Monday, September 12, 2011

A Matter of Life and Death: Another A to Z Story

          Today I am honored to have as my guest D. Biswas, who most of you know as Damyanti.  Her blog Daily (w)rite was a popular flash fiction site during the 2011 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  In this post she tells how her challenge entries came to be published in book form.   


Meeting the Challenge


          First of all, let me thank Lee for welcoming me on his blog. I’m here to talk about my experience of the A to Z challenge, which Lee has been organizing for the past two years. If you follow Lee, you already know about the challenge.

         This year, I signed up my blog Daily (w)rite without much of an idea of the challenge’s history, or its potential reach. I was the 15th participant, and the final count was more than 1200, if I’m not mistaken.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, the A to Z challenge asked its participants to post on 26 days of April on their blogs, except the 4 Sundays.

        Signing up for this was where it all began, because that is where A to Z Stories ofLife and Death, my debut collection of flash fiction, was born.

       Being me, the eternal last minute improviser, I was scrambling for ideas on the morning of April 1st. I had no clue what to do, but since I’d written small pieces of fiction on Daily (w)rite before, I decided maybe I should give that a shot.

       Writing flash fiction on Daily (w)rite usually involved picking up a random word or picture prompt, setting the kitchen timer to ten minutes, and writing non-stop and without thought till the alarm went Tiing! I polished up whatever emerged and put it up.

        After I similarly posted the first two or three pieces for A to Z, I got positive responses and returning readers…which made me ask my readers for prompts. This gave the readers room for involvement, and challenged me to come up with something completely random.


A Book Is Born

       Near the end of the challenge, I had regular, returning, encouraging visitors—some of whom suggested I compile an e-book.

       I did.

      Which is to say, I kept rejecting and re-writing the original pieces based on feedback by beta-readers till I was moderately pleased with the result (I’m never completely pleased with my work. Le Sigh.) I approached Jake Garn for the cover image and Marcel Heijnen for the cover design. (Both were amazing in their work, and I highly recommend them….Marcel is your man if you need your e-book cover designed.)

       This took me two months, and then in August, with the help of my tech-whiz and immensely supportive husband, I uploaded A to Z stories of Life andDeath. It has got good reviews on Kindle, and is selling a few copies every once in a while. I would love to have more reviews, obviously, and I have a few more stories in the pipeline based on some of the pieces in the collection.

     To give you an idea about the book, here’s the blurb:

Twenty-six A to Z stories, based on the twenty-six letters of the alphabet, question our moral compass: How do you judge a teacher toying with the sexuality of her teenaged student? A boy who decides to murder his mother? What thoughts rage inside a pedophile serial killer before he shoots himself? They challenge the concepts of beauty, truth, and morality, by revealing the face of the other side.
The stories focus on a crucial juncture when a character's life changes, for the better or worse, because of a choice or decision. Some of the characters in the stories confront death, others talk about life with its quirks and whimsies. Each voice, ranging in age from a six-year-old to a centenarian, has its own riveting story to tell. Together, this collection of stories at over 12000 words attempts to prove that when it comes to stories, depth can sometimes replace length and breadth.
   What's Next? 
      
         I’m definitely going to participate in April 2012, and if all goes well, I shall have a second book in the A to Z series. All of this from the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge by the tremendous Arlee Bird.

        Speaking of challenges and blogfests, I’d like to end with an invite to The Rule of Three Blogfest, a month-long shared-world fiction extravaganza in October with some great prizes, and of course, a lot of exposure for your writing.

       This is one Blogfest fiction authors ought not to miss, because it is open to all genres, and provides an excellent showcase for an author's craft. Go ahead and sign up!

      In conclusion, a big hand to Arlee Bird, and to A to Z! Mark your calendars for April 2012, because this challenge is going to get bigger and better!!
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Writer Bio: D.Biswas lives more in her head than in this world, adores her husband, and loves her pet fish and plants. She is an established writer for magazines and journals. Her short fiction has been published in the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Muse India and in print anthologies by Marshall Cavendish, Monsoon Books, and MPH publications. Her book, A to Z Stories of Life and Death, is available for download at Amazon Kindle and Smashwords.
Twitter: damyantig
Blog: http://damyantiwrites.wordpress.com

            I'm thrilled to have featured another success story from the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge and want to thank Damyanti for taking the time to tell her story.   We now welcome your comments and questions.



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37 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Damyanti:-)
    It's encouraging to read that you received so much positive criticism and help from fellow bloggers and were able to publish your book.

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  2. Another delightful success story stemming from the A-Z challenge. Leave it to the imagination of writers to take it down various paths.
    I'm looking forward to reading Damyanti's book. Thank you for sharing this post.
    Manzanita@Wannabuyaduck

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  3. Congratulations Damyanti. :)
    I am new to blogging and while I had seen the A to Z Challenge, I did not really know what it is. This was very interesting. Your book sounds fascinating. I just purchased it.
    Lee I really find your blog so interesting and informative. Awesome. :)

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  4. Who woulda thought, right? I learned tons while doing the A to Z.

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  5. That's fantastic that she could leverage her A-Z into a book! Just doing it is no mean feat, let alone doing it so well, that people would pay for it.

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  6. Glad you went through with your idea for the eBook, Damy!

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  7. jabblog, it was a wonderful experience to have fellow A-Z ers stopping by to comment. Lee was one of my most regular supporters in April!

    Manzanita, thanks for your kind words!

    Charmaine, yes, absolutely only from the A to Z blogfest. Which is why I'm now doing the Rule of Three Blogfest...who knows, a book might come of that, too :)

    Cristina, thanks for your encouragement, and for buying my book! I hope you would tell me how you liked it!

    Donna,I think a whole lot of people took away a lot from the A to Z Challenge!

    Will, I'm surprised people are continuing to buy and review it...I expected to make a grand total of 10 usd from it :D

    Alex, I'm sure glad I did!

    Want to thank Lee again for having me here...and for organizing A to Z!

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  8. Congratulations on your A to Z book. I have done both challanges in fact I was the first to sign up for the first one. It really changed my blogging life,
    Yvonne.

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  9. Congratulations Damyanti!!!!
    Blessings, Joanne

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  10. What a wonderful story! Congratulations Damyanti! And the cover IS gorgeous!

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  11. Yvonne, Joanne, Lynn....thanks for your comments!

    An update: A to Z stories of Life and death is now also available on Nook, Barnes and Noble.

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  12. I had the same challenge during the A-z, figuring out what to write each day, but with a little forward thinking, I managed to finish.

    Congrats, Damyanti. Having read your stories, I know readers won't be disappointed when they buy the book.

    Thanks for hosting Arlee, the challenge helped me discover that I could stay on point if I tried hard enough. I was thrilled that I was able to finish and one bonus was that I linked up with Damyanti again.

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  13. Hi Lee - that's great .. I think you'll have to do a book about your A - Z blogging experience .. or 26 bloggers .. or - you've done an amazing job with the A - Z and I'm so pleased I came in this year: that's about 40 books from this years bloggers .. allowing for the few escapees!

    Danyanti - congratulations - love the look of your book etc .. and what a great idea to turn it into an ebook .. I shall get an ebook reader sometime (in the not too distant future I hope) ..

    Lee you've inspired so many .. that's just a great credit to you and your fellow administrators - though I suspect you do the bulk of the work ...

    Enjoy the days ahead .. cheers Hilary

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  14. Lovely, lovely photograph of D.

    I am happy to know that there will be another A-Z challenge. I did not have the oppt'y to participate this year but will make a point of it in the coming year.

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  15. Congrats Damyanti!

    Sounds so interesting. What a great different spin on the A to Z challenge.

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  16. I finally got your book Damyanti. Now to read it. I'm also gonna participate in the challenge again. It was so much fun and so many fun people. I made friends. ^_^ Thanks Arlee for the awesome challenge.

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  17. Congratulations Damyanti. Love the cover:)

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  18. At the risk of repeating myself, Damyanti, the book is a great accomplishment, and I hope you'll let it motivate you to write many more. Your creativity is boundless and your writing highly polished. Your only limitation, it seems, is time.

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  19. This is so awesome. I am clearing my blog schedule for the next A-Z challenge in April. :)

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  20. very creative!And D.Biswas seems like a very kind and lovely person!
    Great guest, Lee!

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  21. Impressive doesn't really cut it. We who completed the A to Z Challenge salute you!

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  22. Lee, thank you SO MUCH for inspiring Damyanti to post her daily stories. We had a feast the whole month of April, and now I have another feast in her book.

    Damyanti, you are the GREATEST!

    Marian Allen
    Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

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  23. Success stories, I love them! Thanks to both of you for sharing. Have a great week!

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  24. JL Campbell, or Joy (as I know you)..you're one of the reasons the book came about and you've been so supportive afterwards that it is hard to believe we've never met in real life...and live as far apart as Singapore and Jamaica!

    Hilary, thanks for your kind words, and if you download the book from Smashwords, you don't need an ebook reader to read it...your computer will do fine :)

    Suze, you definitely must participate in the next A to Z! Thanks for the compliment on my photo..I keep thinking I need to get a more Author-ly one lol

    Donna, thanks. A lot of the spin came from the prompts people gave me on my blog.

    Patricia..thanks! Your book is on my to-buy list as well, I'm so looking forward to it! And yes we'll A-Z together again...it was so much fun!!

    Munir thank you..the credit for the cover goes to Jake and Marcel!

    Charles from mostlybrightideas, if I could only read one blog besides mine, it would be yours. Thanks for being there for me, my friend.

    Ciara, yes, April 2012 would be A_Z month in the Blogiverse!

    Dezmond, thank you so much...and very sweet of you to say that :)

    Julia, it was only possible through the help of other A-Zers!

    Marian, you were one of the first people to suggest the book, so the credit for the inspiration goes to you :0 ). Thanks also for cheering me on, and being the first person to buy my book.

    Karen, thanks! Join A-Z 2012 for your own story of success : D

    The more comments I read, the more grateful I am that I did A to Z 2011--I met all these awesome folks as a result :) Thank you again, Lee, and sorry about the time delay in responses--Singapore is on the other side of the world :D

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  25. Just popping in to say thanks again to you, Damyanti. You've been doing great in answering to the comments.

    And a great big thanks to all who have left comments. If you missed A to Z last year I do hope you will reserve next April for this great event. Like Damyanti I'm sure you'll have a great time of it even if a book doesn't come from it. The whole thing is just a lot of fun.

    Lee

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  26. That is so cool, Lee! Thanks for sharing Damyanti's story.

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  27. LE COOL!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  28. This sounds great! I'm so looking forward to The Rule of Three blogfest. :-)

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  29. Hi Lee, thanks for having Damyanti today.

    Congrats Damyanti. I'm glad to see you on the blog trail. I know just what you mean when you say you're never completely pleased with your work. Best wishes for you and A to Z Stories of Life and Death!

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  30. Wow, that's impressive. And she's back to work already, no breaks.

    Inspiring.

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  31. Congratulations!
    A to Z next year sounds like fun.

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  32. What a great post. Damyanti, I enjoyed reading your short stories throughout the A to Z challenge and am also glad to have met you via Twitter and to have been able to be part of a lasting relationship in the blogosphere.

    It is cool that you were able to compile the book that you were working on and I wish you much continued success and inspiration!

    Your stories are gripping and an asset to the flash fiction genre.

    The Madlab Post

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  33. Great idea; so happy your went through with it! Sounds like a great read! Congrats~

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  34. Sharon and Stephen, thanks!
    Misha, I am, too :)

    Doralynn thanks both for your kind words, and for empathizing with me!

    Dwei, thanks...and yes we writers have to keep going. That's what we do :)

    Pat, it Was fun! Join us in 2012! :)

    Nicole, you were one of my major supporters during A to Z, and I'm happy my stories did not disappoint you :)

    Ella, thanks! The idea came from fellow-bloggers, and for that I'm grateful!

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  35. Great post! Sounds like a fun challenge!

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