Tips on Grant Writing

I have been volunteering as a Grant Writer for a few non-profit organizations; While each organization is different in terms of needs, the community it serves and operating budget etc., however some elements of grant writing are similar.

Lets take a look at some of these important elements of writing a successful grant application.

  • Keep in mind that most funders have a process for accepting grant applications which mostly starts with an eligibility test, followed by a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) and if accepted, it is followed by the full-fledged grant application. One must pay attention to the deadlines for each of these processes.
  • While writing a grant application, it helps to have a crisp Mission statement for the non-profit and use it appropriately in the application. It also helps to show how the non-profit’s mission aligns with that of the funder.
  • While writing a grant application, it helps to highlight important milestones and achievements of the non-profit in order to show progress since inception and emphasize why the requested grant is needed.
  • Couple of other important parameters to include in a successful grant application is the community that the non-profit serves and how rich its board members are. It helps to highlight how these board members’ experience helps in achieving the non-profit goals.
  • Budget is an important component of the application and should be described in an easy to understand narrative and figures. Pie charts etc. can also be used in a full-fledged application.
  • Most importantly, all funders will provide you a word limit on the LOI and grant application. Make sure you don’t cross that and make your application crisp and easy to understand.

There are obviously other factors to consider which may be specific to each non-profit organization; However the above pointers should help you get started.


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
Facebook
|  Web Twitter | Books

5 Tips on writing nonfiction!

IMG_1070Nonfiction writing can seem daunting at times. Here are certain tips that you might find useful:

  • First and foremost, ensure that you have a definite purpose for your book. There may be several books on the topic, therefore you need to make sure yours is unique and has something definite to offer to the readers. Spell the uniqueness out!
  • Organize your chapters in a logical fashion to attract readers. When I browse through a nonfiction book, first thing I look for is the chapter list to determine if the book is useful for me or not.
  • Include examples, anecdotes and practical ideas in your book. Textual books are good for school/college curriculum. However, practical books attract all kinds of readers.
  • Choose an apt, yet attractive title for your book. Title is the first thing that attracts a reader!
  • And of course, just like any other book, proofread, beta test and edit your book before publishing.


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
Facebook
|  Web Twitter | Books

How important is POV?

Writing-Guide

Point-of-view (POV) plays a critical role when you are writing scenes for your novels. While several authors write their stories from first person point-of-view, that is not a style that I am comfortable with. I am okay with reading first person point-of-view stories but when I am writing, I find it easier to write in third person. It comes naturally to me and I feel that as an author, you can be more creative with third person perspective. You can play around more with scenes and narrative.

Some of the advantages of third person POV are:

  • There are times when I have switched POV to make a scene become more powerful.
  • Although romance is always from two POVs – hero and heroine, sometimes adding a third POV enhances the storyline.
  • Often times writing a romance from a hero’s perspective provides a refreshing change!
  • As an author, it is creative to get in the head of several characters and third person POV writing provides just that.

Play with your POV and have fun writing!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
Facebook
|  Web Twitter | Books

Amit Sharma’s take on revising manuscripts!

Amit-Sharma-banner

Welcome Amit to my blog! Could you please tell us, when you receive feedback on your manuscript, how do you go about revising/changing your story?

 I am blessed with friends who are voracious readers and could be expected to give brutal and honest feedback. I give my first draft for alpha reading and get ready for all the stones and tomatoes that my friends are going to throw at me. The real work starts after that. I keep improvising the manuscript till I am completely satisfied with it. I take a break for a few days between two start-to-end sessions to get a new perspective. Once this process is over, I give over the book to a professional beta reader. I haven’t done that for the first book but I will be doing this for all my future books.
I usually do not change my story but I might change the way it has been told based on the inputs. For example, if a character needs to be more visible, I might add a few more scenes. I might add incidents that add depth to the story, add descriptions and improve dialogues.
Amit-Sharma-pic
About the Author

Amit Sharma is the author of fiction novel titled False Ceilings by Lifi Publications. The book launch happened on 12 Jan 2016 at the World Book Fair in Delhi. The novel is a Family Saga spanning 130 years (from 1930 to 2065) and takes us through the lives of six protagonists who are bound by a secret and live in Delhi and Dalhousie. 

Amit Sharma has been working in a Software Firm since the last ten years. He lives with his family in NCR. His wife is a teacher and they are blessed with an amazing daughter. Amit is a voracious reader and devours books. His other hobbies include watching world cinema, traveling, digging into various cuisines, cooking, listening to music, painting, blogging (he used to blog earlier at Mashed Musings), making his daughter laugh and helping his wife with her shopping.
Amit’s book Links:

Interview with Pamela Fagan Hutchins!

Let’s welcome best-selling author Pamela Fagan Hutchins and chit-chat with her about various aspects of writing! 

perf6.000x9.000.indd

  • Congratulations on your book release, Pamela! Please tell us what has been your most rewarding experience as an author?

Recently, I’ve coached other novelists who have gone on to experience joy and success from their writing. While I have loved and continue to love each and every review I get, awards that my books receive, and emails and letters and Facebook posts and blog comments and every other heart-warming contact with readers, I am shocked to find how much I enjoy helping other writers achieve their best writing in their stories, and find their own readers.

  • That’s fantastic. I agree, that giving back is highly rewarding. Please tell us, how much research do you do for your books?

I do tons of research for my books. Everything from culture, geography, food, and religion to current and historical events, legal and criminal procedure, and mythology. For Hell to Pay I researched on following topics:

  • The Native American Hopi tribe and its vision question/spirit animal tradition.
  • Lake Meredith and the Colorado river basin in West Texas.
  • Diabetic comas: types, symptoms, treatment, and recovery.
  • Religious cults.
  • The process and rules for adoption in Texas.
  • Crime scene procedure in multi-jurisdictional situations.
  • The process of arrest, charging, arraignment and bail in a first-degree murder case.
  • Snake handling as a part of religious tradition, especially in the Southern U.S.
  • The professional rodeo circuit.

I really enjoy the research aspect of writing. I want desperately to get it right, for my stories to ring with authenticity.

  • How do you go about developing characters of your book?

Most of them occur pretty organically. But it starts with storyboarding with my story partner, my husband. We discuss plot lines and character arcs for years, I write them in outlines, ultimately I draft them into novels, and then I send them right back to him and we do post-writing storyboarding. Sometimes a character is way, way off in a first draft. I’ll go back to the drawing board and ask myself what characteristics define this character, what events have shaped them, and what is in and out of character for them. Ideally, for a protagonist, you then want to put them to the test in every single scene, ratcheting up the tension and pressure on them and seeing how they react. As much as I storyboard and plan, though, sometimes the story and characters take on a life of their own. It’s a lot of fun when that happens, and some of my most authentic characterization comes from just letting them have their way!

  • Dialogues are important in fiction. Do you want to share any tip for writing dialogues?

Dialogue needs to be authentic and it needs to be concise. Authenticity means that it sounds exactly like that character would say it. Concise means that you take that, and you make it shorter.

I am writing a What Doesn’t Kill You prequel novella right now. Six different protagonists in alternative points of view tell it. I’m killing myself on voice and dialogue in this one, making sure that readers will know who said what whether I tell them who it is or not.

The way I check my dialogue by reading it aloud, in character. My husband finds this quite humorous. I walk through the scenes and do the accents and body language.

  • I agree, reading the dialogues out loud is a good practice. Thanks for all the tips on writing! Before you go, tell us which scene in your book is your favorite? Why?

In Hell to Pay, my favorite scene is where Emily reluctantly displays her snake handling skills for her fiancé Jack and his parents. I love it because it shows her conflicted relationship with her past and her parents, at the same time as she is totally tough and brave and doing something most of us would never in a million years do.

 

pamela jan

Pamela’s Book Links:

Amazon.com : https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Pay-What-Doesnt-Kill-ebook/dp/B019UHL0NY

Amazon.in: http://www.amazon.in/Hell-Pay-What-Doesnt-Kill/dp/1939889367

Pamela’s Website: http://pamelafaganhutchins.com

On Writing Series & Trilogy!

Writing-GuideI have been asked several times during interviews about writing series, so I decided to write a post on it today. I have written both single-titles as well as series and there are pros and cons of writing both. For one, writing a series takes a whole of work ahead of time in planning different books in the series. And from the reader’s perspective, series are often more attractive.

Types of Series

If you are thinking of writing a series, some things to know about are what are the different kinds of series that you can plan. Most obvious one is a trilogy where a story continues on a continuum of three books. Trilogies seem to be very popular among the readers especially if they love the characters and want to keep reading about them more and more.

Other kind of series consists of books with different stories that are connected to each other at an abstract level. I like to call these connected series. You can have as many books in a connected series. I tend to prefer writing connected series over a trilogy. A trilogy has stringent requirements whereas a connected series is more flexible.

One example of link between different books in a connected series is at the character level. For example a main character in one book can be a secondary character in another book in the series. Another example is commonality of setting among different books in a connected series. For instance, you could write several books based on a small town. An underlying emotion or theme between different stories could be a connection as well.

Do’s and Don’ts

Some things to be aware of when writing trilogy or connected series is to not contradict yourself. For example, a character who had dark skin in one book cannot suddenly have lighter skin in another book in the series. It is up to the author and editor to look out for such inconsistencies before publishing.

I would also urge authors to plan ahead how many books they want to publish in a connected series. Write as many as will entice you as an author. As long as you are having fun writing, readers will enjoy them too!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
Facebook
|  Web Twitter | Books

Importance of Setting!

Aditi-flowers

I don’t know about other authors but I find setting of a book equally important as the characters in a story. A carefully selected setting can do wonders for a book. As a matter of fact, the same is true for a movie as well.

One should think about the what and why before choosing a setting well before starting to write a fiction book. Some things to consider are what kind of setting would suit the characters that you have chosen for your book? Is there a setting that has special significance in your character’s mind? Could you use your setting to attract readers towards your book.

I travel a lot and while traveling if a place inspires me, I’d like to use that in my book. I have a passion for traveling and am fascinated by the unique things every place has to offer. Some authors like to use small town setting which could also be quite unique and provide a different perspective.

Pick a setting that gels with your passion and it will certainly enhance your book!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
Facebook
|  Web Twitter | Books