Oh Look, Krill!

Oh don't worry. Whales don't eat clownfish, they eat krill.


The Great Juggling And Balancing Act

It’s November and that means, NaNoWriMo! Unfortunately, work is totally picking up and school… Well, school is a bitch this semester and the essays are totally not letting up. So it’s going to be a real juggling act this month, balancing my need to write my novel and doing my essays as well as all the work that needs to be done in the lab and the office.

It sucks that don’t have the luxury any more to just concentrate on my novel writing but one does what needs to be done. So far I’ve got a chapter down and someone has already died. Yes, it’s a tradition for me. Always start with a death since at the end of it, people are happy, they bone, they have babies.

However, since I’m attempting to write horror this year, I’m not too sure how happy the ending will be. I’m very much looking forward to kill more characters ever so gruesomely.

As for my essay(s), I’ve handed in two and I’ve read the readings that I need for the third essay. We’re to write 5 essays for this seminar series and so far, it’s been a bitch to research and write. For one thing, technical writing is not a strong point of mine but I’m trying my best. Having to drop all the superfluous adjectives and flowery language is not as easy as it seems. There’s the in-line citations, the facts and the references. It’s good training though, for future professional related things.

It’s only the second day of November and I’m already grasping for time, since I have school and participation is needed since we’re graded on that. That means no typing out stuff during class and I need to pay attention.

So, will I manage to finish the novel, complete my school work and try not to drown in my full time job as a lab minion? We’ll see. If I get through this unscathed, I’m throwing myself a party. With cake and I don’t even like cake all that much.


The Launch For Books And Writing

Bubble GUM NaNoWriMo Kick-Off

It’s that time of year again when the local NaNoWriMo chapter have their annual Kick-Off Party.

Where it’s at: National Library, Multipurpose room (basement 1) at 6.30pm (till 8.30pm)

Theme (Yes, we always have a theme): Superheroes! Come dressed up as your favourite graphic novel character, both heroes and villains. Not compulsory but it’ll be fun.

Who’s invited: Everyone! Ok well, not everyone but everyone who’s doing NaNoWriMo, readers and comic book lovers.

We’ll kick things off with the year’s NaNoWriMo party, getting to know the newbies who just joined this year, catching up with veterans and we’ll have cake. There’s always cake at the kick-off and it’s never a lie.

Other than the Kick-Off, the Happy Smiley Writers Group (HSWG) is launching a new book, Bubble G.U.M. This book took us more than a year to write, edit (especially editing) and get it published. I’m so, so glad that it’s out.

So what is the book about, you ask?

It’s a sci-fi novel, set in Singapore in the year 2045, where the world as we know it is gone and the girls have to do NS. There’ll be meta-powers, mutant seabass, dolphins and bikinis as part of the NS uniform. Get the books to find out more.

The books will be going at $15 at the launch. Get it then before they slap on the RRP of $18 when it goes for sale online and in the bookstores (who will then slap on a GST charge). If you haven’t gotten Happiness At The End of the World, you can get it then too. It’s also going for only $15.

So come on down, meet the writers, buy the books and have some cake. We’re really friendly people.

Kick Off
Here’s an official poster to the event. Click to embiggen.


Sunday Adventures: Books Actually Turns 4

books actually small

After the last NaNoWriMo write-in for the year, a group of us (Seriously Sarah, Raven Silvers, Joelyn Alexandra, Avariel and I) went to Books Actually for their 4th anniversary thing.

They had moved from their Ann Siang Street outlet, to Polymath & Crust, their sister bookshop location at Clubs Street. The HSWG ladies and I were there in June for a writer flash mob reading.

books actually 1 small

So anyway, the first floor was entirely dedicated to literary and design books. I would have taken hell of a lot more pictures if I wasn’t so enamoured by the floor to ceiling shelves of books. The wooden shelves, the scent of book pages and cement, the soothing sounds of indie music playing in the back ground. I loved it, the whole experience. If I was alone and the shop wasn’t as packed as it was, I would have sat down in the couch at the little nook at the back of the first floor, closed my eyes and let my imagination flow.

It was one of those places that makes me feel superbly creative and I really, really wanted to sit down and write out the short story bouncing in my head, while I was there but uh, I didn’t it would be appropriate to occupy too much space in an already crowded area.

We ventured up to the second and third floors of the building and there were more floor to ceiling shelves of books, along with little knick knacks that brought all of us growing up in the 80s, back to our childhood memories.

books actually 2 small

There was the wooden box of paperweights (points to picture above). It had some stones in the shape of shells and sealed shot glasses filled with earth. Interesting, yes?

All of us concluded that if we ever were to get locked-in in a bookstore, Books Actually would be perfect. It could almost rival Neil Gaiman’s library, which is what my dream library would look like.

We couldn’t leave a book store without getting anything, so I ended up with a CIAK sketchbook, which I have no idea why I got it since I can’t draw to save my life, and a plain notebook that was Polymath & Crust’s own brand. I have no idea what I’m going to do with the plain notebook but being me, I’ll figure something out since I never leave home without a notebook.

With the end of November, the NaNoWriMo weekend adventures also come to an end. I have to find my own adventures after this. Anyone game?


November Mayhem : Done

Finally, after weeks of slogging over exams and then over my NaNoWriMo novel, it’s all done.

I verified my word count and ‘won’.

winner 2

This year, I went back to writing in first person but three chapters in, I realised that I was not what the story called for, so I interlaced it with third person telling. It was not the easiest writing month. More than once I stopped writing and shouted at computer screen because the writing was not going well.

Yes, I shout at inanimate objects. It’s a quirk, so shut up.

The characters ramble on and on and on and all I wanted to was for them to stop talking and get on with the plot, which by the way, I didn’t have any. Due to exams and the studying for it, I didn’t have time to plan out the story. It’s been an entirely ‘let’s wing it’ month. Not my usual way of writing for NaNoWriMo but I still managed to get through it.

As much as I hated slogging through the rough patches of the story and the plot holes the size of planets, I’m already missing the insane pace of writing or the stupid characters rambling.

I feel lost.

Maybe I should go write a short story or something.


On Of The Best NaNoWriMo Pep Talks To Date

It’s the last week of November and I’ve only got a little bit left to go in my novel before I can validate and get that purple bar. One of the things that I always look forward to while doing NaNoWriMo is always the pep talks given my notable authors who are also doing NaNoWriMo with us plebeians.

One of the best pep talks that I’ve read was in Week Three, by Tamora Pierce.

Right now a lot of you are doing the same thing I’m doing, staring at this piece of screen in order to put off actually writing, because at this moment in time the writing is decidedly starting to suck. You are stuck; worse, you’re bored. You’re thinking you were bounced repeatedly on your head when you were small and easy to bounce. You’re thinking you have no talent.

She nailed in on the head, exactly what I was feeling that week. I had just crossed the halfway mark and into the thirty thousands. The end of the novel felt so near and yet, so very far. The story line was going no where and the characters were just rambling and rambling without any clear topic. They sound just like me when I’m tired.

Then came the tips.


These times are a colossal pain, there is no denying it. In desperation, I will time my breaks. Twenty minutes to read, and I’m back to the desk, to turn out a page, or two. Another twenty minutes break, then back for that page or two. Sooner or later my characters will get out of the wagon or off the ship, and they’ll start doing things again.

Just keep after it. Think of how proud of yourselves you’ll be once you have that novel-length manuscript in your hand! There is nothing like it, nothing like knowing you have finished something of that length.

I managed to get over that hump and now, even though I’m not really on track, but I’m getting to the end. It hasn’t been an easy ride but it’s been worth it.

And now, back to the writing.


Sundays With Sarah: Tea & Books

It was another write-in day today at the Art’s House, with only five of us in attendance, Seriously Sarah, Raven Silvers, Joelyn Alexandra, Avariel and I. It was a short write in since batteries ran out early, so we decided to go to TWG teas for, well, tea. We’ve been talking about going for tea there for a while and since Sarah was the adventure leader, we thought, heck it, let’s just go.

We caught the high tea period, which resulted in a long wait. However it was worth it. Sarah and I shared a set, which included a pot of tea and a scone each. Out of the hundreds of teas, we chose a tea that totally describes our inner romance novelist; Sexy Tea. The scones were served with clotted cream and orange jelly.

The tea was actually green tea with a slight citrus taste to it but personally, I thought it tasted mildly of lemon grass. It was a refreshing drink, though I didn’t feel any sexier after the drink.

After the tea break, we ended up at { prologue }, the upscale version of Popular book store. I should have known that the store was going to be awesome the moment I saw the dinosaur at the entrance. The 20% off storewide didn’t hurt either.

Prologue 1

We started at the second floor where the stationery section was to die for. I coveted all the notebooks there. All the faux Moleskine and the ones with the flowery cloth covers made me want it all. ALL.

While I was wondering around, I saw an interesting art installation at the door to the car park.

Prologue

On the first floor was where all the books were. Aimlessly wondering led me to this shelf of nothing but sex related books. It was interesting since it was the first time I had ever seen such a large collection of sex tips books.

Sexy Books

As we walked through the fiction book stacks, I came across this book, In Bed With, a collection of erotic short stories by, quoting the blurb, “best selling, award-winning and well known novelists under their x-rated pseudonyms.”

In Bed With

It was strange that I didn’t get anything at Kinokuniya yesterday, when they had their 20% off sale but I made up for it today. After reading the first story on the way home, I did not regret the purchase at all. I’m definitely going to enjoy reading this book.

Next week, Sundays with Sarah might be going to another book store after the write in.


NaNoWriMo ’09 Kick-Off And Book Launch

nanowrimo

On the 31st of October, Halloween if you’d prefer it, the local NaNoWriMo chapter as well as the Happy Smiley Writers Group did a Kick-Off and book launch for Happiness At the End of The World.

One word to describe the event: AWESOME!

It totally rocked!

For the first time since I started doing NaNoWriMo, I’ve never seen so many people turn up for the Kick-off before. Sure, some of them were there just for the book launch or had wandered into Earshot Cafe from the other Singapore Writers Festival events that were going on at the Arts House but the bulk of the attendees were there for the Kick-off.

From the moment the HSWG crew arrived at half past one, we were scrambling to set up everything for the event and people were already arriving for it. Sheesh, some people are really, really eager. I was stationed by the door, to get people to sign in, pass them their goodie bags and to then direct them to the HP Mini where they get to type in their 15-word sentence for the round-robin.

The even started promptly at two and after that it relatively was a blur. I was swamped by NaNo-ers who kept on coming even after we ran out of the goodie bags. It was exhausting and yet thrilling and exciting at the same time. Before I knew it, it was cake time.

nanowrimo

We had a really big cake this time, in the shape of something that’s going to be features rather prominently in the other book that we’re planning to launch soon. Amazingly, we actually finished all the cake. I managed to get a tine slice before it was all gone. That’s a first too since in previous years, we had to pack cake back with us.

WE wrapped everything up by 4 and cleared out of the cafe by 4.15pm as there was another event taking place in the venue at about 5.

If I could do it all over again, despite it being totally exhausting, I would.

Check out the blogs of Seriously Sarah, Raven Silvers and Joelyn Alexandra for their side of the Kick-off.