Dear Penpal

By Shweta Taneja

L10: Do you switch genres, as a reader or a writer?



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Shweta Taneja
Shweta Taneja
Welcome! Dear Penpal is a monthly newsletter by me, Shweta Taneja, to support you in your creative journey with tips, opportunities and a few laughs. THANK YOU for being here.
In my 10th letter, I confess my genre switching tendencies, and glee at my first translation to Kannada. Keep chiselling, folks.

Dear Penpal
More than a decade ago, when I started to write fiction, I didn’t have a genre in mind. I started with mystery, soon heading to fantasy and science fiction and two years ago, wrote a book on Indian science. Currently, I’m writing a sci-fi and at the same time, preparing a concept note for a technology book and ruminating if I should chart into the untested romance waters.
With forms of storytelling too, I’ve been equally unsettled.
I’ve written novels, comics, graphic novels, short stories, articles, blogs and what-not-cuckoos for both adults and kids. I’ve always wondered if it’s me or all writers explore genres and storytelling modes.
What about you? What tickles your creative bone?
Does your heart race at the idea of a new genre? Or a new medium? Do you, like me want to learn how to write a screenplay? Or do you prefer fleshing out a specific style, a genre that you’d like to stick to?
Sundry Sunday
Writing a short story? Here’s what not to do. Read the ultimate Turkey City Lexicon - A Primer for SF Workshops from the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. Laugh and well, learn what not to do.
The Story of Sedition in India: Sedition Law has been in the news lately with the Supreme Court, hopefully scrapping it as unconstitutional. Get a primer on sedition in this beautifully rendered data visualisation.
Writing updates
Robotic bride story in Kannada: A hilarious short story of mine, Bhaisaab’s Bespoke Brides Boutique (read for free in English) was recently translated to Kannada and published in Kutuhali, a digital SF magazine by folks at Vigyan Prasar. Read the Kannada version here.
Dr Ajay Sood is appointed Principal Scientific Advisor: I interviewed Dr Sood for my book. At IISc, the kind Dr Ajay showed me his lab, his enthusiasm for physics, and the scientific process, sharing hilarious anecdotes of jugaad he had to do for experiments. Hoping he brings that fervour and love of science to the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister’s office. (Buy the book here)
This month and me
Taking a break on the way to Chandrashila with fantastic views of snow-capped peaks
Taking a break on the way to Chandrashila with fantastic views of snow-capped peaks
This May, I was in Chopta, a little paradise high up in the Kedarnath valley, watching and marvelling at tiny tits as they flitted from fir to oak to hobnob with shy minlas. From there, I travelled to a sweltering temporary home office in Delhi. On agenda were meetings and conversations. Not on agenda was our favourite virus, covid-19, which happened in the family. Thanks to vaccines, we seem to have rode away from the terrible times we had in the last two years. Phew. Now I’m heading back home, after long way away from it and looking forward to that study of mine, where I can chisel on my new book.
What are you upto? Do you have a holiday planned?
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Shweta Taneja
Shweta Taneja @shwetawrites

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Shweta Taneja, Bangalore, Karnataka, India