DIY MFA – by Gabriela Pereira

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As part of the DIY MFA Street  Team, I recieved an advanced review copy of DIY MFA ( Do It Yourself Master of Fine Arts) by Gabriela Pereira. I’m happy to say that I have enjoyed this creative journey with the other members of the street team.

The book explains the subject well and is split into sections like building your platform, reading and writing which is further expanded into sections like point of view, dialogue, voice, plot and character for ease of reference.  The USP of the book is that it focuses not only on the craft but also on building your community of readers, finding a support group of writers that keeps you accountable, ways to keep your creative well filled, with tools such as the Oracle.

As Gabriela says in the book, no one method is right for any writer. She presents a various array of tools and techniques to discover and implement what works for you and also streamlines a process through which you can objectively identify the techniques that work for you. The craft of writing is explained at various levels with detailed examples with samples of short stories, dialogues in the book and additional links to resources you can find on the DIY MFA website to get the point across. The process of revising a rough draft to a polished manuscript was particularly helpful for me as its an issue I have been struggling with for some time.

Gabriela knows her craft and it comes across well in the book. This book would be a gem to add to any writer’s collection of reference books. I particularly liked how she analysed the short story, ‘The Story of an Hour’ by Kate Chopin through different lenses of character, setting and narration.

Author: Gabriela Pereira

Publisher: Writers Digest Books

Genre: Non Fiction

DIY MFA: Write with focus, Read with purpose, build your community is available at Amazon officially on 8 July 2016 or you can pre order your copy here.



My Affair with Writing

My Affair with Writing

Like any other affair, I’ve had my ups and lows in this relationship. The early stories that I discovered were in Tinkle Digest. Comics that got read over again when my cousins from boarding school would be home for the summer vacations. Chanda mama was another member in the house that would arrive promptly every month though I didn’t take to it. I would devour stories from language text books way before school started for the year.

I read too many famous fives, secret sevens. For a time my secret wish was to be a detective. You can guess where that influence came from. One of my early diary entries does have a page titled – Tips on Sleuthing.

I revered writers with a devotion a devotee has to God. This reverence never made me think that I could be one of them. I didn’t even have any contact with any writers within my immediate circle to make them human for me. At that time for me, they were somehow elevated mortals who could create such magic and weave words beautifully to create stories. Of course, I still revere writers today too. Today I look at them as artists but as humans too with their vulnerabilities. My view has changed from a single dimension to being multi dimensional.

I stumbled on writing quite by accident. I loved reading but never wrote anything other than the required essays in school. It was by pure chance that one of the essays happened to be good enough to be published in our school newspaper. Good enough by my class teacher’s standard at that time that is. This was followed by reading one of my essay in class where I remember my class teacher was nodding happily as I was reading it out loud. I think that was the moment when I discovered the true power and the essence of being a writer.

The feelings that you are able to evoke in your readers through words on a page is a heady and empowering feeling. After this one of my essays came marked with “You seem to have a flair for writing.” I couldn’t decide at the time if she liked my piece or not as I didn’t know the meaning of the word ‘flair’ at that time. So I looked it up in the dictionary. This was when the writing bug caught me. I didn’t write consistently after this but this is where the seed had taken hold. I shouldn’t admit this but I even wrote essays or helped write essays for my brother, sister and cousins in school.

There are times when I have doubted my writing. I have now learned to have faith in writing in spite of these doubts.

What’s your writing story?