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It’s that time of the year again. #NaNoWriMo is here.

Put on your thinking caps, let your creativity out of the bag, and make time to write in your schedule. The only thing that will be biting the dust this #NationalNovelWritingMonth are your excuses.

Every day from the 1st to the 30th of November, The Himalayan Writing Retreat will serve fresh prompts on our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter handles.

We will select a weekly winner whose story will get published on our website, our social media, and they’ll get free HWR merchandise!

The stories should be 300 words or less. So if you have written on all the prompts throughout the 30 days, you will have written 9,000 words in the whole month of November! 

Here are the weekly winners –

Week 1 – Priya Nayak-Gole

Her story written on the following prompt from Day 4 was selected for its ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ technique which articulated the situation given by the prompt, perfectly.

Read the winning story here :

“Oh goodness Shoma, will you… shut that alarm?” Rishabh ordered in annoyance.

Finally, after silence reigned in the bedroom once again, Shoma poked her husband’s sleeping form. “Rishu wake up it’s 6 AM” “Shoma… it’s a goddamn Saturday.” “Rishu come on… I have to rush…” Shoma put her unwilling wobbly legs on the cold floor and began to fold her blanket. “Give me a break, will you?” Rishabh retorted in annoyance. “Break…? Why?” “Shoma, for God’s sake it’s the weekend… Don’t you understand? I need my rest too…” By now he sat up and slid towards the headrest.

“…I have been slogging it out in the office the entire week, not to mention the AGM last evening…” “…The AGM that was held in the five-star hotel with all the frills?” Shoma interrupted him. “What the hell, Shoma? Don’t I deserve a respite? You stay at home all the time but I only get the weekends. You know that I look forward to them, to rejuvenate.” “Does a game of golf followed by drinks also come under the umbrella of rejuvenation?” Shoma countered. “Wait… what is your problem, Shoma?” “The weekends are my problem. Increased workload,” Shoma declared. “What work, Shoma? You are just a housewife with so much free time…?” “….Stop right there Rishabh….”

Shoma held up her hand.

“…Did you ever realize, the piping hot breakfast and your tiffin filled with an assortment of food to satiate your obsession with health, your return later in the night to a pristine, clutter-free home despite the younger child being a messy toddler, did I even mention the innumerable school meets or the daily activity classes and school assignments for our second-grader….and helping your aged parents struggle …. This is what I do all day. This doubles up on the weekends so, I HATE WEEKENDS…”

About the winner – Priya Nayak-Gole

Priya is a pediatric speech-language pathologist by profession and a writer by passion. She loves to dabble in thrillers and erotica. She has written ten episodic novels that can be read for free on her website www.fictionvilla.com

She self-published her first novel in 2020; the second is in the pipeline awaiting a publisher. NaNoRiMo for her is an attempt to try other genres and keep up the practice of writing daily. A yoga enthusiast she is also a trained singer and loves to include all those experiences in her fiction.

Week 2 – Abhishek Gairola

His story written on the following prompt from Day 13 was selected for its detailed, slo-mo description of cooking one’s breakfast and delightful similes. It ‘satiated’ this hungry prompt delectably.

Read the winning story here :

Golu overslept, last night was very eventful but late. He had some plans for breakfast but now he had to bail on them. He was thinking about what to cook, something which was simple but delicious so that he could kick back and relax. “How about a moong dal chilla? It’s a good thing that I had the dal soaked for sprouts last night,” thought Golu. The thought gave him a jolt of energy and he was excited to cook the dish. He effortlessly chopped a bright red onion along with some ginger, garlic, and a couple of radiating green chilies. He then poured the soaked, whole lentils into the blender along with the chopped medley. He added some salt and pepper, with some turmeric to the mixture and conclusively added a heap of smooth butter on top. He precisely ground the concoction into a thick paste that was flowing through the spoon, with an immaculate consistency, like a velvety kerchief in a gentle breeze. He sprinkled some cumin seeds on a pan coated with a thin glistening film of ghee that immediately started popping in the heat of the blue flame like little bunnies hopping in a meadow. He let the creamy green batter flow on and spread throughout the pan. After a few minutes of searing, he flipped and caught the pancake, like an adept swordsman flipping his sword high in the air and catching it. It was a beautiful skill at display. A couple of minutes more and the breakfast would be ready. The aroma of the final product satiated the space with joy and delicacy. Golu took a big whiff and let the fragrance settle in his olfactory senses. “Shit! Forgot to add Hing.”

About the winner – Abhishek Gairola

Abhishek works as a Tax Assistant in the Central GST office in Bengaluru. A B.Tech graduate from Jaipur, he likes writing poems, ghazals, and short stories. He is also passionate about music, running, and combat sports.

Week 3 – Sangeetha Kamath

Her story written on the following prompt from Day 19 was selected for its commendable use of dialogue and the ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ technique.

Read the winning story here :

“Yikes! Mandy! What have you done to your hair, you brat?!” Mom’s jaws dropped to the floor and her temper hit the roof! How I enjoyed being a rebel in this madhouse.
“Yes ma’am, it’s what I wanted to do for a long time now. If you don’t like it, well, sorry, I’m not sorry!” I flashed her a defiant grin. Mother looked on, aghast. Yes I had gone to the salon and they did a perfect hack-job out of my long, golden, silken tresses. The hairdresser did have second thoughts as my hair cascaded through her fingers.
“Miss, are you sure?”
“Most certainly I am. Just do it!”
Finally, I would show everyone that I’m no goody-two-shows.
Mom was raving mad, pacing the floor and fuming away. “Look at you, you punk! And your jazzed up hair with neon pink, green and garish blue! Spiked like a porcupine or what…what…” She was sputtering a lot and losing it.
“… you put a bird of paradise to shame! What have I done to deserve such an insolent child!”
“You didn’t mention my mohawk”, I couldn’t help rubbing it in. “With silver danglers in my ears and piercings on my lips, I’d be fire! Dope!”
“You will do no such thing, Mandy!”
“I’m sick of all the rules in this house. Stop me from doing anything, I’ll move out and you’ll never see me again! All I asked for was a puppy and it was too much to ask?!”
“Mandy…”
“Oh stop it, Mom!”
I stomped out of the room and out into the backyard. As I sat on the grass looking lost, I heard feeble whimpers and noticed  a basket under our magnolia tree. As I uncovered it, out bounded the most adorable beagle I’d always wanted!

About the winner – Sangeetha Kamath

Sangeetha Kamath is currently based in Singapore. As a contributor to various national and international anthologies, and also as a winner in various poetry platforms and short story contests, she has found her true calling in the writing world. When she’s not writing and reading, illustrating and singing take up a major part of her day.

Week 4 – Sumax Irungbam

His story written on the following prompt from Day 30 was selected for its creative use of imagination and the surprise twist in the ending.

Read the winning story here :

“Are you ready, Mabe?”

“Yes Daddy.”

Mabe closed her eyes and took slow, deep breaths to calm herself down. Aidan had been anticipating today—the day of the Red Moon. It is the day when the prophecies of the banyan tree come true and someone’s wish is granted. But it should be the wish made by the second born child of a mother.

“Daddy, we should move. Look, it’s the sign.”

His eldest daughter pointed her finger towards the mountain. It was capped with blue-white smoke, rising from the top, where stood the sacred banyan tree.

“Yes, it is time.” Aidan murmured to himself and continued

“Grab your things, Mel and lead. I will watch your back.”

The gloomy sky above and the dark below—it was a long way to go. The path was lit from the sky by the fire of the red full moon. Mabe looked worried, but she did not want to disappoint her father because they had waited long enough. They walked through the dense forest and hiked up the high mountain to finally reach the top.

To their amazement, the banyan tree stood in the middle, surrounded by seven statues. There have been stories about seven brothers guarding their only sister, who was once apprehended by a king. And, according to their ancestors’ folklore, today was the day when Princess Khyana was burned alive in front of her brothers. Since that day, their seven souls have been guarding this place.

“Daddy, what is that blue-white smoke?” Mel was concerned.

“It is the smoke of a burning soul; the soul of the banyan tree burns every eleventh full moon of the year. During that time, she produced the blue-white smoke, and that is when Mabe must ask for her wish: the whereabouts of your mother.”

About the winner – Sumax Irungbam

Sumax Irungbam is a government employee by profession and a writer and blogger by passion. He is also a Touretter and a runner. He enjoys writing in a variety of genres, but some of his favourites are fantasy, crime, thriller, and mystery.

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