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Richa Wahi teaches kids to be Word Munchers

Richa Wahi has a mission: To make creative writing a fun activity for children. About four years ago, Richa quit her full-time job to launch her initiative, Word Munchers, dedicated to teaching children and teenagers,aged between 6 and 19, creative writing.She started with just two students.At present, she runs two centres in Kolkata —one in Alipore and the other in Bhowanipore—and the student strength has gone up to 75.

“While I was growing up, I wanted to write, but there was no one to teach how to write and my school didn’t do enough to nurture this skill,” says Richa, who has a Master’s degree in Teaching and Practice of Creative Writing from Cardiff University and received a grant from the Charles Wallace India Trust and British Council’s Hammond Trust for her studies.

Richa’s motto is to make children understand that writing can be fun and there are no wrong answers. “I also tell my students to share ideas. I make it very clear to them: everyone needs to help each other,” explains Richa. During the hour-long classes, students are encouraged to write poems, limericks and even short stories.

In fact, just a few days ago, Richa along with Kolkata-based food entrepreneurs and columnists, Manjri Agarwal and Abhilasha Sethia, launched an anthology called ‘These Kids Can Write’. It’s a collection of works by the students of Word Munchers. On the anvil is a second anthology. Recently, Word Munchers held a summer workshop called ‘The Merchant of Venice camp’ where the creative entrepreneur tried to make Shakespeare simple for children. “Everyone laughed and said that children cannot possibly understand Shakespeare, but after the workshop, the little ones said, ‘Shakespeare is easy!'” grins the lady who hosts creative writing workshops for moms too.

Credits – Hemchhaya De

Lessons on the write way, at a women writers’ workshop

You just need to grab a pen and start writing! That was the lesson one learnt at the Women Writers Fest 2017, organised by She the People TV at The Saturday Club on December 8.

Echoing sisterhood, women writers and publishers interacted with readers and fellow writers on a variety of subjects, urging everyone to read and write more. From sessions on gender issues in art to travel writing to a writing workshop, the day-long fest was a celebration of women, words and ideas.

Here’s what we picked up from the ‘Writing Workshop for Young Adults’, conducted by Richa Wahi, a creative writing instructor, in which students and parents took part with equal enthusiasm, trying to come up with interesting short stories.

  • The three most important points for a short story are character, plot and setting.
  • Your protagonist can be flawed. No one likes a perfect character which they can’t relate to.
  • The solution to a story should always be multifold in your mind. This helps build perspective while writing.
  • The ‘when’ and ‘where’ ground the story. Without a setting, the reader can never connect to the story.
  • The journey is important but too many details may drag it, thus making the reader lose interest. Keep it detailed but precise.
  • Believability is very important in a story because the reader always catches your bluff.
  • Random objects and scenes should enhance your story, not drown it.

Credits- TT Bureau