FAQs about my writing course and a writing sample from one of my students.

FAQs about my writing course and a writing sample from one of my students.

As many of you who follow me on my various
social media handles  know, I have started a writing course  called Fundamentals
of Creative Writing: A project based course to strengthen your writing skills.

Since a lot of people are  asking me the
same questions over and over, I thought I would do a FAQ (Frequently Asked
Questions), so that the next time someone asks me about it, I can point them
here.


1. What is this course about?

 The course is a writing course,
consisting of on-demand video lectures. It is divided into several sections. At
the end of each section, there is an assignment for you to do and submit.
See in detail, what you will be learning HERE.

2. What is the duration of the
course?

The duration depends entirely on you, as you
can do the course at your own pace.
 Here’s what you will get:

You also get access to an EXCLUSIVE facebook writing club, which is a CLOSED group.


3. Is it just a one-hour long video?

No! Researchers have found that information
is best retained when given out in short chunks and then you put to use what
you just learn. So as per the best-practice guidelines, each video lesson or
‘lecture’ is between 1 and 6 minutes. There are many such lessons. The total
duration of it is an hour.
You can do these lessons over many weeks.
There is no point just listening to it all at
one go, and not doing anything. You will learn best if you put into practice
what you learn!

4. You have the same course on
Udemy and Skillshare. How should I choose? Is there any difference between the
courses?

The content offered on both Udemy and
Skillshare is exactly the same. Skillshare works on a subscription model.You pay
a certain sum each year and you have access to thousands of courses. (not just
my course)
In Udemy, you buy the course. You have a
lifetime access and you do not have to pay anything after you make the payment
once. It is for you to decide.

5. Will you be reading our
assignments?

Yes! I love to read what my students have
done, and for me that is an important part of the course.

6. What will I be able to do after
I take your course?

You will know how to keep a writer’s note
book, where to find ideas, where I find my ideas, how to create characters, how
to develop a plot, how to write dialogues and finally how all of it comes
together in a story.

7. If I take your course, will
you offer feedback on a book I have written?

I will be able to offer feedback only on the
assignments that I have given in my course. I will not be able to read your
book or other work that you have produced.
Here is why I cannot read the other 
stuff you send me: http://blog.preetishenoy.com/2013/03/why-i-cannot-read-stuff-that-you-send.html

8. Do you have any samples of
assignments that we can expect?

Yes! Please see this LOVELY work by one of my
students Subrata Naskar. I really liked what he wrote.

Create three characters of your
choice. Flesh them out with details in the lecture you just watched. Submit
them here.

First character

Death of a loved one leaves behind a desert of loneliness and an ocean of
grieving memories.  But for Sujan, Diya left behind a mountain, too steep
for him to get over.

It has been three years since
Diya left him.  Still, for him it feels like it happened just the day before. 
Memory of her is still fresh in his heart like a festering wound which times
does little to heal.

Sitting in his couch he looks at
the setting sun.  His slight, portly figure looks protuberant as it
silhouettes against the wall in the setting sun.  Away on the horizon the
sun looks like a giant bruise from which dark arteries spread themselves over a
poisoned sky.  The wound seems eternal, everlasting like his.  He
takes off his glasses and places them over the glass-topped wicker table beside
him.  A heavy sigh escapes him.  He runs his long, slim fingers
across his long, scruffy hairs before resuming his journey down memory lane.

Three years ago he was a happily
married man.  He was 32 back then in perfectly good health who loved to
remain active.  Now when he looks back to those days, his previous self
seems to him a well known stranger, like his co-passenger in the train on his
way to work, so close yet so distant.  He got his father’s job in the
Indian Railways where his father used to work before a massive heart attack cut
his life short.  He was 55 at that time, five years before his
retirement.  His father being an engineer was regular in the officer
circles.  So it was easy for him to slip into his father’s shoes and
thanks to his degree in Mechanical Engineering from BESU he climbed up the
ladder of success pretty fast.

His mother died when he was in
college.  After his father’s death he began to feel forsaken.
 Although he kept himself busy in his work, but at night when he came home
he suddenly began to feel the weight of loneliness, ready to crush him under
its massive burden.

His uncle prodded him to get
hitched thinking Sujan needed love in his life.  The bride was the
daughter of his wife’s aunt.

Sujan stretches his legs forward
before resting one knee on another.  He can perfectly remember the day of
his marriage.  The reception took place on a Sunday.  It being a
holiday all of his relatives and friends joined the party.  Joy and
happiness was palpable in the air.

Diya won him over on the first
day with her winsome smile.  She was the love of his life.  They were
the perfect couple.  Hailed from a middle class family she knew that it is
small things that make a house a home.  Every evening, on his way back
from work, he would find her standing on the porch waiting for him.  Her
big black eyes had a sense of longing in them.  As he threw open the gate
and stepped on the courtyard she would run and pick up his bag.  She asked
endless questions about how his days passed over a cup of piping hot tea. 
Her big eyes widened in childlike innocence when he described how the massive
railway engines huffed and puffed before chugging out of the carshed.  At
night she would run her fingers in his hairs and hummed a song.  Sujan would
be soon transported to a dreamland before the warble trailed off.  He
would fall asleep.

Sujan slowly rises from his chair
when the twilight has coagulated into the dark.  He looks at the luminous
disk that has risen up in the blue-black bruised sky.  On such an evening
he got a call that changed his life forever.

Diya was pregnant with their
first child.  Their happiness was boundless.  Endless discussion on
how to usher in the baby ensued.  Diya looked more beautiful than
ever.  When she trudged along the verandah with her hands carefully placed
over baby bump, it seemed an inseparable part of her.

Into 35 weeks of her pregnancy,
she water broke.  It happened on a Sunday morning.  Sujan rushed her
to the Railway Hospital.  There doctor immediately admitted her.  They
gave her medicine to induce labour.  Sujan waited in the lounge with bated
breath.  Excited, he went out in the open air and started to pace up and
down the road that wound around the hospital premises.

He went home only in the late
afternoon when doctor assured him that Diya was doing well.  At home he
had a quick shower and a hurried lunch.  He was in the bedroom getting
dressed when the phone rang.  It was a phone call from the hospital. 
A cold female voice told him to present at the hospital immediately. 
Sujan froze in fear.  He dashed to the hospital.  By then it was
over.

The medical report stated that
Diya died from obstructed labour.  It was as if a part of him died that
evening.  It had turned his world upside down.  He seemed like a
creature made by an early whim of nature, which on second thought took
everything away from him before chucking him to struggle and
extermination.  They could not even save the baby.

Sujan slowly let himself slide
over the chair.  He looks vacantly at the moon as it starts to spread over
everything a thin layer of silver.  Slowly his vision blurs.  He
feels two fat teardrops well up in his eyes before spilling onto his
shirt.  Nothing can dispel the eternal darkness that pervades his
soul.  Nothing.

They say time heals the greatest
wound.  Maybe it does.  But when memory picks at it, it can never
heal.

The night deepens.  Sujan
lifts himself from the chair and ambles into the room.  He needs something
to drown his memories with.  He heads to the bedside rack lined with
bottles of different shapes and sizes.  He trails his finger along each of
them before stopping at a small one at the end.  He takes out five pills
and after a moment’s hesitation chucks them into his mouth.  He then goes
to the kitchen, flicks the tap to pour water in a glass placed at the side and
empties the glass at one go.

Outside, the moon separates
itself from the shadows of the eucalyptus tree in his courtyard.  Inside
Sujan struggles to separate his mind from the memories of his wife. 
Slowly the moon frees itself from the clutches of the leaves and rises up
higher.  As a delicious slumber takes over his senses, Sujan feels his
mind rise high up into the night sky till it can reach no more.  There he finds
Diya waiting for her, her thin lips parting into a bright smile with her eyes
sparkling with the glow of love and tenderness.

The next morning Sujan is found
dead in his bed.  The doctors at the hospital say he has overdosed on
sleeping pills.

But nobody knows that Sujan was
long dead, only his limbs were alive.  And that night he felt alive in the
arms of his beloved when he slipped into eternal sleep.


Second and third character:

I first met Rehman when I was looking for a mason to do some repair work of my
house.  Constructed in 1948, by my father, the house was devoid of repair
since then.  Gradually it was falling into decay; becoming a source of
bitter spat in the family and a snigger among relatives.  It was when I
bumped into Rehman.

He came to me the next
morning.  I was watering the plants in my garden when the doorbell
shrieked.  When I opened the door my eyes met with a man standing at the
porch.  He introduced himself as Rehman.  I waved him in and showed
him a chair.

He was big man, with very bright
brown eyes, set deep in a wrinkled and weather-beaten face.  Like a
construction site, he was a mess-up.  He wore a full-sleeve shirt that had
dull patina of grime along its shoulder blades that spoke of the kind of work
he was involved in.  His skullcap was mud-stained, perched atop a mop of
tousled hair, with streaks of white still visible at the round corners. 
He wore a dirty lungi that had different hues all over it save its own, was
raised high up revealing his hairy legs and tied into a knot under the
bellybutton.  His beard was unruly flowing over his chin and almost
touching his chest.

“Are you looking for a mason?” he
spoke in a heavy Bengali accent coming directly to the subject, brushing aside
pleasantries.

“Yes.” I replied still gazing at
him.  His sun-ravaged face spoke of the long hours he spent under its
glare.  Though in his 30s, he seemed much older.

“Let’s go and see what you to
do.”  He said raising himself from the chair.

I showed him around where the
roof was leaking, which part of the wall developed a crack and the corners
where the plasters peeled off.  He surveyed each and every corner of the
house and spoke to me at length on what needed to be done and what materials to
be bought.  There was certain vibe around him, a constant flow of energy,
the way he arched his shoulders, in the clarity of his eyes and the way he
fidgeted constantly.  It was plain that he was a vigorous and restive kind
of person.

He started work the very next
day.  All that week my house was a source of frenzied activity. 
Rehman rushed about laying cement, hammering down damp parts of the wall. 
His workers trudged up and down the stairs with stacks of bricks balanced
precariously on their heads.  Sometimes they plodded upstairs with sacks
of cement on their backs, the fine mixture plastering their faces white.

After precisely one week Rehman
declared the job was done.  All of us heaved a sigh of relief.  But
it was short-lived.  The next challenge was to clean up the mesh they had
left the house in.

From then on whenever I came
across Rehman on the street or in the market he always greeted me with a
courteous smile.  No matter how busy he was he always made it a point to
get down from his bike and ask after my family.  His tender eyes glistened
with delight whenever I asked him over for a cup of tea.

It was over a cup of tea that one
day he declared he was getting married.  I burst into wonderstruck
laughter.  I never expected him to be unmarried till then since people in
their community get married quite early in life.  He reasoned that after
his father’s untimely death the yoke of the family fell on his shoulders and
marriage was something he could ill afford back then.

However we were happy at his
decision and happier still that he decided to invite us.  We felt glad
that he was at least immune to the virus of religious bigotry.

The marriage took place at his
ancestral home in Singa village of Murshidabad district, a hamlet of about 800
people, indicated on the district survey map with a microscopic dot.  It
was an agonizing four-hour drive from Kolkata.  But our torment soon went
away when we were greeted with a motley crowd of overjoyed villagers, eager to
usher in “Kolkatar babu” to their hamlet, a maze of low mud huts huddled
together like confectionary on a tray, each topped with a billowing tousled
head of straw.

It was an amazing experience to
have witnessed Rehman’s marriage.  Unlike ours, theirs take place in
daytime.  Bride and groom were seated separately, screened from each with
a silk curtain drawn in the middle.  The moulavi from the village mosque
presided over the ceremony.  He personally went to the bride and the groom
to ask for their consent.  It was only after their mutual consent
witnessed by at least three persons that their marriage was solemnized.

A grand feast awaited us under a
canopy that looked like a giant umbrella unfurled just outside the village.
 Rehman’s arrangement was like his work, left nothing to grouse. 
After we had our fill we went to meet the bride.

Seated in a separate hut, she
looked pretty in her wedding dress.  She had bright deep eyes set in a
calm face and a stretched forehead.  She had thin lips and a determined
chin.  She looked a bit frail but it was compensated by her radiant
smile.  Her voice had a tinkling sound like soft chiming of bells though
her tongue began to trip a bit when she spoke under the pressure of so many
prying eyes.

Rehman was back in the city next
week with his wife.  Once back, he remained mostly buried in work as was
I.  Once or twice we met on the way and exchanged pleasantries.  He
looked happy so was I knowing that Rehman had found the love of his life at
last.

Two weeks after his return to the
city, Rehman had an accident.  He was working on a rooftop of a building while
talking to his wife on the phone.  He was about to get down when he
stumbled upon a set of planks stacked near the staircase and tumbled down 12
feet on the concrete surface below.  He was rushed to the hospital with
three fractured ribs, broken right hand and leg and an injured spine.

I rushed to the hospital where I
found Rehman lying at a corner covered in bandage from head to toe with IV
drips on.  His wife was sitting near his bed caressing his forehead. 
One his eyes fell on me, Rehman tried to get up but could not.  His
chapped lips parted into a dry smile that lingered on till I left him.  I
sat at his bed and clasped his right hand in a show of sympathy and
support.  He joked wryly that love for his wife must have weakened him a
bit otherwise he would not have ended up in hospital.  I looked away
knowing that my eyes were stinging with tears.

Rehman’s wife was silent all
along.  She kept on caressing his forehead.  Time had been cruel to
her.  But she looked unbelievably calm and poised.  Her visage never
betrayed an emotion.  She seemed to age in the span of a few days, not in
years but in experience.  She sat there still, silent, unruffled like the
centre of a deep lake that small waves of suffering could never reach.

Three days into his hospitalization
Rehman died.  His fall resulted in a hemorrhage in his brain that bled
internally snuffing his life out.  I got the news the next morning. 
As I was about to go to office one of his workers came and delivered the
news.  I could not go to the office that day.  I plonked on the sofa
in my drawing room with my head held in my arms.  My eyes were moist with
tears.  His joke continued to play at the back of my mind like the tangled
part of a tape recorder.  Love must have weakened him a bit.

One week later I heard from my
wife at dinner that Rehman’s wife killed herself by consuming poison. 
That was the first time I heard her name.  Her name was Nayeema, which
means blessing in Arabic.  I chuckled and carried on with my meal
.

I liked his work so much that I asked him if
I can publish it on my blog. Subrata Naskar was kind enough to share his
picture as well.

 
 9. But I cannot write as well as
Subrata! Is this course for me?

Yes! This course is for complete beginners. Everybody has to start from somewhere 🙂 We begin right from scratch.


10. Can I get a free preview of the course?

Of course. Please click on the Udemy link below and it gives you about four
lectures free for you to decide if the course is for you. Also check out the
reviews that I have been getting.

11.  Okay, I am in! Where do I enroll?

Here are the links:

Udemy

Skillshare 

 The course is priced at 99.99 dollars on Udemy for a lifetime access.
But if you use the coupon code PREETINEW  then you get a 75% off ! (I am
making it  VERY affordable so that many people who want to write can make
use of it. You can feel free to share the coupon code)

You will also get access to a CLOSED facebook group exclusive for the students who have joined
See you in class! 🙂

Project M --Singapore's hunt for the next super model. Please cast your vote!

March 31, 2018

Love a Little stronger. Preeti Shenoy's next book releases on April 27th!

March 31, 2018

3 Thoughts on FAQs about my writing course and a writing sample from one of my students.

  1. The first story is incredibly beautiful and sensitive. I will surely check the course Preeti and the FAQs are very interesting.

  2. It was a very informative course. Kudos to you for putting all your efforts for many budding writers to aspire. I have one question to ask. I have noticed that there are writing contests which has a prompt for the writers. How to go about it… Should the prompt be the finishing line of the story…

    • Hi..Just follow the instructions on the writing contest. Some of them will need for the story to begin with the lines they give. Some will say that you can incorporate tehm anywhere into the story.

Comments are closed.