Creative Writing & Me: Continued

(Before I officially start writing this post, I would like to disclaim that this is not a ‘part 2’ to some previous post, although the title may give this impression.)

It’s been a while since I’ve finally settled back (physically and mentally) home (Malaysia, that is) from an awesome trip to Singapore and I still have a little less than 3 months to go before school starts again. And what does An Evil Nymph usually do during long holidays?

Yes, I’m back to writing my crazy novel(s)!

Okay, as a writing recap-update:

Exactly one year ago, I rewrote what was supposed to be the last draft of a novel I have been passionately struggling with since Camp NaNoWriMo 2012. The writing flowed easily. I was content. By February-March 2014, the draft was done. I left it idle for a while because I was doing another smaller writing project (a novella) which I had intended to finish before I’d go to Malaysia for my studies. I did finish it and by that time, I was ready to hop on the plane towards my university life!

Anyway, my plan at that time was: focus on your studies and uni life first, then during the 3 months holiday, go back to the final draft and revise it. Then edit it and maybe send it to publishers? Well, now, fast forward to the present time, I did start revising it… And finally it is not as good as I expected it was. Sincerely, I think that going to Malaysia, starting a new independent life in a foreign country kind of made me grow up… including my perceptions and creativity. And when I read what I had thought to be the final draft of my dearest idea ever, I realised that I actually knew nothing (Jon Snow xD). And I would have known nothing of the world, of real life, if I had stayed at home.

I just feel that one year had made all the difference.

Therefore, I stopped revising; I was quite disappointed and discouraged, because I would have to rewrite the 103,000+ novel (again) if I intend to go along with it, and at the same time, in that particular time period, I was dealing with conflicting emotions and thoughts on career choice (read my ‘A Beautiful Mind’ post?).

But now I’m back on track! What I decided in the end was to move on: after all, my final draft was only one novel in a duology I had planned, so instead of going back to it now, I’m going to focus on the second novel of the duology. Then maybe after this one is done, I might find the right way to deal with the first one. One has to know the end to begin 😉

However, in the end… I’m currently writing that ‘second novel’, but as a stand-alone thing. With a completely different structure from the first one… And I’ll see how it goes. As long as I’m writing, I feel sane… I mean, emotionally balanced.

keep calm and write on

(Oh yeah, that’s one of my newly bought notebooks in Malaysia!)

My goal, therefore: To finish that first draft before next semester starts!

Other news:

The real point of this post is to actually tell you that… I went to a Creative Writing Workshop today, for the very first time in my life!!! Organized by my university, so sweet of them, and great timing!

Okay, to be honest it wasn’t that great. I mean, I’m not in the US or UK for instance, where creative writing is praised and encouraged. However, it’s a start. Two-hours getting to know people who have quite the same interest in writing as me, who are all in the School of Arts. Some are even doing a Writing major (or at least planning too, because there were still first/second-year students), like me!

Moreover, although the content of the workshop was very basic, it helped me to be reminded of the little simple things to consider when writing stories, such as the choice of genre, plot structure and development, and something very crucial that I had truly realised after coming to Malaysia: that creativity and thus ideas come from our experiences and observations. After being exposed to Malaysia, to growing up as an adult, to going out independently (like, buying groceries haha), I had gained a lot in terms of ‘raw information’ for my stories… And that was probably why I felt how I felt when I read my one-year-old draft…

Another tip that I really appreciated in the workshop was how the first line of a story has an immensely major role in catching the reader’s full attention. The main hook of the story (after the title and summary at the back…)!

The presenter said that he would always open a book and read the first line and if the line did not catch his interest, he would not buy the book.

Scary, for writers, but true.

To close this post, I would like to share with you the first sentence of the first draft I’m working on, and I would like to know if you would read the book or not (be part of the game and comment below!):

Our little town, located somewhere in Area 13, was called Number One, because it was where it had all started. 

So what are your thoughts?

An Evil Nymph.

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11 thoughts on “Creative Writing & Me: Continued

  1. I do think Creative Writing workshops will help. I used to have those every week when I was at uni and I have to say it really helped develop my writing – although it’s been a long time since I put any fiction to paper. I was the only non Artsy, non-literature-y there and I think I was a welcomed addition to the whole bunch. 🙂

  2. THIS title and content particularly caught my attention and your disclaimer made me read on! 😉
    I soooo GET what you are talking about! I have been writing the same novel that has been in my head for years since 2011. The theme is basically the same, but I have re-written it a few times. First as a straight story and then a reader/writer friend of mine here, suggested that I take part of the book I had and present it in journal form of the main character on another blog and see if anyone really seemed interested in that version. She suggested that I just create a whole other identity. THAT lasted a hot minute! I guess I didn’t want to be some creeper pretending that I was someone else. Not really what she suggested, I understand that her idea for me was a writing exercise, but I found it a bit shady when people were commenting and I had to reply as Keri rather than me. It was just too weird for me. And I just couldn’t follow through when some of my friends who were followers of my old blog, found my new blog. So I came clean in less than a day and tried to explain what I was doing. Even though I think I would have won over more readers doing it the way my friend suggested. 🙂

    I have over 1600 followers in my main blog and did gain over 200 in the blog I am talking about. Though I still submit occassionally there as I work on my novel, I am kind of in DRAFT mode as well. And was able to work on it more seriously when I had the same set days off. Recently, I started a new job and the novel I was working on daily, that was like a part of me, has seemed less of a priority lately. After a decade, I quit a comfortable yet very annoying, going nowhere job, to pursue a job offering more $$ that would utilize the talents I was trained to do. With more chance of advancment. My days off are not set like they were for years and so during this transition I am feeling a bit like you described. I do hope that I will settle in and pick up where I left off, but I just had two days off and did nothing where my book was concerned and so your post really resonated with me! Thank you for writing it! I don’t feel so alone!
    xoxo
    di

    1. I’m glad to know someone has been in the same shoes 😀 Oh yeah to that extreme I think I would have found it weird as well.
      Well, good luck!!! Wish you all the best and hopefully find your way back in writing.

  3. I really enjoyed this post! I’ve had an idea for a novel for almost 2 years now. I’ve tried to start it, but only got to 5000 words. It’s hard to even think of working on a novel when in university! – Maria@readsbymandm

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