My favorite distraction now has an expiry date. It’s very sad. I hope they do find some ways to maintain the community and the adventuring spirit. I also understand shorter term corporate goals trump such ideals.

I spent a lot of time there, and none here. It also cut a bit into my offline creative writing time. In some ways the end of City of Heroes will help me. Of course, I should have gotten rid of the bathwater before the baby.

My characters there were echoes of the characters in my stories. Visualising them, and telling their tales in little 1000-character biographies, helped me cut to the essence of the characters. Mostly it was procrastination. Seeing my characters every day felt like progress. Now for some real progress. So here’s to my patheon, may they enjoy their novelisation as much as I enjoyed their massively multiplayer online game existence.

City Folk


Another year, and another Thank Godfrey It’s Over party to celebrate those who managed to poop a novel in a month. Despite failing to finish myself, the finale gathering was strangely cathartic. I feel invigorated to write more, about anything, albeit slower than November’s 12-novels-per-year pace. There will likely be workshops coming up, led by the German-smalls-clad Sarah Coldheart (progenitor of this article title) that I’ll attend if at all possible. More than anything else, I need to write more. I’ve probably churned out a million words in the last six months working as an region editor for a technical publication, and two or three more words in corporate emails, but none of that prepares me for what I am trying to write here. Which is something even better than a Garfield movie. So I desperately need practice.

Now, I’m sure both of my readers would prefer to hear about the TGIO party than my paltry 15,000 Nanowrimo words of winsome, so I’ll stick with that. Let’s see… I won a prize! For… turning up. I got an egg-headed Animax ninja! The top of his head separates like a breakfast egg, but it doesn’t seem to have any purpose except to give him a reason for having angry eyes. A good enough reason. I also managed to correctly recall the hyphen in the website name of the organizers, which scored me a key-ring. Not bad performance at this high-powered, winner-take-all, megalithic event. It even had a steampunk cake! Well, a mechanic cake. With chocolate screws, nuts, spanners and a set of pliers! For making chocpunk things, I guess. Twas the source of much worse innuendo, which I guess should be expected from a collection of authors. Writing what sells.

My time to write something lurid then. I will write something Singaporean about a hybrid, because someone suggested that might be a good idea. It seems more like an utterly random idea, but it will be good to take a break from Bahn’s tale. I just need to manage my work time a wee bit better and I’ll get it done. I was in Singapore for all of 10 hours this week, which made the timing of the Nano party even more remarkable. Thanks most of all to my wife for letting me go! Okay, now I go write. This does not count. If this counted, I could just post you some epic stories about mudlogs and rotary tables from my work-related forum. You wouldn’t like that. Trust me.

It’s been almost six months since I began writing my first novel. The first month felt wonderfully productive (yes, I was a NaNoer who “won”) but then a whole lot of conflicting realities set in. What felt like a novel living inside me turned out to be a distant ancestor. What seemed like a character, a plot, even conflict, turned out to be merely a world. With stuff in it. There was no house of cards, merely a deck. I know, because the web told me so.

That all came second. In the beginning, there was the reviewer. An excellent reviewer, Darth Mint, who slew all but one side character in the first three chapters. Sergius and I then went into the web to search for reinforcements. We found the answer lay within us. We’d just been ignoring it.

Fixing characters is about voice. With so many great blogs about voice, I could even find answers that disagreed. But that’s okay, it’s a complex topic that struggles with the brevity of a blog. Nonetheless, most characters were lacking in detailed backstory, which would explain motivations, constrain expression and drive character development. I had much of this, and it explained the decisions in my plot – but I wove very little of it into the thoughts and dialogue, since I was on a words-per-day schedule. I used my words to build a plot around an external world, because it seemed easier. Now I will have to rewrite practically everything, but that’s okay.

My reviewer and my web search also revealed many other problems with my story. The encyclopædic prologue. The themes that never made it to the reader. And innumerable problems with pace and suspense that come from my “and then this… and then that…” story structure. I’m rewriting some chapters as short stories. That allows me to get faster feedback on whether I can deliver these intangibles. I will eventually – but it could take a while.

Web pages would tell me to ‘read everything’. I had not. On the other hand, I did not even know my genre before I began. Since then, I’ve read several novels that are related, and some that are reasonably close. Nothing that I can emulate wholeheartedly, which is great. I will still be me. But it will take longer to deliver gripping characters and other intangibles divined from disparate books and my own imagination. This blog will follow my novelling, at least the bits that someone else might find useful. Here I will take a first draft novel that reads like a science experiment, and turn it into something you want to read. While remaining something I want to write.

Oh boy. That’s my viscera on the table. Wish me luck!

Singapore got authors also. Can. Lah. While the nation is not quite fifty years old, the Singaporean identity has existed for much longer. There are a number of distinctively Singaporean writers. A well documented example is Edwin Thumboo, who writes poetry and non-fiction.

This blog entry captures the Singaporean novelists I’ve found links to so far. In particular, the potential novelists of the future. I met many of these through the exceptionally well-run NaNoWriMo events at the Arts House.

Thanks to Joelyn, I can now identify all of the authors of Happiness at the End of the World, an anthology from a group of NaNoists that formed in 2008. Rozen’s link above links to their press release. Now I should go put my head on the chopping block and review that book!