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Showing posts from January, 2007

Gee Willikers! My First Review!

Fellow writer-blogger and friend, Bibi Misbah has written a review of my story that appears in Write Out Loud with the title of, "The Secret Operation in the Matriarch's Kitchen": Though Ted's story is simple, funny, witty and amusing but it's not without any underlying messages. From the way I see it the aliens were mistaken. They thought that the blender needed saving when the truth was the blender was content with everything that he had including the real live drama that it gets to watch acted out by the next door neighbours. Isn't it obvious that the blender doesn't want to be liberated? Liberated from what? From contentment? It's also obvious that the aliens are definitely trying to force their values on the blender by pinpointing the humans as the culprits. Doesn't Ted's story remind all of us of the scenario of the world? I think she likes it.

More on Where to Submit Your (Short Story) Manuscript.

This is my response to Yang-May Ooi's post on where to submit your manuscript . In her post, Yang-May gives her suggestions from a UK perspective. For short stories, a budding writer can also look towards the US to submit his or her writing. Other countries are worth a look-see too, but I'll focus on the US since they've got lots of literary magazines that accept submissions. Instead of the Writers Handbook and the Writers & Artists Yearbook , the US has Writer's Market and Novel & Short Story Writer's Market . These too are published annually. I'd recommend Novel & Short Story Writer's Market over the former because this book has a very good listing for submitting short stories, from literary magazines to small circulation magazines to consumer magazines and even to online magazines. Each listing provides lots of useful info, like whether you get paid or not for submitting or whether the publication has previously won awards. For the writer w

We Need to Talk About George... (1)

I've been friends with George for nearly 4 years now. I can't really believe it's been that long. Doesn't seem so long ago that we first met. It was early in 2003, probably a January quite like this, when I was with my uncle who took me to Senawang, south of Seremban, to visit a Volkswagen workshop. I was crazy over air-cooled Volkswagens; still am actually. At the workshop lay about a dozen or so old and abandoned Volkswagens. Beetles, Buses, both were there slowly and sadly rusting away. These Volkswagens were no longer usable and were kept around for their parts, or were just left there for lack of another place to abandon an old Beetle. The mechanic, Ah Meng, who worked there said he had some usable ones for sale, but they were at his house. We were welcome to go see those cars if we wanted to. We decided to check them out. Ah Meng's house was just down the main road in a housing estate about a little more than 5km from his workshop. Ah Meng's house was an e

Celebrating the Short Story.

Eric Forbes takes a moment to give a tribute to that oft-neglected form of fiction, the short story , and asks: Is the short story in dire straits? The short story is not exactly a favoured form for writers nowadays. Fewer magazines are publishing them and literary agents and publishers tend to shy away from them because short-story collections do not sell well enough to justify publishing them. He also tells us that: They make us see the world from another point of view; they make us do mental somersaults. The prolific Joyce Carol Oates defines the short story as “a minor art form that in the hands of a very few practitioners becomes major art,” while William Trevor, in a Paris Review interview in 1989, called the short story “an art of the glimpse,” whose “strength lies in what it leaves out.” A good short story resonates far beyond its smallness. Despite languishing in the shadow of the novel for the longest time, the short story is still alive.

Rejected Fiction Writing Contest.

Ah. The most rejection slips I've ever got for a single story has been two. That's three less than the required number of rejection slips to enter the first ever Rejected Fiction Writing Contest , hosted by The Rejection Quarterly: Guidelines: Fiction to 8,000 words. $10 entry fee per manuscript. Up to two entries per person. Five rejection slips (or copies thereof) must accompany each entry. 1st Prize: $200 2nd Prize: $100 3rd Prize: $50 Each winning story will also be published in The Rejected Quarterly. An honorable mention award may be added at the discretion of the editors. Entries will be accepted and read from December 1st, 2006 until June 30th of 2007. Anyone interested?

It's Reading Time Again.

Sharon sends word: The next “Readings” will be held on Saturday 27th January, 2006 with the aim of giving established and aspiring writers a platform for their work, and encouraging networking. Date: 27th January 2006 Time: 3.30pm (starting promptly!) Place: 67, Lorong Tempinis Satu, Lucky Garden, Bangsar (for directions check ) This month’s readers are: Amir Muhammad kG Baharuddin Baki Tshiung Han See Peter Brown Jordan MacVay "Readings" is organized by Sharon Bakar and is made possible by the gracious sponsorship of Seksan from 67 Tempinis Satu and La Bodega. Sharon Bakar: hp: 012-6848835 I'm planning on going. I've been regretting missing the previous ones, especially the one with the Elarti crew . Probably will be dragging along a few artist friends of mine. They like to talk about how they're so arty-farty, time to actually take them to an arty-farty gig :D

Dunno What to Write Next.

Seems Kiran Desai is spent : “Right now it’s just emptiness, so you wonder if you’ll have enough in you to fill it,” Desai said on Sunday at Sri Lanka’s first international literary festival in the historic southern port town of Galle. “I don’t know if I can do it.” “Writing this book. I drew so much on my family history and on growing up in India,” she added. “I’ve written about that now, so it’s just a new stage of what I’m doing. It certainly worries me. It takes time for a story, for a narrative to develop.” “I hope I tap into something,” she said.

Wait? We have a writing scene?

On some mornings, if I'm lucky, I'll be able to find a copy of The Sun lying on the seat in the LRT when I enter. Today was such a morning. And the other sun - the real, big ball-of-gas one - was even out too. In today's edition of The Sun, on page 18, in the U! section (which isn't linked online... yet), there is an article written by Joanna Van, headlined, "The Write Stuff". The gist of the article is this: Ms. Van talks with four college students between the ages of 19 - 22 about the Malaysian Writing Scene. *cue horror theme* These four students's opinion of the local writing scene is that it is almost non-existent, as is voiced by Erin Chong, "Wait? We have a writing scene?" Very observant. Fortunately, all of them agree that there is a problem with Malaysian Writing. They are quick to point their fingers at the culprits: "Censorship!"; "People don't read!"; Narrow-minded teachers!"; "Money-minded parents!&

Rain Taxi's Fund-Raising Auction.

The nice folks over at Rain Taxi, the book review magazine, emailed me to ask me very nicely to put up an announcement for their fund-raising auction: In order to support our magazine and literary events series, we are holding a fund-raising auction this week on eBay. Our many amazing items include comics and books signed by Neil Gaiman and his long-time collaborator Dave McKean ; rare signed chapbooks by Paul Auster, Alice Notley, Stephen Dixon, and more; hard-to-find collector's books; and lots, lots more! Our website, , contains all the details. Bidding ends this Sunday, January 21st!

I want to write fiction, I say.

"I want to be a published writer," I tell them. "I want to write fiction," I say to them. The response I usually get are some raised eyebrows, and an indifferent "oh" followed by a pause, a look beyond my shoulder, and then, "tell me if you publish something". Then they walk off. If they don't walk off, then they say something to the effect of: "But there's no money in writing!" Then they give me a look like I've just told them I've invested in a get-rich-quick scam. "Have you thought of this carefully? Are you sure?" "They" are the sort of people who think bookstores are only good for purchasing a copy of Azizi Ali's How to Become a Property Millionaire or mXe! Five Keys to Become an Extreme Millionaire . Forgive my naivete, but it never fails to amaze me that money seems to be the only impulse that fuels them on. Attempts of explaining to them that I'm pursuing writing because that's wh

Reading List Update.

Haven't done one of these in ages! I am currently reading: Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino I am sooooo in love with this book. It's a book that makes you think and reflect on imagination, the human condition, society and life using cities as a frame and guide. Also, Marco Polo is one cool dude. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins I'm reading this very slowly. I started reading this back in October... only half-way through... Is it any good? It makes for interesting reading but if Dawkins thinks he can stop people believing in God by writing this book, then I can only say that's one heckuva climb up Mount Improbable. I have recently finished: 14 Oct 2006: The Malayan Trilogy by Anthony Burgess because of its many "controversial" elements (racial stereotypes mostly) many people here will pass over it. A pity, because not only is it a very good caricature of Malayan/Malaysian society, it also serves as a warning of what things could become (have become?). Ap

Gaiman on Writing Novels and Short Stories.

Neil Gaiman on writing novels and short stories, in an interview from Rain Taxi : If writing a novel is a year's exile to a foreign country, writing a short story is a weekend spent somewhere exotic. They're much more like vacations, more exciting and different, and you're off. "Look at me, I'm writing something that I will finish by tea time!" Though he doesn't write that fast all the time (later in the interview he reveals that a "pornographic" story had him stuck for four months), I think I can understand the rush of writing a short. The spark of an idea appears; you try to hold on to it for as long as you can; if possible you play around with it; turn it this way and that; see what can be moulded out of the idea. Then you grab pen and paper, or keyboard and word processor, off you go! - exploring a little world that's approximately 3000 to 5000 words long; before you know it, time bends in extremely complex ways just so it can deceive you

What Teddy Did.

The book launch on Saturday went good. Met my fellow writers, Alex, Jolin, Richard, Paul, Agnes and Karen-Ann as well as well-wishers like Farah, Shark, Irene and Allen. T'was good and all is well and I guess I can call myself a true published writer. I'm glad a lot of the writers were so happy that they had stories that were finally published. Their enthusiasm was heartening. I wasn't as enthusiastic though. Not because I wasn't happy I got published. No, no. That's great. In fact, it's so awesome it's mind-blowingly freakingly coolz0rzx!!!11 and the only reason I wasn't leaping for joy was that well, I made the mistake of going to Tango Mango and Borders first before the launch... and to celebrate the launch I kinda splurged a bit on some stuff so in the end I was happier for the stuff that I got... than the fact that I was published. Huh. Weird. In a way, I guessed I peaked my joy before the launch started. Does that make any sense? The sources of thi

Hey New Year. I'm Talking to You!

Now that 2006 has packed his bags and left town, it's time we sat face to face and had a little chat. You see, 2006 was good. But he wasn't all that good. He had his good moments, yeah, but there were a lot of screw ups and disappointments which I want to lessen with you. Yes, yes, 2007, I would like our partnership to be a good one. That means I want to have one that is without much problems. Yeah, yeah. I know it's impossible to expect no trouble at all... but it's good to set high standards and to work towards it. Set too low a standard and there won't be any challenge when we work together to further my - I mean our - goals. Trouble is good when we can learn from the lessons of our mistakes but too much of trouble might cloud our vision and lead to depression. And depression sucks when you're a teetotaller and non-smoker like me. I have to make do with Campbell's Cream of Corn and lemme tell you, that's no way to drown one's sorrows! So here&#