Guest Post: Uma Krishnaswami

Welcome to Uma Krishnaswami, who’s here with a guest post today for her blog tour in celebration of her book, The Grand Plan to Fix Everything. She’s hear to share her thoughts on…

Dreams and Dreaming in The Grand Plan to Fix Everything

“Marjorie Coughlan of PaperTigers wrote: “I have to admit, I did try looking Swapnagiri up on a map and I couldn’t find it. Is Swapnagiri a real place or did you invent it?” The question made me happy, because it meant that the town in The Grand Plan to Fix Everything felt real even though I’d made it up. And that’s the most basic and the most important work of a writer of fiction, to create a dream that the reader can enter into.

In some ways this story is all about the rainbow-colored spaces between reality and dreams. The name of the town, Swapnagiri, translates to Dream Mountain, a point that isn’t lost on our Dini. People seem to come to this place bringing their dreams. Dini has hers, of course, but Dolly too is chasing a dream, and so, it turns out, are several minor characters. Dini’s mom moved the family here in pursuit of her professional dream. The place is practically a vortex that pulls dreamers in. That’s the structural part of dreams in the story, the way they ended up being placed right into the motivations of characters and the events that follow from them. They’re not just an overlay or an afterthought. I don’t think there should be a single story element that’s just tacked on. It should all belong.

There is only one actual dream sequence in the book–the one where Dini’s really exhausted. She dreams she’s chasing after Dolly in the tea garden but she can’t catch up with her. Not a pleasant dream, which makes the point that you can’t always count on your dreams to soothe and comfort.

A single choice of name can have all kinds of domino effects when you write fiction. Pick a word and your mind begins to play with that word, making associations that you don’t realize until suddenly you’re writing them down. A few months after I’d begun working on this story, “Dreamycakes” popped into my mind as the name for the bakery, which had already gone through a couple of drafts just being called “?? Bakery.” As the name settled into place the character of the baker grew, so that his dream began to play a role in the story. It causes the place to be closed at one point when Dini really needs a taste of chocolate. It also causes the baker’s silly and irrational fears. That’s the part I love about writing fiction. Make one word choice and three or four days later it might lead to a larger story choice–a plot turn, a reversal, an action on the part of a character. I love it when I put something down on the page and find myself thinking, Wow, how did that get there? Did I know that all along? Did I dream it without realizing it?”


Finally, if you are interested, there is a giveaway being offered. Here are the goodies:

And here are the details:

A Grand Giveaway! Three lucky Grand Prize winners will each receive one copy of THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING along with a starry assortment of bangles and trinkets that Dolly Singh, famous famous Bollywood movie star, would adore! An additional 3 runners-up will receive a copy of THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING. To enter, send an e-mail to In the body of the e-mail, include your name, mailing address, and e-mail address (if you’re under 13, submit a parent’s name and e-mail address). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on 6/30/11. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 7/1/11 and notified via email.

1 thought on “Guest Post: Uma Krishnaswami

  1. Marjorie (PaperTigers)

    It’s great to read this little bit of insight into Uma’s wonderfully creative mind – I’m so glad my question sparked this musing, Uma. And funnily enough, I’m just reading William Goldman’s The Princess Bride to my boys at the moment and we were reading tonight the bit with all Buttercup’s bad dreams…

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