Tag Archives: badboys

To The Best Friend Who Wasn’t

Only recently, I happened to come across a notification on Wattpad where the wonderful Rup had tagged me for a 30-day letter writing challenge. Now, I don’t really write a lot of letters. In a world where most of our time is spent on chatting and social networking, it’s not much of a surprise that the trend of writing letters is slowly vanishing into the abyss of nothingness. I love writing letters, though. Someday, I’ll send those letters to the people they are meant for. So for the first challenge, I had to write a letter to my best friend which reads something like this:

Dear Best Friend or rather the best friend I never had,

Has anybody ever told you that you are perfect? No? Then, hear me now, you are. I’ve never seen a person as strong and determined as you. I’ve never met a person who knows how to put things back together; it’s almost like you have some crazy magic tricks up your sleeve! I’ve never come across a person as intelligent as you or as beautiful. You present yourself like the complete package.

I remember the sleepless nights we spent fangirl-ing over some Hollywood celebrity. We’d add too many ‘a’s to their names or too many ‘e’s. At times, we would be lovesick over virtual anime guys, already talking about future plans in case we happen to meet someone like them in real life. I still hold a hope that in some undiscovered dimension, anime people exist and someday, they are going to come on earth and meet us. We’ve been sending them way too many crazy brain signals and someone told me that hard work never goes into waste.

Then some days, we’d talk about books.

On cold evenings, we’d argue over trivial matters. Though they seemed heated, they had a tendency to cool down too soon. I never wanted to lose you to some silly argument and perhaps, you didn’t want that too.

I tell you, I don’t remember when we started drifting apart from each other.

Someone had told me that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I still don’t find any truth in it. Of all the instances that have happened in my life, the first lesson I’ve learnt is that, absence makes things worse. Time is a culprit and it makes every precious memory fade away. I have only managed to have grasp a handful of memories and store it somewhere safe in my memory vault.

Sometimes, I feel that I was the only person who considered you my best friend. There was never any reciprocation from your side and it breaks my heart whenever I think of it. There are some things in life which you can’t have, no matter how much you strive for it. As for me, I’ve always struggled when it comes to making a best friend. It’s like a game of playing cards, which I’ve never been good at.

Whenever I see two bubbly girls walking on the streets, laughing to something, I tell myself that that could have been us.

But the right moment has gone by. No matter how much I try now, no matter how much you do, some things between us will never be the same again.

We do talk a lot these days, but do you notice that we hide a lot too many things?

We do laugh a lot, but those smiles are not true.

We do try and pretend that things had never gone wrong between us, but the truth lingers somewhere in the background – the very fact that some things have changed between us. We have changed. Our interests have changed. Our social circles have changed. Back in those high school days, you used to be the social bee and I used to be the shy, little girl in a corner of the class. I had always, desperately wished to be like you. We talked back then. But I thought that if I could somehow fit into your group, we could become best friends.

Now, the roles have changed. I play the part of the social bee and you tend to stay in the shadows.

Still, we are not best friends. Perhaps, we never were. I was just crazy and a little too desperate.

But I don’t regret it. I wanted you and only you to be my best friend. Who wouldn’t want a girl as perfect as you as their best friend!

But I guess, I forgot to take in consideration the fact that may be nobody wanted me as their best friend.

So, as I write this, I am still best-friend-less.

I wonder of the things we could have done as best friends. We could have those girls happily running down the streets. We could have been those girls spending hours in a mall. We could have those girls who never had any secrets. We could have been so many things. Only, we aren’t.

But we’ve come a long way without being best friends and a few more miles doesn’t really matter anymore.

Time may be a culprit, but it heals wounds, doesn’t it?

Sincerely,

The Best Friend Who Never Was.

Of What We Actually Mean

For most of my life, I’ve wanted to be alone – far away from the drone of noises crying excitement; away from the blaring horns of buses and cars; away from the busyness that surrounds life.

At times, I’d wish the ground would open up and swallow me inside into a world of maddening oblivion. In those times, everything felt hazy. Every step I took made me feel immensely tired. Yet I wanted to run away to some place where nobody could find me.

“I want to be alone,” I’d tell them when they’d coax me to attend their parties.

“I want to be alone,” I’d tell them when I’d be fighting the adamant tears from escaping.

“I want to be alone,” I’d tell them when they’d ask me if I were okay.

“I want to be alone,” and they’d quickly scurry off in a desperate attempt to give me some space. They’d always respect my decision and desire and wouldn’t bother to ring me up until I did so.

Now that I think of those times, I find myself wondering if I really wanted to be alone.

No.

When I told them I wanted to be alone, a part of me feverishly craved for someone to stay behind an offer me a shoulder to cry on.

When I told them I wanted to be alone, I wanted someone to stay behind and hear me out.

When I told them I wanted to be alone, I wanted them not to leave.

When I told them I wanted to be alone, I meant, I didn’t want to be.

I agree we have complicated notions. Complicated emotions.When we are, in fact, bubbling with so much to say, we cut short with a simple ‘Nothing’. When tears prick our eyes, we blink them back and smile. When we are hurting deep inside, we still manage to pick ourselves up and walk.

It is about knowing what those sweet nothings hold. It is about knowing what those smiles hide. It is about knowing that no matter how strong a person pretends to be, they still have a vulnerable side.

And how I wish, back then, each time I’d uttered, “I want to be alone,” someone would have pulled me into a hug and whispered, “No. I know you don’t want to be.”

Perhaps that would have solved half of the problems of the world…

Of Crying That Makes Us Strong

I have never seen a person cry. For most of my life, the people around me have always been happy. When the day of tears arrived, they left.

I know people cry when they are in pain. They cry when every breath is laboured and things do not seem to be making sense. People cry when they are weak. And some cry, even when they are strong. People like you.

Mom used to say that it is okay to cry. For one day, every tear will dry up and you can stand up again. She often used to joke around and say that crying helps clear the vision. She had a weird sense of humour, I agree. Though her words never made sense back then, I think they do, now.

Every time a person falls; every time a person is in pain; every time a person cries, it helps them get a newer perspective. For we take off our rose-tinted glasses and retrospect. And by the time we are done crying, we know already that we’ll never be crying again for the same reason.

In some wickedly strange way, crying makes us strong.

Of Fairies and Godmothers and Princes

Dear Whoever-Is-Reading-This,

There’s a thing about Disney movies. They are real. Fairies, godmothers, princes and mermaids do exist. At the stroke of midnight, somewhere in a forgettable corner of the world, a prince finds a glass slipper. The mermaid finds a man and falls in love. A frozen land is gifted with the magic of sun rays and glistens in gold.

But there’s a thing about us – we are natural pessimists. The dark haunts us instead of the light. Instead of believing that we may fly if we have a million balloons attached to us, we mentally remind ourselves that it is impossible. Who told so? Why do hot air balloons fly then? You’ll say, it’s different. You’ll probably start explaining me Archimedes’ principle.

And this is where we stop believing in miracles and magic. We tell ourselves that real life can never be a Disney movie. So when the prince finds a glass slipper, he starts blinking so hard that he almost loses his vision. When the man sees the mermaid, he suddenly wakes up. And when summer comes, we talk about science.

But what if, what if, all this is magic? You and me? What if we hold magical powers but fail to realize that? What if we can fly but we’ve never tried because we are not willing to take the risk? What if all we see is not real, but all that we dream is? What if the lives we live in the day are a dream, and the ones we spend sleeping is actually our life?

Probably, the biggest difference between us and Cinderella and Snowwhite and Elsa and their fairy tales and our un-fairytales is the fact that they believed in miracles and magic, and we don’t.

Sincerely,

A Lost Little Girl

The BEST Things About Wattpad – #3 – The People Out There (Second Edition)

You know you are going to love a person who mistakes “pastime” for “pasta”! And that is exactly the type of conversation I had with a very talented Wattpad author – @fecundity.

In a candid conversation with the author, I learned about her interests and her take on the cliche stories that dominate Wattpad. She was generous enough to not listen to the constant complaints of her stomach and answer my questions. Of course, I felt guilty after that!

Here are the excerpts from the interview-

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Me – Tell us something about yourself?

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She – Me. Well, I’m 24, brunette, and of the female gender. I have ten fingers and ten toes. I spend my days converting oxygen into carbon dioxide while my fingers fly over the keyboard. 🙂

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Me – How did you discover Wattpad?

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She – My memory is foggy as to how I learned about Wattpad. However, I do remember being amazed by the concept of free books! I couldn’t believe my luck when I discovered it. I was a silent reader for a while and then quickly became more active to fuel my addiction. I do wish I had become acquainted earlier but hey, I’m making up for lost time now!

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Me – What is your favourite pastime?

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She – Favourite pasta? Oh, sorry, past time. Eating pasta. No seriously, making food and eating it is a pretty serious hobby. My Pinterest board is filled with ambitious recipes. I’m also attempting to teach myself to play bass guitar and I’m have several obsessions including, but not limited to, Clash of Clans, hockey, and reading.

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Me – What is the craziest dream you ever had?

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She – One time I had a dream that I was being chased by the mob and Batman was helping me escape. He took me the top floor of a skyscraper and bypassed the security code to enter this private room that begged for a clandestine meeting. Batman explodes one of the window panes and the wind howls in. My hair is blowing wildly around my face as Batman hands me a parachute and tells me to jump. My heart skips several beats in response to the sound of machine guns outside of the room and, strapping the parachute on, I ask “Only one? What are you going to do?” He says, “Don’t worry about me” and pushes me off the building.

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Me (laughs out loud) – Did you ever wish you were a part of some book?

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She – Wishing I was in a book happens more often than I can remember. I often pretend, and fail miserably, at being like a certain character. Usually Sherlock. No joke, I tried to create my own mind map. It lasted about an hour.

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Me – Where do you get inspiration for writing your stories?

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She – Dreams and daydreams, usually. I have a lot of wild dreams and I will wake up thinking “That would make a great story!”

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Me – Twelve years from now, where do you see yourself?

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She – In 12 years, I will be nearly 40. Do not mention or talk about such obscenities. [shudders]

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Me – What is your craziest wish?

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She – At the risk of sounding presumptuous and philosophical, I don’t believe in wishes. Wishes aren’t proactive. When you wish for something, it’s as if you’re waiting for it to happen to you. Rarely does that happen. Wishes need to be replaced by goals. I have a plethora of goals that I’m working towards. Right now, I’d like to finish my novel, Sweet As. Then I’ll work towards getting it published. I’m also working to starting my own business. Short-term goals lead to long-term goals lead to fulfilled dreams.

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Me – Share with us some of the best cuisines you’ve tried.

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She – The best meal I’ve ever had was when I went to Dubai. It was breakfast (my favourite meal of the day) and honestly, I didn’t know food could ignite so many emotions or be so memorable. Since it was buffet-style, I had a variety of food and everything was mouth-watering. Something new that I tried that day was veal bacon since pork isn’t part of Muslim cuisine. While I do prefer regular bacon, veal bacon is more piquant. Also, croissants in France are to die for. Honestly, traveling is the best way to experience food and food is the best part of life! xD

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Me – Do you think you’ll ever write an autobiography?

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She – Nah. I’m not very good at talking about myself.

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Me – Describe your everyday life? Is it something from out of a story book?

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She – Day in the life of me? It probably looks a lot like yours. 😉 The only difference is that I’m married so my day often revolves around my hubby, which is good – it means lots of date nights! On the downside, I also get tickled. A lot. Like, every day, mercilessly.

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Me – What do you think is the most overused plot on Wattpad? Do you believe that writers these days are looking at the market status before starting a story?

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She – There is nothing new under the sun. Shakespeare said that way back when, so it’s even truer now. I believe any ‘cliché’ plot can be brought to life with strong, vivid characters. We relate to characters more so than plots anyway. Even published authors are influenced by trends. Think of how many dystopian or supernatural (e.g. wizards, vampires) stories have been popular recently. This isn’t necessarily a negative but again, the characters must be original, especially if the plot isn’t. Jumping on a bandwagon can guarantee you an audience so that’s a plus as well. That being said, it’s hard to make the good-girl meets bad-boy story original. I think The Quirky Tale of April Hale does it the best. It’s my favourite book on Wattpad.

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Me – So, the thirteenth question! Do you believe that thirteen is an unlucky number?

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She – Nah. I don’t believe in luck or superstitions either. We are in charge of our own lives. There isn’t an outside energy that’s pulling strings to give us ‘bad luck’. It’s a nice thought, though, to be able to blame an ominous, inconceivable force. ;)Also, my laziness has won out. I still haven’t moved. Haha!

Her book Sweet As is available on Wattpad. Click on the cover to get to the story page!

Sweet AsStay tuned for more interviews and book reviews!

The Fault In Our Stories

You might recognize me, provided, you are fairly active in the Improve Your Writing forum on Wattpad. I run around all day long, helping a confused writer or two and managing a group of popular threads in the forum. The reason I do this, that is help the so-called confused writers, is not because I have no life, but, out of pure selflessness because I want the quality of stories to be improved.
Now, I love helping people. Not out of pure generosity, though. I mean, gone are the times when philanthropy was a virtue. Nobody holds the same regard these days. So, I like helping people because I believe it will wash off some of my sins.

Writing is a serious issue. It isn’t some means to gain popularity or create a market base. And it saddens me deeply when I see the quality of some works on popular writing websites.

Stated below are some of the things I highly dislike about Wattpad –

  • Bad Boys And Everything Bad-
One of the most disturbing trends discovered among up and coming writers these days is that most of them blindly follow the trend. If the market demands dystopian stories, online writing websites such as Wattpad are filled with a myriad of stories from the same genre. If bad-boy-falls-in-love-with-a-nerd books are high in demand, majority of writers steer into the same direction.
It is mind-blowing to know some statistics about the type of stories found on Wattpad.
Having been on Wattpad for about two years now, I’ve been an ardent reader on the site. While one can find a treasure-house of breathtaking stories on the site, there are also a few very disturbing novels, without good plots and writing skills, that manage to make it to the so-called Hot lists!
If one carefully goes through the type of stories found on Wattpad, it is seen that bad boy novels and fan fictions cover a major percentage of the number of books available on the site.
Titles range from The-Bad-Boy-Is-My-Neighbour-And-We-Have-A-Romeo-Juliet-Relationship to I-Was-Abused-And-Adopted-By-Harry-Styles-Who-Took-Me-To-His-Home-And-I-Met-The-Entire-Band-And-Fell-In-Love-With-Each-Of-Them!
And that is not all! Topics involving best friend’s brothers, brother’s best friends, rejected by some alpha mate, arranged marriage with some rock star, also stand as the favourite plots used by most writers on the site.
Although, I am a huge fan girl when it comes to bad boy novels and I’ve nothing against clichés, what pisses me off is the poor quality of the stories.
  • Building Your Story –
Certain things about a story irritate me – when the girl kisses some random guy in an elevator and love blossoms; when the nerd discovers the bad boy is her neighbour and it is the very night he jumps into her room! My point, where is the entire slowly-building-your-story concept? Are we so busy feeding an audience that amidst the chaos, we forget the actual essence of writing?
But, that is not all what irks me! It is probably the most disappointing thing to see these stories making it to the top while writers who struggle day and night, editing their stories and building their characters, stay back in the lesser known crowd!
Instead of focusing more on character development and structure of the story, writers pay more attention to the smut scenes in their stories. They describe what their character wears, instead of describing their personality.
An excerpt from one of the stories on the site : “She was wearing a short dress. Purple with golden lines near the borders. It hardly covered her ass and her cleavage was far too exposed. Her blonde hair had highlights and she has straight hair. She wore high heels that made her look 5’9″ when in fact, she was just 5’5″! Her heels were black.”
By this point of time, a serious reader like me, would’ve definitely lost interest. Because, we didn’t even need to know all that stuff! And most importantly, the entire description is bland and sounds like something a primary school kid would describe. Why, they could describe even better!
An excerpt from another one of the stories I’ve read on the site : “The short lavender top did little to keep her warm. Pushing back the strands of her brunette hair, she hugged herself tightly. “Why isn’t he here yet?” she wondered.”
Minimal descriptions, yet very effectively presented. While the latter gives the readers a clear glimpse, the previous description only pisses off serious readers.
However, it is an irony that some books that have gathered over a million views have a quality of writing exactly similar to the former example.
The question that arises here is that, are the writers at fault? Or is it that the readers have bland tastes?
  • Invisible Readers, Discouraged Writers –
As mentioned previously, writing is not small affair, though some books project otherwise. It takes some writers years to complete a single book, another few years to create a fan base and then some more years to see their books receive critical appreciation. It takes a lot of contemplation while writing a book. Writers are always thinking of how to project their ideas in the best possible way. They think twice about every action their character undertakes. They proofread their manuscripts a hundred times and are still not satisfied. In fact, we writers, live in a pretty disturbed world of our own, and surprisingly, we are happy.
The dawn of online publishing and writing sites has greatly changed the writing culture. There was a time when writers used to spend sleepless nights thinking about how well their book would be received by the audience. Today, feedback is just a click away.
New and popular writers are emerging every next minute. While someone is gaining 50k followers on Wattpad, someone’s book is signing a multimillion deal. Apprehensions have been blown away. Papers have been replaced by writing software. It is a maddening revolution.
But somewhere down the road, the revolution isn’t exactly the same as we had predicted.
A major part of stories uploaded online lack definite structures. It seems as if almost everyone is writing to please an audience! While some are going with the flow, some are trying to go against the same and failing at it badly.
I agree, one hundred percent, that feedback is our life blood. Each one of us, every writer, every teacher, every kid – we all want to know that we are loved. Similarly, if we create something, we want it to be loved by others. It is a natural instinct.
Now, Wattpad has a high percentage of invisible readers. There are so many users out here but not everyone is active.
Some of the readers prefer to add the books to their private library and read it offline. On the other hand, leave votes. And others leave comments. And, only some (read : handful) of readers comment as well as vote.
The site has got more number of readers – readers who prefer to download books and read them offline and read them via the mobile website. I’ll be honest, I too was once a silent reader.
But that was once upon a time.
Now, I make sure I leave comments. It encourages writers. It makes them feel good about their work. Place yourself in the shoes of the same writer! I remember getting pretty excited when a reader once commented on a lesser-known novel of mine, asking me to update! It provides a sense of joy to know that someone wants to know more about my story!
Be the active reader. Someday, when you’ll be writing a story, the people you’ve supported will help you back. They do.
  • Competition –

For such a large and popular website with numerous new users joining every day, it is only natural to have some competition. But on the site, the competition is carried on a different level.

As a pretty person who has always loved competition, I have no complaints against it. In fact, I think competition needs to be there. It pushes the writer forward and gets his/her creative juices flowing in the right direction (or maybe wrong). Of all the writing sites I’ve been to, I feel that Wattpad probably has the strongest competition. The tighter the competition, the better the talent that is showcased.

However, competition is peculiar on Wattpad. There are writers who have impeccable grammar and beautiful writing and yet remain lost in the shadows. Yet there are writers who go like, “Yo, bitch!” and manage to get so many readers!

Now, you see, why I told the competition out there is peculiar.

Who are the writers comparing to?

  • Becoming popular on Wattpad –

Let’s face it. Becoming popular on Wattpad isn’t easy. And if you think it is easy, you are wronger than the word I just used. Or maybe, you’re just delusional.

Here, social interaction plays a major role as well – how well you communicate with your readers, how well you can keep a reader engaged, how well you can sell your book to the crowd – all these factors play an essential role. It is no longer about how well you write, but how well your book reads!

One of the major lessons I learned after joining the site is that you don’t become popular by being good at something. Simply good. I write good. I know that. My friend is good at writing. She knows that. Some user I know has a good writing. He knows that. But there we are, all in the same train, squeezed up into a corner, waiting for our turn to come to the limelight.

I see several new threads in forums where confused writers are seeking help. Most of them have the same question – how to get more reads and followers and how to become popular.

There’s a definite mantra for this, but remember, it doesn’t work half of the time.

  • Write a good story (That’s what all of them say)
  • Publicize it in the Share Your Story page (this is a mere ridicule. There are two very contradictory words in the same sentence, which I’ll leave for you to figure out)
  • Seek critiques (75% of the critiques on Wattpad are not genuine, trust me. Try it.)
  • Help people (I’d second that. 25% of my followers are actually people who I’ve helped in the past.)
  • Show your enthusiasm by commenting on other stories. Show your support!

To be honest, a person as witty as me or like me (I know I’m being delusional, but oh well) will have better chances to get to that stage than a hardworking honest fellow who re-reads his/her manuscripts a hundred times. However, that doesn’t mean that you follow my example. I’m not here to set one. We need serious, hardworking people who are passionate about writing. We don’t need semi-erotic stories with a PG-13 rating or fan fictions where a pathetic girl jumps on someone and they fall in love.

And we need those people everywhere. In every nook and corner of our world.

But, at the same time, let us all remember that it is not always the hard work that wins. Intelligent work does.

Stay tuned for the next post where I reveal secrets to achieving slight success on Wattpad and give out top tips on how to impress a crowd (you know you want to)!