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Writing Along With The Bards Of The Blogosphere - A Special Experience

It's been a crazy couple of weeks.  I made eight great new writing friends.  There were around 300 of us bloggers brought together by the Indian blogging hub, Blogadda, to #CelebrateBlogging and participate in the Game of Blogs.  The group in which I found myself, which subsequently named itself 'Bards of the Blogosphere', was the most diverse group, with members in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Mangalore and Lucknow.    We collaborated on WhatsApp and email, had umpteen discussions  and took the given set of characters and made a book out of them.  Our Excel spreadsheet was our most trusted tool.  Some of us write prose, some poetry, some of us write long pieces, some of us prefer to write short pieces.  Some of us write light, humorous stories, some of us write darker, more brooding prose.  But somehow, this diverse group of bloggers took the set of given characters, Shekhar, Tara, Roohi, Cyrus and Jennifer and made up a plot and a story.

As I've already mentioned elsewhere on this very blog, I wrote the opening chapter of the Cyrus/Jennifer love story.  When I read Arpita's chapter on that romance, which closed the story, I got goosebumps.  The very same characters who had lived in my head had literally transported themselves to Arpita's.  They were the exact same pair, except instead of being the author, I was now the reader.  And the characters were consistent all through, no matter who was writing them.  See, we were all in touch in a virtual manner while we all went about our daily lives, wherever in India we were.  But every time another Bard picked up the torch and ran with it, the story just consistently flowed.  Which showed the connection.

For me, the best experience I've taken away from this has been how to stretch oneself as a writer and leave the comfort zone.  When I was writing Jenny and Cy's love story, I was very comfortable.  When I was writing Roohi's kidnap scene, I was not.  yet I never felt more alive as a writer.  A new, temporary character in the story, Ramesh, emerged, from my own Uttar Pradesh, a common man who, for the moment, was the hero of the story, a man who had been bowed down by the tragedies of life, yet who could come out of his own misery to rescue a little girl who reminded him of his own beloved sister, tragically lost.  Also, the darkest character in the story, Aryan Ahuja, emerged in the story from my chapter, even before we knew his name, a good man soured by a system gone bad.  Evil though he is, Ahuja could be, in the words of William Shakespeare, 'a man more sinned against than sinning.'  Ahuja suffered horribly to become the near monster that he was and I think that the Bards have told his story in a fair manner.

I think we've all somehow been powered by a sense of outrage against human trafficking.  People generally dismiss this evil in our society on the grounds that it happens to other, poorer, people.  This story of a middle class child who was trafficked and the effect it had on her parent would have been terribly difficult for me to write on my own, but in the company of the Bards, it was possible.

Thanks to the Bards of the Blogosphere and to Blogadda for this amazing experience.  I hope our story wins, yet even if it doesn't win, I'll never forget this season in my writing life.







Meet the Bards:



I interviewed each and every one of us (including myself) for my book blog.  Read all the interviews at the following links and you'll get the lowdown on each and every Bard, including links:

Doc (Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan)
Divsi (Divyakshi Gupta)
PRB (Priyanka Roy Banerjee)
Nupur Maskara
Sulekha Rawat
Arpita Nayak
PeeVee (Priyanka Victor)
Datta Ghosh
Maria Perry Mohan


I think the lowest point for the group was when our initial discussions were heating up, one of our members had to drop out owing to personal circumstances, which left us with just nine Bards instead of ten.  But all the Bards chipped in to make up for the shortfall without a murmur of complaint.  Various Bards chipped into help, one with editing, another with the spreadsheet, another with the collage - everyone helped out whenever needed.  We agreed early on that even though Doc (Roshan Radhakrishnan) was the head of the group, we were all equally responsible for the group.  A happy moment came when we discovered that both Doc and I were winners in the Indireads short story competition.  But whatever happened in between, the chapters were plotted and written.  We're all going to keep in touch and it would be really great if we could write another project together sometime.  I do hope it will be possible.  We seem to work well together.

And now, the book:


Week 1: 
Chapter 1 - Princess' Day Out
Chapter 2 - The Weekend Brunch
Chapter 3 - The Journey
Chapter 4 - The Phone Call
Chapter 5 - Through the Eyes of a Stranger
Chapter 6 - The Princess and her Pied Piper
Chapter 7 - Shadow play turns real
Chapter 8 - Mysterious Tattoo
Chapter 9 - The Confrontation

Week 2:

Chapter 1 - I'm coming to get you, Princess
Chapter 2 - The evening before
Chapter 3 - A Good morning
Chapter 4 - Trigger happy
Chapter 5 - The Calm before the storm
Chapter 6 - What lies beneath
Chapter 7 - Pandemonium
Chapter 8 - Whodunnit
Chapter 9 - The Divulgence

Week 3
Chapter 1 - Shadows In The Night
Chapter 2 - Taken
Chapter 3 - Truth and Pretence
Chapter 4 - The Perfect Crime
Chapter 5 - Standoff
Chapter 6 - The Return
Chapter 7 - Catharsis
Chapter 8 - The Reunion
Chapter 9 - Epilogue


It's currently a free read online, with the different chapters found at the various blogs of the writers.  Please visit, follow the story and above all, respond. Leave comments on our posts and Facebook page.

The Bards of the Blogosphere are on Facebook.  You can get to our page from here.

Comments

  1. Great post Maria. I relived the moments while reading your lovely post. we did have fun writing the story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a memorable experience, wasn't it?

      Delete
  2. Your post got back some beautiful memories. I so so glad to be part of this initiative and meet some of the best writers :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for writing such a good article, I stumbled onto your blog and read a few post. I like your style of writing...
    Tobacco Machinery

    ReplyDelete

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