Every year I say, “Okay. This is it. This is the year I publish my second book.” But I can’t even finish a second book. All my manuscripts are scattered around me, at 50%, 25%, 75%, 40% and 20%, and it’s like a big pile of laundry where I don’t know if I should start with my whites or my darks.
I won’t lie; I’m starting to feel kinda frustrated with myself. I feel like I’ve bitten off so much more than I can chew. I start new projects every other week or month – whether it’s launching my own business, or taking up calligraphy, or marathoning entire shows – and I almost never see them to completion.
Five years ago I wrote a post about how I always avoid profanities in fiction, declaring my stance against including swear words and sex scenes in my books. To begin with, let me just say I’m still fixed upon the non-inclusion of sex (except maybe in fade-to-black-situations), but recently I’ve found myself budging when it comes to swearing.
When before I didn’t think they have any merit, I realise now that there are some situations that call for the occasional f-bomb. When before I thought I could find squeaky clean alternatives, I instead found myself struggling with authenticity. Try as I could to make things work without resorting to profanity, it just wasn’t working this time.
I’m working on a book (currently) titled “Mail Order Thief”, and my main character is as cynical and rude and angry as they come. When I set out to write him, to draw the outlines of his character, I tried to wash his mouth with soap but he spat it out and snapped at me. He was not amused, not in the slightest, that I was trying to drown out his voice just so I wouldn’t bruise my ideals. Continue reading “Revisiting the Swearing Question”→
For the second year in a row, I was unable to complete my Goodreads Reading Challenge. Even though I’d lowered my goal instead of going higher – as is customary for me – I just did not have the time to get to all the books I wanted to read. I tried to do too much… way too much… that I barely left time for myself to sleep. And it still wasn’t enough.
Yet I kept adding to my TBR pile, going nuts with my bookstore “raids”. In fact, my bookcase has really filled up compared to last year. And become so much more beautiful, if I do say so myself.
In October, I had the absolute pleasure of spending my birthday in Italy. We visited Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Como, Bellagio and Turin… and it was probably the best 11 days of my life, even though right now it almost feels like one beautiful dream.
Venice was my favourite. Words cannot describe how charming it is, from its water canals to its narrow cobblestone streets and old houses and gondolas… I was and still am absolutely in love. Our hotel was right on the Grand Canal, and we had the most amazing view from our balcony.
We went off the “beaten path”, so to say. Though we explored the typical tourist sites like the Doge Palace and Piazza San Marco and most of the popular bridges, we found ourselves trudging through empty alleyways and stepping inside the loveliest shops, filled with carnival masks and calligraphy pens and inks and… sigh. Continue reading “The Most Beautiful Bookshop in the World”→
On Sunday, 31st of July, at 3:15 a.m. I wrapped my hands around a fresh new copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. My friend and I attended the launch/Harry Potter birthday party, did a meet and greet with Hagrid, stayed out of Snape’s path, gorged on some wizarding candy… then waited patiently until the UK midnight release.
It was a work night and I went to the office on less than three hours of sleep, but you know, I didn’t mind because the party was quite fun and I thought it would be all worth it when I got home and sank into the book with a cup of piping hot tea.
Today I had the privilege of meeting the wonderful Brandon Sanderson a second time. I wish I could say I didn’t fangirl again, but I did. I was so in awe of this man that I completely forgot any and all questions I wanted to ask him. Got three of my books signed though, and got a tiny pep talk from him when I told him my dreams of winning a writing competition were crushed a couple of hours earlier – cheered me up right away.
I didn’t just meet Sanderson the author, I also met Sanderson the professor. And he was brilliant. I wish I had him as a teacher back when I was still in school. The workshop we had him was titled, “Sanderson’s Laws of Fantasy Writing”, and it was really quite enlightening. The laws are applicable not just to fantasy, of course, and the wisdom should really be shared. This is all paraphrasing of course, and I’m just relying on my notes here!
Procrastination Station took me to Reddit today (as it often does), where I came across a 2-week old AMA (a Q&A sort of thing where anyone can ask the poster of the thread anything) by R. L. Stine, whose books I’m sure have kept many of you up at night on more than one occasion, and one person was asking him about his writing process.
24 BOOKS IN ONE YEAR? Holy crap. Okay, so Goosebumps and Fear Street books aren’t that lengthy, but it is still amazing to me that one can be so productive with their writing and keep up a constant stream of ideas. The last book I finished writing was 2 years ago. Last year I only was able to squeeze out 15 thousand words. I just… wow. Continue reading “Of Writing Robots & Lazy Humans”→
At the beginning of 2015, I challenged myself to read 60 books, upping the number from 50 books in 2014. Unfortunately, 2015 was difficult. Very difficult. Though I tried to maintain a positive attitude throughout the year, I think now that it was mostly all on the surface, and my happy façade started deteriorating towards the end. Many things happened, and – caught up in the midst of it all – I was only able to read 33 books.
Actually… some may argue that I didn’t really read 33 “books”, because 22 of these were graphic novels and manga volumes. Now I don’t know about you, but I consider these to be books, because creating a graphic novel requires the same work and trouble that go into creating a novel, if not even more. So they do count towards my challenge and that’s that! Continue reading “2015 in Reading”→
I had a weird dream last night… as is typical with all my dreams, but I digress. I dreamt that I was a writer, traditionally published and successful and famous beyond my wildest dreams. Then along came a witch, and for some unknown reason she cursed me, sent me back to my childhood, took away that one moment that turned me into a writer.
My alarm went off then, and I didn’t know what had become of my dream self, but the mere idea of leading a life without books and writing kinda freaked me out. I have been a bibliophile for as long as I remember, and it never occurred to me that I could’ve been thrown into a reality where I wasn’t. I suppose I’ve been fortunate enough to have parents who liked to read, who took me to book fairs and allowed me to buy the books I wanted. If our circumstances had been different, if they were uneducated or poor, then I might have never learned to embrace books. I would have never considered seeing what my own words would look like on paper.
It’s been a year, but the best month has finally rolled around. Of course I’m a bit biased. Okay, very biased, but my birthday month trumps all. Around this time of year I list down reasons to try and convince you of the glory that is October. I’ll be doing that again this time, only… I have one more reason to celebrate.
You see, on the 18th of October, I will have made it through my first year of living here in Dubai, by myself, completely independently. This is a huge milestone. One of the biggest in my life. Many thought I couldn’t do it, that I’ll cave and go back to the shelter of my parents’ home in a few months, but… here we are. I don’t have everything figured out yet, but I feel genuinely proud that I’ve managed to come this far. Despite all the hardships and the struggles, I’m happy.
Now that we’ve got all the mushy stuff out of the way, let’s get on to the list. I know everybody likes a list.
1. FALL. In Dubai we don’t get to experience all the lovely colours of autumn, but the temperatures have definitely dipped. On my way to work the other day I actually enjoyed the littlest of cool breezes and didn’t arrive to the office in a melting mess. Continue reading “It’s my favourite month again.”→