Book Title: Stories Are MagicalAuthor: Abhirup DharFormat: Paper BackTotal Number of Pages: 175 pagesLanguage: EnglishPublisher: Hawakal PublishersPublishing Date: 16th April 2018ISBN-10: 9387883043ISBN-13: 978-9387883048Stories are like magic! Who doesn’t like listening to or reading a good one? This book is just that. A reminder why we love them and why we live them – a celebration of storytelling!Six stories. Six different genres. One book.My TakeStarting from the cover the green colour is quite soothing design is simple but powerful. You would want to sit in your own cosy corner and immerse yourself. The title of the book is captivate.Stories Are Magical is a collection of six different short stories And Love Happened With Her Again!, Once Upon A ghost, Woof!, A walk Through Memory Lane, The reunion, Two Plans Ans A Murder. Never felt my interest waning. To write is an art, to keep the reader fascinating and hankering for more is magic. Out of this six short stories Woof! is my favorite part Dogs have long been considered “man’s best friend.”The plot is blend of emotions, friendship, heartbreaks, romance, hope affection, anxiety, phantasm, creature love, dreams, power struggle, passion, crime, betrayal and many more.Language is simple and lucid to read and connect with the story and being engaged throughout the story. The author’s mastery over the language is evident from the terms he has used and the vivid description of events that unfold in the pages of the book. The characters are well developed and one can easily relate them. Narration is done well.An engrossing read that’s capable of keeping the reader on edge till the very end.Overall Ratings 4/5 StarsGrab the book here AmazonAbout the AuthorAbhirup Dhar was born in Kolkata and is still being brought up in India. A banker by profession and aspirational in life with a passion to excel, he also reviewed movies for certain portals years ago. He writes for the sheer joy of it since childhood and that itself led him to pen his first book ‘Once Again… With Love!’. He believes the best stories are always the simpler ones. He now celebrated storytelling in his second outing with ‘Stories Are Magical’ and readers had a quick, relaxing and fun read. Abhirup currently lives in Delhi.You can stalk him @Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
There are seven billion on this Earth. So, there are seven billion equally important journeys of their lives that they have lived and the stories that they created during those journeys. These stories define these individuals because these stories appeal to these individuals too. StoryMirror is the home to these seven billion stories. It is the home where stories are nurtured in myriad creative ways.And just like every individual, every brand has a story to tell—creative stories that not only engage, inform, surprise, delight, and impact their audience, but that also deliver on a measurable level of Creativity.Brand StoryMirror’s story, is the story of Creativity. StoryMirror explores thoughts or ideas that are new or different in some way from previous thoughts and ideas. And as exploring thoughts and ideas can be expressed by people in many ways, it can also be expressed through drawing, writing, singing, or even doing something. And StoryMirror is the conduit between the audience and the Creativity - a movement which brings every creative mind on a single platform. It is a Creative ecosystem that is beautifully involved in providing the stage for Creative minds to share their work on. It is a unique online platform created to showcase the diversity, versatility, and excellence in the field of literature and art dispersed across the length and breadth of India. StoryMirror was set up, in the year 2015, as a revolution to connect people through stories and inculcate the spirit of storytelling in the stressful lives of the masses. Every story, poem, and artwork that appears on www.storymirror.com reflects the emotions and lives of every individual. Hence the tagline, ‘Stories that reflect you.’ It was founded, with the vision to let the artists give their piece of mind for the world to behold. StoryMirror started off as an online portal wherein any person who believes that they could write a story or a poem or had creative traits to be an artist could submit their work to be cherished by millions of individuals across the globe. By 2016, they entered publishing industry and their Future Prospects include Audio Books, Interactive Webzines, 30+ Regional Languages, Short Films/Videos, and Authors’ Workshops.StoryMirrror is trying to connect storytellers with their peers through advanced technology and digital prowess. All the stories, poems, artworks, and eBooks are available for reading, sharing, and submitting. They also have an eCommerce website and mobile application from where all the products can be downloaded or ordered. Currently, they support 6 languages - Hindi, Odia, Marathi, Gujarati, Bangla, and English and they are going to cover Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada very soon.Therefore, when it's said that StoryMirror is on a path to changing the Creative landscape of India, it leads to the fact that www.storymirror.com has brought to the world and made it realize the power of storytelling with its 3 million+ readers, 70k+ users, and 10k+ writers/poets/artists. It’s the only story portal with a mobile application and with more than 10,000 downloads.StoryMirror, is your way in and while this Creative Ecosystem’s stories reflect you, it is all set to always amaze you with the enormous possibilities that lie within its global vision. Because StoryMirror is the idea of Creativity. StoryMirror gives you the wonders of Creativity. And StoryMirror is the answer to your Creativity. It is all about Creativity!
Writing a white paper is a long process. It can take 20-40 hours for a professional writer to create a single medium length paper—and that’s working on it full time. When you’re a subject matter expert working on other projects at the same time—all bets are off.Why does it take so long to write a white paper?Well, first of all, it doesn’t take everyone that long. I’ve talked to other professional writers who take considerably less time. The issue then becomes how close do you want the writer to come on the first draft. If the writer doesn’t take enough time up front, you may have to pay at the back end by going through multiple rounds of revisions with them.What goes into creating a paper that hits the mark by the first—or at most second—draft?A good paper requires considerable research (or deep subject matter expertise) to provide context and the writer must work hard to tell a cohesive story.The Need for ResearchWhenever I start a white paper, I interview the client to get basic information, including the audience, the goals of the project, the one key message the client wants readers to remember, and the key supporting messages (which usually relate to the benefits of the solution being described).My job as the writer is to flesh out these high-level messages into something that leads the reader to understand why the problem is important and what steps can be taken to solve it. This involves the following:Providing context. People don’t know what they don’t know. To get them to read more, you need to start where they are. Describe some issue that they can relate to, and then lead them into a discussion of something they hadn’t considered related to that issue.For a white paper, this usually means starting with a description of a key strategic issue that the target audience faces. For example, the paper might address a new regulation that has an industry quaking in its boots.I recently wrote a white paper for a company that helps hospitals comply with audits from Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance companies. Targeting hospital audit managers, operations managers and CFOs, this paper documented the prospect of an exponentially increasing number of audits that are arising due to the success of Medicaid Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) audits. This particular paper quoted the rising number of audits faced by one medical center. In other cases, I use quotes from high-profile industry analysis, such as the Gartner Group or Forrester Research to document a trend.Opening the knowledge gap. Once you’ve described a problem the reader already knows they have, you can describe a new area where they have a gap in their knowledge. In a white paper that talks about a technology solution, this often means describing what’s missing in existing solutions that customers/readers may already be using. Again, this can require considerable research to adequately describe these problems.Providing context around the solutions. Once you give people a clear idea of the problems they face and why existing solutions don’t truly address those problems, you can then begin to introduce your take on the solution. And yet, as you discuss different aspects of the solution, you still need to provide enough context so they can understand you.For example, if I’m writing a white paper on how an ERP solution improves productivity, I might discuss how it centralizes data from throughout the organization and how it automates business processes. I would need to provide the additional context to explain how data was not stored centrally before and what problems that caused (i.e. the need to constantly rekey information into multiple systems, which is a time-consuming and error-prone process).Providing context is time consuming. Even though I have an extensive background in many types of hardware and application software, it’s important to include the most up-to-date information, including the very latest trends as they apply to a particular industry, role or buyer persona. That can take considerable time sifting through trade-industry articles and interviews to understand the full story. Finding proof points from industry analysis can be time consuming—again because not only must the research be on topic, it also must be timely.Even providing context about the individual benefits of a relatively generic solution can take a fair amount of effort. I like to find several sources to ensure that I understand each issue completely and can describe it fully to my readers.The Art of Good WritingThe second time-consuming aspect of writing white papers is assembling contextual information in a way that makes sense for the reader and compels them to read further:Tell a coherent story. You can’t just include blobs of content. People want to read a story with a beginning, middle, and an end. Usually for thought-leadership papers that educate potential customers at the awareness phase of the sales cycle, the story will need to include the following:A beginning that describes a problem that our fearless reader needs to solve. In a white paper, this is usually a business condition that the customer must overcome if he or she is to succeed in meeting business goals. For example, the business challenge might be an uncertain economy that is leading the CFO to clamp down on IT budgetsThe middle will often describe obstacles in the way of our fearless reader solving that problem. For example, say your paper is on tape-backup consolidation. Here’s where you can talk about why current tape-backup systems contribute to inefficiency in the business.The end is where the reader is introduced to a solution to their problem. Here’s where you talk about all the ways tape-backup consolidation improves efficiency.Tell the reader why you’ve included each section of the paper. Not only must the paper attempt to tell a story, it must make the different parts of the story obvious. You need to include an executive summary telling readers up front what the paper will be about (so they can decide whether or not they want to read it). You need to introduce each section. As I draft the rough versions of my papers, I often use subheads that state the purpose of each section—problem, obstacles, solution, benefits etc.—so I keep them clear in my own mind as I’m writing. Only when the draft is 95% complete do I change the subheads to more clearly represent the actual content of the paper. I might change a section called “The Challenge” to one called, “The Need to Improve Efficiency.”Eliminate anything that doesn't contribute to the story. One risk of doing a lot of research is that while you’ll gather a great deal of information that’s important as background, but that won’t necessarily apply to the topic at hand. When you go to write the paper, however, you need to be ruthless about cutting anything out that doesn’t directly contribute to your story or the reader will get confused. For example, in my white paper-editing example, a key topic was the future of business intelligence. Yet, in many places, the paper wandered into a discussion of the Internet. While it’s fine in this context to talk about how the proliferation of Internet use will impact business intelligence, I cut out all references to how the Internet impacts telephony.So in answer to the initial question, the reason white papers can be time consuming to write is that you must do your homework to get the context necessary to explain the issues thoroughly and then you need to craft a single, coherent story that includes only relevant information.
I began my digital journey in 2007 and recently completed ten years in the virtual world. Recently I reflected upon the most critical lessons I had learned in ten years of the virtual world.On Branding & Reputation1) Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.2) Brands are built by a pride of association with like-minded people and role models.3) Your story is your brand.4) Your network is who you know and your reputation is who knows you. On Content & Creativity5) What comes straight from the heart touches straight at the heart.6) People believe it when others appreciate you. Your content is taken seriously when it is shared by others7) Content is king, engagement is queen, passion is princess and technology is a prince.8) Content is king, conversion is the prime minister, and we live in a democracy.9) Creativity leads to deeper insights. Insights lead to even deeper creativity. On Personal Growth10) Selfishness is our default setting but we are empowered to change the settings. 11) Nothing succeeds like passion inspired success. Dig out your deep passion. 12) Collaboration happens when you shift to "You, We, Us" mode.13) A great self-image is a starting point for a great journey.14) The destination is a mirage. The journey is the Nirvana. 15) Branding is just the journey. Bonding is the destination.16) Tell yourself the right stories. Beliefs are stories we tell ourselves.17) Find magic partners and spread the magic. There is magic in unconditional love. 18) Learn once and earn forever does not work anymore. Today you need to unlearn, learn and relearn.19) Meditation is just living in the moment. 20) Social media is a glasshouse. You can't fake it for long.On Storytelling & Inspiration21) You can't heal yourself without telling your story. 22) Empathy first, authentic story later.23) Your stories must move people .....into action, smiles or tears. 24) Words carry energy. Energy carries magic.25) The deeper the love you put, the higher the inspiration you draw.
Please give details about your initial education and forming years of life.I was raised in Patna for the first eight years of my life, after which my family moved to Kolkata. I completed my schooling from Garden High School, Kolkata, and later studied English Literature at Lady Brabourne College under Calcutta University. Finally, I received a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC). Most of my childhood memories consist of my grandfather reading me stories, which sowed the first seeds of my obsession with storytelling and all things literary.How did you get interested in literature? What inspired you to write? Everything that happened in my life served as inspiration at one point or another, as well as the stories of other people whom I met or read about. I have also always been inspired by movies and TV shows, and routinely get obsessed with characters, whom I then proceed to write about and reinterpret in my own stories and poems.I guess my interest in literature was first born partly because of my grandfather, who would read stories to me every afternoon before we took a nap. That made me curious about storytelling, because I wanted to learn more about the characters and the world, even after the story was over. It was a mixed blessing, really, because I spent most of my student life hiding novels under my textbooks and almost flunking several exams as a consequence.What difficulties did you have to face with respect to literary work? Anything worth doing is hard to do, you know? The more you care about what you're doing, the more difficult it is, because you worry about the smallest mistakes and want the final product to be perfect. You also worry about what other people will think, whether or not reviewers and readers would like it, whether something might be misinterpreted, etc. But that's a good thing, really, because it wouldn't matter so much if you didn't love the work. The fact that it's difficult only proves that you're constantly trying to get better. When it stops being a challenge, that's when you need to start worrying.What is your view about the present day literary work? I think we're living in one of the best times in the history of humanity, in terms of literature, or artistic work of any kind. The variety and scope of opportunities that modern writers have is absolutely unprecedented. Earlier, in order to find an audience, you had to find a publisher who'd agree to invest in you, you had to then write in a way that would appeal to the largest section of people possible, to ensure that your publisher made a profit. Or you had to be insanely rich in order to opt for vanity publication, which was very expensive.Now, in various corners of the Internet, you can find all types of literary work – from fanfiction to poetry, novels to flash fiction, there is a place for everything. And all you need to access it is a smartphone and a data plan. And for the most part, you don't really have to worry about being censored or redacted. Writers have never been more free to experiment, try out new things, and have their voice be heard by people around the world.Do you think that the emergence of digital and social media has given a new opportunity to creative writers? Absolutely. I think that the Internet is the best invention since the printing press for writers and creatives in general.Please tell us something about your literary work. I write across mediums and genres. So far, I've written two and a half novels, more than fifty poems, numerous articles, four short stories, and two fanfiction stories. Really, it depends on the type of emotion I'm trying to convey at that point. Almost everything I've ever written can be found on my blog. Well, apart from the novels. Those can be found on Amazon and also on Wattpad.What was your first literary work and how was it published? Well, I suppose my first officially published work was my novel, The Classroom Effect. It was published via Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing program around 2015.How many ways literature can contribute to society in future? In the same way that it has contributed in the past, by keeping a record of the times so that future generations can learn from our mistakes, and the present generation can reflect on the realities of the world while at the same time being entertained.Where do you see yourself after 5 years in the literary world? Writing more stories, spinning better yarns? I don't know, really. As long as I can keep writing things that interest and excite me, I'd be happy!What ways would you suggest to build a community for poets? The best way for creative people to build communities, I think, is by freely sharing their works with those who might enjoy them. You can't connect with people if they don't know you exist. And sharing has never been as easy as it is now, with the Internet. So I think poets and writers in general should take advantage of this opportunity, and share as widely and as freely as possible.What message would you like to give to aspiring new writers? Well, I'm pretty new at this myself, and I do aspire. So I'm still in the process of figuring it all out myself. If there's one thing that I have learned, though, it's that in order to do any creative work, you absolutely HAVE to give yourself the freedom to fail. You have to allow yourself to do your absolute worst work, because that's the only way to learn and get better. There's really no way around being a novice. You can't reach grade 3 without going through grades 1 and 2. If you try for perfection from the very beginning (which is what I did initially) you'll just keep disappointing yourself and never get anything done. The desire for perfection is the birthplace of writer's block.How was your experience of writing on Storymirror? It has been wonderful so far! I've read some fantastic poetry on this site and had a lot of fun sharing my own work with this lovely community!Would you like to say something about Storymirror? I think Storymirror is a fantastic platform for young writers and poets to share their work and find a community of other creative individuals. I have been on many online writing forums and websites, but this is the first time I have come across such a platform based primarily around Indian writing. We have long needed such a platform, and therefore, I think it's an amazing initiative that all budding Indian writers and literature lovers should participate in wholeheartedly!Here is the link to read my content https://storymirror.com/profile/vkzhvfka/nupur-chowdhury/poems
Myths are some historical fictional stories which provide us apparently unreal though unexplored assumptions. They provide us many truths but mostly they are overshadowed by its unreal fantasies. So we never try to understand the inner meaning of the Mythology blaming its misleading approach to Knowledge and Truth. It first influence an individual by its seductive charm and gradually to the group which he belongs and becomes part of religion. Myths often contribute heavily to our perceptions of how the world works. We may not see the incidents what is written in Mythology but always felt a great mysterious presence of reality in those divine or demonic deeds as in our lives. Myths emphasize the invisible, yet they also hint that mythic reality strongly influences everyday human life.Myth appears itself as simple stories but corresponds with our life, psychology, moral codes, Philosophy and Truth. They reveal the power of love, the violence of men, the mystery of death, relations between God and Human, and give us the answers of many Great questions but Different myth tackles these great questions in very distinctive ways.In case of analyzing Myth, we need to have courage to question belief and reality. Now the question comes how belief works? In reality mostly belief doesn’t base on Logic but some authoritative advice which people believe unconsciously, in other way Fact is provable. You dont need any faith to believe a fact. But the dynamic process of telling, listening, and reflection that continually shapes and reshapes people's beliefs about the unseen powers and forces at work in their daily lives.Mythic traditions are not simply a thing of the past but present as well . The primary sources assigned for this course, moreover, offer a glimpse of other culture's ancient stories as they not only survive, but also transform and grow in the modern period. Over thousand years ago myth was the only way to give people knowledge about the world and life but it has changed its presentation through time. That we need to understand .in modern age we discovered science to reveal the knowledge of physical things on earth. Myth did same thousand years ago. The truth is one but shown in different way.We sometime think that reality is only based on the subject we believe. And what all people say are wrong. But reality is too complex to be grasped by means of any one method of analysis. Reality is the combination of many truths concurrently. For them, stories about mythic worlds were in an important sense more real than accounts of observable facts. Yet they also pointed out hidden connections between invisible realities and the ordinary people, places, things and events that they and their audiences daily experienced. But only true visionaries can see that invisible reality exist beyond it. Myth can instruct by going beyond literal truth. Mythic storytelling also continues to evolve in efforts to explore the spiritual dimension often hidden by ordinary perception. Myth gives us many times false massages but only to disguise the truth. Some Christians may say that, it is the Post modern Dilemma where we question Eternal being. But I believe we have right to question as we have freedom to have free will.Such stories often convey important moral lessons, and bring to light important yet otherwise abstract psychological issues and moral dilemmas. The superhero and fantasy science fiction stories enjoyed by older children as well as adults explore more complex notions such as destiny and the vastness of time, highlighting the subtleties of trying to do the right thing in a complex world. Even Legends in Mythology do usually tell of such people interacting with unseen beings forces; the heroes in legends thus often serve as models for the way anyone might themselves interact with the mysterious aspects of their daily life experience. It symbolically depicts what is invisible to most.which only visionaries can see.
Book Title: Table For OneAuthor: Neha BindalFormat: Paper BackTotal Number of Pages: 180Language: EnglishPublisher: HALF BAKED BEANSPublishing Date: 20 July 2018ASIN: B07FQ7MWBCTaara Maheshwari, a single woman in her thirties and a successful lawyer, is tough from outside but a die heart fan of romantic movies from inside.She grew up seeking her “happily ever after’ but amid various heartbreaks and culture of modern age short term relationships,her believe in “true connections" got replaced by the comfort of being “emotionally disconnected.”After she turned 31, her parents persuaded her into meeting a guy for marriage who sounded just perfect for her. Acting on impulse,she told her parents that she would meet him only if they let her go on a trip to Europe.As Taara went on to explore the world, she experienced what actually happens when a single Indian girl travels to Europe all by herself. Is it only about dancing, singing or falling in love? What happens after you fall in love? Does love conquer all? Only her story would tell.My TakeThis is the story of protagonist Taara Maheshwari, a successful lawyer in her early thirties still unmarried. She is a confused women, who had encountered some heart breaks and doesn't know what to she wanted in her life. As her parents convinces for an arrange marriage. To which she agreed only if her parents would allow her for solo trip in Europe before marriage. She promised to meet the man once she returned back from the trip fortunately her parents agreed. She thinks it's an escape from marriage and quit her job to fulfill her dream to take a solo trip to Europe. Here her self-exploration starts with travelling diverse destinations, meets different kinds of peoples all around there, sang a song in public, danced crazily, went on trekking, and many more she explored the Europe. Taara in this trips founds new friends as well as she is attracted towards Fred and was in love with him. To know more what happen next read the book. The book is a bag of emotions of love, heartbreaks, travel, romance, adventure, external love, internal love, self realization, happiness, peace, friends, family, life, and many more.Language is simple crisp and lucid and has the ability to bring live the events narrated in the book. The story flows like a movie and takes the readers on a journey to Paris, Switzerland and Italy with Taara the every scene is so well written than you can actually get images of them in your mind. Characterization should be have been strong and done better and i don't like the sudden climax. The faced paced and engaging narration. The writer’s words has the capacity to hold the reader till the last page. The storytelling style was different and simply adorable. I loved Taara character through out the book. Characterization should be done better and i don't like the sudden climax. The cover and title is beautifully crafted.We are all taught that the most beautiful part of a fairy-tale is “happily ever after”. But we fail to notice that all fairy tales begin with “Once upon a time”. Once. It all happened. It was all real. Once. No matter who we are, what we do, or where we live, deep inside we all feel incomplete. It’s like we have lost something and need to get it back. Just what that something is, most of us never find out. And of those who do, even fewer manage to go out and look for it. Alone wasn’t just a closed dark room anymore but a whole wide world full of opportunities. I needed to explore and occupy the vastness of the world inside of me, which until now I hadn’t truly understood. Like the houses we build, the sky was also a shelter to few.I'll recommend this book to all the avid reader's.Overall 4/5 StarsGrab the copy here- AMAZON
(Based on my personal research, March 2018)Throughout my journey, from an aspiring writer to be a contributor of 8, and being on contract for a debut solo; what I realized is that we all need a mentor. The one thing I wished I’d had when I was starting out as a coach, a mentor, a guide - someone who had braved the turbulent waters I was about to set sail on, and come out flourishing and thriving on the other side. In our information age, somebody needs to produce that information, and it can’t all be pictures or videos (try as YouTube might). Luckily, there are a variety of free online courses available for all types of writers and aspiring writers. I’ve listed some of them below:Creative Non-Fiction: Write Truth with StyleIn this class, Susan Orlean, best-selling author, and New Yorker staff writer lead us through her crafting process for transforming regular subjects into incomparable stories. She reveals how she prepares to write and delves into why curiosity, revision, and collaboration are at the heart of being a writer.English Composition I: Achieving Expertisevia Duke University.In this class, one will gain a foundation for college-level writing valuable for nearly any field. The syllabus highlights on important topics like how to read carefully, write effective arguments, understand the writing process, engage with others’ ideas, cite accurately, and craft powerful prose.Secret Sauce of Great WritingThis is an introductory course that will give a powerful new framework for writing. It is the basis of a unique writing system designed to massively enhance your skills in as little as a few weeks. The course reveals information that will have an immediate impact on the quality of your prose.Creative Writing: The Craft of Plotvia Wesleyan UniversityIn this course, aspiring writers will be introduced to perhaps the most elemental and often the most challenging element of the story: plot. We will learn what keeps it moving, how it manipulates our feelings, expectations, and desires.Blogging BasicsThis class will provide you with the information you need to start blogging on the right foot. Perfect for beginning bloggers, this is a crash course for those who want to learn more about blogging before diving in or who aren’t sure what to consider before starting a blog.Start writing fictionvia The Open UniversityThis hands-on course helps you to get started with your own fiction writing, focusing on the central skill of creating characters.Telling Your Truth Through Writing — A ConversationNYT bestselling author Ayelet Waldman dives into her approach to constructing narratives, focusing on the challenges and opportunities of memoir writing. Starting with the importance of authenticity, she’ll address the most common choices writers make during the creative process.Creative Writing for All: A 10-Day Journaling ChallengeAuthor Emily Gould walks you through a 10-day creative writing challenge. Filled with inspiring examples, observation prompts, and clever revision tricks. Commit to writing 10 minutes a day for 10 days and, on the final day, revise one entry into a finished piece. Use this class to ban writer’s block.Study.comMany schools offer free online courses and materials through OpenCourseWare (OCW) projects. While formal admission isn't necessary to access lectures and other materials, these courses don't usually award college credit. Students looking for the same ease of access and the opportunity to apply their study time towards a degree or certificate program might want to consider courses that can lead to credit through Study.com. Students trying to improve their writing can check out English online classes like English 104: College Composition. Chapters in this course include: Conventions in Writing: Usage, Parts of an Essay, Essay Writing, How to Revise an Essay, Using Source MaterialsStorytelling Fundamentals: Character, Conflict, Context, CraftJoin urban fantasy writer Daniel José Older for a 40-minute drive into the fundamentals of narrative storytelling. This class is for creative writers (both aspiring and established), and everyone who wants a deeper understanding of what makes a great story so captivating.English for Journalismvia University of PennsylvaniaThis course is designed for non-native English speakers who are interested in developing the skills needed for a career in modern journalism.New Jersey Institute of TechnologyThe New Jersey Institute of Technology is a scientific and technological university that offers OCW courses and materials. Technical Writing is geared toward the advanced writer. In this course, which consists of about 40 videotaped lectures, students apply theory to analyze and solve complex communication problems. Course topics include audience awareness, document design, ethics, gender equity and rhetorical theory. Sukanya Basu Mallik
I love, love, love watching crime shows and love more Nordic noir and the temperamental detective, where the moods are as erratic and dark as the plot. Here is a list of a few I watched over the last year which has strong female leads. A few of them are incredibly edge of the seat with a fantastic plot and cast to execute them. And thankfully, the women at the center are not seeking or falling in love with the nearest good-looking man as a respite from (and sometimes at the cost of) their detective duties. They are middle-aged with children or are single and unapologetic about it, much flawed and human, yet brilliant and unwavering in their goal. Check them out and let me know others. This genre, I wish, would grow in multitudes1.The Fall: Gillian Anderson returns to the small screen as Stella Gibson and how brilliant is she? We know both the hunted and the hunter in this slow, moody, psychological thriller and yet, the cat and mouse game is less than predictable. The plot: when a Belfast murder remains unsolved, Stella Gibson (Anderson) is brought in to catch the killer. DSI Gibson soon fears that a murder spree is underway in Belfast and a killer is on the loose. An equally brilliant Jamie Dornan plays serial killer Paul Spector whose identity is known within a few minutes of the first episode, but hey, watch it and tell me if that makes it any less exciting.2. The Killing: Who killed Rosie Larsen (and other questions answered). The Killing is based on the Danish television series Forbrydelsen (The Crime) and stars Detective Sarah Linden and her loyal love-to-hate-you-hate-to-love-you sidekick Stephen Holder (I admit, I fell a bit in love with the damaged piece that was him by the end of it). Each episode ends with a cliffhanger that points of a possible killer who doesn’t turn out to be the one in the next (but of course!). In essence, the show follows the investigation of the murder of local teenager Rosie Larsen but is intertwined with others: the police investigation into the murder, the Larsen family's attempts to deal with their grief, and the fluctuating electoral fortunes of a political campaign that becomes embroiled in the case.3. Happy Valley: Oh, how much do I LOVE BBC’s crime productions? There are five on this list (barring The Killing) and I say without hesitation they have mastered the art (or science or what have you). Happy Valley is set in the Calder Valley and Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) plays a strong-willed police sergeant, still coming to terms with the suicide of her daughter, Becky, eight years earlier. She is now bringing up Becky's young son, Ryan, the product of rape. Catherine hears that Tommy Lee Royce, the man responsible for the brutal rape that impregnated Becky and drove her to suicide shortly after Ryan was born, is out of prison after serving eight years for drug charges. Catherine becomes obsessed with finding Royce, unaware that he is involved in the kidnapping of a young girl—Ann Gallagher. Things get worse as the kidnappers try to hide their tracks and Catherine grows neurotically persistent.4. Vera: Based on the Vera Stanhope novels by bestselling author Ann Cleeves, Vera (starring Brenda Blethyn in the titular role) is an employee of the fictional Northumberland and City Police. She is obsessive about her work and driven by her own demons. She plods along in a constantly disheveled state but has a calculating mind, and despite her irascible personality, she cares deeply about her work and comrades (-- from Wikipedia). Everything about her screams motherly and cantankerous, yet she is a formidable force to watch. And you will grow very fond of her by the end of it.5. The Honourable Woman: Not a detective series this but I couldn’t help adding it to the list. THW is a political spy thriller which is so nail-bitingly good, you have to watch now. It features Maggie Gyllenhaal in the title role (isn’t that the new, happy trend: small screen revival projects for the out-of-work or fading big screen stars?). She won a Golden Globe for it. Totally deserved, may I add? Gyllenhaal plays Anglo-Jewish businesswoman Nessa Stein who eight years earlier became the new head of the Stein Group after her brother abruptly stepped down. As she continues her work to maintain the Middle East peace process, old secrets come to the fore and bodies pile up. The stakes are raised high when Kasim, the son of Atika, Nessa's friend as well as Ephram Stein's Palestinian housekeeper, is kidnapped.6. Top of the Lake: Okay, to be honest, this is not one of my favorites. I thought the plot fell a bit flat towards the end. But the characters and the settings are quirky and unique and the whimsical style of storytelling reasons enough to watch. The drama stars Elizabeth Moss (someone I admired in Mad Men and will, till the end of life, know as Peggy Olson). She plays Detective Robin Griffin, a Sydney police officer returning to her remote New Zealand hometown of Laketop, facing the crimes surrounding the pregnancy and disappearance of a local 12-year-old girl, Tui.7. Spiral (Engrenages): Another one to add to the list is the French BBC Drama - Spiral: Engrenages - broadcast on Canal+. It stars two powerful female characters: a quirky, obsessed, but brilliant female Police Captain Laure Berthaud, and a ruthless, corrupt and beautiful female lawyer Joséphine Karlsson, both caring less about the many feathers they ruffle. These female characters are primary to the plot and rarely was their gender invoked in relation to their job role or position of power. This feminist observation apart, the 12 part series is gripping: the characters etched out in great detail (I felt for each of them in their individual disasters and triumphs), their relationships and challenges realistic, and the three subplots cleverly executed and tied together. A minor quibble was the need to look at the subtitles constantly, but I swear by end of it I could speak a little bit of French myself.8. Marcella: Err... another British television crime noir detective series. Yeah, mea culpa, but I do like them so much! They are astonishingly atmospheric—a trait I look for in everything I read or watch—the cast and setting need to grow on me. The series stars Anna Friel as Marcella Backland, a former London detective who is asked to return to work to investigate an unsolved case from eleven years ago involving an unidentified serial killer who appears to have become active again. What I love best is she is un-coplike, almost vulnerable and thus, very relatable. Series 2 started airing in Feb, 2018 and I can’t wait for it to come to Netflix.Homeland and House of Cards are the other two wildly popular series with strong female leads. Might I also dare add Game of Thrones season 6? Finally, we have women sailing to conquer worlds and play both the hero and the villain. We have come a long way.But you know what else I wish for now? That the victims of these murders are not women! YES, let’s write a book or make a TV series where the victims of the serial killer is not a WOMAN? Yes, yes, please? I know, we make a pretty picture no matter what, but let’s not have any more cowering and whimpering. Just for a change.About the writer: Smita Bhattacharya is an author based out of Mumbai. She has a particular soft spot for psychological thriller novels and TV series. Her latest novel, Dead to Them, was released in January 2018 and is currently garnering rave reviews. Her other two books, He Knew a Firefly and Vengeful, have ranked among the top 100 Asian Literature & Fiction on Amazon. Several of her short stories have appeared in Indian and international publications over the years, making her a very happy person indeed. More about her at: www.smitabhattacharya.com