Saturday, May 26, 2007

Taking a break from blogging for a while

Hi guys, will be taking a breather for a while. Been too busy trying to self-edit Billy Lang, finish the final touches on Dark City 2 and at work, budget season is on (busiest time of the year). Also travelling to US next week for a bit.

Will be back when Dark City 2 is out.

See ya guys!

Monday, May 21, 2007

How do you feel about chick lit?

I've always liked chick lit (and am in the process of getting Eric to read it). I'm currently reading a book that would make the literari out there cringe with derision: "How to Kill Your Husband" by Kathy Lette. It's a laugh a minute, social commentary, chick romp all rolled into one.

But you see, that's how I feel about chick lit. It has a lot to say about our society of women today and how we juggle work, boyfriends/husbands, friends, kids and everything else. Hey, Jane Austen wrote the chick lit of her time and the women there spent their days mooning over how to get husbands, just like we do today!

I particularly like the humorous prose of Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella (Shopaholic series) and Nisha Minhas. Read one of their books and study how they write humour. They have the ability to turn a very tragic situation (like Indian bride kidnapping) into something you can share and laugh about (but at the same time, commiserate with the heroine's situation).

So, 'fess up now. Do you read chick lit?

(BTW, MPH 1 Utama has a bookshelf dedicated to 'chic' lit, but I suppose chick lit is chic too.)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Being Edited

I'm buoyed by Eric's recent posts about Editing and how editors feel about receiving a good and bad manuscript.

Let's come from another persective: The writer's. How do YOU feel about being edited?

For me, being edited is a humbling experience, whether it's done by a conceptual editor or a grammar editor.

1. We realise our grammar, hyphenation, punctuation etc is not that great after all. Most of us tend to dispense with hyphenation, punctuation etc, thinking it has nothing to do with writing and that it's an editor's job. But in countries like the UK, they can just throw the manuscript out if we don't think of all the niceties.

2. We realise that our plot, or certain aspects of the plot, or character, is not as exciting as we think it is. Or that it doesn't make sense.

3. We realise we put in more words that we intended.

Several fanous editor and writer friends were very kind to edit the first 3 chapters of Billy Lang for me so that the manuscript is as perfect as it can be before I send it off. And even though I've rewritten them many times, it still is a humbling experience to be edited, and I'm very grateful for all of them who are looking out for me. As we writers/editors should be doing for each other to make our manuscripts as perfect as possible before we send it out to the foreign lit agencies.

As for Dark City 2, some of you were asking me, fear not! It's definitely on its way (July). It needs to be edited thoroughly (in the same vein again) before publication, and when the grammar editor and I are not happy about something, we go back to the author. A local book deserves the same editing and vetting scrutiny as a foreign book and we will not compromise on quality.

So how do you feel when you get edited?

Friday, May 04, 2007

Finishing a book....then comes the rewrite

Lydia was niggling me: "New update, please!" Yes, mam!

The reason for lack of frequent new updates? Yes, I've just finished writing Billy Lang. How does one feel having finished writing a 500+ page full length children's novel? The moment I finished writing it, last Tuesday, I immediately dove into the rewrite.

Which comes to the question. How much should you rewrite? When is enough enough? Sidney Sheldon has been known to rewrite 11 times for each of his novels. (Then again, Sidney doesn't really 'write,' he dictates to his assistant and she reads it back to him, then he crosses out what he doesn't want.) The rest of us struggling artistes have no assistant and therefore have to rewrite it all by ourselves.

I find rewriting a lot easier than doing the first draft. Most of the ideas are already there. Rewriting is actually for improved sentence construction, cutting out unnecessary sentences, words and passages that have nothing to do with the story, checking consistency of plot and characters and adding in foreshadowing to enrich the plot.

Ever read a book or watched a movie where a seemingly insignificant sequence is thrown in at the beginning, which comes into importance only later in the plot? Well, a lot of that comes in the rewrite.

Are you the type who shoots off his/her first draft and saves all corrections for the rewrite, or one who meticulously checks and crosschecks every page along the way, making sure it's perfect before you proceed? (Beware, the latter has been known never to finish writing whole books!)