Salman Rushdie's book Midnight's Children and a clock that strikes midnight with fireworks in the backdrop.


INSTAWRIMO time! Am I slightly behind in my postings? Yes, I am. Does it bother me? Not in the least. And there’s an important #Preptober lesson to be learned there.

I see it all the time. People who are writing something that has the potential to be a really good story, and then they fall behind with their wordcount and give up. As if the ability to churn out a certain number of words per day or week is the foundation of a good story. It’s not.

NaNoWriMo is supposed to be fun and inspirational. It’s ok not to write 50.000 words in a month. You can complete the challenge in December. Or whenever. (You’ll still get a diploma! And a new story.) Just keep going.

Great stories are rare, and even the best of writers don’t consistently write masterpieces. And they don’t write them under pressure to produce x words per day. Which is a great comfort to the rest of us. But what is a great story?

Well, to me, a great story moves you, teaches you something about yourself or changes the way you look at things and the possibilities you have. It rocks your world somehow. Sometimes, it’s an earth shattering experience and you don’t think life can ever be the same again. Sometimes it’s barely noticeable, but you know that something is different now.

Sometimes a great story is poorly written, and it irks you, but it doesn’t change the fact that the story was good and meaningful to you. Sometimes, a great story is told with such exquisite finesse that you find yourself wishing you could tell a story like that. It’s awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping mastery on a level you didn’t even know existed before.

Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children is such a book. For me. When I picked it up, because I liked the cover (hey, don’t judge me) all I knew about Rushdie was that his book The Satanic Verses had caused Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini to call a fatwa (death sentence) on the author for disrespecting Islam.

I hadn’t read The Satanic Verses then, but I stood there in the book shop and read the blurb on the back of Midnight’s Children:

Midnight’s Children was adapted for the screen in 2012.

“Born at the stroke of midnight, at the precise moment of India’s independence, Saleem Sinai is destined from birth to be special. For he is one of 1,001 children born in the midnight hour, children who all have special gifts, children with whom Saleem is telepathically linked.

But there has been a terrible mix up at birth, and Saleem’s life takes some unexpected twists and turns. As he grows up amidst a whirlwind of triumphs and disasters, Saleem must learn the ominous consequences of his gift, for the course of his life is inseparably linked to that of his motherland, and his every act is mirrored and magnified in the events that shape the newborn nation of India.

It is a great gift, and a terrible burden.”

Midnight’s Children, the full-length film.

Reading Midnight’s Children was like being presented with a huge box of the most delectable chocolates. It opened my eyes to a new way of writing fantasy (magical realism), and the writing was so beautiful I had to re-read sentences and paragraphs over and over to fully take them in.

I’ve always known writing is my thing, arguably the only thing I’ve got any talent for, but it was Midnight’s Children that made me want to write fantasy set in the real world. And it was Rushdie’s writing, more than anything, that helped me develop my love for writing, not as a craft, but as an artform.

Over to you, my friend.

– What’s your favourite book?

Let’s talk in the comments below or send me a message via socials. Also, remember to post the links below if you use any of my prompts in your own posts. I’d love to come over and see them.

Thank you for being here today!

See you soon,

//Evalena 😘

© Evalena Styf, 2021

Writing prompt from #NaNoWriMo Preptober InstaWrimo Challenge: 21 October, 2021. “Favourite Book”

The #InstaWrimo is a photo challenge for Instagram, but it works just as well as a daily writing prompt.


Here are the daily writing prompts for NaNoWriMo’s preptober challenge. It’s never too late to start, so let’s get into it. Together.

One Comment

  • TheBelleDame

    Loved this account of MC, especially the analogy of a chocolate box (I’m guessing the Sundarbans section was dark chocolates with a bitter centre!)
    I can’t pick favourite books and when people ask which one I’d take to a desert island it brings me out in a cold sweat. But I loved Mids Kids and in a similar magic realism vein, I love Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s writing. Of Love and Other Demons is a beautiful compact gem of a novella that gives a rich mouthful of magic realism along with gorgeous emotional descriptions and characters. A proper little bitesized treat.

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