In conversation with Romila Chitturi, talking about her book ‘Between the Pages:And other short stories’
Q) Tell us about your journey so far. What’s your motto in life?
Romila – I am Romila, better known as Novemberschild in the blogging community. I am Delhi born, Hyderabad settled. I am happy to be a strong, independent and self-driven woman who chose to follow her heart of being a Writer. I started my journey as a blogger in the year 2004. Curiosity was the reason for me to explore blogging. At present I have not just gained 14 years of blogging experience but I have managed to publish articles on various online and offline platforms. I have been a topper academically apart from being the best in music, sports, debates, elocutions and quizzes. I am the go-to person for many bloggers who find themselves on the crossroads of writing and blogging. I am always happy to help.
My motto in life as a writer is a very simple one – “Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.” Larry L. King.
Q) Can you tell us the inspiration behind each of the short stories?
Romila – I read writers I love and then I learn from them, analyze their writing, get inspired by their greatness. Fiction is my favourite, but I’ll devour anything. If you normally read just a couple of your favourite authors, try branching out into something different. You just might find new inspiration. Good magazines aren’t always filled with great writing, but you can usually find one good piece of either fiction or non-fiction. Good for its writing style, its voice, its rhythm and ability to pull you along to the end. These pieces inspire me.
Q) According to you, what is your idea of a good short story. What are your favorite short story collections?
Romila – Good writers don’t cover up their wounds, they glorify them. Think for a few moments about a moment in your life when you were wounded, whether physically or emotionally. Then, write a story, true or fictional, involving that wound. Think about your favourite films or novels. How many of them either show a character die or have the character’s dealing with the death of another. What do Harry Potter, Superman, Cosette from Les Miserables, Bambi, David Copperfield, Frodo Baggins, Tom Sawyer, Santiago from The Alchemist, Arya Stark, and Ram Mohammed Thomas from Slumdog Millionaire have in common? Beside the fact that they are characters in some of the bestselling stories of all time? They’re all orphans. Writers love orphans, and statistically they appear in stories far more often than in the world. Orphans are uniquely vulnerable, and as such, they have the most potential for growth. Whether it’s a friendship or a romantic relationship or even the relationship between a parent and his or her child, write about the end of a character’s relationship.
Few of my favourite short story collections are – Malgudi Days – R K Narayan, Collection of Short Stories – Ruskin Bond, Paradise and Other Stories – Khushwant Singh.
Q) Any plans working on a standalone novel?
Romila – Let me be very frank, I do have ideas on paper for a standalone novel but I don’t think it will take a shape before 2020. I shall keep everyone informed about it.
Q) You are quite active on social media. How important is social media as a tool?
Romila – Publishers, Readers and fans care about your social media presence. They care a lot. Actually, they probably care too much. It can be difficult to sift through all of the available social platforms and decide which ones to focus on; it helps if you think about what it is you want to achieve. If you’re looking to get your name as a writer out there, it makes sense to use the networks with the most users to boost your presence. Your social media account doesn’t have to be all writing, all the time. I found social media hard to navigate at first, because I’m a private person but very soon I found topics I felt comfortable discussing, such as books, history and my writing process. Use social media’s endless networking possibilities to your advantage. Have fun with it and engage with other authors you admire. Social media is an extension of your voice. For aspiring writers, it’s a chance to practice miniaturization — how to say something interesting in a very concise way — which is, in itself, a good writing exercise. Seasoned writers might look at it as an ongoing book tour, or at least the Q&A part of the book tour. So it’s up to you how to present yourself, but you should be honest with followers about your work’s progress.
Q) What is your advice for upcoming writers?
Romila – Writing well doesn’t come so easily for a lot of us. It takes a lot of mental energy, strains your working memory and often makes you feel vulnerable if you try to be open and honest in your work. The pure effort of writing is hard enough, but coupled with the pain of putting your work out into the world and letting others judge it, this can be enough to stop you from getting started at all. The trick to overcoming this isn’t easy, but it’s surprisingly effective: give yourself permission to write badly, and just start. So to get over the biggest hurdle—the blank page—just get writing. Don’t be afraid that your draft might be bad (it probably will be, but that’s okay.) If you want to get better at anything, you have to practice. You have to be disciplined enough to show up when you don’t want to, and to keep at it when you’ve had enough.
You can click on the link below to buy her book: