My Next Writing Project – ‘I Still Love You’

 

I have been writing my fifth novel, ‘I Still LoveYou’, which is a full-length novel spanning around 65K words.
The novel is about Murali who is betrayed after the demise of his girlfriend, Falguni. He falls in love with a Software Engineer, Pratibha, who has been transferred to Hyderabad from Bangalore on a short time project assignment. But Pratibha is already dating Rahul and planning to get married to him after returning to Bangalore. Will Murali be successful in retaining Pratibha in his life and uniting with her?
I would like to share a portion of an initial chapter, and I hope you like the snippet.

 

Murali’s glance shifted to his buzzing cell phone placed on his desk at his office. His close friend, Prakash’s name lit the screen. He grabbed the phone and pressed the green button.
“Hey, Prakash,” Murali said, sounding jovial. It had been more than a week since they spoke last.
“Where are-” Prakash stumbled for words.
Murali’s heart started racing. What had happened to Prakash? Why is he mumbling? “Yes, tell me, Prakash. Is everything all right with you?”
“I have a bad news,” Prakash said. “But you need to control yourself.”
Bad news? Murali’s pulse quickened. What had really happened? “Yes, go ahead. What’s that bad news you’re talking about?”
“Your fiancé, Falguni -”
Why Prakash stopped in between? “Yes, tell me, Prakash.” Murali sounded excited. “What has happened to Falguni?”
“She has met with an accident.”
Murali’s heart sank. Nausea filled his mind and his vision blurred. He waited for a moment to compose himself. “Where is she now?”
“You need to control yourself, Murali. She is battling for her life in the Apollo hospital.”
Murali’s breath caught in his chest. He heaved a heavy sigh. “What the doctors are saying?”
“They’re not committing anything.” Prakash paused. “Are you planning to go and see her?”
“Yes, I should. I leave my office in a few minutes.” Murali paused and then said, “How did you get to know this?”
“Falguni’s friend called and told me the news a while ago. She wanted me to tell you the matter. She couldn’t dare to speak directly with you.”
Murali longed to see his fiancé. “Why don’t you join me? I’ll come and pick you up.”
“But Falguni’s brother-” Prakash stopped short of his words.
Even though Murali feared for Falguni’s brother, who had been trying to break their love affair, Murali needed to go there and see her. “I want to see Falguni, Prakash. And I’m not scared of her brother.” He waited for a moment and composed himself. “Where are you now?”
“I’m at my home.”
“You be there. I’ll come and pick you up.”
“All right, call me when you arrive here.”
“I will.”
Murali pressed the red button and gently threw his phone on his desk. He hadn’t expected things would turn so unfavourable to him. He had been dating Falguni for two years and they had been trying to convince their parents for the union. Everything turned upside down because of this accident. He hoped Almighty would save Falguni’s life. And he would unite with her.
Murali would’ve married to Falguni had they both belonged to the same caste. He hated Falguni’s parents for their stubborn stance over their friendship. Her parents and her brother were hindrances to their efforts to unite. Falguni’s parents were a hard nut to crack.
Murali believed his mother, Payal, would not bother whom he married because his parents belonged to two different castes.
He shifted his glance to the computer clock. It was just before noon, and he would ask for half day leave to his manager, Vikram. He needed to see Falguni. I am sure Falguni will survive and she will feel relieved after seeing me.
He crossed a few cubicles and approached Vikram, whose eyes were glued to his laptop screen; he was busy reading a technical document.
Murali cleared his throat. “Hello, Vikram.”
Vikram turned around. “Hey, Murali. What’s up?” His cheerfulness faded after seeing Murali.
“I am taking time off this afternoon.”
“Time-off? Why?” Vikram sounded curious. “Is there anything urgent?”
“Yes. I need to go to the Apollo Hospital.”
“Apollo Hospital?” Vikram looked sideways. “Is someone not well?”
“My girlfriend, Falguni, is admitted there.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Vikram knotted his brows. “What has happened to her?”
“Well-” Murali swallowed a lump in his throat. He wasn’t sure how to reveal the news.
“Yes, tell me, Murali,” Vikram said, his tone reassuring. “I’ll try to help you.”
“Falguni met with an accident.” Murali stared down at the floor.
“Oh, I’m so sorry.” Vikram paused. “Yes, you can go and see her.”
“Thank you, Vikram. I will keep you updated.”
“All right.” Vikram raised his palm, gesturing him the best.

Murali stepped out of his office. The moderate, cold wind made him shiver; the sun glowed in the centre of the clear, blue sky. The cold winter breeze obscured the warmth of the intense sun rays. Murali crossed his arms to feel balmy as he strode towards his car.
He needed to pick up Prakash before he went to the hospital. Murali had enough courage to face Falguni’s brother, who hated him. But he had promised Prakash he would pick him up; he needed to go with him.

The afternoon traffic was heavy. He waited at the intersection with patience for the red light to turn green. A traffic police tried to ease the congestion in spite of the signal lights.
Murali accelerated to cross the intersection and headed down the street. He parked his car outside Prakash’s house and called him. Prakash arrived and sat in the passenger’s seat. Murali drove out of the residential area and headed down the main street.

“You better be calm if Falguni’s brother tried to brawl with you,” Prakash said, gingerly.
Murali looked at Prakash for a moment before he fixed his gaze back on the road. “I don’t think he will argue with me as Falguni is admitted to the hospital. He will stay calm to keep up his dignity.”
Prakash remained silent. He seemingly agreed with what Murali said.
“Do you know how and where it happened?” Murali asked.
Prakash remained silent.
Murali waited for Prakash to answer; he continued looking ahead at the road.
“She was driving her scooter on the state highway,” Prakash said. “And she tried to pass a heavy vehicle.”
Murali’s hearts sank. She is hit by a heavy vehicle!
“Perhaps, it was Falguni’s fault as well. She didn’t slow her scooter even though the driver signalled her not to pass. The truck driver has confessed these facts to the police.”
Murali couldn’t believe Falguni made a mistake. She drove her scooter with care. She had been driving for the past five years. There must be some other reason for the accident. “What else her friend said?”
“Well-” Prakash stumbled for words.
“Yes, tell me. What else she told?” Murali repeated.
Prakash remained silent.
Prakash must be hiding something from me.
The hospital neared. Murali didn’t want to pursue the matter. There is no point in knowing the past. I will meet Falguni and see how she is doing. I will pray God she becomes all right.
The parking place was almost full. Murali drove past the parked vehicles and found a vacant slot; he parked and stepped out of his car.
“Where has she been admitted?” Murali asked as they marched towards the main entrance.
“In the ICU.”
Murali’s chest constricted. He hoped God would be kind to Falguni.
“We will get it confirmed,” Murali said. He walked along with Prakash to the counter located at the centre of the hall.
An attendant, in his white uniform, shifted his gaze from computer screen to Murali.
Murali cleared his throat. “I would like to meet a patient admitted to the ICU.”
The man behind the counter took a register book. “What’s the name of the patient?”
“Falguni.”
He opened the book and glanced at the contents. “The patient has been discharged.”
“Has she become alright?” Murali sounded excited.
The man paused. He started down for a moment and then said, “I am sorry. She is no more.”
Murali’s breath caught in his chest. He looked at Prakash with his eyes widened. He tried to say something but words failed him. He went to a nearby seat and collapsed on it.
Tears touched Murali’s lashes. He blamed God for snatching his girlfriend from him. He couldn’t believe Falguni died. He had taken her to the Chat Bandar at Koti the previous evening. What had happened now? I don’t think she is no more. I’ll go to her home and see she is still alive. God can’t snatch my love from me.
He buried his face in his palms and cried. He cried and cried until Pradeep put his hand on Murali’s shoulder.
“Murali, please console yourself. We don’t have any control over births and deaths. It’s all in Almighty’s hands.”
“No, Prakash. I can’t believe Falguni is no more. She is still alive. I want to go to her home and see her alive. She can’t leave me alone.”
“I told you to relieve yourself. You need to believe what the hospital staff said.” Prakash paused, holding Murali’s hand. “It is better you don’t go to her home.”
“How can I-”
“I know,” Prakash said. “I know you loved her and want to see her. But you need to safeguard yourself. Her brother has already threatened you not to see her, right?”
Murali stared down, contemplating. He did scare when Falguni’s brother had cautioned him. But Falguni loved him; she had told Murali not to care about what her brother had said. And her assurance had made Murali continue his friendship. “Let him do whatever he wants to. I would like to see my friend.” Murali rose. He waited for Pradeep to join him.
But Prakash remained seated on the chair. Maybe, he was scared of some backlashes at Falguni’s home.
“I can go alone if you don’t want to join me.” Murali grimaced.
Prakash stared down; he sighed; he shifted his glance back to Murali. “Okay, let’s go.”
Murali slid behind the wheel and drove towards Falguni’s home. Seated in the car, he glanced at her home premises through the main gate. A few people, in their white dresses, stood in groups. Murali located a vacant slot among the parked vehicles and parked his car.
His heart sank and it pounded to his ribcage. Falguni really went to the almighty. Many people had gathered to pay their homage.
“I still suggest you not to attend the funeral, Murali,” Prakash said.
“You are too scared, Prakash.” Murali stepped out of his car. He pressed the remote; the car chirped, locking its doors.
He went past the people in white dresses and stepped into the porch. Prakash followed him. Murali’s eyes welled with tears. Falguni was laid on the floor of the living room with a white sheet draped over her body. The face was also covered. Perhaps, her head was also injured. Murali wailed aloud and hid his face in Prakash’s chest. Prakash rubbed his back and tried to take him to the living room.
“Don’t get inside.” Someone shouted while Murali approached the main door.
He shifted his glace towards the source, his eyes widened. Falguni’s brother, his nostrils flared, looked at Murali. His breath increased when Murali continued looking at him.
“It’s all because of you, you know that?” Falguni’s brother approached and held Murali’s collar tight. “I told you to leave my sister alone. Had you listened, my sister would’ve been alive.”
Murali held his hands and tried to loosen his clutches. He wondered how he was responsible for Falguni’s death. Falguni too loved him and she often told him not to care what her brother said. Her brother’s claim that Murali was responsible for her death puzzled him.
Falguni’s brother dragged him by his collar. “Leave the premises, now.”
“But-”
“I don’t want to listen to your words anymore.” Falguni’s brother dragged him towards the porch steps.
Prakash held his hands. “Let me take him outside.” He freed Murali from his clutches. He shoved Murali out of the scene by placing his hands on Murali’s back.
Murali continued looking back at the porch as they went out of the main gate.
“I told you not to attend the funeral,” Prakash breathed heavy. “Thank God I’m with you.”
Murali remained silent. He wiped his tears with a hanky. “I never expected God will snatch Falguni from me.” He composed himself, seated in the car.
Falguni’s brother complained Murali was responsible for her death. Murali tried hard to understand his words. “Did you hear what her brother said?” Murali sounded astonished.
Prakash avoided his gaze.
Murali suspected something took place before Falguni met with an accident. “Prakash, do you know what really happened before the accident?” He waited, hoping for Murali to tell the truth.
Prakash continued staring down for a moment and then said, “She argued with her parents and brother about your affair before she met with her accident.”
Murali’s blood rushed through his veins. Falguni had been trying to seek her parents’ consent to marry Murali. It is her parents and brother who is responsible for her death, and not me.
Murali prayed God may Falguni’s soul rest in peace.

Did it create an interest in you? Share your thoughts and let me know!

 

 

 

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The First Draft

First Draft

Once you conceive an idea of a story in your mind, the next important thing is to create 75,000 words or so of entertaining fiction. You can start writing with only the kernel of an idea. The kernel will guide you till you write the last chapter. Or you can plot the novel well in advance with proper events that take place in your story.

Plotters will plan and write the story events before writing the first word of the novel. And pantsers are known to write with their seats of the pants, writing with some sense of freedom. Both plotters and pantsers will reach their end of the novel, but the quality of the story depends on how well the novel is written.

Write events, scenes, dialogues, and descriptions. Let the words flow from your mind and hands in the first draft. Write whatever comes to your mind. But write.

It’s okay to skip the scene as you’re writing and add it later when you feel comfortable writing it. Use your imagination to turn that initial draft into a complete story. Make sure that you complete the first draft before you rewrite or edit.

First drafts have a lot of errors and problems. Writers need not worry about its weaknesses. It is allowed to be lacking. But it’s not allowed to remain that way. The first draft is just a beginning which means there is more. You don’t need to be ashamed of it and don’t need to show it to others. The first draft is allowed to be messy, bloated and full of loopholes. It’s allowed to be too much and too little at the same time. The first draft is meant to rip apart and reform it; to change it and to mangle it.

Give yourself something to with a first draft and then go to work. Tackle the deep and wide tasks of rewriting and editing.

 

 

Fiction Elements

Know the fiction elements before you start writing your novel

Your story should contain all the fiction elements in it. An idea can be a single line, but that idea is changed into a four hundred pages manuscript through fiction elements. You need to select a proper setting, build the characters, and progress the plot to come out with a good story.

So what are the fiction elements?

It consists of Setting, Theme, Character, ConElements of Fictionflict, Plot and Point of view.

Your story must have all the elements balanced in it to make it a perfect piece. You need to know how best you can manipulate, and how best they can play off one another to create memorable stories.

Here is the brief description of each of the fiction elements:

Setting: The place or surrounding where your story is set. It’s a locality where your characters interact with each other, and progress the plot ahead.

Theme: It’s a subject on which the story is based. For example, the theme in the frozen is true love and protecting someone who is in danger.

Character: They are the fictional character or persons who interact in your story, and move the plot ahead.

Conflict: Conflict is the tension built up in the story. Without conflict, one will lose the interest level of the reader.

Plot: It’s a story structure or blue print which you create before you start writing the sentences. Some writers plot the novel before hand while others simply write (called as pantsers)

Point of View: It’s a narrator’s position in relationship with the story told. It can be of first person or third person point of views.

So what’s your experience in using these set of fiction elements when you wrote your novel?

Story Stuff: F Is For Foreshadowing

Chekhov’s Gun – Interesting concept!

Allison Maruska

A couple of weekends ago I finally saw Logan. And while it was very well made, it freaked me the hell out. The fact that it’s the first X-Men movie to be rated R because of extreme violence was no secret, but being an avid Marvel fan, I wanted to see it anyway.

I’m glad I did. But I don’t think I’ll see it again. I rather like blinking and kind of miss doing it.

Anyway.

What made it well-made was a combination of cinematic effects, characters, and unlike some superhero movies, a cohesive story. One element that stood out in Logan brings us to today’s topic in our series: foreshadowing.

F

Foreshadowing sets up readers/viewers for things to come. It’s what the “Chekhov’s Gun” principle is about – if something appears in the story, it should matter to the story.

chekhov

Readers will sense something is important just because…

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Story Stuff: E Is For External Motivation

E for External Motivation!

Allison Maruska

Are we digging the alphabetic layout of the A to Z challenge? Sure, it’s a little Sesame Street, but we may end up with something comprehensive by the end. 😉

Anyway, welcome to day 5, where we’ll be discussing external motivation.

E

People (and characters) can be motivated for a number of reasons. We eat because we’re hungry. We go to work because we need money to live (and hopefully find personal fulfillment in whatever we’re doing). We fight to win. Pretty much everything we do has either external or internal motivations behind them.

External (or extrinsic) motivations are things we do for a reward outside ourselves. Kids do chores for an allowance. They play soccer to get a trophy. They study to pass the class.

This post digs deeper into the idea:

“Extrinsic motivation refers to our tendency to perform activities for known external rewards, whether they be tangible…

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Story Stuff: D Is For Dialogue

Interesting: D is for Dialogue

Allison Maruska

Welcome to Day 4 of our story-oriented Blogging A to Z challenge. Today, we’ll be picking apart dialogue, which feels like it should be easy, doesn’t it?

D

Here’s the thing: dialogue can make or break a story.

No pressure, though.

Good dialogue weaves seamlessly into the narrative. Bad dialogue…

Well, bad dialogue makes readers close the book. Or in the case of me, throw the kindle.

Dialogue has a lot of jobs to do. On the surface, it shows two or more characters interacting. It should also reveal character traits, move the plot, and offer subtext and foreshadowing.

Oh, and it can’t be weighed down and boring.

And it should imitate actual speech, meaning there won’t be all complete sentences. It shouldn’t be “on the nose,” where the character says exactly what they mean. Like this:

“I have a problem with women because my mother abandoned me when I was eight. She…

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Story Stuff: B Is For Best Friends

Good choice – B for best friend!

Allison Maruska

In the first day of our series, we talked about something every good protagonist needs: agency. Today, we’ll talk about something else many can’t do without: best friends.

B

Or coworkers, or spouses, or roommates . . . you get the idea. The sidekicks.

In Young Adult novels, the best friend is an important character – at times more important than the protagonist himself. The BFFs support, challenge, teach, and provide comic relief. Best friends are great for providing drama, if needed. In thinking of different types of sidekicks, the best friend is often a foil, providing contrast to our protagonist.

However, it’s extremely easy to let the best friend fall into stereotype. I bet you can name a few: the flamboyant one, the nerdy one, and the promiscuous one come to mind. In YA, the protag is often studious while the best friend likes to party (though I’ve…

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