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Showing posts from October, 2007

NaNoWriMo 07: The flag is about to drop!

Okay... I'm almost ready!

Still writing the outline for my novel and am hoping to finish it by today. I'm also hoping that by writing an outline first instead of simply winging it like I did in previous years might actually help. Perhaps.

I have a good feeling about this year's effort... but that could be the stale vegetables from the mamak's I had for lunch.

A Look at Author Spaces.

Where do writers write? And what do these mysterious places look like? The Guardian will show you, but those are for the famous ones. For lesser known writers, Martin Livings has a good selection of pictures. I think they're mostly Australian-based.

UPDATED: Fixed link. My bad.

Land Beneath The Wind: Day One.

I've always been fascinated by Sabah. I like the fact that as a state, it's history is separate from that of Peninsular Malaysia. Most Malaysians, when they speak of Malaysian history, they're really just referring to the history of Peninsular Malaysia, and even then it's mostly a revisionist version of history, which I think dates from 1970. Malaysian history, in general, really just gives a cursory glance towards Sabah, merely skimming over the details.

It's the same with Sarawak as well. But I dunno. Maybe I'm just seeing this from a West Malaysian point of view. I really have no idea what Sabahans make of Malaysian history. Maybe they just take in stride that Malaysian history is skewed to the Peninsular since that's where the Federal Government is.

I was pondering this because today me and L went to the Sabah State Museum. I learned a lot today, from the Kaamatan Festival to the Dragon of Kinabalu (I didn't know these Sabahans kept a dragon! Very sel…

Sabah, Here I Come!

I'll be leaving for Sabah for my honeymoon tonight. A friend asked me whether it's a bit late to consider this a honeymoon but I say any vacation with my wife is a honeymoon in my books!

Anyways, see you when I get back! I'll write! I'm off now to buy an English-Sabahan Dictionary so I can communicate with the locals.

30 Days of Write: NaNoWriMo 07!

Well, it's that crazy time of year again, my friends! Early mornings and late nights, typing and/or scribbling away like nobody's business. Checking incessantly the word processor's word count; despairing that the daily word target hasn't been reached; despairing that ideas have all but dried out.

Yes, the month of November is nigh, and that means it's National Novel Writing Month once again! We all know the drill but here's the lowdown: A participant of NaNoWriMo should write a novel in a month, or at the very least, 50,000 words of prose. Within 30 days.

I failed to complete last year's NaNoWriMo challenge (managed only about 15,000 words)... or even the previous year. I wonder if I'll be able to make it this year? No idea, but I'm giving it a shot anyway!

Last year, I tried writing a fantasy (with sf elements) novel, but this year I'll be attempting a young adult book instead. My idea concerns a bookish, nerdish and completely anti-social boy wh…

Advice for First-Time SFF Novelists.

Kate Elliot over at DeepGenre has this to say for budding SFF novelists:
First, if you’re not willing to work hard at writing, don’t bother.

I am sure we can find the exception that proves the rule, but every writer I know who has been successful

- however we are defining that term today, and I tend to be ecumenical in my inclusiveness, so let’s just assume that I mean in a pretty broad sense not limited to the pots-of-money sense and frankly just about every working writer I know will laugh sadly or even perhaps a tad hysterically when you ask her or him about the average annual earnings of working freelance writers -

has worked immensely hard, turned or churned out a lot of pages in the journey through apprenticeship toward some level of mastery, and kept writing despite setbacks, rejection, cold feet, and those soul-sucking periods of doubt.
By that I don’t mean quit writing for enjoyment. Anyone who wants to write because it pleases them or soothes them or excites them, should absolute…

Bill Watterson on Charles Schulz and Peanuts.

Creator of Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson, reviews the new Charles Schulz biography in the Wall Street Journal:
It's a strange and interesting story, and Mr. Michaelis, the author of a 1998 biography of artist N.C. Wyeth, paces the narrative well, offering many insights and surprising events from Schulz's life. Undoubtedly the most fascinating part of the book is the juxtaposition of biographical information and reproduced "Peanuts" strips. Here we see how literally Schulz sometimes depicted actual situations and events. The strips used as illustrations in "Schulz and Peanuts" are reproduced at eye-straining reduction and are often removed from the context of their stories, but they vividly demonstrate how Schulz used his cartoons to work through private concerns. We discover, for example, that in the recurring scenes of Lucy annoying Schroeder at the piano, the crabby and bossy Lucy stands in for Joyce [Schulz's first wife], and the obsessive and tal…

Town Boy Launched in the US.

Lat's Town Boy, my favourite Lat book ever, has now been launched in the US, following what I can only assume is the successful launch of its prequel, Kampung Boy.

While Kampung Boy is fun and all, I am more attached to Town Boy because it takes place in Sungai Rokam (where I went to primary school) and Ipoh (where Lat went to secondary school). Sungai Rokam was (and still is, actually) a Malay housing estate developed in the '60s on the outskirts of Ipoh.

I hope those Americans enjoy it; they seemed to have liked Kampung Boy quite a bit. That's all very well. Lat's books are probably some of the very, very few things from this nation we can truly be proud of.

Bah Humbug Weep Ninni Bong.

Hoho. It's not always I get to reference Charles Dickens and the Transformers movie (the original movie, not the recent live-action monstrosity) in one sentence.

So you may have heard that there's some sort of festive celebration that's going to happen this Saturday. Personally I can't wait for it. I'm not looking forward to the day itself, though I guess the rendang daging my mother might make (my brother doesn't eat beef) should make for some good eating.

No, what I'm really looking forward to is the ability to drink coffee again. Whenever I feel like it.

Oh, sweet, heavenly coffee. Manna from the gods! I miss you so!

In Bed with Books.

If only I had one of these when I was a bachelor. Would've helped a lot.

Via Urban Planning Blog.

The Tower of Darkness.

Alike for those who To-day prepare,
And for those that after a To-morrow stare,
A Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries,
"Fools! Your Reward is neither Here nor There!"

--Omar Khayyam; translated by Edward Fitzgerald

I keep wanting to write a fantasy story inspired by this. Perhaps one day.

50 Years of the Space Age.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of mankind's ascent into the Space Age. We owe a lot to you, Sputnik.

Silverfish New Writing is No More.

The Bloke in Bangsar has announced that Silverfish New Writing is no more after the seventh book rolls out. Say what you will about Raman, but the New Writing series has been a large contribution to the local literary scene and its discontinuation will be a major loss.

On the other hand, it's a perfect chance for another publisher to pick up the reins and fill in the vacuum left by Silverfish. A chance to start anew, with less politics and perhaps more focused on local writers, like what Amir Muhammad says on his blog:
I feel the series should have stayed as a focus on Malaysian and Singaporean writers. It could have then become a reference point for writers and readers interested in this area. From the third issue on, it started to lack a distinctive character when too many foreigners started pouring in. But then again... who reads all this literary nonsense anyway? Surely not Malaysians!

Interview with Quentin Blake.

Anyone who's grown up with Roald Dahl would know Quentin Blake's wonderful illustrations. The Guardian interviews him:
Is there anything he can't draw? "I stay away from motor cars. And I can't do architectural drawings, really. What I want to convey is movement and gesture and atmosphere. I like drawing anything that is doing something. Dragons are good because you can arrange them in interesting ways across the page, get people to ride on them. I can't seem to keep birds out of my books." You can see them not only in his edition of Aristophanes' The Birds and his book with John Yeoman called Featherbrains, but in a grinning self-portrait featuring him dangling from a ceiling fan, pencils stuffed in his pockets, papers and birds flapping round. His grin is the still centre to the chaos.