National Novel Writing Month – NanoWrimo 2014: Prepping up Part I



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!

Already intrigued?

 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:

  1. There will be 8 rounds of 6 questions each.

  2. Prompts will come from each one of the 6 pandits in a row. We will go in a circle for all the 8 rounds.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. For every prompt you need to write a four line poem and in the style dictated.

  7. You have to reveal only one line from each poem in at a time.

  8. You will not write anything down during the entire process.


“Yes Sir. Agreed,” said Vishnu.

The show began.

Round 1.

Prompt1 from first pandit: Through a four line Kanda padya, give us the reaction of Rama if Laxman asked his wife Urmila to be allowed to accompany him to the Vanavaas.

Vishnu closed his eyes and gave the pandit ONLY the first line of the poem. Everyone clapped.

Prompt 2 from the second pandit: In a four line seesa padya, give us an account of how great a captain Dhoni is.

Vishnu closed his eyes and gave him the first line of the poem for this prompt.

Prompt 3 from pandit:  I need a humorous poem in champakamala on vegetable price hike.

Before Vishnu could recite the first line, the person trying to distract him (vyardha-pralaapa) asked,”Do you think Priyanka Chopra is responsible for vegetable price rise?”

“No” Said Vishnu and explained his side of the argument. Then he recited the first line for prompt three.

The bell rang.

Vishnu smiled.

Prompt 4. Situation given.

 First line recited.

Prompt 5. Situation given.

First line recited.

Bell rang.

Another irrelevant question. Vishnu answered it.

Prompt 6. Situation given.

Bell rang.

Vishnu recited the first line.

Then Vishnu turned to the Pandit that gave him the first prompt and recited the second line of the poem for that particular prompt.

He turned to others one after the other for the remaining five prompts.

Then the third round for line three and then another round for line four.

There were two more irrelevant questions during this time and the bell kept ringing.

He gave the total count of the bell.

“Bravo! Bravo!” clapped everyone.

“Round one is complete. 5 minutes break before we start round two.”

Then the entire first session is repeated. Then round three until eight rounds are complete.

And THEN Asta-avadhaanam session draws to a close.


One of the journalists waiting to interview Vishnu Sharma asked, “How did you do that?”

“I compartmentalize my brain into 8 sections one for each prompt.”

“How do you remember which line to match which prompt?”

“I have the whole poem in my head when I recite the first line for each prompt.”

The End.


Amazing feat eh?

And research says humans use only 7 – 9 % of their brain capacity. And people like Avadhaani’s use close to 12%. Same as Einstein!

“What does all this have to do with NaNoWrimo?” I see all of you frown and ask.

To hike up the stakes I intend to do a sort of jugalbandi of NaNoWrimo and Avadhaanam.

How would I do that?

This is how I plan to do it. See I told ya’ll plan is important! 😛

Let’s get the trivialities of word count and calculations out first. For this Nano I need to write two stories to put my abilities to test. I chose to do two novels of 30k words each. If I write say 2k words every day, I’ll have 60k by the 3oth of November. And when I have two stories to work with, it is much easier.

And then my lazy side kicked in and said, “2k words a day is a L-O-T of writing. Think twice before you commit.”

My rational side replied, “Since you are looking for excitement along the journey, I have an idea. What you do is you plot both your stories. Then write down the names of the scenes say about 32 of them for each story. Pick one scene from each of the stories everyday and write. Ik words for each scene. That way you’ll have two birds in one shot.”

“How so?”

“You wanted to compartmentalize your brain and write two stories at a time like Avadhaani’s right? Also you will win NaNo.”


Okay. I decided to do it. Write two stories simultaneously. One scene for each story every day.

Still it didn’t feel hard enough for some reason. How can I scale it up a lil more?

“Write a romance.”

“Oh My God! I can’t write them. I don’t believe in the kind of love I read in romance novels. According to me unrequited love is the only true love one can have. Think about it.. You wish for something so much that you could die for it (you love the yearning not the actual love) and when you have it, it turns into nothing other than a pet at home!”

“Ouch, that is harsh. But hell ya write about that.”

“Okay. I can write about unrequited love.”


A decision is finally made – Compartmentalize my brain into 3 sections two for the stories and one for the other. Write two love stories (both unrequited) and write them at a time and write 2k words each day.

Now that the writing plan is out of the way, let’s plan the actual stories…

I’ll give you more details on my actual plan in my next post. Now I am truly excited. Bring it on NaNoWrimo. We are prepared, like truly prepared, with gritted teeth and all…

Happy planning and happy writing ❤ 🙂

P.S. What I am attempting is nothing close to avadhaanam and cannot claim I will accomplish such a feat any day in my life. I can learn to compartmentalize my brain and see how I can use it more. Also, it gave me a novel  approach to writing my two stories. I’ll write about it in the following posts. 

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11 Responses to National Novel Writing Month – NanoWrimo 2014: Prepping up Part I

  1. I read the whole thing again, Ushasri, your grasp of the Ashtavadhanam is very clear. I admire your quest to do something different, even while you play to the rules of the game. Splendid.
    And your statement about unrequited love got me thinking for a long time. From the surface, it appears to be right; but actually, there are an equal number of people in love who continue to be so until the dying day. What happens is that love has been given and taken and the process never ends, unlike the pet you end up possessing. If love ended somewhere, then there has been a shift and it became conditional.
    Much easier said than done. There has to be a conscious effort in ignoring the irritants and the diversions like money, sex, ego, comfort (like that diverting man and the bell in your passage).
    Incidentally, the woman in my novel for NaNoWriMo has such a quality.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lot of efforts gone into this. Though I didn’t understand much of it, but the effort shows. cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • ushaveera68 says:

      Oh I am sorry to hear you didn’t understand much of it. If you can tell me what was confusing, may be I can change it to read better.
      Thanks for the visit and the comment. Appreciated the encouragement.
      Cheers n tc.


  3. What a brilliant game. Pity Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan weren’t there in those days otherwise they would certainly have bought teams of such intelligent player and converted into the ‘Indian Ashatavdhaanam League’. Jokes apart, when I read it, I was bowled over just by thinking how intelligent one would have to be to participate, win, organize, in fact, be connected in any way with this game. Unfortunately Indians have always made great starts but failed to capitalize on those early gains. If it were not for your post, I would never have known about it. I’d only heard that there are yogis who can debate on several topics with several different people at the same time, but this is mind-blowing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ushaveera68 says:

      Ha ha ha.. Your sense of humor always cracks me up. 🙂 Thanks for the visit and the comment Neelesh. It is indeed mind blowing eh? I was always intrigued by this technique of spontaneous poetry writing. 🙂 Cheers n tc. Usha


  4. Manogna MG says:

    Your enthusiasm is clearly visible in the post. Ya..i have heard about Avadhanam. All the best for NaNoWriMo’14.

    Liked by 1 person

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