Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What's your High?

Writing a Novel-- via iAuthor
I'm going to start on the third draft of my WIP soon.

I'm hoping it won't involve major structural changes. The mists have cleared, and I can see the world in my story quite well, thanks, in large part, to some on-location research.

I do feel some trepidation, but nothing can match the confused elation of the first draft, that feeling of being lost yet excited.

Over the years, I've grown to love revision almost as much as the first creative burst. And I think the fun I'm having while making cuts has shown results on the page. My new high these days is the joy of finishing a story, writing 'the end' in my head-- making sure each word needs to be there, each comma, every fullstop.

What gives you your high while writing? The first draft? Revisions? Reviews? As a reader, do you ever try to imagine when and how an author wrote a scene?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

How do you keep track of your followers?

I must confess to being a very whimsical blogger. I try to make a total of eight posts a month on my two blogs, this, and Daily (w)rite-- but I don't make it sometimes. 

I've blogged for six years now-- and feel the need to either shut up or reinvent my blogging persona. Possibly the former.

In recent months, poor health and family situations have meant stepping back from my blogs a bit.

But when I check, I seem to have gathered a fair number of followers, and I don't think I want to let them down.

I want to ask you, my friends and fellow-bloggers, some of whom have a much huger following than this blog-- how do you blog?

Do you blog more than once a week?
How many blogs do you visit per day?
Do you blog in a niche, or is yours more of a general blog?
Do you participate in Bloghops?
What sort of advice do you have for me? ( I'm finding it tough to run two blogs, but can't make up my mind about shutting one down).

Let me have your words of wisdom in the comments!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What's the difference between an #indie editor, and an #editor from a #publishing house?

On my other blog, Daily (w)rite, I have a great convo buzzing, about indie authors--- and if women outnumber men in the self-publishing world.

This made me wonder about the difference between indie and trad publishing, and while browsing, I found an article by Roz Morris that piqued my interest:

When you self-publish, you choose the editor who most closely suits your style and vision. There’s a lot more room for you to be daring and different, if that’s what you want. An indie editor will discuss what you want the book to be. Or they can help you find it. They won’t try to force you in a direction. They will help you come into your own.  

She also goes on to say:

But this is another reason why indie publishing, at its most careful and respectful, is more likely to produce genuinely original books. Traditional publishing will edit a book for the good of a defined clientele. Sometimes everyone is happy, of course. But in a traditional publisher the priority is the company interest, not the author or the book. I’ve seen enough occasions when this created a ghastly compromise.
Indeed, readers are far more adventurous than publishers can accommodate. The reader couldn’t define for you what they want; they know it when a skilled author invents it. 

That last bit made me think. I know I'll be in the market for an editor soon, and I'm wondering about the pros and cons of hiring an indie editor.

Do you have any experience with indie editors? Have you ever worked with an editor at a publishing house? Would you like to weigh in on this?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

When the last #Bookshop shuts down, will you be sad?

Today I stumbled upon a Clearance sale for books, another bookshop closing down.

I bought me a few books, Damon Galgut among them, and then tried to think when I'd bought the last book. Couldn't remember then, can't remember now.

book sale books gone extinctAs I browsed the bookshelves I kept thinking that 50 years from now, this would probably be an impossible, exotic experience. Letting book covers draw the eye, inhaling the scent of new books, running fingertips on the spines big and small, catching a familiar author or getting snagged by an intriguing title. 

Very soon, it won't happen.

Music books alternative
In 20 years or so, we'll only be left with niche bookstores for the nerds, like we have Turntable stores nowadays. A whole lot of my readers have probably never seen a turntable in their lives-- but I have some memories of good turntable music from my childhood.

All things pass, but the passing away of physical books from our world would be particularly painful. I can't imagine a library without books either.

Perhaps, adults of future generations would be nostalgic about Kindles and iPads ('Remember those flat boxes we swiped fingers on, no holograms, no 3-d experience?' they'll probably say)
When bookshops become extinct, where will you browse? The very thought of it hurts me. How about you?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Dear Writer, Do you Exploit Setting in your #Writing ?

I've been taking an open online course from Iowa, and one of the classes that impressed me the most was the one on Setting.

I've always been complimented on how 'vivid' my writing is-- so I thought maybe I've got this setting this down. Wrong.

I have much to learn on how to make the setting add a layer of meaning to my story.

If you're a writer, watch this video, and before you do that, read this story.

It would be time well-spent, I promise. That's an awesome story, and the tutor uses it well to illustrate her points.

This was a good lesson for me not to get into a comfort zone.

If you're a writer, what role do you think setting plays in your story? As a reader, do you get engrossed in the world of the book you're reading? Have you ever received a wake up call because you slid into a comfort zone?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Do you think in the language in which you write?

English is not my mother tongue.

It is the language I'm most at home with however. I speak three other languages, but English remains my natural medium of expression.

Someone asked me today whether I think in English, and my unthinking, immediate answer was, yes.

But I remembered snatches of other languages from my dreams, and my everyday mundane thoughts. I wonder if I also think in the other languages, and how it affects my fictive dream-- the dream-state I slip into when I'm writing?

I find local words strolling into my fiction, whether in Malay, Hokkien, Italian or Hindi, not all of which I speak! I hear those words (or versions of them, till I ask around and find the right ones when editing), and can't help taking them down-- because I don't make up most of my stories, they happen around me in the movie inside my head, and I try to put it on paper to create another movie in the reader's head.

I know that most of the audience of this blog speaks English as native tongue, but I also know there are others who do not.

If English isn't your mother tongue, how do you relate to it as a reader and as a writer? Do you think in the language in which you write? If English is your mother tongue, do you speak any other languages? Have you ever written in them?