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Humor in Writing

I write contemporary fiction genre with themes that revolve around the facts of life.  

Bowled but Not Out (BbNO) revolves around second chances. Often, an individual who has been let down the first time from a dysfunctional relationship will not have the courage to stand up and look out for another opportunity. Despair and discouragement will envelop her. 

“If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh; otherwise, they’ll kill you.”

― George Bernard Shaw

That’s when I thought of sprinkling humor in my protagonist’s life, Saru, by using cricket as a metaphor throughout the novel. I have projected Saru to be confident, empathic, funny, and silly at times. She bats away the sarcasm and negativity in the stadium that is her life. 

Humor isn’t easy to define. While you know that comedy is a cognitive and emotional experience that often leads to laughter, you may not know why. 

Why is something funny?

No one knows how to answer that question definitively. Humor is personal, subjective, and biased.

Humor is often the result of surprise. An unexpected action or phrase can be a delightful treat when set up in the right way.

“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.”

― Erma Bombeck

There is a thin line that separates laughter from pain. I embraced some tips to be able to make it an entertaining read.

  1. Mold a protagonist to appear silly. I portrayed her as a die-hard Bollywood fan who would love to sing and dance around trees and even get emotionally charged if someone did a favor for her. This easy-going personality came in handy when I showcased her in a dysfunctional relationship. But then I also tried to have a character support her transition during that period and not give up. 
  2. Compare two lives. One was the protagonist who had entered a dysfunctional relationship, and the other was her co-sister happily married. This contrast helps the reader get a grip on what my protagonist is going through, and it helps generate empathy for her. 
  3. Use metaphors to define her tragedies in addition to happy moments keeps the mood light. I used the terms of cricket to do the above. 

Example: “Go and hit the ball out of the park.” Saru’s dad cheered when they reached their destination. Saru realized that she had received a beamer and was quick to duck figuratively to avoid getting hurt. Her self-pride was bruised, but she continued to glare at the maid’s audacity. 

4. Place a character reader love to hate. That prevents the plot from becoming too spicy and intense.

Example: “Just remember, Saru, the whole world will be watching you.” Mom got comfortable on the dining chair with the rotary phone on her lap.

“What a smart way to encourage your daughter, Sushma!” Her dad scorned his wife then inquired, “What are you doing?”

“I have to inform our relatives, Colonel. How will they know that our Saru is going to be on TV?”

5. Make them laugh when they least expect it. Never set the expectation that you’re about to try to be funny. It’s much easier to be funny unexpectedly. Attempting to be funny is a subtle side effect; humor is a pleasant deviation from an expectation. Then create a scenario where laughter is induced skillfully. 

Example: Saru goes for a TV interview, and things don’t go as planned. But she turns out to be everybody’s favorite towards the end. 

I usually project the mental growth of my characters as they learn from their failures. And in my Bowled but Not Out novel, I project the same. This young lady knows to groom herself to be a confident achiever and strengthen the platform for her daughter and her future. 

The use of simple language, smooth transition of the story plot, humor, relatable and straightforward characters all make this book enjoyable and a must-read by one and all.

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This post comes from Rough Writer Ruchira Khanna

A Biochemist turned writer who gathers inspiration from the society where I write about issues that stalk the mind of the man via tales of fiction.

I blog at Abracabadra which has been featured as “Top Blog” for five years. Many of my write-ups have been published on LifeHack, HubPages to name a few.

I can be found at:

https://www.facebook.com/RuchiraKhanna01

Twitter: @abracabadra01

Write to Inspire Yourself

Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes, I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can escape the madness, melancholia, and panic fear inherent in a human situation. ~Graham Greene.

I am a classic example of this statement. When arthritis struck me in every joint of my body, the plus side was that I became aware of all the joints that exist. Each step would be as laborious as a chain smoker trying to breathe. The pain was excruciating, and to date, I get the chills. The negative side was I was forced to go into hibernation mode.

However, my infant was being taken care of by my mom, who had traveled from India. At the same time, I had to make an effort to move to nourish myself, in short, to come out of hibernation. 

Weeks turned into months, and I finally decided to quit my corporate job since I had no hope of going back. It was a tough decision, but I decided to take charge of myself. No more blaming fate over it; thus, slowly, but with steady steps, I decided to fight this inflammation off my body while keeping a keen eye on my infant’s milestones in the background. 

This autoimmune disease was my turning point in my life. While the doctors had prescribed me pills to ingest every other hour, I decided to fill myself up with affirmative messages to get my limbs moving. 

 I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn. ~Anne Frank

I started to pen down words since we all know that the society that we live in is filled with negativity. Dialogues from a distance such as, “Oh! How do you manage?” “Gosh! I feel for you.” “You are so young to get this?” 

The above conversations would put me in the ‘Why me?’ stage, and I would get into the loop of never-ending pity. That would incur all sorts of negative emotions and make me take a back step.

Some of the writing:

Life has many phases bestowed upon us. There will be happy while there will be challenges to overcome. Don’t become serious when there are challenges ahead in life; continue to do your part to solve the issue by being sincere. You being diligent, honest will take you miles. But by becoming serious and losing sleep on it will make matters worse. Since the saying goes, “All work and no play make a man all dull and lame.”

You can do it!! This is the mantra we should always be chanting. Man is born to have ups and downs in his life. In this period of life, we go through ups and downs, and we can stay motivated during our down period by chanting the above mantra. Positive thinking helps.

The power of a touch, a small act of caring, can blossom a plant. Life is like a plant. Just as the plant needs water, fertilizer, sunshine, and fresh air, we need to experience the power of a touch, a smile, have a listener beside us, or hear a compliment to keep us blossoming and going every day in our lives. 

Develop a challenge during a crisis. Keeping that attitude will make you confident; to try to overcome the problem, and you will be able to see through the smoky tunnel for light.

 Life is a grindstone, and it will grind us down. We can choose to get polished by the grinding and shine like a jewel, or we could get crushed by the grinding. 

Every minute our body creates a new cell. The cell divides, and a new cell is formed based on the type of energy we have. If we are bickering or complaining, the new cells formed are deformed and can have a derogatory effect on our health in the long run. No matter what the situation is, think positively. No problem can be as big as the kind of cell being produced in your body, which will reward us in the long run with good health. 

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The topic for the write-up would vary on my mood each day. But writing helped; I would go back to it; when fear, anger, pity would encircle me. These words would be gold then and would ground me and help me find light in the dark tunnel. 

Eventually, this kind of pattern became a habit, and today I cannot live without it. My body is quick to retaliate if anything negative encircles around, making me conscious of my breath and thoughts.

Amidst all the chaos and the turmoil of inflammation, I could sense the negative and positive vibes. That also made me recognize that universal energy is supreme; thus, I learned about Reiki and other modalities.

I eventually started penning stories and novels and entered the self-publishing world in 2013. Also, I blog at Abracabadra, which has inspired many because of the mantras attached to each feature. 

My 2 cents

Life is all about twists and turns. This detour in my life made me recognize the passion within, and I am living a fulfilled life.

Mantra for today: Man plans for his future, but only 1% of it gets executed. 99% is what destiny has in store for him. But the choice is yours to either drive it or let it drive you! 

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This post comes from Rough Writer Ruchira Khanna

A Biochemist turned writer who gathers inspiration from the society where I write about issues that stalk the mind of the man via tales of fiction.

I blog at Abracabadra which has been featured as “Top Blog” for five years. Many of my write-ups have been published on LifeHack, HubPages to name a few.

I can be found at:

https://www.facebook.com/RuchiraKhanna01

Twitter: @abracabadra01

Creativity Takes Courage

As defined by Wikipedia, creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible or a physical object. 

Although keeping this creativity to yourself is like a common man doing his chore daily without having the guts for the world to take a peep at what he has created. 

After all, it takes courage to show your creativity. 

A Vibrant World

With billions of permutations and combinations, our genes have created 7.7 billion humans with a unique personality. Sure, there would be some overlaps of likes when random people are put together in a room. But to have 100% compatibility is a no-no. Even soul mates, identical twins would not have that quality, let alone best friends or a married couple.

When people choose to create something with their intellect while allowing their mind to be at rest: a piece that’s as precious as Mona Lisa or Alchemist, the novel or a COVID vaccine or Serenade by Mozart is presented to the world. 

To date, some have admired it, and some don’t. 

How many times have you often second-guessed yourself? Is your mind a swirling storm of contradictions and negativity? And then when you least expect it, your inner critic rears its ugly head, often very loud and mean. You have a fear of judgment that kept you playing small, forcing you to swallow your questions or ideas from one minute to the next?

Creativity is Intelligence having fun.

Albert Einstein

Here is a list of strategies you can put into action, one confident step at a time, when you have created something beautiful and want to showcase it to the world.  

Reframe your superpowers of creativity

You have created beautiful work; is it fair to keep it with you? Don’t you want to give it wings to fly? It’s just like when you give a bird flight; it’ll chirp and spread the music around. That music could be a melody for some, while some would frown upon it. To be able to see a mix of both is what creates a balance on this planet. Reframe your ideology, and embrace all forms of critics that come your way. 

Giving Voice to the Inner Gremlins

We often fuel our inner critic by fear and uncertainty. Our mind creates such useless dialogues within our organ, the brain, that many of us allow our manuscripts to gather dust, and eventually, dust mites eat them away. Our inner dialogue becomes a mash-up of limiting beliefs that keep us playing safe and free of harm. When we humanize our inner gremlins, we appreciate their value and break free of our ability to keep us stuck in the same pattern. 

Replace negative talk with encouraging words.

Connect with people who appreciate your work

The saying that like-minded people will always boost your confidence holds. Connect with them, allow them to beta read your work, take those suggestions, and try to improvise. 

Mind your Mind 

Reflect on your strengths and superpowers, and act with intention as you fine-tune your inner dialogue.

Always remember you’re the driver of your creativity. If you fall prey to your inner critic, you’ll be swirling down the drain endlessly with no chance of seeing the light any time of your life. Take control of the reins. You might hear the horse neigh over it, but you continue to keep those reins pulled. Pull them hard. Do some pep talk that will help dispel the mounting anxiety and uncertainty. The horse within will calm down and will be ready to take that step towards showcasing your work. 

On a personal note: I am a Biochemist turned self-published contemporary fictional writer with eight books. I have no formal training in writing. But I gather inspiration from society and write about issues that stalk a human’s mind while projecting each of my characters’ mental growth. With each book, I grow as a writer as I learn the tricks of writing. Even though my previous book would have the flaw (lack of POV, tell vs. show), I choose to shine a light on what I’ve accomplished in the past.

 Your superpowers are excellent armor and ammunition against that caustic inner voice. 

My two cents

Create what your Intelligence seeks. Your creativity gives you the confidence that serves the wings to fly, to soar high. 

  Life has no limitations, except the ones you make. 

Les Brown

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This post comes from Rough Writer Ruchira Khanna

A Biochemist turned writer who gathers inspiration from the society where I write about issues that stalk the mind of the man via tales of fiction.

I blog at Abracabadra which has been featured as “Top Blog” for five years. Many of my write-ups have been published on LifeHack, HubPages to name a few.

I can be found at:

https://www.facebook.com/RuchiraKhanna01

Twitter: @abracabadra01

Uncluttering the Mind to Be Creative

Creative writing is defined as writing fiction or poetry with imagination and contrasts academic writing. As a creative writer, we imagine our character to gallop over the green pastures or drag his feet in the dry brown desert. To be able to take long firm strides over the mountainous terrains, or glide over the waters like a speed boat.

Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, you can grow flowers…..or weeds.

But that requires an uncluttered mind where we have neatly piled all our emotions just as we stack clean clothes versus the scattered dirty laundry.

That allows a single-pointed mind, and a writer can be in her character’s shoes and capture just the right kind of emotions.

Writing is like housework. For that, the mind should be tidied up just like our bed every morning before we sit down to write. It should be crystal clear for those cells in that organ to create something extraordinary for our character. If we cannot differentiate between fiction and our real-life, we will end up writing a memoir unknowingly, of course.

If our mind is hungover from yesterday’s dialog between a friend or a relative, our plot would unknowingly revolve around that scenario. We have limited ourselves to our environment and missed out on a classic scene, which our mind dared to explore. Due to the circumstances, it wandered around our troubled spots and penned those down instead.

Mind and Intellect can go hand in hand, but the mind ought to first spruce up to listen to the Intellect.

A mind without thoughts is no mind, but to tidy up our thoughts is the key.

But how do we unclutter that damn mind to begin exploring the unexplored?

Unclutter Mentally and Physically

Meditate

The learned suggest we meditate. Continue to breathe with closed eyes while keeping your mind over your breath. This activity is like rinsing your mind with fresh Oxygen as you continue to breathe, which helps curb the erratic thoughts. Can you imagine how soothing it would be?

The scenario is like the ocean waves crashing on the shore, washing off any footprints left behind by humanity.

Attached is a guided meditation.

 

Journaling

Writing down thoughts can help your mind stop churning and begin to release them. An individual can choose to write what pains her since most of the time, people are aware of their foul mood, but don’t know its reason. Journaling helps to work through current challenges, helping one get rid of mental blocks. As a doctor drains a wound, write out all those toxins on paper, and those words will glow in gold once your heart is lighter. So, find a comfortable spot, grab your pen and paper, and get going. Journaling is meant to be a stream of consciousness activity, so you can choose to set a timer or just free flow.

Some prompts that an individual can choose to write is:

“What makes you feel happy?”

“What is hurting, and why?”

“What do you believe in most?”

“Write a letter to your future self?”

“What is your past that still hurts you?”

“List the things you are grateful for?”

 

Walk

Walks amidst nature can help turn your mind outside and help calm the chaos in mind. It’s just like distracting a child who is throwing tantrums. This activity enables an individual to relax as she continues to take deep breaths while she is striding through the open space. Such walks not only help clear the mind but also help burn some calories. On a side note, it gives many ideas even if you choose to call yourself a plotter or a pantser.

Uncluttering is simple; the only thing needed is having the awareness to do so. Once that is in check, one can shape the character or the plot as your creative bugs allow you to do so without anybody’s interference. You are at liberty to either project your characters’ mental growth or take them to a dark place.

I’ve tried all the three methods above and can vouch for it.

As a writer, I write about issues that stalk the human’s mind via tales of fiction, making my readers tag my work as, “Books that make you ponder.”

My contemporary romance novels and short stories have allowed my readers to go to a beautiful place and take home a message. That has helped them ponder their true nature and enjoy my characters’ growth as they endure through the journey that I have created.

My work can be found at www.ruchirakhanna.com


This post comes from Rough Writer Ruchira Khanna

A Biochemist turned writer who gathers inspiration from the society where I write about issues that stalk the mind of the man via tales of fiction.

I blog at Abracabadra which has been featured as “Top Blog” for four years. Many of my write-ups have been published on LifeHack, HubPages to name a few.

I can be found at:

https://www.facebook.com/RuchiraKhanna01

Twitter: @abracabadra01

Being Creative in Balancing Relationships

Man is a social animal, and we need each other for emotional support. The pandemic is the classic example when the world is in lockdown. Many are feeling the brunt of not being able to communicate, hug, and interact with their extended families.

Now, although the immediate family is in the same four walls, emotions are running high as mostly our thoughts and ideas don’t agree.

As a writer, I have observed that my creativity is the lowest at that point. My ego-filled mind and intellect run parallel, just like two railway tracks, and I can’t pen a single word without frowns and disappointment.

I can feel the train of thoughts chug by in my mind with no interaction from the intellect since the track is parallel. As a writer, I see the sunrise and sunset without getting any inspiration to pen since I choose to brood over an argument that happened within my four walls or choose to lament over what my teen did or could have done in his spare time.

Sigh!

But as the weeks ticked by and spending family time amidst board games and movie nights, I realized there is no such thing as winning an argument amidst family.

When you win, you usually don’t win. And when they win, they don’t win. The best outcome is a tie. If you both can walk away equally satisfied—or even similarly dissatisfied—that’s the real challenge. And the real win.

Easier said than to be doing in practical life. I made a few pointers that I eventually embraced to find that inner peace to start my penning.

Be in the moment

That requires the art of being aware of an argument in the first place. I had to be mindful of my surroundings—my thoughts, feelings, and body. And also be conscious of the people around me. Most of our communication is felt or seen before it reaches the verbal realm. Being fully present…is the key.

Stay Present 

I realized I’ve been eluding my teen’s presence. I would do this in subtle and subconscious ways.

Most of the time, we are in a constant state of avoidance. By avoiding, you are telling people in your life that something is more important than them. Going back to the first point…become mindful of their presence will help solve this issue.

Make Time 

Too much to do in the lockdown, but less time. Are you also multi-tasking, like me? Then, how would you become fully present in any conversation?

As Malcolm Forbes said, “Presence is more than just being there.” Being fully present focuses all of your senses on the task or person at hand. Being mindful for a couple of minutes a day and see what you notice.

Since I work from home, multi-tasking was a band-aid solution to fill my void, which became a habit even during the lockdown with family around. I could feel myself becoming overwhelmed. How could I dismantle myself from this over-scheduled and over-committed life for my search for Balance?

Set Boundaries 

Can’t say No to family requests that usually involve cooking their favorite foods could lead to overwhelming emotions that could, after a few weeks, lead to spew of venom. Creating a boundary where each respects their space gives all the privacy and yet the privilege to enjoy each other’s company, is the key.

Energize the Mind-Body

Taking time to exercise is very important. The mind also needs our love and undivided attention every day for a few minutes.

Embrace an unprecedented time

Lately, the news of COVID is that it’s airborne. Now, to embrace the new change of not stepping out without a mask and maintaining that social distance should be the mantra. Again that allows us to be mindful of our actions when in public and be in gratitude to be in good health to venture out in the first place.

All the above steps are tedious, and honestly, there are days when my mind gets exhausted before the physical body. But, aren’t we the intelligent souls here, we can fight out any times. Let’s continue to find that inner peace and be able to continue with our passion…writing.

Finding the Balance—Healing through Creativity

Over the years, negativity and fear have adversely affected our relationships, environment, and health. That has resulted in violent crimes, global warming, financial crisis, and planetary shifts. We all have seen the transformation happening in our pace of life. The result is an imbalance in our energy, and that has lead to a poor connection with our fellow humans.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? 

We always wonder about the above question, don’t we? 

This question has been around for ages, and the answer is still unknown.

The question we always pose is: How can we balance our lives amidst the chaos prevalent inside and outside us? 

Balance word is not just a noun, but also a word that can throw us off a see-saw if we do not hold our grip. It’s like a tightrope walker walking on a line. It’s intricate, so the walker uses a balancing pole in her hands while walking on that rope.

The same holds for all of us. We want a balanced life. Be happy. Be content with the success and the bounties. But are we truly there?

Most of us spend our lives looking for answers; some pretend they got the answer, while a handful of us look for signs from the Universe.

I feel balance comes when we are present in our lives. And one can only be present when we are internally aligned.

The internal alignment comes first, and then the balance is experienced externally.

All of humanity is in search for that balance.

Balance is not only intricate within us, but also plays a vital role in our environment. It is a universal search, and it stretches around us and is within us at a cellular level. Our body’s hormones function courtesy the balance. We see many examples daily, such as when the seed sprouts. It is due to the balance in the conditions of water and oxygen that comes into play. The balance between the air pressure and the feathers and firm muscles make the birds fly. The balance of our constellation that allows our planet to spin and continue to make it our home.

Now that we realize that balance is critical for any living being.

This balance about a human comes from being mindful of his/her emotions. That energy that you exhale out is potent. It comes through your spoken or written words, and just your physical presence.

We can choose to pollute our environment and bring chaos by the choice of our words, or we could filter them and expel only to balance our surroundings and make it beautiful.

In this column, I will explore how we individuals who love to write can fertilize our thoughts mindfully, and deliver our work with love. We can use protection on our thoughts and conceive them intently. This can help create that balance within us so that we can continue to heal the world around us via our words of positivity and wisdom.

There is a Native American parable about a grandfather who says; I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one.” When asked which wolf will win the fight in his heart, the old man replies, “The one I feed.”