Pages

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

About the writing life

Excerpts from:

Who Will Buy Your Book?

Before I ever published anything, I’d assumed that if I ever finished a book, there would be so much demand from family and friends alone that we’d have to go into a second printing before the release date. But I am here to tell you: most people in your family will never buy your book. Most of your friends won’t either.  
The point of this piece is not to shame those people or to complain about not getting enough support. It’s just to say: whatever you think it’s like after you publish a book, it’s actually harder than that.  
Most of the writing life is disappointment. Publishing a book, which should be your most triumphant moment, is an anticlimax. There are no fireworks and no awards, no parades down Main Street. Many people close to you will disappoint you. But there are people who will come through, and they will keep coming through, and sometimes you’ll be surprised who falls into which category. I’ve learned to cherish those friends and family members who are always there, or even sometimes there. It takes real sacrifice on their part to support this weird thing I do.   
As a writer, you need to approach every project with the understanding that you’re doing this work for yourself, and everything that happens once it’s in the world is out of your control. Whatever project you’re working on now doesn’t derive value from your friends’ approval, but rather from the love and energy you pour into it. You can do the work, and you can keep showing up, and that’s all you’ve got. Most of the time, it’s all you need.  

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Cinderella and the Beanstalk (3rd Edition)

[April 1st Edition - 3rd]
[I am saving the various editions as a way of seeing how the story develops.]

Cinderella lost her mother some years ago, and now she lives with her stepmother, and two step-sisters. 

Her step-sisters had the best clothes, the best food, and did not need to do any housework at all because they were wealthy and could afford lots of servants. 

They had a housekeeper who kept everything clean. But when they could no longer afford to keep her, Cinderella took over the cleaning. They had a washerwoman who did the laundry. But when they had to let her go, Cinderella had to do the laundry. Then they had to let the cook go, and Cinderella took over the cooking. Part of the work of cooking was to make sure the cooking fire was at the right temperature, and tending the fire left Cinderella covered with soot and marked with cinders. And that was how she got the "Cinder Ella". Her real name was Ella. Ellie, her mother used to call her. 

They also had to let the gardener go, but Cinderella had no time to do the gardening in addition to the housekeeping, the laundry, and the cooking. So the garden was left unattended, and was over grown with weeds and plants.

All the while her step-sisters lived the life of pampered rich girls.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Coconuts!

There is a website http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/ that has historical records, maps, photographs, etc. You can search for historical documents, photos, newsreels, etc.

And sometimes you find the most unexpected things.

I recall seeing a photograph, some time back, that had a scene under a coconut tree on one of the islands of Singapore, and I wanted to reference that photo. I thought, "coconut" might be a good search term, 'cos how many people will include the coconut tree in the name of the photo right?

How wrong I was!

Saturday, 17 February 2018

The other verses

Bet you didn't know there were other verses

"The Star" by Jane Taylor 
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,How I wonder what you are.Up above the world so high,Like a diamond in the sky. 
When the blazing sun is gone,When he nothing shines upon,Then you show your little light,Twinkle, twinkle, all the night. 
Then the traveller in the dark,Thanks you for your tiny spark,He could not see which way to go,If you did not twinkle so. 
In the dark blue sky you keep,And often through my curtains peep,For you never shut your eye,Till the sun is in the sky. 
As your bright and tiny spark,Lights the traveller in the dark.Though I know not what you are,Twinkle, twinkle, little star. 
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.How I wonder what you are.Up above the world so high,Like a diamond in the sky. 
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.How I wonder what you are.How I wonder what you are.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Confused Fairy Tales: Cinderella and the Bean Stalk

[Mar 18 2nd Edition]

Cinderella lost her mother some years ago, and now she lives with her stepmother, and two step-sisters. 

Her step-sisters had the best clothes, the best food, and did not need to do any housework at all because Cinderella's father was wealthy and could afford servants. 

However, when her father's wealth was spent away, they lost their servants one by one and Cinderella took over the cleaning (when the housekeeper was let go), and then laundry (when the washerwoman was let go), and finally the cooking (when the cook was let go). 

All the while her step-sisters continued to live the life of pampered rich girls, leaving Cinderella to do the household chores.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Hyper-realistic paintings - critique (copying a photograph)

[This is a reply to a question about the painting ability of masters of the past and the "hyper-realism" painters. I thought it was an elegant reply, and the critique extends to other areas of art. For example dialogue. Sometimes you read an author and what jumps out at you is the realistic dialogue. And you try to write like him (or her). And then you realise actual conversations are horribly confusing and not very structured at all. What you mean by "realistic dialogue" is not that the writer was able to write detailed dialogue, but that he was able to capture the essence and spirit of what made the dialogue authentic.]

The biggest misconception among non artists and amateurs is that more detail equals more realism in art. 

Detail is not congruent with realism
 
The great artists of the past knew that detail without purpose was often the antithesis of realism. The “artists of today” that you speak of rely on it as a cheap gimmick. Copying pores on a face is not art. Anyone can blend an eye with ten thousand brush strokes. It takes true genius to convey realism with absolute economy of brush work. Art is about making executive decisions about composition, line, and mass

Realism is so much more than detail.