Friday, November 23, 2007

Review from a famous writer

I was very chuffed when Lydia phoned me when I was in Vietnam and said she read Dark City 2 till 3 am!

This is her review posted at her blog

"Two local books came into my possession recently. One is Dark City 2, the sequel to Xeus’s Dark City which had garnered much praise in the media last year. I have four contributor’s copies in my possession for my story, Hin’s Moment of Truth. This story was first written for my writing correspondence course several years back. The assignment was to write a short story with a surprise ending. The tutor thought it was a good effort but alas I couldn’t find a suitable publication for the story.

One day I was going through my bank of unpublished and unfinished stories in my computer when a thought struck me. Am I such a lousy story writer that I have difficulty find homes for my fiction? I pulled out Hin’s Moment of Truth and emailed it to Xeus. Hey, I like the story, she said but you need to expand it. I reworked the story according to her suggestions. And I must say she’s a very good conceptual editor.

I read Dark City 2 in three hours. Most of the stories are exciting and unpredictable in their own way but two of my favourites are Xeus’s Signature Spa and Chua Kok Yee’s The Penalty. It so happened that my 16 year-old like these two stories too. (Don’t you like mine? I asked. Yeah, but I’ve read your story before, so it didn’t count, she said.)

In the Signature Spa, the protagonist, Gaia got her just desserts while enjoying her ‘Heavenly Spa’ treatment. In The Penalty, we empathize with Ah Tiong who got into trouble with the loan sharks when he lost his football bets. The ending came as a surprise as I had expected another twisty scenario.

Tunku Halim’s Hawker Man is a pulsating read but the ending is rather macabre. Cain Rashchall’s Maid to Order is quite risque and may score with male readers."


I liked Lydia's short story. It was very Malaysian and had a nice macabre ending to it. I believe we have a potential to make every one of our stories marketable. We just need an able beta to spot our mistakes and how we can flesh out the plot and characters more because we are so into our own story we can't spot anything ourselves. All of us are always learning and when we write more in that particular genre, we become better and better.


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Lydia Teh said...

Xeus, you've got to stop referring to me as 'famous' :)

Xeus said...

I can speak nothing but the truth, Lydia :)