My First Time Experience With The #A2Z2018 Blogging Festival
The first time I heard about the A to Z blogging festival was in February this year. At that time I was participating in another blogging competition. Several co-participants spoke of the A to Z festival, and immediately my interest was piqued. I did a Google search for the A to Z blogging festival. When I read about what it entailed (I mean 26 posts in the month of April,) I was a bit apprehensive about registering for it.
I have a day job and 26 posts in a month meant spending a lot of time writing. I was under the impression that the participants would be provided a set of topics on each day of April by the organisers, and had to select one of these to write their posts. I thought this would make it impossible to be able to write the posts beforehand and be prepared.
I then contacted my friend Tina Sequeira who had already participated in the A to Z once before, and she told me the topic was entirely our choice, and we could be ready with the posts beforehand. That made up my mind for me. I had the whole of the month of March to prepare my posts.
After that came the difficult task of selecting a theme. Well, my blog is not a niche blog, and contains a range of posts from topics like poetry, articles and even some photography. But the one thing it lacked was fiction. Now, writing fiction as we all know is not everyone's cup of tea. And the couple of times I had attempted to write fiction long time back, I did not get a very good reception.
I decided to give it a shot in any case. After all I had nothing to lose. I decided on thriller fiction stretching across 26 chapters for I am an avid reader of Agatha Christie, Erle Stanley Gardner, Stephen King and several other writers of thriller fiction. I have heard several authors of thriller fiction say things like one has to think of the plot beforehand, and have a clear picture of what the story is going to be before actually sitting down to write.
I tried doing this. I sat down and desperately tried to think of a plot. My mind came up with a big blank. I felt like Big Moose in an Archie comic trying to solve a problem in Algebra. Then I almost gave up the idea of writing a thriller, and was wondering if I should try something else. But before giving up the idea of writing thriller fiction altogether I decided I would just open my laptop and start typing instead of following the conventional method of thinking of a plot and other details beforehand.
This fortunately worked. Then the first chapter, "A is for an Apple So Rosy and Red" was born. It was just 5 paragraphs. But I had made a start. Then every time I came back home from office, I penned a few chapters, and again I got stuck after the D post. This time too the reason for getting stuck up was because I was trying to think ahead. That is when I realised thinking ahead simply does not work for me. I had to go with the flow.
I continued writing, and in 4 days I had reached the Q post. In another 3 days the Z post was finished. Then began the period of self-doubt. I put all my posts in a word file and sent it to my friend Krishna and my sister Sudha who read through the whole thing and it was only after they told me that it was indeed a good read that I registered for A to Z. Today it is May 7th, and I am writing my reflections post on #A2Z2018. I am happy to state that my thriller fiction story has definitely received a very good reception if not an outstanding one. Far better than I expected. I am thankful to my readers for that.
The gala time we had during the month of April was something else. Blogchatter split us into several groups of bloggers. I made friends with a number of outstanding human beings and excellent bloggers like Varad, Sayan, Sonia, Shweta, Sudha, Sneha, Roma and several other people. All these people were extremely nice and very friendly.
I loved reading Varad's flash fiction and Sonia's titbits about Bengal everyday. Sayan's narration of the historical background of Indian cities beginning from the times of the Ramayana and Mahabharata were really well researched and presented in a very interesting way. Sonia's posts were great and I got to know a lot about Bengal which is a state I have never had the opportunity to visit.
Roma's bold posts about the trials and tribulations in her own life and how she overcame them made very interesting reading. Tina's posts were a true reflection of the problems faced by women in the Indian society. They were a reflection on reality and some posts really brought out the stark reality of how women are ill-treated in our society which has such a patriarchal mindset. On the other hand some of her posts were reflections on the lighter side of life.
Iain Kelly's short stories set in EU countries were a treat to read. Each story was a gem and I really enjoyed them. I am happy to have gotten to know him. Varad never failed to throw me off-balance with the punch line of his flash fiction posts. Things would be proceeding in a certain direction smoothly and suddenly one single sentence would change the entire complexion of the story and leave you feeling flabbergasted which is exactly what flash fiction should be like.
All the other bloggers came up with excellent posts too. Saba's posts on different places around the world, Sneha's posts on travel necessities, Ruchi's very interesting story about a family problem involving the husband, wife and the other woman all made excellent reading. All in all it was a really great month and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I am definitely planning to participate in next year's A to Z blogging festival. And I also recommend any other bloggers who are reading this post to do participate. It is a truly great experience.