little more visibility. Translations to English are getting popular. It is fair to say that the great Indian middle class has taken to writing and getting published in a big way. That’s a terrific thing to happen. The world […]

The Most Diffcult Thing for Writers

The Most Diffcult Thing for Writers

Time and inspiration never coincide. That is the single largest reason why so many novels lie unfinished. Writers need time to write. They also need the creative juices flowing. These two have to happen at the same time. Those who write fiction face the greatest degree of difficulty. Poets have it relatively easy. In fact they are the only kind of writers who are not affected by this problem. I […]

Anything Normal Is Not A Story

Anything Normal Is Not A Story

The story finds mind space amidst the clutter of data and information like the toddler who finds a space to play even in a crowded train. Everyone likes a good story. No one likes information and chunks of data thrown at them. People want that information to be conveyed in a manner that will linger on long after. You heard the story of the hare and the tortoise years back, […]

Meet a Book Whisperer

Meet a Book Whisperer

Carolyn Scarborough is a professionally trained life and writing coach, and works with people to turn their “whispering” to write into a reality.  Her most recent book is “Backyard Pearls: Cultivating Wisdom and Joy in Everyday Life.” She is an award-winning magazine writer, editor and newspaper columnist and has published more than 500 articles in magazines around the world. Her passion is inspiring people to tap into their inner wisdom, […]

What Writers Always Want To Know

Chapal Mehra has chaperoned many well known books into the market. I asked him all the questions that plague first time and most ignorant authors like me. Here is a sample:

Abhijit: What are some of the watchouts for first time writers when they sign a contract with a publishing firm?
Chapal: Most professional publishing firms have standard contracts which they are not open to amending. It is the way they do business and these cannot be altered to every author’s requirement. In fact they are mostly standardized across organizations with a few changes here and there. As a first time author you need to know what you get into a contract with the publishing firm for :
Copyright: Understand the difference between copyright and the right to publish.
What territory are you signing the book deal for? Do you want to keep US and UK or Europe rights for yourself?
Please check the royalty clause. Are you happy with what the standard royalty is ? Usually it’s the same across publishing firms
Please check the subsidiary rights. Do you want to give up or keep –translation rights, film rights, tv series rights etc. In most cases I would advise its best to let the publishing company keep these unless you want to do something with them or you think it will have enormous potential which you have a strategy to exploit.
If its an advance contract what are your dates of delivery? What are the conditions associated with non- or late delivery?
Its always good to discuss the contract with your editor to also understand why the organization is offering the contract that it is . Most large professional publishing firms are not out to rob you. But its important for you to understand their thinking.

In Praise of Irrationality

We have all grown up in a world that clearly values rationality and rational behavior. Being emotional was frowned upon. Whenever someone displays emotions in public view it makes news (Think of Maradona’s expressions as the team played and lost) and the world turns its cameras to look at the person who just “lost it”. When I studied Science in school, I was told by my teacher that if there was something that cannot be explained by Science it was not worth knowing and that it was obviously irrational. Such was the vehemence with which I was nudged towards being rational. As I grew to develop my own view of the world, I got fascinated by the limitations of rationality. Rational stuff had a logical sequence and clearly activated that part of my brain that I had difficulty accessing. You try this one and you got to do this real quick: A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
Write down your answer. If you said that the ball costs 10c, then you are part of the majority. That is the good news. The bad news is that the correct answer is 5c. Shane Frederick, Prof at MIT Sloan posed this question to more than 3,000 students at eight different universities. Fewer than half gave the correct answer. The trick is to not go by your instinct which gives the wrong answer, but to take a second more and reflect on it. Shane has developed a 3 question test – that question is one of the three – that can be almost as accurate in predicting characteristics that other tests like the SAT, ACT, or the Wonderlic Personnel Test. He also found that those who do well on the cognitive reflection test tend to be more patient in decisions between smaller sooner rewards and larger later rewards. They are also more willing to gamble in financial domains.

Interview with Samit Basu

Interview with Samit Basu

“Let us imagine that you had bought, in secret, the world’s most precious jewel, the Eye of Empire, a massive ruby known to have left a trail of lives—violently lost—behind it as it journeyed across harsh lands in the care of desperate men.” So begins Samit Basu’s new book Terror on the Titanic – his first Young Adult novel. Meet Samit, India’s first fantasy novelist and the first well-known Indian author to cross over into comics. He is the author of an extremely popular trilogy of fantasy novels, the GameWorld Trilogy, comprising The Simoqin Prophecies (2004) The Manticore’s Secret (2005) and The Unwaba Revelations (2007). He has written comics for Marvel Comics in India. Outlook featured him along with Shreya Ghoshal – India’s top playback singer and Konkona Sen Sharma the brilliant actress. He got inspired to start a career as an author during a dull class at IIM (Ahmedabad) while pursuing his MBA. Read on what this talented writer is all about.

Should You Self Publish

It is truly a magical moment when you read the manuscript and suddenly feel that there is nothing more left to add or to take away. If you add stuff you will feel the need to trim the fat and you cannot take away a single word without leaving gaps in the mind of the reader. It is that moment when you feel the most self-confident. You are ready to take the book to a publisher.

Corporate Novels

Abhijit Bhaduri, Human Resources (HR) director of Microsoft India, has chosen to spin his novels around the HR profession rather than any particular industry. A graduate of XLRI, Bhaduri set his first novel, Mediocre But Arrogant, in the ‘Management Institute of Jamshedpur’ , from where his hero graduates to land his first job in HR.

His second book, Married But Available is about the protagonist’s early years in Balwanpur Industries, an Indian company that’s been taken over by a multinational. The book is sprinkled with HR gyan and Bhaduri, who has worked with Tata Steel, Colgate and Pepsico, says it gives his characters credibility: “The professional and personal lives of my characters aren’t separate, they’re wholly meshed.”

Jahnavi Barua – the girl Next Door

Yes, all the stories are based in Assam. Although now I have lived more than half my life outside Assam, I found when I began to write I returned to the landscape of my childhood, of my origin, as if it were the most natural thing to do. Place, for me, is a powerful influence; it shapes and moulds a person in a way at once subtle yet all pervading. The landscape of Assam is for me the landscape of affection, of memories; against its wide sweep of misty blue hills and majestic river most of my family’s lives (and mine) have played out and that is where I wanted to set my stories.