Monthly Archives: September 2010

Writing Workshop – Week 1

So I had my first session of the writing workshop today. Despite my anxieties, I’m happy that I signed up for it. After this first session, I really have the feeling that it will improve my writing and my habits.

The basic idea of the workshop is actually very simple, and is based on the concept of the persona narrator. Continue reading

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Writing Challenge #1 (by Thaumaturgist)

So I decided to participate in the first Writer’s Challenge posted by Thaumaturgist. I could choose between two challenges, and this is the one I picked:

1: Open page 23 of the book closest to you. Write the last sentence on a piece of paper. Using that as the opening sentence, write the first 700-1000 words of a FICTIONAL story. Have fun. Note: Even if you picked up a cookbook, you must use that sentence in a fictional story!!!

The book closest to me was Issue 109 of Granta, which is a literary magazine. The sentence I found was taken from an essay by Daniel Alarcón about book piracy in Peru. I was quite lucky; it was a sentence that you could really play around with: You see old friends, go to dozens of readings, and when you can’t stand it anymore you hide in your apartment and wait for it to be over. You can find it on page 8 of the online version of the essay. It is a very interesting read by the way, and I can recommend it to anyone.

It became quite clear early on that it was going to be a fantasy story, although it took me a couple of days to come up with the basic premise of the story. I think the idea itself is quite interesting, and I might actually reuse this idea and expand it into in a larger work in the future, possibly a short-to-medium length story. And you might notice that the number 7 comes back quite often. I only haven’t figured out yet what the exact significance of the number 7 in the story should be, but I thought it was pretty cool to add it, what with all the math behind it, which I won’t fully explain for now. 🙂

I think the story as I posted it below is still a bit ‘over the place.’ I think that is one of my biggest weaknesses: how to take the ideas and thoughts in my head and form it into something coherent. If I do expand into the future, it will probably be completely different than the current iteration (and I probably will NOT use the second-person narrative, but I just though I’ll stick with it as the sentence itself uses it).

Anyway, I hope you will enjoy the story.

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Bad Dreams

Sigh. Isn’t it just typical me?

I should be looking forward to the writing workshop, but instead I had a bad night’s sleep because I was consumed by bad dreams.

I should be looking forward to improve my writing and my writing habits, but instead I dream that I can’t get a single word written down on paper.

I should be looking forward to meeting other writers, but instead I’m terrified by the prospect of meeting new people.

I should be looking forward to share my writings with other like-minded individuals, but instead I’m afraid to share them because I believe my writings will be inferior to the others.

I should be looking forward to the things I want to do, but instead I’m still stuck in my fears and self-loathing.

Sometimes I get so sick of myself and how I feel. Sometimes I wonder if I’m even capable of having positive dreams at all.

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In anticipation of the workshop

Starting on coming Monday, I will attend a 10-week writing workshop from The Writers Studio. So for the next ten weeks, I will hopefully blog about the workshop, about what I’ve learned, what we did and just my general impressions on the workshop. Hopefully it will also prove to be useful for some other people as well.

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How Apple plays the pricing game — not!

I just came across this Bloomberg article via a Freaknomics article, expecting to read something smart, or at least interesting, about Apple’s pricing strategy. The strategies he discusses in the article are quite common and could potentially make for an entertaining read in my opinion. Unfortunately, the author Ben Kunz seems desperate to write a cynical article about Apple (to boost traffic and controversy?), even if it is a bad fit in some cases. As a result, he makes some very poor analyses, whether intentional or not. Let’s go through the different strategies in the article.

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What I dream about when I dream about writing

It’s time to face the truth. Writing on my blog is fun and a nice exercise, and I have gained some self-confidence and a lot of insights into myself because of it, but in the end, what I truly want is to start writing fiction and fantasy again. That is where my heart lies, and it is the main reason why I started writing in the first place. I’m not saying that I plan to stop with my blog anytime soon, but that I have been ignoring my dreams for too long now. When I dream about writing, I don’t dream about writing about myself and reiterating what happened to me.  Continue reading

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What is the point of reading?

I have just realized something terrible about myself: I don’t remember the books I read. I chose “Perjury” as an example at random, and its neighbors on my bookshelf, Michael Chabon’s “Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” (on the right) and Anka Muhlstein’s “Taste for Freedom: The Life of Astolphe de Custine” (on the left), could have served just as well. These are books I loved, but as with “Perjury,” all I associate with them is an atmosphere and a stray image or two, like memories of trips I took as a child.

James Collins mentions in a very interesting essay called The Plot Escapes Me in the New York Times of September 17th that he often forgets about the contents of books he’d read. It got me thinking about my own reading habits and he is right. The thought of forgetting what I’ve read is appalling for me, yet it happens constantly. It’s not just the books that didn’t leave much of an impression. It also happens with books that I either loved or loathed.

Case in point: Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

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