Maria Hossain/YA Epic Fantasy

Hi, there. This is my second time doing #PimpMyBio post. You can find out about #PimpMyBio here

Now, without further ado, here’s me.

I’m Maria Hossain from Dhaka, Bangladesh. I’m a student of English literature in University of Dhaka. I’ve been writing since I was 17. So far I’ve written 5 ms.

But mostly I’ll talk about my fantasy ms and why I’ll be a good mentee.

About my ms:

Tagline:

She incited the battle against humanity’s greatest threat.

A millennium later, he will end it.

Short Synopsis:

18 years old Prime Princess Eleni wants revenge more than anything; revenge for  her husband’s murder at her father’s hand. But a deal with the devil, here in the form of the Void, an invisible, intangible entity, will jeopardize her subject’s lives.

A millennium later and miles away…

18 years old Quince Shakran never wanted more in life than two square meals a day, until the day his brother consumes poison for not getting a coveted scholarship, now fighting death. Only high priest of a neighboring state can heal him. On his journey to seek the priest, Quince meets and falls for a royal prisoner, Eresa, a descendant of Prime Princess Eleni. She’s determined to finish her ancestor’s dormant battle against humanity’s greatest threat.

Titbits about my ms:

01. It’s inspired by the ancient Bronze Age civilizations; the setting, Pantheon, is a melting pot of cultures of ancient Indus Valley civilization, Egyptian civilization, Greek civilization and Mesopotamean civilization.

02. This is my first fantasy ms. The previous ones are mostly realistic fiction. After devouring An Ember in the Ashes last year, I began this ms. For comp title, I’d use AN EMBER IN THE ASHES meets the four classic elements, virtues, temperaments and seasons.

03. In this ms, I infused several myths, folklores, religious events, poems and historical events.

Myth: The Nemean lion, the Gaetulian lion, the Fates, the Greek gods and goddesses, their creation from the Titans, the lost city of Atlantis, the lost island continent of Hy-Brasil, the lost island state of Kitzeh, mythical city of Shambhala, the thirteen treasures of the Island of Britain etc. Like epic poems, here you’ll find divine intervention, divine retribution, heroic deeds etc.

Folklores and cultures: from Bengali folklores and cultures, I infused several elements being a Bangladeshi myself.

Religious events: Noah’s ark, Sodom and Gomorrah, Adam and Eve, Lucifer/Shaitan, Fall of Human, etc.

Poems: The Lotos Eaters, Lady of Shalott.

Historical events and norms: Troy city and Trojan War, the Bronze age civilizations, the fall of muslin industry in Bengal, the Alexandria library, the Seven Ancient Wonders, the Barbary lion, Venatio in amphitheatres, ancient Olympics pentathlon style games etc.

04. I’m super proud of this ms cause in it, I’ve infused parts of my culture and heritage as a Bengali, e.g. the muslin industry of Bengal, the Nakshi Kantha (embroidered quilt), the words Apaya, Voag, Moyra, Velki, Jhoom, Narvoji, Sharobar, Navanna are all Bengali words. Super super proud.

05. The ms is written from alternating dual POV and timelines. The MCs never cross path and their stories in this ms, though deeply interconnected, are distinct. 

06. Here are some aesthetics:

07. All my characters are POC like me. 

My FMC:

Prime Princess Eleni:

•She’s the first queen in my setting’s world.

•the only educated woman

•a young widow and mother of twins.

•She can read minds through physical touch.

•She’s excellent in sewing and weaving.

Here’s an aesthetic for her:

My MMC:

Quince Shakran:

•a day laborer, born with five layers of caul

•he’s blond, 6’8″ tall

•he passionately wants to be a dancer but in his society, dancing for men is a laughingstock profession, something only a madman or minstrels would pursue. He loves to perform dances that I was inspired from Bharatnattyam and Kathak, two classical Indian dance genres.

•He’s gentle, meek, timid and naïve as a lamb, and would risk his life for others. He has Amychophobia (fear of clawed animals) and Pyrphobia (fear of fire).

Here’s an aesthetic for him:

08. Here’s a pic I made for the cover with the title:

09. My ms doesn’t feature dragons but has Phoenix and some imaginary animals such as

Auroch:

One horned, it’s the largest bovine animal who lives in snowy regions where the sun doesn’t come, for it turns into a puddle if water of sunlight falls on it. I was inspired by extinct aurochs and this relic found in Indus Valley’s ruins.

Rualian lion

Inspired by Greek myth of Nemean lion, mythological Gaetulian lion as well as extinct Barbary lions and Royal Bengal Tiger, Bangladesh’s national animal. Rualian lion has impenetrable skin that can only be penetrated by auroch horns.

Narvoji birds

They’re man eater birds who resemble to a giant vulture.

As a potential mentee:

After getting rejection last year from PitchWars, I brought significant changes to my writing style and schedule (I did a twitter thread here). From a pantser I became a plantser. I learnt about plot structure, character arcs, how they align and work together and about scenes and sequels and their parts. I’ve learnt how to write a query and am learning to write pitches and synopsis as well. Last year’s rejection hit me hard. Since then, I participated in NaNoWriMo and CampNaNo, and won both times. I wrote almost 200k since then (72k for the NaNoWriMo ms that I shelved later and 137k for this ms that I’m reducing word count).

I also reduced around 44k words from my second draft (which stood around 141k) after doing the developmental editing.

Rejection taught me to perceive writing more seriously. I’m a hard worker and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to polish and prepare my ms for the world.

Thank you for reading my #PimpMyBio. Hopefully you’ll pick me, 🙂 🙂

​The Jungle Book and its Plot Structure: Part 3: The Eight Sequence Structure in Screenwriting

In my last two posts, I’ve explained and showed how, in the Jungle Book movie (2016), both the three act and six stage story structures work perfectly. But I think the screenwriters must’ve used the eight sequence method because that works too. Even if you aren’t a screenwriter, this will work if you plan to write a fast paced story, especially for genres like fantasy, thriller or SciFi. 

Now for the eight sequence part. I’ve learned about this first from amazing Tomi Adeyemi and then from E.M.Welsh  Though it is basically the three act structure only parted into detailed smaller parts and mostly used in screenplays, you can use it too to structure your plot. Here it is (I’m quoting E.M.Welsh here because she explained it easily)

01) Sequence One: Status Quo & Inciting Incident

As you can guess from the title, it refers to the inciting incident plus the glimpse into the protagonist’s usual life before the inciting incident. We know where we can put the Jungle Book in this sequence, Mowgli’s life before and during Shere Khan’s arrival and threat.

02) Sequence Two: Predicament and Lock-in:

This will be the first plot point, or in screenwriting, the predicament and lock-in. In E.M.Welsh’s words, “The predicament here is the main conflict and the lock-in is when the character is past the point of no return.”

In Mowgli’s case, the decision to leave the wolves. 

03) Sequence Three: First Obstacle and Raising the Stakes:

In this part, the protagonist, in his journey, faces his first obstacle that soon raises the stakes, to his knowledge or not. According to E.M.Welsh, 

“the third sequence is the place where you’ll introduce another conflict to raise the stakes and make things more difficult for your character.”

In Mowgli’s case, it is tad long. His first obstacle is shown as both Shere Khan and Kaa, also in this part, stakes are raised when Akela is killed and no one is there to protect the wolves pack. Shere Khan even subtly threatens Raksha that he’ll kill her cubs if he doesn’t get Mowgli. 

04) Sequence Four: First Culmination/Midpoint:

In this part, the protagonist witnesses/experiences something that changes them and make them proactive from being reactive. According to E.M.Welsh, 

“Usually this is where the character has their “turn” and realizes something that changes them. They go from passive to active.”

In Mowgli, that’d be meeting Baloo and using his skills as a human to full potential. He also meets Bagheera again who forbids him to stay in the jungle and follow him to the humans village. Not very action packed but emotionally it is. 

05) Sequence Five: Subplot and Rising Action:

This part helps you explore the subplot and try to connect it to the main plot. In Mowgli, the subplot was the red flower and its destruction and uses by humans. In E.M.Welsh’s words, 

“To avoid that (second act sag), they (Script Lab) recommend using this sequence to explore subplot conflicts, perhaps making things get even worse so that they can contribute to the tension in the story, setting you up for success in the next sequence.”

For Mowgli, he gets kidnapped by the Bandar Log and faces their King Louie who offers/threatens the invention of the red flower from him. 

06) Sequence Six: Main Culmination: 

The description of this part confused me. E.M.Welsh said that this part needed to have all the stakes raised, highest tension and the darkest moment. But after carefully reading each words, I realized, it was actually what we novelists call the dark night of the soul. 

In the Jungle Book, that’d be Mowgli’s learning about Shere Khan’s killing of Akela for him, his mother and siblings lives are in danger and how he must avenge Akela’s death. He runs to the human village and grabs the fire, accidentally and unknowingly setting part if the jugnle on fire and momentarily losing allies. 

07) Sequence Seven: New Tension and Twist:

I’m going to quote E.M.Welsh here because she explained it amazingly:

“The new tension referred to here is often the new goal or new need the character understands they’ve always had and need to satisfy. Usually the hero has achieved what they have always wanted only to realize that’s not what makes them happy, and so quickly within the third act you must introduce any new exposition or information the audience needs to know. Additionally, the twist or big reveal often falls here, another good reason for a goal shift.”

For Mowgli, he realizes that just rallying the other animals to his side and kicking Shere Khan out won’t do. The tiger would kill them all. So he must kill the tiger. Not only that, he must do it the way a human normally might do. So he uses his tricks and the fire to kill Shere Khan and rescue the jungle. He also uses the elephants to put off the fire. 

08) Sequence Eight: The Resolution:

This part we know what happens. I’ve explained it above so no worries. 

Wow! That was a long, long post. I hope you can now understand how brilliantly the Jungle Book movie used all these structures (maybe not directly) to plot the story. 

Not only the story feels authentic, the first time I watched it, I was truly invested in it. I wanted to see how Mowgli defeats Shere Khan, despite knowing there will be a happy ending. And the characters? They were mostly dynamic, almost all of the main ones having something to learn in the end. Mowgli learns that he is both a human and a member of the wolf pack. Baloo learns how to care for others than himself, and to climb. Even Shere Khan learns something (or not), that never fight with a human who can hold the red flower without fear. 

So that’s it for now. This was my first post. I hope you learnt at least something. I’m not an expert in this. So pardon any mistakes I made. And do comment if you want to point out any mistake. No worries. 

​The Jungle Book and its Plot Structure Part 02: Using Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Structure

In the last post  I’d divided the Jungle Book (2016) into three act story structure. If you don’t use that and instead use Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Structure, here it is. 

​In the Six Stage Structure, the stages can be easily fit into the three act as well. The six stages are:

Stage 01: The Inciting Incident (0%-15%) where something occurs and interrupts the normal life of the protagonist. In Mowgli’s case, arrival of Shere Khan and his threat. 

Stage 02: The First Plot Point (15%-25%) where the protagonist undertakes a journey towards his new life. In Mowgli’s case, it’d be deciding to leave the wolves’ pack and heading towards the human’s village. 

Stage 03: The Midpoint (25%-50%) where the protagonist meets several obstacles and gets to the midpoint reversal, where, according to James Scott Bell  the protagonists look into themselves and find out who they truly are. In Mowgli’s case, it starts with getting attacked by Shere Khan to the part where he gets to use his “human” tricks to both help Baloo store honey for winter and rescue from an elephant cub from a pit. Unknowingly, he has reached his potential as a human cub. 

Stage 04: The Dark Night of the Soul (50%-75%) where the protagonist’s initial plan fails, according to amazing Tomi Adeyemi, and he must plan something new to defeat the antagonist, since all else is failing. In Mowgli’s case, that’d be the part where he was kidnapped by the Bandar Log and King Louie reveals to him that Akela was killed by Shere Khan because of Mowgli. Mowgli realizes that even if he does go to the human’s village, the wolves won’t be safe. So this plan won’t work and he must work out something. But he hasn’t any fur, claw, teeth to defeat Shere Khan, as he points out later. So Mowgli plans to defeat him through fire, known as the red flower. But that also doesn’t work for he has accidentally and unknowingly set part of the jungle on fire and has lost his allies who fear seeing him with fire, thus fear and distrusts him. He is left all alone to face Shere Khan.

Stage 05: The Climax (75%-99%) where the protagonist faces off the antagonist and battle begins. In case of Mowgli, like a true human, he sets a trap to defeat Shere Khan. The foolish tiger meets his death and Mowgli, with the help of the elephants and his tricks, puts off the fire and saves the jungle from both the tyrannical tiger and the fire, earning trust from and his place among the animals. 

Stage 06: The Resolution (99%- 100%) where the protagonist has met his goal and saved the day. He lives happily with his allies and his newfound abilities. In case of Mowgli, that’d be living with the wolves, Bagheera and Baloo and in peace. 

When it comes to understanding how the three act structure and the six stage structure work parallel to each other, here it is.

Act one= Stage one + stage two,

Act two= Stage three + stage four

Act three= Stage five + stage six 

Easy peesy, right?

In the next post  I’ll divide the same movie into the eight sequence structure. Thanks again for stopping by. 

​The Jungle Book and its Plot Structure Part 01: The Three Act Structure

Okay, so this is my first time writing a writing tips post. After reading a lot of posts about plot structure, I finally comprehended how it works, whether it’s the traditional three act structure, or Michael Hauge’s famous Six Stage Structure, or the Eight Sequence Structure used for screenwriting (and maybe in novel writing too). And as experiment, this will be my first time applying those structures on one of 2016’s critically acclaimed movies, The Jungle Book. 

I’ve watched the movie three times on TV, first time to enjoy it as a movie, and the other two times to divide it into these structures. I may be wrong in the dividing parts. If I am, let me know in the comments section and I’ll take notes. 

First up, the traditional three act structure:

Act 01: Inciting Incident and First Plot Point:

Act one usually shows us the protagonist’s life in normal and how, though they are happy, something is lacking in their lives. Then the inciting incident occurs and everything changes. Act one ends with the protagonist going on a journey (physically or emotionally) to a new place. Usually act one ends on 25% in novels and in 30 minutes marking in the movies/screenplays.

Example: In The Jungle Book, the protagonist, Mowgli’s life with the wolves is shown. He competes with them in a race and loses because he isn’t permitted to use his “human” tricks. Then the peace rock shows up and again he uses “human” trick to get water for himself, only to get scolded by the wolf pack leader, Akela, that the jungle isn’t a place for these tricks. 

Then the inciting incident occurs. Shere Khan arrives and catches Mowgli with the wolves. Because of the peace rock, he threatens to kill Mowgli afterwards along with the wolves if they don’t hand him over. So the wolves argue, making Mowgli decide to leave the jungle with Bagheera and go live with the humans. 

Act 02: Incidents Centering the Midpoint:

In this part, the largest of the three, the journey is shown in the protagonist’s life. They go through multiple setbacks and obstacles to finally mould into the person they need to be to overcome their obstacles and reach their goals. 

In Mowgli’s case, it was his identity. He identifies himself as a wolf but feels like a parish due to his “human” tricks. This part also brings midpoint reversal, where the protagonist gets a glimpse of who he really is, according to James Scott Bell. 

In Mowgli’s case, it occurred after meeting Baloo and finding opportunities and encouragements he needed to exercise and expand his “human” tricks. 

In act two, another important incident occurs called the Dark Night of the Soul. In this part, the protagonist has lost all hopes and must find a way, insane or not, to get to his goal. In Mowgli’s case, it was finding out that Akela died because of him and now the wolves’ lives are endangered only for him. Even if he leaves the jungle and lives with the humans, Shere Khan won’t leave the wolves alone. So he runs to the human’s village and decides to use the red flower to scare away Shere Khan. Only to find himself with no allies and setting part of the jungle on fire. So he now journeys to…

Act 03: The Climax and Resolution:

In this part, the protagonist, with his allies and his newly achieved skills/plans, faces the antagonist/antagonistic force. When a battleground, the allies first face off with the antagonist/antagonistic force or its allies. Battle ensues before the main antagonist and the protagonist face off. 

After the battle, mostly the protagonist wins and the life he has afterwards for growing into the person he needed to be is shown. 

In Mowgli’s case, to show everyone he isn’t like other humans, he put the fire off. His allies trust in him and they face Shere Khan. This is where Bagheera advises Mowgli, like a true mentor, to fight Shere Khan like a human, not as a wolf. Mowgli runs to the aflamed part of the jungle and devices a plan to defeat Shere Khan. Foolishly, Shere Khan walks into the red flower trap and dies. 

In the resolution, Mowgli is using his tricks successfully to win race against both Bagheera and the wolves. Raksha is crowned the leader of the pack and Mowgli is living happily with everyone. 

In the next post  I’ll show how the same movie is divided into Michael Hauge’s Six Stages Structure, as well as the Eight Sequence Structure in screenwriting. 

Robert Browning, Emily Bronte and Authors/Poets With Controversial Works

​So recently I was browsing through Goodreads, no reason, just to kill time. While logging in, I was asked to cast vote in Goodreads awards. Most of the books (okay, all the books) nominated there I haven’t read yet. Only because in Bangladesh they’ll come a year or two later and at an affordable price. 

Anyway, I clicked to the previous years’ awards and found many many winner books who were and are bashed by readers for being clichéd or bad writing or just plain stupid. Some were given plenty of one and two starred reviews. 

So that got me thinking. Are good writing always put under mortar and pestle to be classified as “good books”? I mean how is it that some books manage to win awards based on readers’ votes yet also get one/two starred reviews from the same readers?

This took me back to Robert Browning, one of the poets I’m currently studying about. He was, throughout his entire life, been subjected to censure and controversies. He married Elizabeth Barrett Browning after famously eloping with her to Italy, then living there almost pennilessly. Then he also published a poetry book, Sordello in 1840, that was put under sooooo much censure, out of shame he almost forsook writing. Even later in life he didn’t want to take credit for writing it, had it not been under the threat of copyright issues. 

One of his contemporaries, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, said that (quoting from critic Daniel Karlin) “there were only two lines in it that he understood, the first- ‘Who will, may hear Sordello’s story told’- and the last line- ‘Who would, has heard Sordello’s story told’- and that both were lies.”

Thomas Carlyle said that (again quoting Daniel Karlin) “his wife had read throughout the poem without being able to discover whether Sordello was a man, a city or a book.”

Whoa! What an insult!

Another author who faced such harsh criticism was Emily Bronte. Her one and only novel, Wuthering Height, met some brutal brutal censure. Some are given below:

01) Paterson’s Magazine (USA), February 1848

“We rise from the perusal of Wuthering Heights as if we had come fresh from a pest-house. Read Jane Eyre is our advice, but burn Wuthering Heights.”

02) Graham’s Lady Magazine (USA), July 1848

“How a human being could have attempted such a book as the present without committing suicide before he had finished a dozen chapters, is a mystery. It is a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors.”

Eesh! Talk about harsh. Same almost happened with Moby Dick but in publication process. According to Wikipedia, 

“Within a year after Melville’s death, Moby-Dick, along with Typee, Omoo, and Mardi, was reprinted by Harper & Brothers, giving it a chance to be rediscovered. However, only New York’s literary underground seemed to take much interest, just enough to keep Melville’s name circulating for the next 25 years in the capital of American publishing. During this time, a few critics were willing to devote time, space, and a modicum of praise to Melville and his works, or at least those that could still be fairly easily obtained or remembered. Other works, especially the poetry, went largely forgotten.”

Wow! A classic was forgotten?

But this shows that sometimes classics are mistreated and misunderstood by their contemporary audience and critics. But that is not always the case. Not even most of the case. A lot of classics were instant bestsellers, such as Jane Eyre, all of Jane Austen’s works, Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, etc. to name a few. Hell, Shakespeare was pretty popular during his days. 

So why did those classics face such backlash?

If you notice the pattern, all the classics that faced backlash were way way way before their time. During Shakespeare’s time, people weren’t used to villainous women like Lady Macbeth. They were accustomed to soft, submissive women like Bianca or Miranda. During Victorian era, people weren’t used to revenge romance like Wuthering Heights, rather everlasting romance like Jane and Rochester. People weren’t used to reading book about a man’s obsession with whales. Heck, people in England and America weren’t too excited about whales like the Norwegians or the Finnish. 

So does that mean books currently facing backlash will be classics in future?

Dunno. 

Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Only time can tell. 

There were plenty of books published in the last millennium. Not all survived and lasted in the readers’ minds. Same will apply here. Nobody from the Victorian era thought people would love a book from a pedophile’s point of view, or that there would be rape romance or even erotica. You can never tell what might emerge as literary trend or most importantly, as literary movement. 

Literature, like life, is unpredictable. And that’s what makes its appeal so much more timelessly cool. 

Lady Macbeth & Anne Boleyn & Hurrem Sultan: Strong Women from Medieval Era, But Different Stories…Or Are They?

​Okay, so in today’s 205 course class, our teacher discussed with us about the main characters of Macbeth and I especially was enlightened about how deeply they were portrayed. Among all the characters, I related mostly with Lady Macbeth. I mean, I think we all (girls) did. She was vicious, ambitious, rude, harsh, mean and blah blah blah on goes the list of her negative traits. 

Then comes how she falls into depression and guilt and paranoia and eventually suicidal tendency. One thing ma’am said was how shocked the Elizabethan people were by Lady Macbeth’s portrayal. I mean, aren’t women supposed to be “soft as petal, submissive as pets and beautiful as full moon” (?). But Lady Macbeth wasn’t. She wasn’t soft, definitely not submissive and I don’t know if she was beautiful or not (though the most recent onscreen Lady Macbeth, Marion Cotillard is very pretty). But if you go past that, she was the best character among the others in Macbeth. 

Now, I’m not here to discuss about Lady Macbeth. I mean, not didactically anyway. After the class I totally forgot about Lady Macbeth until just a few hours ago when I stumbled upon The Tudors TV series on the internet and how Anne Boleyn was portrayed on the show. Come to think of it, she was the most emphasized queen of Henry VIII by the creators of the show. Now I read about Anne Boleyn’s portrayal by Natalie Dormer on Wiki and found interesting stuff about her. And while reading about her, I realized that Anne Boleyn was the real life Lady Macbeth meets King Duncan. How?

Lady Macbeth was ambitious, right? So was Anne Boleyn. Though her ambition was fanned by her father Thomas Boleyn and brother George Boleyn. Okay, so this part was tad similar to Lady Macbeth instigating Macbeth. But Anne Boleyn had more similarities with Lady Macbeth than Macbeth. 

Firstly because Lady Macbeth was ambitious. She went blind while trying to fulfill her ambition. And in the way, she just blatantly forgot about everything else. 

So did Anne Boleyn. She, with her brazenness, boldness and sharp tongue, made enemies while climbing her way to the top. In the show, she was bold enough to retort back to Catherine, Queen of Aragon, whose lady in waiting she used to be. Later, before her execution, Anne found no one by her side, not even her father. 

Secondly, Lady Macbeth, after becoming the queen, became paranoid, delusional, hysterical and eventually suicidal. So did Anne Boleyn. She suspected Henry of adultery (of course, she did and she was right). And not only that, she was scared of being assassinated by the Catholic fanatics because of instigating Henry to remove Catholicism and establish Anglicanism. She then went ahead and gave birth to Elizabeth I and then had two miscarriages. And Henry found Jane Seymour, his future third wife. 

Sure thing, like Lady Macbeth, Anne met her downfall. 

But was she truly deserving of that? Who knows? But what I did realize was she was also like King Duncan from Macbeth. See, King Duncan blindly trusted his life to Macbeth and paid the price. Like him, Anne blindly loved Henry, thinking her love for him will be enough to keep him faithful. But, black does not take any other hue. For Henry VIII, love wasn’t enough. Sure thing, she lost Henry, then her head. 

Now, reading about Anne also reminded me of Hurrem Sultan from the famous Turkish TV period drama, Magnificent Century. In a lot of way, Anne Boleyn is like Hurrem Sultan (I’m talking about the TV versions of them). They both rise from almost nothing to everything. And though Hurrem didn’t fall like Anne (because Suleiman, though a womanizer like Henry, wasn’t trying to be the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland and going “Off with her head!” mode), they both made enemies, they both loved their husbands blindly and to achieve the status as their wives, risked everything. In the end, King Duncan died, Anne Boleyn was beheaded and Hurrem romantically “breathed her last in the arms of Suleiman”. 

Bottom line, never feel blind emotion towards anyone as far as to risk your own damn life. People have a Red Queen of Alice in Wonderland inside them. 

Dr. Faustus and The Seven Cardinal Sins

Okay, so it’s been a long, long, long time since I last wrote a post here. But I’ve been busy. You know, studies and PitchWars and writing and participating in NaNoWriMo. Anyway, I was reading The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe (not by choice, the damn Elizabethan plays and their diction of thou and thy and things like that). And while reading it, one scene struck me from others. It was scene VI, where after making a deal with the Devil, Faustus was busy studying stuff with Mephistopheles. 

At ime point, his conscience arrives and tries to get him back to the “path of righteousness” but in vain. The lust avd greediness in him win again. Anyhoo, Mephistopheles realizes what’s happening and so off he goes to fetch distraction for Faustus.

It was the introduction of the Seven Deadly Sins. Lust, Sloth, Gluttony, Pride, Covetousness, Anger, and Jealousy. They, one by one, introduce themselves to Faustus and tell him about themselves. 
And almost like a kick in the groin, Marlowe was showing us how Faustus, despite meeting his own deadly sins, was unable to recognize them. 

Think about it. Faustus had it all. 

  • He had pride because he, at the beginning, was showing pride while pondering over which subject to choose to study in. Not only that, at some points, he boasts himself of being “a conjurer laureate” and vice versa. 
  • He had covetousness aka greed. He, at the beginning, considered taking physic or medical studies. Don’t get carried away, he did not want to take it to do good to others. He wanted it to “heap up gold and fame”. It was also this greed that made him do the deal. He also wished to have books of immense knowledge, gold and fruits in abundande from all over the world.
  • He had wrath for he often showed it to Mephistopheles who, at the beginning, tolerated it. When Benvolio taunted Faustus, he uses his magical power and grows antlers on Benvolio’s head. He also sets demons after the Old Man who advises him not to commit sins and thus angers him.
  • He had lechery for he sought Helen of Troy as his wife and when he wasn’t allowed to get married, he sought a whore. 
  • He had sloth for he, unlike Aristotle whom he revered, wasn’t that hardworking. Aristotle toiled away years after years in researching and studying and that was when he gained knowledge. Faustus wanted it overnight by dealing with the Devil. 
  • He had jealousy for he was jealous of the Emperor, the Pope and once even towards God. How stupid, right?
  • He had gluttony for he, on the last year of his life, arranges a feast with his students and others where he indulges in ‘food and wine enough for an army’. Wow! That’s a whole lot of gluttony!


And from this scene, you can clearly see two things:

01) How Lucifer and others were openly mocking Faustus and his stupidity and shallowness and blindness. He saw all the seven sins and learned about them. They were presented before him like courtiers to a king. Yet he didn’t detect those sins in his actions and thoughts. By this, Lucifer and his demons were ckeatlu mocking and taunting Faustus’s “wisdom”. 

02) How often we see our sims right before us yet are blinded by them so much as to not realize them. When we are yelling and screaming, we are busy yelling and screaming, not realizing how angry we are and how bad it is for us. When we are jealous of someone, we are busy envyinv them and wishing for their ill fortune. Not trying to banish it. 

Through this just one scene, Marlowe said it all. Exceptional, exceptional writing. I haven’t read Macbeth yet but I’m impressed. Damn the Elizabethan dictions but this was pure gold.

That is what writers do. That is what God do too with us. 

After all, isn’t God also a writer?

My Nomination in the LIEBSTER Award

​Hey, guys! It’s been a long time, I mean looooooong time since I last posted anything here. But today I was nominated to. You might go, “What, nominated?” That’s right. I’ve been nominated by amazing Christina Fritts (who also run an awesome group on Facebook which is a writing workshop and we’re a really tight group!) for the LIEBSTER award. Here’s the link to her post.

How to be nominated:

1) Share 11 random but interesting facts about you.

2) Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.

3) Nominate at least 11 bloggers and write 11 questions for them.

I’m going through my Twitter lists to find 11 bloggers. Yikes, this isn’t looking very promising.

Anyway, let’s start!

11 Random Facts About Me:

1) I started writing seriously back in 2013, when I was going through a very upsetting phase of my life. I’d recently lost two of my uncles and my granddad in just three months in 2012 and for more than a year I couldn’t get over it. There was a lot on my mind that I wanted to scream out but I couldn’t. So I opened up my sister’s computer and wrote a story, almost a novella. It was trashy compared to how I write now but it saved me from a dark dark pit. I felt a lot better. So I began writing and before you know it, it became both my passion and my therapy.

2) Long before I became a writer, I used to try to write stuff. Once I wrote a spontaneous essay in English class in 8th grade and the teacher from that subject predicted that if I keep it up, someday I might become a writer. I didn’t take him seriously back then. Now I wish I did. He died of cancer the following year. He’s my most favorite teacher till date and I hope that someday, I’ll make him proud.

3) I also write poems and short stories but occasionally. One of my English professors from my university praised them *blushing*

4) I often suffer from writer’s block and I procrastinate a lot. I’m a lazy ass. But if you give me a deadline, I’ll literally murder myself to get it done.

5) I love love love reading spec fic, but it doesn’t love me back. For this reason, I can’t write in those genres. But I also love realistic fiction, but not those where nothing externally exciting happens and all the characters do are wallow and whine about their sorrows.

6) I’m a Coke gal. While my fellow writers gush about drinking coffee and/or tea, I can’t.

7) I’m not an avid reader but I’m a voracious, omnivorous one. Let me explain; I don’t read books a lot, mostly for my laziness and my inaccessibility to Amazon (the damn thing still isn’t available here, grrrr…). But when I get hooked into a book, I go the long way. I do not rest until I’ve devoured it. And I read almost all types of books (but not erotica, spiritual, nonfiction and religious).

8) I’ve never had a crush on anyone, unless you count celebrity crush, then just once, still intact, on Henry Cavill *swooning*. Weird, right?

9) I love the Beatles. Like love love them. I have a Pinterest board wholly about them and a lot of people have liked and saved them too. My favorite Beatles would be George.

10) My ultimate writing dream would be win the Pullitzer prize. Kidding! No, it’d be to have my favorite authors (John Green, Rainbow Rowell, J. K Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Suzanne Collins, Jandy Nelson) to read my books and love them to the point of being their fans.

11) Things I hate no matter what: racism, islamophobia, sexism, cruelty towards animals, sweetness in my savory dishes, radishes, plagiarism.
Now, here are the questions from Christina and my answers to them:

01) Where is your favorite place to write?

Of course, my home. Home is where the heart is and my heart is all about writing. Was that tacky?

02) Who would play your MC if your MS got turned into a movie?

Honestly, I never would want my MS to be turned into movies or any other adaptations. Hollywood rarely does justice to the books. Only exceptions were Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice (1995). Biggest examples would be Beautiful Creatures, Hunger Games, Mortal Instruments and Paper Town.

03) Is there a book you will always/happily reread?

Yes! Hands down, Hunger Games. Not Catching Fire or Mocking Jay but only Hunger Games. Seriously that first chapter? Undoubtedly every writer’s goal. I’ve read that chapter alone more than 20 times.

04) Is there a genre you’d love to write in, but feel you’re not ready/equipped for right now?

Yes! That’d be fantasy (all types) and dystopian. I loved reading Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Twilight, beautiful Creatures but I’m sadly not equipped for it. Maybe, hopefully in future.

05) What’s the worst part about writing for you?

That’d be editing stage. Wish we all could write perfect first draft and sell them as books.

06) What’d be your X-Men name and abilities?

Clairvoyant. Because I wanna see the past and the future. That’d be so useful for my writing.

07) Who is/are your favorite book character pairing(s)?

Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters. I may not have cried watching the movie, but not all tears are external. As for pairings that didn’t happen but I’d have wanted will be Lily Evans and Severus Snape, always.

08) Name one guilty pleasure TV show or book you watch/read.

That’d be Sex and the City. Though I’ve watched the most purified, filtered version Indian TV could show but still. I couldn’t tempt the jokes and girliness.

09) What’s your favorite source of writing inspiration/motivation? (Either a quote, or book, or person, or yoga position, whatever does it for you!)

A quote by Maya Angelou: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

And the story of Louis L.Amour who got 200 rejections but didn’t give up writing. Later he sold 330 million books, 1.65 million books for each rejection.

10) If you could co-write a book with any author, who’d be?

Jane Austen if she were alive. Since not, it’d be Rainbow Rowell.

11) What’s your biggest strength as a writer? (Seriously! Toot your own horn! Toot toot!)
Um, not sure if it’s true, but according to my Cps, I’m good at writing realistic dialogue. Maybe..*shrugs*

Okay now, here are my 11 questions for the 11 bloggers I may choose. Since I’m writer and I can almost always guess other writers’ likes and dislikes, I’m gonna ask non-writing related questions. They’ll be very quirky, I must caution you, 😉
01) If you could have lived in another decade, which would it have been?

02) What is your idea of greatest happiness?

03) If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

04) How old would you like to be if you didn’t know how old you are? Why?

05) If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

06) If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live life differently?

07) If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?

08) If you knew everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?

09) What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

10) Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?

11) Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
Oh, wow! That was fun. I hope my questions weren’t too weird. Thank you, Christina, for nominating me. Maybe one day, when we’ll become famous and all, we’ll laugh at these.

Good day to y’al!

My Newest Budding Obsession: Rhaegar Targaryen & Lyanna Stark

Okay, so before I start, I should mention that I’m not your typical diehard fan of Game of Thrones. In fact, up until this year, I had no interest whatsoever in both reading the books and watching the HBO series. Then what changed?
The fact that two of the most important yet not-showed-in-the-TV-series characters, Rhaegar Targaryen & Lyanna Stark’s story just moved me.

In the beginning, before the premiere of season 6, a lot of my classmates were excited about this book & series. Hell, one of them even did a slideshow presentation on this! When I read about Rhaegar & Lyanna then, I found that Rhaegar was this guy who kidnapped Lyanna & raped her. Then she mysteriously died & Rhaegar was killed on battlefield by Lyanna’s fiancé, Robert Baratheon. At that time, I was like, “Yeah! Take that, you rapist!” I have the most hatred for rapist than for murderers and cannibals. Dunno why but I do.

Anyway, I lost my interest in their story and a year went by. Then season 6 premiered and again my classmates went squealing and gushing about it. When the season finale was telecast, they even gave Facebook status about how awesome it was. So did a few more people on Twitter. And I went rolling my eyes and going “Ugh! Stop it already!”

Then a few days ago, on my newsfeed came a PopSugar post about Lyanna Stark & Rhaegar Targaryen being Jon Snow’s parents. So I searched about that story and the post said that maybe, maybe Rhaegar wasn’t a rapist rather an adulterous man who cheated on his wife from a loveless marriage with the woman he loved.

Okay, that got my attention. I Googled about both of them, sometimes together, sometimes separately. It was in Quora that I found a lot of stuff.

A lot of people argued and showed strong yet ambiguous points that Rhaegar wasn’t a rapist. That Lyanna and Rhaegar were simply in love and two runaway star crossed lovers. 

That got more of my attention and so began my obsession. I read and read and read (not the books but the posts in Quora) and the more I read, the more my obsession grew. Now it has gone so huge (but not as huge as my obsession with Robsten used to be) that I’ve got a separate folder in my phone with animated pictures of romance between Rhaegar & Lyanna. 

But…

I’m also doubtful. It has now been a lot clearer that Lyanna wasn’t kidnapped and raped. She was a very fierce woman who knew all types of fighting skills there is. If Rhaegar did kidnap Lyanna, then she’d have found a way to injure and/or kill him. But no, there wasn’t. So it’s clear that she was in love with him.

But was he? That’s my worry.

You see, Rhaegar was crazy obsessed with prophesies and according to one, he’s supposed to father three kids. And his wife, Elia gave birth to two and was already sickly by it. So no more babies from her. And he can’t just sleep around with women (women would’ve jumped at the prospect of it, not out of shock but out of joy, for Rhaegar was the most perfect man there was!) because bastard children have no right. And since Targaryens used to be a polygamous and incestuous race, Rhaegar needed another wife to conceive his third child and fulfill the prophecy. Jeez, dude! Prophecies are stupid! You, of all people should’ve known that! You read soooo many books!

Anyway, so he found Lyanna and maybe inticed her into marrying him and eloping with him. Though Lyanna was betrothed to Robert at the time, she wasn’t super excited about it as Robert was. Mostly because he was a pervert playboy who must have some bastard children elsewhere.

Plus, Rhaegar was super handsome so she got melted. What’s worrying me is that they may not be just some tragic, star crossed lovers like I want them to be. But hearing about George R.R. Martin’s reputation in twisting his tales from the obvious, that may not be the case.

So my worrying notion about what may have happened with Rhaegar & Lyanna was this:

Rhaegar was crazy obsessed with the prophecy.

He needed his third kid.

But third pregnancy would kill his wife.

The Targaryens practised polygamy and incest before.

Lyanna was a courageous, stubborn, highborn girl.

She wasn’t too keen about her upcoming marriage with Robert.

She could’ve been the Knight of the Laughing Trees.

She was touched by Rhaegar’s song.

Thus, Rhaegar liked her for his second marriage.

He rewarded her with the blue winter rose circlet as the Queen of Love & Beauty so that she could start liking him.

Lyanna got a major crush on saintlike Rhaegar, given his diametrically opposite reputation to his father’s.

They got married secretly & eloped.

She got pregnant with Rhaegar’s child.

All his dreams were coming true until Brandon & Rickard Stark died.

Hearing this, Lyanna wanted to go back and stop the impending war.

But she was too pregnant plus that may risk miscarriage.

So Rhaegar captivated her in the Tower of Joy.

He didn’t care what would happen by the war. Worse comes worse, his father would get overthrown and/or killed which he always wanted. Bonus!!!

But then he heard about the war getting out of hand and people might be uprooting the whole Targaryen dynasty.

So he went to the war to protect his first wife & her two kids. 

But left his Kingsguard so that not only they protect Lyanna and her kid but also to make sure Lyanna can’t get out.

Then he got killed.

According to Daenerys’ vision, he whispered inaudibly some woman’s name. Maybe it was Elia. He finally realized her true worth and felt remorse and his eternally true love for her and what a big mess he created and how he never valued her love for him.

The end!

Not the end of this post. This theory paints Rhaegar as the bad guy but hey! His father was Aerys, the mad king and his younger brothhope as Viserys. But then again, his sister was a kind soul like Daenerys. So knowing that George R.R. Martin loves painting grey characters, Rhaegar could’ve been a kind saint before the prophecy and then became a monster after the prophecy. It could happen. Obsession is a bad thing! It can turn a saint into a demon. You must be going like, “Look who’s talking!”

Also, if that’s the case, then poor Lyanna! No one ever truly loved her. Rhaegar only used her for fulfilling the prophecy and Robert only loved her outer beauty. Other than her three brothers, no one ever loved her for real. 

I’m trying both to believe and not believe in this negative theory, 01) to uproot my budding obsession and 02) to firmly build my obsession and hope the best for poor Lyanna. It also explains why neither Lyanna nor Rhaegar went back to stop the war. Lyanna couldn’t and wasn’t allowed. Rhaegar didn’t want to since it was helping him overthrow his mad of a father. 

Let’s hope that’ll not be the case, that all will end well. Both for the Game of Thrones fans and for me.

That’s it for today! Ciao!