Friday, October 30, 2015

A Complete Guide to Writing Fiction using Evernote

If you know me in my other life, I proudly boast of myself as the Monk Who Sold His Computer for the Cloud. I do not own a computer, apart from video editing, and invest a lot of time trying to replace my computer with cloud services. One of the most important problem faced by me in this period was how do I move novel writing services to the cloud?


Can an internet based service be used for Novel writing? The service should be such that it can be used to sync on the phone, iPad as well as Web.

With NaNoWriMo around, I decided to put on the thinking cap and setup my workspace in Evernote. If you are new to this world, Evernote is a note-taking tool that helps capture text-based-notes, picture based notes, Web-Links (Clips) and even voice based notes. So let's get to work. 

Evernote lets you create Notebooks that can store your notes together. The notebooks can further be grouped together in something they call 'Stack'. For the purpose of the blog, I am going to delve first into use of Evernote to write the whole fiction, if you are using some other tool, like Scrivener, I suggest you jump down to the next section where I explore using Evernote as a supplementary tool for writing.

Using Evernote for Writing Fiction

Writing Chapters
One of the first thing to do is create a stack for the project you are beginning. I usually give mythological character names as working title to the projects I am working on. This NaNoWriMo, I am starting on  a project Narkasura. The first I did was create a notebook, N-Chapters which will contain chapters in their Numbers (Or title) and add it to the Narkasura stack.





Ideas Notebook

The second and most important notebook for me is the Ideas book. I usually write Faction (Which is a mix of facts and fiction) and to get the facts write, I research a lot. These notes are kept nicely in the Ideas book. The best way to ideate is to write down the stuff that you think of. Using the Evernote document scanner, these notes are easily uploaded to the relevant notebook. This was the first notes for the project Kumbhakaran



Characters Notebook

If you are anything like me (and I hope not) you have this maddening urge of making characters that are so real. In my characters book, I detail the character and its journey throughout the book. For e.g., if in chapter 6 Dev Karmarkar (he is the one I am working on nowadays) breaks his ankle, I make a note so that I can set a proper time-line for him to get healed.


Structure

Ironically, the structure notebook is for the unstructured notes and things I think of, which are sometimes useless. If you are working on a thriller and have the need to detail out a crime scene, this unstructured notebook comes in handy. Sometimes, I also add time-line of events to help me focus on the correct sequence. When writing a crime-thriller, it is essential to do a exact layout of the murder location. I usually do it with a pen-and-a-paper, you can scan the document and attach it to the notebook easily.



Evernote Supplementing writing

Evernote makes a wonderful tool to supplement your writing. Be it taking notes in the spur of the moment of taking photos etc.

Research

Internet is a good researching medium. The research notebook can store all your research in one place. I often use it for storing clipping related to my story as well as taking photos. If you want to describe a scene, it is often good to have a accomplishing photos. The photos also help when writing a script, you can give them to the director who can turn them into shots.


Evernote also brings with it a tool called web-clipper. It can clip articles immediately on click of a button.



Make Audio Notes

This tip was given by Amar Vyas on Facebook. You can always record audio-notes that describes a particular character or a setting to be referred at a later period.

Bonus: Managing conventions

If you visit a lot of conventions and literary festivals, you get a lot of pamphlets and business cards. This information may not be useful at that point of time but it may be valuable in the future. Evernote can be used to safely store the pamphlets in a unique notebook for future reference,

The best part is, Evernote business card scanner, scans the business card and creates a contact in your phone automatically.


It is obviously not the best tool for writing out there but you can use it for writing faster on any device. Once you are done with your chapters, they can be simply copied to a word processor for further editing.

This is how I use Evernote to keep track of my writing, research and conventions. What tool do you use for writing fiction?


Sunday, October 11, 2015

[Short Story] Winds of Change

This post has been published by me as a part of Blog-a-Ton 56; the fifty-sixth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write.
There are moments that come in time-traveller's life when he has to look over his entire existence and asks himself - Is this it? Is this the moment when you determine if you are in the right time-stream?

Look, those who do not know time-travel, here are the basics- in space we can travel. We can go from point A to point B in private vehicles, public transport or even just walking. It's easy, you learn it when you are 3 or 4 years. The first time you crawled from the end of the room to the arms of your parent you feel, this is it , this is your biggest achievement. But then in the next few years, your parent take you to a garden and then you think... woah, can I run from one end to another? Sure you can, you try that and you feel good about it. You try to tumble, you try to crawl, you know different ways of travelling in space.
Everyone learns to travel in time when they are born. All you have to do is sit in one place and time will go on. You will travel forward without any effort. Ask that to a man shot in his guts and waiting for death. The twenty seconds of his existence shows him the value of time moving forward. Or ask any marathon runner the significance of a second, that had made the difference. So time-travel forward is easy. The tricky part is going backward.
Can you sit in one place and time reverses itself? That is what I was thinking for a while, almost my entire life. The thing I forgot was, time does not stop for a time-traveller to think about time-travel. Let me give you few seconds to read that sentence again. So, when I was thinking about reversing time, it was moving ahead without bothering about my experiments.
Thus, when I actually completed the maths for the first time jump, I was eighty years old. Too old to attempt a time-jump. With a weak heart and a high-blood sugar, I feared going to the local supermarket, let alone going back in time. So the problem I had to solve was, how can I go back in time when I was still young. I know the solution - you don't get an IQ of 180 to not know a solution of any problem.
The solution is this- I go back in time when I first started thinking about time-travel and give myself the secret of time-travel. Take another few seconds to re-read that sentence. So here is where we are today. The plan was simple, I go back in time and I give myself the secret to go back in time. Wait, let me read that again. Yes, that is right.
The issue is, what with a weak heart and my blood sugar, it will be difficult for me to return back alive. So here is where I keep this note for whoever stumbles upon my lab. I will always be the first time-traveller in the world.
- Inspector Khan re-read the note twice. He still couldn't make sense, who was the person burnt to crisp in front of him? A strong gust of wind blew the letter from his hand and he chased outside to catch it. Behind him the body burnt to crisp had vanished. He couldn't understand why was he revisiting a man who died two years ago in a gun violence? He left the place making a mental note to get himself checked.
The note was another secret buried in time, never to be found again.

Picture Courtesy: AJ Montpetit ~ Stocksnap.io
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: XX.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Bio of Professor Shastri


Born: 14 January 1978
Hair: Curly, partially bald
Profession: Founder- 'Takshashila institute of Advanced research'


Anyone who met Professor Sampakta Shastri always had an undeniable urge to punch him hard in his face. Prof Shastri was a self-proclaimed expert on everything under the Sun. His theories and ideas were famous around the world. He was also known to have an outburst of information about everything in the world. He used to share it in random conversations with no moral obligations of any kind. He liked to give prolonged lectures, which he was fond of giving, at any unfortunate moment. Sometimes, irrespective of whether anyone was willing to listen to him or not.

Professor Shastri was in his late thirties and had a round face and a big belly. From a distance he looked like a giant panda with short and curly hair, dark brown complexion and no facial hair. Depending on who you believe in, he was either a modern day Einstein or a lunatic devil worshipper. There was no real proof about what he did or who he was; only rumours. The only fact known about him in public domain was that he was richer than most people on the planet. He had earned the money from his countless patents.

There were rumours that Prof. Shastri was working with many governments. There were rumours that many governments wanted him arrested for uncertified human experiments. He was also rumoured to go missing for days hunting some treasure or a lost city or a lost civilisation. The only real public information about Prof. Shastri was that he was the founder of 'Takshashila institute of Advanced research'. The five-storey building housed and sponsored experts on many subjects in different fields.

Known Associates

Advika Shetty- Intern

If you met Advika Shetty for the first time, you would not believe her. It would be difficult for you to understand that she was a PHD student training to become a neurologist. It would also be exceedingly difficult for you to understand that her father was Professor Shetty. The infamous professor of theology and comparative mythology. It would be even more confusing to know that her mother was the unpopular Christina Pillai. Christina Pillai was a theoretical physicist who challenged many religious institutes with her theories.
Advika was the after-product of a heated debate at the university about the concept of God and a weekend of drunken madness in Goa. Her parents never got to a proper marriage. But still managed to raise a beautiful scientist according to religious principles. She considered herself a perfect balance between religion and science. But she missed realising her ambition to join the glamorous world of air hostess by an inch. She was an inch shorter than the mandatory requirements of becoming an air-hostess. Her hair were too straight for any possible good hairstyle. Out of pity most hair stylists gave her the same shoulder length haircut with angled bangs on her forehead. After her dream for air-hostess crashed to the ground, she had to choose between joining a convent for studying religion with her father or a PhD college like her mother. Her mother was proud on the day she Takshashila Institute hired her as an intern.


Dr. Meghana Banarjee- Colleague, Head of Psychology Department, Takshashila Institute of Advance Research


Dr. Meghana sported short, wavy, layered curls. They suggested that she was a fun person and also that she didn’t spend a lot of time managing them. She was in her early 20s and wore simple doctor's apron over the salwaar suit. No one would believe she was the the world’s leading authority on the brain functions. She held three PhDs on many subjects by the age of 23. She had written ‘The Theory of Morality,’ an international bestseller. She had received 30 different awards in 17 countries for her research. She was the best of the best and was often called in to help when no one else would know what the problem could be.

These characters and more are going to set out on the most epic adventure ever. Buy the book today


Have you read my book yet?

Have you read my book yet?
An epic adventure across space and time