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<<October 2016>>
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1. ब्लॉग, ब्लॉगर, ब्लॉगिंग और करियर

ब्लॉग, ब्लॉगर, ब्लॉगिंग और करियर Blog ,Blogger, Blogging Free blog, Google ranking  kya  hai  इससे Career कैसे बनाया जा सकता है. कुछ समय पहले तक मेरे दिमाग में भी बहुत प्रश्न धूमते रहते थे कि ब्लॉग क्या है , ब्लॉग कैसे बनाते हैं ब्लॉग के क्या फायदे हैं फ्री ब्लॉग क्या होता है गूगल रैंकिंग में […]

The post ब्लॉग, ब्लॉगर, ब्लॉगिंग और करियर appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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2. स्वच्छता का महत्व और हमारी जागरुकता – ऑडियो

क्लिक करिए और सुनिए दो मिनट और 37 सैकिंड का स्वच्छता पर ऑडियो स्वच्छता का महत्व और हमारी जागरुकता – ऑडियो धरती को रहने लायक कैसे बना जाए ? क्या वाकई में स्वच्छता अभियान में हमारा कोई योगदान हो सकता है ? या फिर  दान पुण्य के नाम पर गंदगी फैलाना ही जायज है…!! हास्य […]

The post स्वच्छता का महत्व और हमारी जागरुकता – ऑडियो appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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3. Am I Writing a Picture Book?

Little Girl DrawingNot every children’s book with illustrations qualifies as a picture book. Picture book is a unique format, distinct from chapter books or illustrated novels. Picture books are designed for pre-schoolers and elementary school readers, and while the latter may be able to read independently, these books are intended to be read aloud — which is a unique craft challenge, meaning they must “sing” to the ear.

The following are some distinguishing characteristics of picture books:

A picture book has…

  • 32 – 48 pages, with 32 being by far the most common. These pages are divided into 16 double-page spreads, generally featuring either a minimal amount of text and prominent art, or a balance between the two. (Bear in mind that the first and last couple of pages are usually reserved for title, acknowledgements and copyright info.)
  • 0 – 1000 words maximum, with 500 or less being the preference in today’s market.
  • Illustrations on every page (or every facing page.) The art may be full color, black and white, or any combination thereof, but it complements and furthers (rather than just reflects) the story.
  • A simple plot and a limited number of characters, with a child or child-like protagonist at its center, the same age as the book’s target audience.

A picture book does NOT have…

  • Chapters – these fall under the categories of early reader, chapter book or novel, depending on the length.
  • More than 1000 words (with some exceptions, especially with respect to older, “classic” picture books, such as Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings, which has 1149.)
  • Less than 32 pages, or more than 48 pages. (Again, with the exception of older classics.)
  • Dozens of characters, complicated plots or sub-plots.
  • Adult Protagonists (with the exception of fables and fairy tales.)

Craft elements of narrative fiction Picture Books

Begins “in media res” – the problem or conflict is established on page 1

  • Satisfying dramatic arc – beginning, middle, end
  • Child or childlike hero, in pursuit of problem/goal, who learns/changes by end
  • Emphasis on action, dialogue and behavior, rather than exposition/description
  • Fun/engaging use of language for “read-aloud-ability”: word play, rhythm, alliteration, parallelism, patterns, onomatopoeia, personification, verse
  • Economical, lean text – few adjectives and adverbs; don’t say what art shows
  • Visual progression – story makes for variety in illustrations
  • May use anthropomorphism (esp. to deal with tricky subjects)
  • Theme, message or takeaway revealed through action rather than moralizing

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4. Tiny Post about More Regular Tiny Letter

Queens, y'all

Lately I’ve been focused on unpacking, meeting the birds and trees in the nabe, writing my book, and doing my other job. I’ve been disinclined to take on much beyond that, but yesterday I sent my first Tiny Letter since January, and it felt good.

After a couple years of erratic dispatches, I think I’m going to aim for once a week now. SI’m always glad when a description I give at the beginning of something fits what I end up doing with it, and this one does: Ideas & Intimacies.

The letters aren’t archived online–I like the veneer of privacy–but unless I’m working on a new one, I usually send the latest to new subscribers.

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5. The process of writing and acquiring agents.

What do writers do when they receive a response from an agent that reads:

Many thanks for giving me the opportunity to read a sample of your work.  I enjoyed reading what you sent, but I am afraid that after much consideration I am going to have to pass on it.

The agent gives no reason, no feedback, no opinion.

The writer takes these comments in stride and forges on with their work. If you as a writer have a thin skin or don’t like rejection, don’t sit down and write. Be a critic instead. Everyone is a critic but without writers there would be no critics.

As a writer you are your own critic and need constructive criticism. That’s where a writers’ critique group comes into play. After months of constructive criticisms and rewrites, your work gets better, more polished and then you resend it to an agent. Will they read it? Will they contact you for more?

Yes. That’s just the way it works in the hard world of getting published.

If you are a writer. Don’t get discouraged. Keep going. Persistence and polish will win the day.

In words.





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6. सोशल नेट वर्क साईट, कमेंट और झूठ का बोलबाला

सोशल नेट वर्क साईट, कमेंट और झूठ का बोलबाला कमेंटस के लिए कुछ भी करेंगें बेशक, हमें सोशल नॆट  वर्किंग साईट्स जैसे फेसबुक, गूगल प्लस के माध्यम से अपनी बात कहने का मौका मिला है तो इसका मतलब यह तो नही कि उसका दुरुपयोग किया जाए .. अंटशंट लिखा जाए, किसी का अपमान किया जाए […]

The post सोशल नेट वर्क साईट, कमेंट और झूठ का बोलबाला appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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7. भेदभाव की राजनीति – युवा बनाम प्रौढ लेखक

  भेदभाव की राजनीति – युवा बनाम प्रौढ लेखक भेदभाव बहुत है समाज में … जी नही, ना तो मैं किसी जाति न किसी गोरे, काले और ना ही अमीर, गरीब का भेदभाव  कर रही हूं ये भेदभाव है युवा और प्रौढ लेखको के बीच… बात बहुत पुरानी है जब बचपन में लिखा करती थी […]

The post भेदभाव की राजनीति – युवा बनाम प्रौढ लेखक appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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8. कैसे हैं आप

क्लिक करिए और सुनिए मेरी आवाज में 1 मिनट और 35 सैंकिड का ऑडियो … कैसे हैं आप ? कैसे हैं आप ? असल में, हम अक्सर अपना ख्याल नही रखते … अच्छे कपडे पहनेंगें, अच्छा प्रफ्यूम लगाएंगें ,  पर जब बात होगी सेहत की उसके प्रति लापरवाह रहेंगें… अगर आप मेरी बात से सहमत […]

The post कैसे हैं आप appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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9. फादर्स डे- ऑडियो

क्लिक करिए और सुनिए  फादर्स डे  पर 2 मिनट और 34 सैकिंड का ऑडियो मेरी आवाज में फादर्स डे- ऑडियो पापा, पिताजी  डेड  नाम जहन में आते ही दो बाते उभर कर आती हैं एक तो रौबीला चेहरा और दूसरा नाजुक सा दिल जोकि  महसूस तो नही होने देता पर असल में, होता मदर्स की […]

The post फादर्स डे- ऑडियो appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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10. Sketches!!!

I just saw these beautiful sketches over at Emily Hughes’ Instagram page, and couldn’t resist posting.  Aren’t they great? So curious to see what we end up with, for the final cover?

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11. ऑडियो – क्लिक करें और छुट्टियों का आनंद लें

ऑडियो – क्लिक करें और छुट्टियों का आनंद लें कल एक दोस्त से बात हो रही थी वो पूछ रहे थे कि कहां जाना चाहिए छुटटियो में .. उनसे बात करते करते मैं भी सोचने लगी कि ऐसी कौन सी जगह जाया जाए कि खर्चा भी कम हो सामान भी न ले जाना पडे और […]

The post ऑडियो – क्लिक करें और छुट्टियों का आनंद लें appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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12. ऑडियो – समाज कार्य और समाज सेवी

Click here and listen the audio ऑडियो – समाज कार्य और समाज सेवी अगर आपके पास 1 मिनट और 55 सैंकिंड हैं तो आप सुनिए ऑडियो मेरी आवाज में  कैसे समाज कार्य करते हैं ये  समाज सेवी … पिछ्ले  दिनो  कुछ समाज सेवियों से वास्ता पडा. आप सोच रहे होंगे कि ये वास्ता शब्द किसलिए इस्तेमाल किया […]

The post ऑडियो – समाज कार्य और समाज सेवी appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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13. ऑडियो – आप का राशिफल

यहां क्ल्कि करिए और सुनिए अपना राशिफल   ऑडियो – आप का राशिफल – मोनिका गुप्ता   हम  सभी को अपना राशिफल सुनने का बहुत शौक होता है तो सोचा कि क्यो ना आपको आपका राशिफल ही सुनाया जाए तो हो जाईए अपना राशिफल सुनने को तैयार . 3 मिनट 12 सैकिड का ये राशिफल […]

The post ऑडियो – आप का राशिफल appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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14. ऑडियो – व्यंग्य – आम बनाम आम आदमी

क्लिक करें और सुनें  व्यंग्य आम बनाम आम आदमी                            ऑडियो – व्यंग्य – आम बनाम आम आदमी ऑडियो – व्यंग्य – आम बनाम आम आदमी गर्मी का मौसम है और बहार आई हुई है आम की… सोचा आज इस बारे में ही […]

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15. Equipment for a Free Range Artist – Part 2

I’m back from my free range field test: a weekend trip to Fruita, Colorado for some plein air mountain biking fun. (If you missed the first post about all of my new plein-air equipment, you can read all about it here.)

First stop were the Kokopelli trails, which take you along the edge of the Colorado river. There are gorgeous vistas at every turn, and I hiked a few meters off trail and painted one of my favorite views of the canyon. If I’d been walking, it would have probably taken about four hours to get to this spot (and another four to hike back!) but with the bike I could get there in no time.

Plein air painting along Steve's Loop

Most bikers on the path below didn't even see me.

The equipment really improved the experience. Not only was I more comfortable, but I had a much easier time judging color and value with the help of my shade umbrella.

Watercolor painting of a sandstone canyon

The final painting

One benefit of combining mountain biking and painting was that my husband could do extra laps while waiting for me. Sometimes he had a good view of my painting spot:


See the white dot of my umbrella?

Watercolor painting of a sandstone cliff in Fruita, CO

I was painting this interesting rock formation. So many holes!

So, you ask, how was all the equipment?

The Umbrella (Bestbrella white)
Pros: Provided a neutral, even light. I found it easy to set up and relatively stable. It even protected my painting against the odd sprinkle of raindrops.
Cons: I’m not sure I’d use it in a downpour or high winds, but that’s not really what it’s for. When the sun was at certain angles (like right behind my head) it was difficult to properly position the umbrella because the easel got in the way of the tripod pole. I think this is actually a problem with the tripod, not the umbrella: if I had a taller tripod I could have clamped the umbrella lower on the leg in order to miss the easel.

The Easel (En Plein Air Pro Traveler Series)
Pros: Easy to set up, lightweight, simple.
Cons: The easel is fitted with holes to hold your brushes, but a lot of my brushes are either too big or too small to fit in these. Some slide all the way down to the ferrule, while others stick out quite a bit. On more than one occasion I’d absentmindedly put down a brush only to have it slip right through.

The Stool (Walkstool Comfort)
Pros: Durable, easy to set up, pretty comfortable.
Cons: You can only use it with the legs fully extended when it’s on level ground.

The Backpack (Camelbak Motherlode)
Pros: Spacious, durable, well-balanced, lots of convenient pockets.
Cons: It’s not designed with women in mind, and was wide and bulky on me, particularly around the shoulder area. But the width makes it perfect for holding the easel, so I’m not complaining.
Other notes: It can also throw off your center of gravity while biking, which makes technical terrain very difficult. I wouldn’t recommend this for beginners. In fact, I made my husband carry it most of the time so that I wouldn’t mess up and fall off the cliff.

I'm just posing. I gave it back to my husband right after this photo.

I'm just posing. I gave it back to him right after this photo.

The tripod (an old mini travel tripod–I have no idea what brand or model.)
Pros: Very small, compact and lightweight.
Cons: My mini tripod is clearly not meant to hold a bulky plein air easel and umbrella. It’s unstable, and is so small that there’s no way you could use it while standing. The short legs make it difficult to level on steep slopes. It’ll do for now, but I’m going to start saving up for something a little more versatile for the future.

Watercolor painting of two utah junipers and a high desert view beyond

We also visited 18 Road, on the other side of the valley.


All in all, I’d call it a success! If you’re thinking of doing more “free-range” painting and are hesitating about investing in equipment, I recommend that you go for it. No matter where you go to paint–be it far off the beaten path or as close as your back yard–it’s a fun challenge and a great way to improve your painting skills.

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16. Give your Muse a Break: Let Fear Fuel your Fiction

Do you wait for the muse to ignite your imagination?

And wait, and wait, and wait—

Then, consider fueling your fiction with an ever-ready  source of inspiration.


Our characters lead us places we’d rather not go—that’s the fear I’m talking about.

Of course, we don’t want to go down that road, but then why did we invent that character in the first place?

Forget the muse and tap into the energy of personal grief and failure—the emotionally honesty of our characters may depend upon it.

What do you fear about your story?

This is week-5 of my course, Don’t Get it Right, Get it Written, and some students seem hesitant to blitz that first draft. Is more instruction needed, or are they waiting for inspiration?

Waiting for the muse—waiting, waiting, waiting.

My muse may not give me the silent treatment, but I don’t count on her to make my fiction ring true. Not since the time a beta reader—unimpressed with my work-in-progress—asked me:

“PJ, what do you fear about your story?”

I retreated to a café with my notebook to reflect upon my story, my protagonist, a self-indulgent artist with a dying wife, a son with a nervous disorder, and a runaway daughter. Kids! What a responsibility. Parenthood, it’s a set up for failure. Sure, I struggled to raise my own child. Okay, we weren’t the best parents in the world. Did our own self-indulgences mess him up? I don’t know. Do we have to go there?

I had to go there.

Never mind what I thought my story was about, this was powerful fuel for the story that had to be (re)written.

(For the record, I don’t have a daughter, though I have a son who ran away. He was five when he packed his little red suitcase and marched as far as the sidewalk, where he stopped, then tromped back into the house, slammed the door, and said there were too many kidnappers out there. He’d leave in the morning. But I digress…)

The fuel that fires the engine

My novel, ROXY (Tradewind Books, 2009), features a 17-year-old heroine who travels to Greece to tend her estranged grandfather on his deathbed. The idea grew from the seed of compassion I felt for my own dying grandfather, whose mind “flickered like a fluorescent tube,” he said. He was in tears as he struggled to reason and remember.

Fear of death—there’s a bottomless tank of jet fuel.

SMOKE THAT THUNDERS (Thistledown Press, 1999), was inspired by a one-legged river man. As a hydrologist in Africa, I visited old Changwe every month at his river gauging station. When my contract expired he begged me not to go, even put it eloquently on paper. The letter spoke to me of innocence and goodwill and cruel fate. Whatever became of him?

My heart still breaks for old Changwe, who appears in my novel. His lifelong dream to become one with his river serves to fuel the story engine through the final act.

Writing should be risky

We enjoy forcing our protagonists to suffer their failures, but what about ourselves? I feel that a story should threaten the writer, somehow. Writing should be risky.

By tapping into our fears and our failures we can animate our fictional characters, and thereby fuel the story engine.

Leave the muse alone. She’s fickle, coming and going as she pleases. Nor does she know much about tough love.

Fear—there’s the mistress we should summon. She’s right here, right now, ever ready to fuel our fiction.

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17. Twitter Abusive Language

Twitter Abusive Language अगर आज की तारीख में कोई पूछे कि किससे डर लगता है तो मैं तो यही कहूंगी कि न प्यार न थप्पड से न ही किसी और चीज से डर लगता है डर लगता है तो बस टवीटर  पर जाने से… असल में,  टवीटर में भले ही 140 शब्द ही इस्तेमाल होते […]

The post Twitter Abusive Language appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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18. New Site!

Welcome to my new site, which I built myself using Headway Themes and WordPress. Please check back as I unveil a new shop and new artwork.

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19. Paris Bookstore Favorites

A trip abroad =  the perfect opportunity to go book shopping!  While in Paris I spent an afternoon at a bookstore called “Chantelivre,” perusing their delightful collection of picture books and comics/graphic novels. (The latter category, “Bande Dessinée,” are hugely popular in France, for all ages.)

Picture Books on display at Chantelivre

Picture Books on display at Chantelivre

The same titles and names seem to dominate the shelves at my book stores at home, but in France I found lots of new treasures to discover. (There were a couple familiar faces: Mike Curato’s Little Elliot and Oliver Jeffers’ crayon books, and some classics like Max et les Maximonstres, a.k.a. Where the Wild Things Are. )

I was dazzled by this pop-up book by Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud, Dans la Foret du Paresseaux (In the Forest of the Sloth.)

Animated images of the book being opened to show a jungle scene

There's something magical about opening a pop-up book.

The complexity of the pop-up engineering was nicely balanced by the simple geometry of the illustrations. With just a few words, the text made me anxious for the plight of the sloth, who we watch napping as danger nears. The book shows the ravages of deforestation, but it is not without hope.

The saleswoman asked me the age of the child I was shopping for. I explained (slightly sheepishly) that I was just buying books for my own collection. She introduced me to a few French classics, including Gabrielle Vincent’s Ernest et Célestine series:

In this volume, Ernest and Celestine lose Simeon (the stuffed penguin) in the snow.

In this volume, Ernest and Célestine lose Siméon (the stuffed penguin) in the snow.

…And she also pointed out Benjamin Chaud’s Poupoupiadours, which combined whimsical and detailed illustrations with creative use of die cutting. Children could read this book again and again and see new things every time. There are several books in this series and they’re all pretty delightful.

Holy detail, Batman!

Holy detail, Batman!

I couldn’t resist Franz, Dora, La Petite Fille et sa Poupée by Didier Lévy and Tiziana Romanin for the charming story and elegant illustrations of Berlin in the 1920’s. Franz is none other than Franz Kafka, and the book tells the story of how a chance encounter in the park with a little girl who lost her doll brings a smile back to the girl’s face and helps the disillusioned writer rediscover the joy of creating.

Nice use of expressive line and just the right amount of detail

I enjoyed the expressive lines and restraint in the illustrations.

Then there was Le Merveilleux Dodu-Velu-Petit, by Beatrice Alemagna, which was like stepping directly into the weird and wacky imagination of our plucky little protagonist. What is a “Dodu-Velu-Petit,” you say? Why, it’s this pink creature (obviously!) It is described as, among other things, “hairy, inedible and extremely rare.” The creature’s many uses are shown on the page at right. (They translate as follows: pillow, scarf, decorative plant, personal masseur, incredible hat, treasure-collector, domestic help, living sculpture, and paintbrush.) I think this is actually an Italian book translated into French.

My favorite page, showing the many uses of the Dodu-Velu-Petit.

My favorite page, showing the many uses of the Dodu-Velu-Petit.

And let's not forget this page, where the butcher threatens the little girl with a bloody knife.

Then there's this fold-out page, where the butcher threatens the little girl with a bloody knife.

Among the Bande Dessinée, I particularly enjoyed Les Carnets de Cerise By Joris Chamblain and Aurélie Neyret for the way that the story alternated between standard comic book cells showing action and scrapbook-like pages showing the protagonist’s journal and sketches. The series follows the eponymous 11-year old, a curious aspiring novelist, on her various adventures. Digital illustrations can sometimes feel a little cold, but in this case the artist did a great job of adding detail and texture to bring the art to life.


I think these books would be a lot of fun for kids in the 8-12 range.

The only problem was finding enough space in the luggage to bring them all home.

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20. Goodbye, Brooklyn! Hi, Queens, hiiiiiiii.

Forest Park, Early April

I’ve lived in Brooklyn since 1999, longer than I’ve lived anywhere else, even Miami. It’s been good in many ways but also difficult for me. City life tends to exacerbate my anxiety. I’ve missed living near wild green places.

I’m sure I’d have a much harder time leaving New York than I realize, but I’d be happy to give it a try, if not for Max. The city is his soul-home. He can’t imagine leaving the communities of artists and musicians he’s part of — living anywhere that doesn’t have a Stereographic Association, for instance. After all these years, he still endlessly and lovingly photographs the subway. Even the asphalt seems to nourish him. We’re both introverts, but we have different needs.

So we’re moving, as people sometimes do in this situation, pretty far out into Queens. We’ll still be on a subway line but also right next to Forest Park, a hilly stretch of land with hiking trails and tangles of trees, bordered by lots of cemeteries. I’m going to get a puppy. At least for now, we’re not getting a car. 

We don’t move for nine days, but: goodbye, Brooklyn! Thanks, and fare thee well. I’m sure I’ll still see you pretty often. Excited to get to know you, Queens.

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21. Why the Hero Must Die

SS2D4 new coverI teach the “2-story” story.

Never mind the three-act structure, the best stories can be said to consist of two stories separated by a bottomless hole. Where the hero “dies.”

STORY ONE—from the opening line to the protagonist’s loss of faith in him/herself.

STORY TWO—the protagonist emerges from the hole armed with the moral authority to resolve the story.

THE HOLE—the heart of the story, where all is lost and all is gained. And where audiences, instinctively aware that principles and beliefs obscure our greatest happiness, swoon.

In the first of six classes I’m giving here in my seaside village of Gibsons, British Columbia, I asked the class to consume their fiction with an eye out for that blessed hole in the story. Films depict this essential story moment more obviously that novels. But to my surprise the novel I’m currently reading offered up one of the most graphic examples.

Ask the Dust, by John Fante.

Even you, Arturo, even you must die

The protagonist, young Arturo Bandini, a struggling writer in L.A., jeopardizes his happiness by treating other ethnics as badly as he was treated as an immigrant child in Colorado. After sexually mistreating a Jewish woman, his self-respect plummets. Listen as Arturo comes untethered from his own long-held beliefs about the way the world works:

“Then it came to me like crashing and thunder, like death and destruction. I walked away in fear… passing people who seemed strange and ghostly: the world seemed a myth, a transparent plane, and all things upon it were here for only a little while… We were going to die. Everybody was going to die. Even you, Arturo, even you must die.”

Arturo’s first thought is of death, corporeal death. But until that happens he’s stuck suffering the more painful loss of his belief system.

“Sick to my soul, I tried to face the ordeal of seeking forgiveness. From whom? What God? What Christ? They were myths I once believed, and now they were beliefs I felt were myths.”

A sick soul cannot fuel the organism. A person with no beliefs has no goal. Character, which is synonymous with plot, comes to a full stop.

End of Story-One.

“I said a prayer but it was dust in my mouth. No prayers. But there would be some changes made in my life. There would decency and gentleness from now on. This was the turning point. This was for me, a warning to Arturo Bandini.”

Story-Two begins. It’s a different protagonist who drives the story to its completion.

So, who else spotted a hole in a story this week?

Look! The story has a hole in it!

I have critics who insist that my so-called “story heart” presents nothing new, that I’m simply describing the well-known Act II crisis, which is true. There’s no need for me to stand on my soapbox and shout:

“Look!—there’s a hole in my story! And everything’s flowing into it!”

But, really, I do. In my opinion, its significance overshadows all other story elements. Look what’s getting sucked into that black hole:

The protagonist—disillusioned with the utter failure of his strategies, he falls off the time line into the hole. Really, he’s out of time. What a relief.

Ergo, the plot likewise disappears—bye, bye, for now.

The readers, there they go. Vicariously escaping the prison of narcissistic beliefs, they’re free at last. Every story is an escape story, and the hole is the portal to freedom. For readers, this is the payoff. But for real life interfering, this is where our deepest yearnings would lead. This is where drama delivers. This is where we get our money’s worth.

The writer, too, of course. There she goes, having spent how long loving her protagonist all the way to this dark heart. A writer lives for the moment she can deliver her hero to the hole in the story.

Arguably—I’m working on a proof—we writers are nourished daily by loving our fictional characters in this way.

In this week’s class we discuss “characters.”

Character as plot, as the story engine, and why the hero must die.

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22. सूखा, हैलीपैड , छिडकाव और पानी पर राजनीति

सूखा, हैलीपैड , छिडकाव और पानी पर राजनीति जल एक गम्भीर सकंट जहां एक ओर पानी के लिए  ट्रैन  पानी की दुर्दशा देखते हुए महाराष्ट्र रवाना हो रही हैं ताकि पानी की किल्लत न रहे वही दूसरी ओर जब नेता हैलीकाप्टर से जाते है तो छिडकाव करके हैलीपैड को सुरक्षित बनाया जाता है ताकि धूल […]

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23. गर्मी का मौसम – गर्मा गर्म गर्मी

गर्मी का मौसम – गर्मा गर्म गर्मी आ गया गर्मी का मौसम और अपने साथ लाया गर्मा गर्म गर्मी … हालाकि इस साल अच्छी बारिश का अनुमान है पर गर्मी भी अपना रंग दिखा रही है … सभी डर रहे हैं इस गर्मी से … मौत तक सूर्य के तेज ताप से कांप गई है […]

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24. William Shakespeare – Shakespeare 400 Anniversary

William Shakespeare – Shakespeare 400 Anniversary चाहे हमारा पाठयक्रम हो या सिनेमा जगत  … विलियम शेक्सपीयर हर दिल और हर वर्ग पर एक अलग ही पहचान बनाए हुए हैं .. शायद ही कोई होगा जो इस नाम से वाकिफ़ न हो. हॉलीवुड से लेकर बॉलीवुड तक शेक्सपीयर के किरदार अलग-अलग रूपों में जीवंत हुए. नॉक […]

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25. All Stories Are Escape Stories

Great Escape“Every story is an escape story.”

I’ve taped that slogan to the wall of my work station.

It clarifies my character’s trajectory.

It helps my story “come true” because it acknowledges a fact of our human condition:

We are all escaping something.

That notion hijacked my brain after a decade of professionally assessing and writing film scripts. I found myself emotionally invested in characters who were trapped. And it remains the case in every good story I encounter.

Here’s what I continue to discover:

All the best protagonists are trapped within the gravity field of an idea, a relationship, or any situation that makes life not worth living. Naturally, they’re going to escape. Or die trying.

Three great escapes:

The Great Escape—Steve McQueen is a prisoner of Stalag Luft III. Of course, he escapes.

A Room with a View—Lucy Honeychurch, on holiday in Italy with her chaperone, tries to escape the company of man to whom she is unsuitably attracted.

In Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart is a prisoner of his self-pity. If he doesn’t put his broken heart behind him, audiences will demand their money back.

Three stories, three kinds of prison—a concrete jail, a relationship, a belief system.

Three kinds of escape dominate most story plots.

#1. Escaping a prison or place

Prison stories depict characters whose goal is a physical escape. O Brother Where Art Thou, for example. And the futuristic Escape from New York. And the current The Maze Runner.

Escape or die trying!—it’s box office gold.

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy yearns to escape Kansas for a place “where troubles melt like lemon drops.” Once she lands in Oz, the story is all about finding a way back home.

In Casablanca, which is essentially a love story, almost every character is preoccupied with escaping the Nazis by flying to Lisbon and onward to freedom in America.

The escape to greater freedom—it’s a condition of our human condition.

A more subtle and more common escape theme in fiction is…

#2. Escaping a Relationship

Love affair, job, family—these are relationships from which it’s never easy to walk away. A prison break is nothing compared to escaping some relationships.

Fatal Attraction depicts a happily married man who risks a one-night-stand. Big mistake. His partner in infidelity assumes a relationship from which our protagonist struggles to extricate himself. He’s lucky to escape with his life.

In the Booker Prize winning novel, Hotel du Lac, a bride on the way to her wedding instructs the taxi driver to “Keep going! Don’t stop. Pass the church! Whatever you do, keep driving!” She escapes the wrong man and goes into hiding. Close call!

Once again, in Casablanca, Bogey has escaped to the ends of the earth in hopes of never crossing paths with the woman who broke his heart. Who hasn’t felt the need to escape a relationship? Yikes! Let’s not even go there.

But the most subtle and most significant escape theme concerns…

#3. Escaping Oneself

From On the Waterfront, to Moonstruck, to Good Will Hunting, to Silver Linings Playbook, the protagonists are on a trajectory toward escaping their own self-destructive attitudes and beliefs. Casablanca! Again. The protagonist is engaged in all three escapes.

The hero’s redemption (and ultimate victory) hinges on their transcending their self-concern. And it rarely happens unless the writer brings the hero to the point of despair.

It’s another fact of life—and fiction:

“Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.”  ~ William S. Burroughs

Why do we need to escape ourselves?

Because we are all liars. By necessity.

“We tell ourselves stories that can’t possibly be true, but believing those stories allows us to function. We know we’re not telling ourselves the whole truth but it works, so we embrace it.” ~ author, Seth Godin

The delusions that underpin our human condition—and our equally human yearning for the truth—drama depends on it.

It’s as if fiction exists to remind us that we are born to escape.

Born to escape.

If it’s true that we’re born to escape, it’s one of the juiciest facts of life. It may explain why we read and more importantly (for writers), why we are driven to write fiction in the first place.

This week, check it out for yourself—the films you watch and the novels you read—see if it’s not true that:


If you’re writing a story and creating a protagonist—can you identify the prison they’re trapped within? What kind of escape is he or she engaged in?

Any thoughts? Share them in the “Comments” below.

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