#16: finish LL


Task #16 of 101.1001 is to finish LL. Actually finished a while ago, but still not 100% happy.

I have a deadline now. I need to get it ready and submit it by next summer. One of the best publishers I’ve ever met asked me. Face to face. There is no excuse.

There are parts in the middle that need to be expanded and better explained. Probably need more character growth too. I should stop tinkering with it and let good editors take a look so I can learn and improve.

30in30 #26: 1000 words PP


Task #26 of 30in30 is to write 1000 words for PP.

I said I wanted to build up some momentum for PP, so I made myself sit down in the afternoon to get 1000 words. Start wordcount=2472, finish wordcount=3604 so actual words written=1132.

The story is set in Franklin TN. Here’s when I wish I still lived in Chicago. It’s about 8hrs to drive there, so research in person is feasible. Lots also to do in nearby Nashville. Important things happen during the cherry blossom festival in April. MC1’s dad worked at Nissan and they even offer factory tours. Plus of course, the bourbon trail distilleries are on the way from Chicago to Nashville.

30in30 #24: write 1000 words PP


Task #24 of 30 in 30 is to write 1000 words for PP, which just got outlined.

This ended up being one of the harder tasks. It’s usually not a big deal getting 1000 words, but I kept getting distracted and the fact that the short story was already finished proved to be a big mental block. I ended up splitting the short story into 6 sections: they meet, they meet again, disaster 1, disaster 2, plans, party. Each section will be expanded to around 7-8000 words, mostly beginning with what is already written. Hopefully this approach will bring me close to 50k (heh, a nano!) and the rest will be new material culminating in a second party.

So the first chapter when the MCs meet starts with 1200 words from the short story. I need to cover MC1’s interaction with her family, her community and her church which will be the backstory. Again I kept getting distracted doing research but I hunkered down and wrote about dinner with her mom. Total word count is 2357 so the daily task is complete at 1157 words.

p.s. I love scrivener. That’s another post for another day.

30in30 #23: PP outline


Task #23 of 30 in 30 is to finish the outline for PP. Working title Party Planner, this is supposed to be the next writing project since LL is finished (again) and a few people have very kindly offered to help beta read it.

PP is already a short story so the challenge is to expand and build from 4,000 words to 70-80k. I wrote it for a challenge a while ago and I think it was Carleen who said I could make it into a full length story. It’s a sort of prequel to nano 2005, which in turn is a sort of prequel to nano 2006, so some of the characters and situations have to tie in. It’s good because I can foreshadow. How many people have books 2 and 3 in draft form when they start working on book 1?

Outline is surprisingly not complicated, just a series of people relationships. The story progression is pretty straightforward too. I wonder if there is enough material for a full length story. We’ll see.

30in30 #25: LL cover font


Task #25 in 30 in 30 is to find an appropriate font for the cover of LL.

I have some ideas for the cover, currently evolving around a faint background of grids and the title displayed like a stock ticker. Not yet at the stage where I can put it together in photoshop. I went looking for some LED display fonts that are free for personal and commercial use. Just tried them out in yellow against a green background.

From top: TPF, ride the fader, bazaronite, krungthep, TRS million, repetition. Not sure if any one of them scream out to me, I guess I won’t know until I actually attempt to put the cover together. Right now they all look like some sort of theatre / circus announcement and not ‘financial’ enough.

LL 25k


I’ve been trying to rewrite LL for a few years. A. Few. Years. It’s pathetic. For Rachel’s June challenge I made myself get up to chapter 12. Today I found some time and inspiration and I’m up to chapter 15. 25k words, which is just under 1/3 done. And our MCs just had their first kiss, awww.

It occurred to me, I’ve mindmapped all recent nanos, I should sit down and mindmap this one too, seeing that it’s probably the most important writing project of my life.

words in progress

I have: a) a small pile of rough paper with ideas; b) beginning paragraphs in writely and c) a few written chapters on the website. I need to get them organised and figure out which stories to work on and which ones to shelf.

full length stories (non fanfic)

  1. Lamplight rewrite — a big undertaking, but this is my best shot at a submittable (I hesitate to say publishable) manuscript. At 76k words it’s the right length, even though I’ll need to re-write at least half the story, to take the fanfic element out.
  2. nano 2009 story — already mindmapped, needs to be outlined. Unless I get completely busy at work, I must do nano this year.
  3. Tight rewrite — this is the nano 2007 story where I lost 20k words after completion when my flashdrive failed. The great thing is I found the outline mindmap that I thought was lost, and the story has enough characters and quirkiness for me to take a stab at it again.
  4. In Pieces rewrite — this was nano 2006. Full of angst and not exactly a happy ending. Possibly too autobiograpical. And because of that it’s a story close to my heart. I know people say don’t write your own story, though I can say most of it is my imagination.
  5. Summer into Winter — gee, this is the story I’ve been trying to write for almost 20 years. Inspired by David Harsent’s book, I’ll read the book again to see how I feel.
  6. road trip story — had this idea recently, not even fully formed. This will be an easy-reading, if formulaic, romance. I wonder if I can write something like that and not make it too angsty.

full length fanfic

  1. Atonement — it’s all outlined and over 5000 words written. And now that Spielberg and Will Smith are talking about remaking Oldboy, I have to get my story in first.
  2. Days of Innocence Lost — EVERYONE wants me to write this, and even E has said (perhaps jokingly, perhaps not) that she’s passing the Master Will baton to me. There is a great story there, almost my legacy. Anyone who has read Earth will, hopefully, want to read more. After they’ve finished bawling their eyes out, and then cried some more. I have to finish this one day. May be the trick is to take it out of the Wishverse and into a brand new universe of my own creation.
  3. Healing series — not exactly outlined, though again I have a good idea where i want it to go. It’s sad at first but very very romantic at the end. A change for me. Has a special place in my heart because it was my first ff idea, even preceding Common Areas. Not a lot of people know that.
  4. Bigtown — this will need to go on hiatus, too many other stuff to write.
  5. Magic — outlined. Very ambitious, complicated and big project. May be hard to get off the ground.
  6. Beloved — the other Wishverse story, a few ideas jotted down on paper. Has too much overlap with DoIL, need lots of thinking.

short stories

  1. The Mashup — almost 4500 words written. I need to finish this.
  2. Master Will Pet boxing / mud wrestling romp — a straightfoward PWP, if I’m in the right mood this will be fun to write.
  3. From the Balcony — this was to celebrate K’s balcony view. Now that she isn’t living at the apartment with the balcony, it’s kinda beside the point. There are elements that can form the beginning of a post S6-fic, let’s see how it goes.
  4. Idle Winds — very angsty, a little autobiographical, has common elements with In Pieces, may be I’ll incorporated it there.
  5. Unmasked — another one I’ve been writing for 10+ years. Shouldn’t take too long if inspiration returns.

I need to retire from my job to finish all these. Sigh, I can wish.

my atonement dilemma


Atonement wins best drama at the golden globes. I have the book and managed the first page I think. It’s on my list of books to read. I haven’t yet seen the film but look forward to seeing it.

That’s not the point of this post.

Atonement is the title of one of my wip stories, the one based on Oldboy. As the film is part 2 of director Park Chan-Wook’s Vengeance Trilogy, and it deals with redemption and sorrow, I wanted it as the title of the story

And now my dilemma is, in light of the similarities with Ian McEwan’s book and the (now famous) film, do I continue with the story title or come up with a new one. I thought about the alternatives but the best I could come up with is Screaming into Emptiness which suits the first part of the story and the underlying desperateness but doesn’t have the gravitas of the original title.

I usually don’t have much trouble with story titles. Generally I prefer ones that are simple but it’s not a criteria that it completely relates to the story. Common Areas refer to the objects and location that overlaps the two time periods — the apartment, the postbox, the common areas of the building. Lamplight was more a mood — that story ended up in a different place than first intended, so it’s hard to compare.

So, what makes a good title? I was interested to read that some classic books started with more … mundane titles:

  • Gone with the Wind was Tomorrow is Another Day
  • Lady Chatterly’s Lover was John Thomas and Lady Jane
  • The Great Gatsby was Trimalchio in West Egg
  • Of Mice and Men was Something that Happened

An interesting suggestion is that a title must appeal to the five senses. It must look (sight) good, is easy to say (speech), sound (sound) appropriate, be appealing / have influence (touch) and has a distinctive quality or atmosphere (smell).

I also came across some advice on the typical types of titles:

  1. a popular expression — The Usual Suspects, Good as Gold
  2. a play on words — Burglars can be Choosers, A Hearse of a Different Colour
  3. a hidden meaning later revealed in the story — Rain Man, Dances with Wolves
  4. from an existing work — The Grapes of Wrath, Absalom
  5. a person or character’s name — Hannibal, Forrest Gump
  6. a place name — Chicago, Jurassic Park
  7. a possessive — Angela’s Ashes, Charlotte’s Web
  8. an association of ideas — The Dead Zone, Misery
  9. an event or activity — Waiting to Exhale, Finding Nemo
  10. a memorable line from the story itself — The Eagle Has Landed, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
  11. a long title can have a rhythm — The Spy Who Came In from the Cold, At Play in the Fields of the Lord
  12. a simple title that fits the story — Roots, The Godfather

Anyway, this doesn’t help me much. I still need to decide if I could continue to use Atonement. The good thing is, the story is nowhere near finished and by the time it’s done the association with the book / film would be diminished with time.

early thoughts

I have 4 small black notebooks filled with what I wrote when I was very young. Some of the early mind babbles are actually fine enough to record for posterity.

fish Ever since I swallowed a fishbone and had to spend 2 nights in hospital I’ve been petrified of eating fish.

batteries Some last longer than others. Some cost more than others. The cheapest ones are the rechargeable ones but they need 14 hours charging so I must remember to recharge them every morning before I leave. So when I return they are ready.

stamps They are like frames of our minds. Pretty pictures of some object, person or event.

the poor as pitiful Of course we need someone to pity so we can show the world how charitable we are.

anthropic principles The Universe must contain a species of intelligent beings who observe it to justify its existence. If something exists it must be observable. Conversely if we cannot observe something it cannot exist.

dreams The demons of my dreams call to me and I must follow.

uptight I’m uptight but I’m not uptight about being uptight.

humor Ha ha. Very funny.

small rhyme
I think I am
I feel I can


All your life you haven’t lived anywhere above 1st floor. You look out of a 45/F window and down to the street and your knees go weak. You fight the urge to step off the edge and dive like a swan. The ground pulls you toward it. You have to lean back and look at buildings far away for the feeling to pass.

You find yourself in a club. Dark. Black. Like most clubs. The bar counter is covered with mosiac glass tiles which reflect the changing colors of the lights. Lighting is provided by small halogen lights along the walls and on the arched ceiling. Lights that constantly change color – red, orange, blue, green, yellow. The effect is hypnotic.

You pull back the beaded curtains and walk down the short, dimly lit corridor. Closed doors on either side. The smell of musk is overwhelming. You reach one door that is half open, left ajar as an invitation. It is dark inside, the flickering flames of tea-lights scattered randomly around the room providing the only illumination. On the bedside table you see an unlit candle, box of matches, glass bottle of oil, serving tongs, wooden clothes pegs, riding crop, white scarf, hairbrush. You wonder.

You think about cutting your hair so it is very very short.

You think about tattoos and piercings and you know you will never have the courage.

You think about losing weight and getting very fit and being able to run miles and miles.

You yearn for a sense of adventure.


I haven’t made much progress with Bigtown in over a week, I wrote like 3 lines, that’s it. It was going so well before this block. I know there’s a few paragraphs I need to rewrite cos it’s too much exposition and doesn’t flow with the story. I hate the temptation to go with too much backstory and exposition. The next part is very important, not so much to the plot of the story, just the development of the characters. It’s dialogue between the 2 main characters and it has to show development in their professional and personal relationship. Way harder than I imagined. I have scenes planned for future chapters but I need to have this one in the bag before moving on.

Now I totally understand why writers have muses, cos I. Need. One. Now. Sigh.


To not think or feel. As an escape, as detachment.

The desperate scream of a fire truck’s siren, the sigh of a leave falling from a tree, the steam wafting from a hot cup of coffee. There are stories and emotions behind everything that happens around us. People. Objects. Feelings have no name. Yet it is so much easier to ignore them, to stand back outside the circle of their influence.

Extreme measures to make these feelings come to the surface. The pain of fist smashing through glass, the haze induced by alcohol, by drugs, by sex. Searching. Escaping.

Are colours feelings? Can cats read auras? What does it mean to be a human being?

It’s nearly sunset, look at the orange sky.

Just words

I don’t look in a dictionary often enough but I looked up 3 words today.

Dichotomy. Divide into 2 parts, usually contradictory. Black and white. High and low. Ups and downs. Except nothing is that clear. Not anymore. Not ever.

Vestige. Trace, sign. As in – she stretched and rubbed her eyes to chase away the last vestiges of sleep.

Protestation. Declaration of protest. Actually I was looking it up to make sure I’ve used it properly.

I’m writing again. Picking up the various pieces of stuff that I start but never finish. I don’t know where to find plots or situations that aren’t boring or clichéd.

  1. The relationship story that’s been going on since forever, like college. Don’t even know if I want a happy ending or one of those no-ending type of endings.

  2. The one that’s supposed to be for this short story competition entitled “Unmasked”. Inspired by the Blindekuh. Except the competition is long over and the winners’ works already published. Not that I’d ever enter it, even if I finish, some of the later parts may involve some heavy breathing.

  3. The fanfic about grief and loss. And new beginnings. And ghosts and spirits.

  4. The prequel to that fanfic, before the grief and loss. Except there’s sadness and loss in the beginning.

  5. A Wishverse fanfic about grief and loss. And power. What’s with the grief and loss anyway?

  6. Another fanfic about undercover agents and double crossing and witness protection program. There’s a romance in there too.