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Do you #write #fiction professionally?

Writing fiction professionally, as most writers will tell you, brings mostly intangible rewards. I’ve been writing fiction full-time for about three years now, and I have to agree.

Been quite unwell this last month (hence the drop in blogging), but I’ve been feeling a bit blessed with the intangible rewards flooding in.

On top of signing up with an agent last month, this month I’ve had the following:

  1. Published at Cha: An Asian Literary Journal: been trying to get in here for the last 6 years, with about  5 different stories. Finally got accepted: The Wedding Day is the story of a married actress’s complicated love story with an autistic woman. This is how it begins:

A comb, a coiled viper, a lamp, a roasted suckling pig, a red veil: I begin my only daughter’s wedding day sitting up in bed, calling up these objects from my dreams.”

Rewards of Writing Fiction professionally

Writing Fiction : Years and Drafts

Took 6 years and about 10 drafts and paid mostly in terms of just the joy of finding it a home. Writing fiction professionally didn’t bring any monetary rewards in this case.

2. Published at the Papercuts Magazine: The Right Thing to Do story is about how two mothers work together to murder their daughters in an honor-killing pact. This is how it begins:

The corpse of Zahira lay on the only cot in the household.”

Professionally Writing Fiction

Writing Short stories

This one took 5 years and 23 drafts, professional fiction writing, if I’ve ever done any. Also paid in terms of the joy of writing, giving voice to a grave issue, but no money.

The pay for these two stories has arrived in full: I don’t want anything else from them. If you went ahead and gave them a read, they would both be happy– I think of stories published as children sent out into the world, and now they must find their own lives, separate from me.

Bath Flash Fiction Award: Writing fiction professionally

3. Got longlisted and shortlisted at the Bath Flash Fiction Award: This was a stunner. Two of my stories got longlisted and one made it to the short list. I hadn’t spent much time writing them: probably less than an hour each in writing, a few quick drafts. Maybe I should take up flashfiction writing as my sole profession!

4. THE CHERISHED BLOGFEST: This, for sure, is the best reward of writing professionally, and blogging to support it. I’ve made brilliant, kind, capable, wise friends: Dan Antion has taken up the organization of the blogfest this year, along with Sharukh Bamboat, Mary Giese, Peter NenaCheryl Pennington and Kate Powell.

Writing Fiction Professionally

With novel deadlines looming and health on the way to recovery, I’ll participate in this blogging event, but not sure how well I can support it, so I’m counting on you guys. SIGN UP NOW if you love blogging: it’s easy and you’ll make tons of good friends:

Share the story of one of your cherished objects. Tell us what it is, post a picture of it if you like, and tell us why you cherish it.

Keep your post to 500 words, and join us on the 29th, 30th or 31st of July 2016 in sharing memories, emotions, and information.”

More info here.

I’ve missed you all this month, and in bed, one of the things I longed to do was chat and comment. But my brain is all mush. I’ve added likes, but sadly, no comments! Apologies if I’ve been scarce: I shall begin rounds this weekend!

What news do you have to share? What posts of yours do you think I should visit first? What do you think of the stories I linked to? Are you joining the Cherished Blogfest (say you are!) ? What advice do you have for anyone taking up writing fiction professionally?

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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • प्रभावी !!!

  • macjam47 says:

    Congratulations on all of your successes. You are most deserving, my friend. I hope you are feeling better. Hugs.

  • Congratulations on all of your hard-earned and well-deserved success!

  • ascreasey says:

    Congratulations on all your recent successes! I am particularly happy for you that you have signed with an agent! How exhilarating, encouraging, and vindicating! Way to go!

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks! I’m thrilled about that too, and hope not to let my agent down. He’s fab, and deserves a really hardworking author-partner. It encourages me to keep trying my very best

  • Anupam says:

    I read ‘The Wedding Day’. It was compelling, it was profound and moving. It began like Julian Barnes’ ‘The Sense of An Ending’ and progressed with the serenity of a Lahiri tale. You say it underwent many drafts and that shows, The perfection in your passages is clear and immediately appealing. ‘The Wedding Day’ needs to be told widely. It’s a story of memorable proportions. You’ll reach where you aspire to Damyanti. It’s so predictable only because of the hard work you put in and the creativity you illustrate.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks for reading so carefully, Anupam, and your very kind words.

      I’ll try to deserve them better– I can’t hope to reach the names you’ve quoted, but I shall try and be the best version of me. I don’t have talent, so I have to replace it with passion, integrity, and hard work. Totally appreciate your taking the time to read, and to comment.

      • Anupam says:

        You don’t have to reach those names. With your talent and humility, providence shall take its course and carve your name as one to reach for. My sincere wishes.

        • Damyanti Biswas says:

          Anupam, that’s a very generous and kind blessing. I’ll keep trying harder every day to merit it. Thankyou.

  • Shailaja V says:

    Many congrats on all the laurels, Damyanti! It feels wonderful when work gets viewed and appreciated. Excellent news on the agent too. So happy for you. Hope you recover real soon. Rooting for you. ?

  • Dee says:

    Wow.. that’s really impressive! 🙂

  • inquisitivegeet says:

    Congratulations Damyanti and glad to know you’re recovering… I’m so impressed and inspired at the same time. Perseverance sure is the key… Keep up the good work!


    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks so much, and cheers! you and all my blog-friends inspire me too!

  • aj vosse says:

    I do hope you recover fully… very quickly! I’m so caught up in my little world that I didn’t realise you were unwell!
    Good on you for getting stories published all over the place! It makes me realise that there is always a chance of something happening for me too! (I’ve been working on a few of my first stories for many years and they still won’t end themselves! Maybe it’s time I get back to them!)
    I’ll look into your latest challenge… you know, the last time you twisted my rubber arms! (April!) 😉
    GET WELL! 😀

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      May I twist your arm again? Please join us for the CBF 🙂

      Thanks for your wishes– I’ve missed you.

      About your stories,a s long as you think they have a heartbeat, keep at them. If some emotion in a story resonates, don’t give up on it. Wishing you all the good luck in the world!

  • Wow Damyanti! You are prolific and are riding on the crest of the wave with your publications and awards. Wonderful news.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks, Cinda. Yes I subbed a whole lot this year, and need to do more. Will begin again in August once I’m done with all my deadlines and recovered just a bit.

  • That was fascinating. Thanks for sharing that. My books sell in dribbles. It seems to only way to make a living is volume–lots of them out there that sell bits every month. With over 100 published books (which includes booklets, bundles, and so much more), it is starting to work. Sigh.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      100 published books? Take a bow! You’re wonderful, Jacqui, the readers just have to discover that. I’m glad it is beginning to look better.

  • Hi Damyanti,
    Congrats! I will be sure to do the follow up readings. Have a pleasant week!

  • Fred Kass says:

    Wrote the Last Eden, science fiction space travel to Mars, environmental about future of the Earth and exploration of Mars, ‘In defense of life’, Biogreen. historical novel , the Reunion, fictionalized from real events. been at it for 27 years, Columbus is like living in the forgotten value and shouting out of a large glass jug which is closed and nobody can hear you.

  • anupampatra says:

    Damyanti, this will all go away, these health issues. And then it will all be beautiful once more. You and words. And many laurels. Most importantly memories, many cherished ones there would be. My best wishes.

  • pjlazos says:

    Wow, loved the short stories, esp. “The Right Thing To Do.” We in the West don’t realize what some of the struggles in other parts of the world look like, esp. as it pertains to women and their individual rights. I have always been amazed at how mothers are complicit in such atrocities as this and things like female genital mutilation. It’s almost like collective brainwashing. I feel blessed to live in a country where my voice matters as much as my male counterparts (even if we aren’t yet making the same salaries)!

  • Congratulations on everything you’ve accomplished. Wishing you more success and get better soon!

  • I’m sorry to hear you haven’t been feeling well. Keep resting and giving your body and mind time to get better. And congratulations on your successes!!

  • pjlazos says:

    First, sorry to hear that you haven’t been well. The best solution in most situation is de-stress, increase rest, and get in touch with the underlying reasons for the malady, all of which you probably know. What you probably don’t know, though, is that you’ve been one of my virtual mentors as I make my way through this blogging world. I’ve taken much of your advice and experience that you relay in your blog to heart as I attempt to create content worth returning for on my own blog. Congratulations on your recent successes, Damyanti! They are well-earned. Looking forward to reading your stories and to the second round of Cherished blogfest.

  • Congratulations on finding homes for your stories! I’ve never been very good at short fiction. I admire those who are. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been unwell, but I’m glad you’re on the road to recovery. Wishing you back to full health quickly.

  • Rajlakshmi says:

    congratulations!! I read the one published in Cha… I have always been a fan of your story telling and this one is just as brilliant. I was completely engrossed in the storyline … Will check out the second one too.

  • Brenda Liang says:

    thanks for the like! means a lot, I hope to see you stop by again soon 🙂 xX

  • miladyronel says:

    I’m glad you’re on the road to recovery 🙂 Congrats on your stories being published – they make up for the other hundred rejections a year 😉 Good luck with your novel – it’s one of your babies who’ll probably earn its keep.

  • Glad to know you’re better, Damyanti. And of course, congratulations on all you’ve achieved. I’m looking forward to the Cherished Blog Fest. Thank you for letting me know about it.

  • I do write some fiction but it is more for the enjoyment of family and friends and I’ve never sought to be published. Fiction is usually influenced by things we’re seen or heard in our experience as much as independent impression. sometimes it’s very close to real life experiences we’ve observed too. These we have to camouflage for the sake of privacy regulations governing so much of Western literary experience these days.

  • I write fictions but professionally they rejects my fictions with most professional words.,..i read your shared fictions..believe me I hadn’t read any better

  • catchats says:

    Sorry to hear you’ve been so sick this past month. I feel for you. Your post was so inspiring and uplifting to read about all you’ve accomplished with your writing. Well done! I commend you and wish you well in your future writing projects.

  • ccyager says:

    Ah, Damyanti, I know what it’s like to be gravely ill and have a long recovery period! I hope your healing continues steadily and your health returns to your normal. I found when I was ill, I could not think or concentrate on anything but dealing with the illness and sleeping. It took time for me to return to my usual self afterward. And now I’m dealing with medication side effects that give me brain fog and fatigue — neither conducive to writing or creating anything.

    Your writing finally being accepted by publications is a wonderful boost for you, and encouragement to keep writing. And that’s what we all must do: keep writing! Take care, Cinda

  • Here’s wishing you good health and many more awards. Most people say writing is its own reward. That being true, it does give a boost when u get recognition & paybacks.

  • Parul Thakur says:

    Hope you are feeling better now. You did some really good work with the NGO. Your hard work paid off.
    About fiction, I don’t write cos I think that’s not my strength. But things like Cherished Blog fest are good ones for me 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  • Congratulations on finding your children a worthy home. That makes all of that effort and focus so worthwhile. Hopefully these rewards will continue from your hard work. I am looking forward to going off and reading your two pieces now 🙂

  • Get well. We have you missed x

  • Tina Basu says:

    hey that’s great. Congrats and my well wishes. I have been part of three anthologies now, but stillI don’t if I can call myself a professional fiction writer as yet!

  • Congratulations on your successes so far and thank you for sharing them with us. May the year continue to shower you with rewards for all your hard work.

  • June been a pretty good month for me in terms of paid work assignments and July also seems promising. Congrats for your story on Paper Cuts. Through, I have founding a good reference to help pep up my writing and looking more and more about your work.

  • C.E.Robinson says:

    Congrats on your writing successes! I love the beginning lines of your stories! Good thoughts for better health! The Cherished Blogfest is an exciting event. I joined last year, but I’ll be away traveling for this one in July! I’ll catch up with reading posts though! ? Elizabeth

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Elizabeth! Will miss you on the Cherished Blogfest. If you change our mind and schedule your post, you could come back and do the visiting rounds.

  • Debbie D. says:

    Congratulations on your writing success! I hope your health has improved now. Looking forward to the Cherished Blogfest!

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thank you so much Debbie, both for your wishes, and your continued support! Thanks for signing up for the Cherished Blogfest– look forward to your post.

  • Wow. You have been busy. Sorry to hear about health challenges and hoping those are behind you. Congrats on all the writing success!

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks! Yes, the health issues seem to have sorted out. Now for some hard work on the writing and blogging front.

  • Candy says:

    I’m looking forward to reading those stories. They sound fascinating. Feel better.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks, Candy. If you read them, let me know what you think.

  • HaroldWrites says:

    Sorry about your health. Get well soon.

  • cleemckenzie says:

    Bad news on the health front, but definitely good news on the writing one! Take care and keep up the great writing.

  • Though you were ill (hope you’re doing better), it sounds like good stuff was happening. Congrats on finding homes for the stories–I know how great that feels.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thankyou and thankyou. It has been a time of ups and downs, but I’d like to think it was more ups than downs.

  • I’m so sad to hear you’ve been ailing, Damyanti. Here I was thinking, well, she hasn’t been blogging lately because of all her successes in the fiction-writing world. Get well soon!
    On another note, since last year I’ve been really committed to my own fiction-writing and have had some successes, though I haven’t made my way around to novel-writing yet. My idea is to get ‘better’ at the craft of short fiction-writing before I move on to longer things. I hope it will just happen organically. Like you, I tend to have to write many drafts and some stories, alas, may never find a home. I’m at the point now where I have to determine/decide/agonize at what point I need to let one of my stories go permanently (not working on it, not attempting to publish, edit, or perfect it). Anyway, sorry to ramble on, but this post really resonates with me right now. Again, all my best to you; feel better soon, so you can get back to writing!

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Leigh, thanks so much for stopping by, and your wonderful comment! I have had a few successes, but actually, when I think of the amount of time it has taken me, it makes me feel rather ploddy and untalented. (I’m both, really.)

      As to when to give up on stories?

      I have given up on a few: ones that I wrote years ago, which I can see are not salvageable through craft.

      The idea for me is this: if I think it is a good story, I’ll keep working on it for years. But some of them came from the wrong place– mine need to start with intuition, not logic. Those are dead, and I can’t give them life. The ones with a heartbeat, I often go back and rescue.

      Another thing I’ve learned is it is better to go after Rejection targets than Success targets. Other than when I’m working on the novel, I try to see that I receive at least one rejection a day on average. If that’s not what’s happening, then I’m not subbing enough.

      Both of these stories have received at least a dozen rejections, maybe more.

      I don’t know if it helps– each writer has a different process that is right for them– I just thought I’d share mine :).

      All the best with your writing, I know you’ll do very well indeed!

  • It might take a long time to write, but you’ve had some great success.
    Sorry you’ve been feeling bad.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks, Alex. I’ve been guilty of not visiting you regularly enough.

  • Glad you are back on your feet and recovering! I shall look you up on FB!
    WOWSER! is the word I came up with on the being published aspect. Not very original, but definitely honest! Off to check out the blog fest! Thank you for the heads up!

    Kind Regards and sending healthy vibes – K 🙂

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks for stopping by and the good wishes. The publishing aspect is painful, long-term work, and personally, I think I should have tried harder. Do join the Blogfest, it is quite a friendly event, and not stressful at all!