Wednesday, August 03, 2011

On (not-so) Secret Novel, amazing novels, and novel experiences

It's taken me long enough to blog again.

School starts in a week. And while I'm looking forward to LAF1201 (Beginner French) and EN3271 (Advanced Playwriting), I'm keeping my fingers crossed (if I believe in crossing fingers) that this semester isn't going to sap me of all I am.

Still, I have a week more to go. And I intend to spend it the way I want. That, of course, involves writing.

I'm working on my new novel!!!! (Can you tell how excited I am? If I could add on more exclamation marks without looking like a prepubescent girl at a Bieber concert, I would.)

For the past couple of weeks, I was toying with the idea of working on Novel A and Novel B. I decided on Novel A, but after just twelve pages decided I wasn't convinced with my characters enough to go any further. And while agonising over Novel A, scenes for Novel B just kept forming in my head, and it was Novel B that I kept thinking about before I went to bed.

So last Saturday, I thought, what the heck, horrible timing be damned (it is one week before school - and all relevant madness - begins, after all), and got started on Novel B. And since then, I've written four chapters. I'm excited because it reminds me of the time I wrote LAMBS FOR DINNER, the thought process, the way the story flows out of my fingertips, the way I had to rush to keep up with the ideas in my head, the things the characters are saying in my head. I haven't felt this exhilarated while writing since LAMBS.

No, wait. I have. When I was finishing up THE DREAMCATCHERS.

Speaking of which, I've completed that! In the middle of July, in the middle of MNO1001 lect (Management and Organisation, which I'm taking to fulfil my Breadth requirement). After a whole year of second-guessing and self-doubt and almost giving up, I've finally pulled through. Sometimes, it's not that you can't write; it's that you won't. I kept telling myself I couldn't think of anything to propel the story forward, and I couldn't think of how to resolve the story. But once I got down to it, everything managed to tie itself up pretty nicely (if I do say so myself).

But now, I'm stashing THE DREAMCATCHERS away in the drawer for a month before returning to edit it (so that I will be an objective editor and my perception will not be too skewed). And on to work on secret new novel!

Oh, okay. The title's FIFTEEN MINUTES DOWN SUNSET AVENUE. I'm still not too sure about it, though. I wish I could think of some strong title, like SHIVER (by the unbelievably talented and funny Maggie Stiefvater), which captures the essence and the mood of the story.

And speaking of the WOLVES OF MERCY FALLS trilogy, I just rushed down to Kino after my swim last Thursday to buy the final installment, FOREVER! SHIVER remains one of the best-written stories I've ever read. And I am completely stoked to read FOREVER. Just the first page - just the prologue - looks so good. I'm going to relish every word and read it as slowly as possible.

Blog-surfing today led me to this post by Natalie Whipple, YA author: Happy writers: finding confidence in yourself. Which gives us a much-needed boost of assurance as we create the story we want to read, and the world we wish to live in. And What I Really Want to Say to New Writers helps put things in perspective.

On a final note, here's what I meant by 'novel experiences':

Modules I'm taking next semester:

1. LAF1201 (I just looked at the notes posted on IVLE - everything's in French. Wonderful. Just...wonderful.)
2. LAC3203 - Chinese for Science and Technology. I had fun last sem with LAC3204, laoshi was nice and really put effort in helping each of us improve in our Chinese, and the coursework was relevant and useful.
3. EL2201 - Sound System of English. Big yay for phonetics and phonology! I had fun learning that under Mie Sensei in my freshman year, sem 1.
4. EN3271. More second-guessing and self-doubt (it is writing, after all). But with critique partners and constructive criticism and lots of fun (it's one of the classes I laughed the most and hardest in ever since entering NUS).
5. EL3256 - Language in the Workplace.

Bring on senior year sem 1!

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