How I Wrote my Comic Book by Priyanka Vermani: Book Review

Title: How I Wrote My Comic Book: The Journey

Author: Priyanka Vermani

Genre: Memoir

How I Wrote My Comic Book is as bookish as can be. It is a book about the creation of a comic book- the fulfilment of a long cherished dream and the culmination of an often arduous journey.

Review

Priyanka, the new Mom, has a dream. She wants to create a book that serves as a guiding light and legacy for her one year old daughter, Samaira. And thus starts the journey of creating a graphic novel or a comic book, with limited resources but with limitless imagination and creativity.

This book is a chronicle of all the stages of creating the book, right from the conceptualisation to the finished book.

It is an exhilarating read for creative people, for designers, for artists dabbling in the visual arts and for writers. Each chapter is a gem, touching on one or the other part of the book’s creation process.

What works well

The cover art is lovely. Much work has gone into designing it to showcase what the book is all about. In fact, an entire chapter has been dedicated to how it came together.

The format is well suited to the story of a comic book. The colour scheme and the fonts were a definite change as were the two column format.

There is also a lot of learning if you are into writing. The chapters talk in detail about the conceptualisation, about the innumerable rounds of editing, about the challenges of collaboration, about the hurdles and the self doubts. There is plenty of encouragement too, from the little victories, the undying commitment and the unconventional way Priyanka sets out to achieve her dream.

On the other hand…

I did wish that more care had been taken in proofreading this book because there are many references to the A to Z challenge. Also, a couple of chapters were a little out of sync with the rest of the book like the mother in law’s illness.

About the Author

A Content Marketer with a creative streak, Priyanka has written content for corporate films and many kids learning applications. Based on her experience of her stay in London, she has authored a comic book – ‘Samaria and the Gang in London.’

Verdict

How I Wrote My Comic Book is a behind-the-scenes book about a creative process. Read it for the vicarious pleasure of being part of this journey.

Download this book here.

A train of thought

Thinking of my countless train journeys, in my mind’s eye, I see a kaleidoscope of memories, of people I met and the places I saw, of the undeniable beauty that unfolded mile after mile, of the shouts and cacophony of railway stations and the silence of the nights, and the looking out of the windows through unseen eyes.

Recalling, I can almost feel the cool breeze when we are near streams and rivers, the wheels thundering over the bridge and I can think back vividly of the unbearably hot afternoons and the landscape broken occasionally by the lone tree. I remember the verdant meadows and the delicate yellow mustard in the fields. I can only imagine the swish of the golden sheaves of wheat as they sway in the wind, the clatter of the train drowning out the gentle sound.

I think of the times I had walked along the rail tracks with friends trying to get to someplace when we were not sure of where we were going.

I can recall Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina as she sets her eyes on Vronsky and her destiny for the first time on a railway platform.

I can think of the incredibly crowded trains where people jostle for space. I sit with Margayya of R.K.Narayan’s Financial Expert, watching as a man tries to enter the train through the window just to get a seat.

I recall the many snippets of overheard conversations on the railway station and on trains that have stayed with me over the years, my mind still turning the phrases around to make sense or to understand the context.

I think of the entire gamut of human emotions that I have been fortunate to witness in those places where humanity is bursting at seams.

Over all other means of transport, it is a train for me every time. I have had so much time to day dream during those journeys.

Metanoia

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Metanoia refers to a fundamental change in an individual’s life orientation. In psychology, it is considered a process of self healing and adaption. Metanoia comes from an ancient Greek word, which means “changing one’s mind”.

It is a journey and sometimes fraught with doubts but here are a few pointers to help us all move along towards where we want to be.

One, it is natural and normal to have doubts. We may or may not be able to find the answers we are looking for. There is no such thing as absolute truth. What is true for one individual or a particular circumstance may not be true for another. So, it is a vital skill to be able to live with doubts, searching for answers and be able to see what works for us.

Two, the catalyst for the big change in our lives is just that; a catalyst. We cannot go back to it again and again nor can we expect it to be the push for change every time. We need to know that there are many such people or places or things that can lead us to the transformation. The most important thing is an inner readiness.

Three, the biggest attitude change comes from the realization of being completely responsible for ourselves. It means we are the only ones who lead ourselves to our happiness, misery or contentment.

No matter what the change we embark upon, whether it be our hearts, minds, selves or the way we live our lives, change takes courage. What changes are you making in your life?

On the Way

Admittedly, the In-Between moments are sometimes even better than the goal. Enjoy the journey, as you make your way to your destination!

I like to savour the path, its mysteries and its beauty. Here are some of the photos I clicked on my way to here and there.

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Trail through the Woods
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The Stairs
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To the Temple

Posted in response to Weekly Photo Challenge

The Journey So Far

I was unbelievably restless! I felt I had to write. Just write. Take those words out of my mind where they had been careening around; spew them out on a paper or whatever. I wanted to recognise my thoughts in the physical world. I wanted to examine them to see if they were real.

I had visions of writing for hours on end. In a secluded mountain cottage. Only a forest around. A clear stream. Chirping birds and the rustle of the bushes as animals darted in and out. A clichéd setting, no doubt and note that it was all pleasant. Even the animals I expected to come around the cottage were not wild or dangerous. I had a feeling that only the act of writing and expressing myself would put my mind to rest. I thought of words like ‘posterity’ and even ‘immortality’. There were so many things unsaid, so many emotions unrecorded. I imagined myself penning down my legacy.

I had a few questions as well. Was I coherent? Was I readable? Writing (create a blog perhaps) and have others read it would help me find out. So, with a little push and a lot of trepidation, I decided to write for an audience. But I was not an intrepid writer. For days, I was paralysed at the prospect of anybody in the world looking at my words. But slowly, with practice, things got better.

I was and still am an intensely private person. I knew that as I wrote I would draw from my life experience and facts about me would tumble out. On my blog, I created the most obscure ‘About’ page ever.

I started by writing why I was here on a public platform and a little about my life till now. I talked of my peripatetic existence and how I needed to find roots. I was trying to find an anchor by writing.

I have been here for some months now. I am not very prolific but then I have not been idle too. I have been fortunate that my posts get read by a few. I have been enriched with the interaction I have had with my fellow bloggers. Every few days, I have an ‘Aha’ moment when I find a fascinating read, an entirely new idea, a captivating story. And the people behind the excellence.

But many things have changed. Things I write about and the way I put forth my views. I still hide behind the facelessness of the internet but now I have a voice and a take that is uniquely mine. I have opened up a bit, online and offline. Before, I needed a pen and paper alone to bring me out of my misery but now I can make do with my keyboard and my screen.

I may be more articulate and better at structuring my pieces now but I am more aware that I am being read and that even through my writing I project an image. So, these days I do not free-write. I dam the flow at times, so that it all does not tumble out at once and in an unmanageable flow. I can express myself but am I still a free soul? Do I bleed?