My “Nano” Idea
I am a planner and take pride in it. I plan everything and writing is no exception. Once a management guru said, “You can tell a winner from a looser right at their planning stage. Plan well.”
With that thought in mind, I sat down to plan for my NaNoWrimo Writing Month.
NaNoWrimo Writing Month is a competition where one writes 50 k words in 30 days in the month of November. The contest commences at 12.00 midnight of 1st November and concludes at 12.00 midnight of 30th November. In that time frame the participants are required to write 50 k words. It can be any form or genre of writing – A full novel, two novellas of 25k words each or a collection of stories or essays or even a collection of poems. All you need to have is 50 k WORDS to win the contest. And the contest is held every year.
I participated last year and wrote 71k odds words and won. I wrote a collection of short stories.
For some reason I wasn’t as excited about NaNoWrimo 2014 as I was last year.
I analyzed the reasons.
I figured the target was achieved last year and the same goal this year wasn’t exciting enough to embark on the journey, one more time. I needed to spice it up to intrigue me. I wanted to do something more challenging this year than to just write 50 k words. If I did it once I can do it again. Duh! What is the fun in doing something you know you CAN?
How can I upscale the stakes?
My thoughts drifted. I thought of my childhood and how dad would sit through our reading sessions and explain while we read some old poetry classics in Telugu.
I have read some real good works in Telugu in my childhood. Our dad introduced us to literature and to poetry. He writes poetry (and is pretty good) and obviously, he thought it was good for his kids to read some greats in their mother tongue. Some of the imagery that I enjoyed then stayed with me, fresh and vivid. I wanted to create lasting images and stories like them. That is when I began writing, trying to describe everything I saw, smelled, touched, heard and felt. Thanks to my father. However, I always enjoyed the process more than the outcome. Weird but true!
Anyways, as I was thinking of Telugu literature a thought flashed.
There is a literary technique called AVADHAANAM.
To sum up the process in one sentence – Avadhaanam is a competition where ONE MAN competes against 8 using ONLY his brain power and his knowledge and wisdom acquired through reading. For lack of a better way to explain, it is like a Mushayara session but with a twist. And what an unbelievable twist!
The person who participates in the event (usually a well read, well-versed pandit) is called Avadhaani. The event is conducted as an Asta-avadhaanam (with 8 people), Shat-avadhaanam (with 100 people) and Sahasra-avadhaanam (with 1000 people).
Brace yourselves for something amazing. J Okay. This is how it works.
Let’s take Astaa-vadhaanam (It’s easier to explain with just 8 things to talk about).
Pandit Vishnu Sharma is seated on a mat in the head-center. On either side sat Maha-Pandits (people who were equally qualified as the contestant). They were a little way from Vishnu and there were four in each row.
One of the pundits to the right of Vishnu said, “Are you ready?”
“Yes Sire.” He raised his hands above his head and said, “Om Namah shivaaya.”
“The rules are as follows:
There will be 8 rounds of 6 questions each.
Prompts will come from each one of the 6 pandits in a row. We will go in a circle for all the 8 rounds.
Please remember the pandit to your right with a bell in his hand. He will ring the bell any number of times that he pleases, during the entire session. He is allowed to stop the session any time and ask you how many times he rang the bell. That is all he will do – ring the bell. He will not give you any prompts.
One other pandit will do the job of Vryardha-Pralaap (Meaningless talker) and will try to distract you by asking irrelevant questions that are in no way related to the prompt. You cannot dodge the question. You have to comment or answer his question before you move on.
With two gone, you will receive six prompts for every round. For every round there will be a new prompt from each of the six members.
For every prompt you need to write a four line poem and in the style dictated.
You have to reveal only one line from each poem in at a time.
You will not write anything down during the entire process.