Between Irreal and Real

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything in English; I feel like I’ve been too complacent in my writing these days (when I should be writing more), but I just can’t find the right moment to do so. And by right moment, I don’t mean that I am short of time or anything, but I mean that I just lack the motivation to do so. Creativity sprouts arbitrarily, and I suppose I’m just waiting for the right time. In the meantime, in this post I intend to reflect on the recent project I’ve worked on. I’ve taken a year-long course that focuses on creative writing, and for our 2nd semester project, we individually wrote a short story that fits into the theme of magical realism, or irrealism, as we call it.

Our task started from the very beginning: coming up with a theme for our anthology, making a list of places in Singapore we’ve never been to, actually going to those places to do some research about the setting, coming up with a plot. This was actually the easiest part of our project; the latter half included: discussing our stories through a course of three workshops, getting into production teams, and get set into actual book-making. I was in the editorial team; I have had publication experiences before, but I barely knew anything about the process itself. Through our project, I’ve realized that publication- in the editorial team at least- requires huge portion of my time and effort. And by huge, I mean huge. One of the prerequisites for this course was our willingness to delve into work that does not only pertain to classroom hours, but little did I know that it would stretch into midnight discussions about the differences between emdashes and endashes,  Oxford commas, definitions of Singlish (we had to italicize all non-English words), and consistency in the use of words. We had “Hell Nights,” where we had to stay back for five to six hours just to read over the manuscript and check for consistency errors. The editorial team was a bunch of word-nerds: we had “Editing norms” and “Discussion Norms”. It made the editing work a whole lot easier, though. Here’s a peek into our discussions:Screen Shot 2017-06-24 at 10.24.20 pm.png

In most humble terms, it would honestly take a few hours to actually recount what happened over the months of our production. We went through a whole lot hectic stuff, and everyone in my team would agree to this. I couldn’t sleep the night before our line-edits, because I wasn’t convinced that I could edit someone else’s story when I could barely write mine. On a brighter note, though, our project has given me some ideas of what I’d like to do in the future. It was an enlightening experience, and as much as it was hectic, it was crazy fun. I would definitely do it again.

This is an excerpt from my story:

Emma ran her finger over her fortune, feeling the smooth pulp of the strip. When her fingertip reached the end, something appeared on the paper: a blotch of ink, then a scribble, and then a sentence.

Our book can also be purchased from Lulu:

Screen Shot 2017-06-24 at 10.29.44 pm.png

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