kicking off august with a bang

Been crazy busy at work last week with the setting up of our magazine community, so here’s a quick update of what August has been like so far:

 Saw the derp lord, who was in town promoting his new movie:

Dove headlong into a book sale:

Met up with old friends:

 Got into the mood for the nation’s 50th anniversary: 

Then joined 200,000 people around the bay area to watch the National Day Parade:

The weather was breezy and cool – perfect for a parade.

 

The grounds were hella muddy where we were, but who cared really?

     

The Black Knights – or, as my friend Melissa put it, the lead guitarists of the Singapore Armed Forces.
The crowd was definitely left gaping in awe.

What’s a parade without some fireworks to top it off?

It was one of those you-had-to-be-there kind of moments. Having so many people around you singing along to the National Day songs you learned (way back) in school, the camaraderie and feeling of togetherness was so palpable I couldn’t help but tear up. I had already gotten emotional at this video tribute to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew earlier on:

But when everyone sang along to the NDP classic, Home, in unison the floodgates broke loose. I sang with tears streaming down my face, and found that I wasn’t the only one. This girl my age next to me was in the same state. It’s funny how emotional you become, standing in the midst of such an outpouring of love and pride and gratitude for a country.

How has YOUR August been so far? :0)

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on rejections letters and class gatherings

Another rejection letter, this time straight from the publisher itself. But gutting as it is, it’s a PERSONALISED rejection letter. Which means FEEDBACK.

It’s hard to get feedback as a writer. Aside from the handful of earnest and objective critics (LOVE YOU GUYS!), most people are either too busy to read your book, or they’re too afraid to critique it in case they offend you, or they don’t give the type of feedback you’re looking for.

For instance:

 

Me: So what did you think?

Reader: It was pretty good.

Me: What did you like or dislike about it? Any bits where the story dragged on or didn’t make sense?

Reader: It was exciting enough to make me read on.

Me: What about the characters? Could you relate to them or empathise with them? 

Reader: I liked xxx. He needs his own spinoff.

 

And so on.

So even if it’s a rejection letter, I’m thankful for the feedback.

 

Joyce, 

Thank you for your interest in BookFish Books! Unfortunately, we cannot move forward with UNTIL MORNING at this time. It’s hard to know where to start without feedback, so here is some of ours:

We loved the portions with Night, but the portions with Lexi did not capture our attention. Some of the dialogue felt too formal for the YA genre, particularly in the Lexi sections. Also, for YA, the traditionally accepted length is 40-60K words, with a bit of flexibility on either end. 

I personally am sad to be passing on this one because I really wanted to know more about Night.

If you want to do a revise and resubmit on the changes we suggested, we’d be happy to take a fresh look at in the future.

All the best,

Erin

 

Of course, this is still my general response to it:

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But, you know, after YEARS of receiving rejection letters, you sort of heal faster and soon you’re just like,

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And that was what I did for the entire afternoon before going for my class gathering on Saturday. For Blood Promise, that is.

MORE CHANGES:

1. Changed Ian’s parentage and identity

2. Killed off a character

3. Changed the speech style of one character

4. Tweaked the history of the island and took a deeper look at its customs and language (thanks to the suggestions my Super Critic Partner, Jenna, gave)

 

With that done, I psyched myself up for the class gathering.

Is it just me or do you get gripped by social anxiety before every gathering? It doesn’t matter that you know those people are nice, or that this isn’t the first time you’ve met up with them, but before every meeting with someone other than your family members, you just seize up with panic and worry. It’s like a reflex reaction to the word “social” or “gathering” or “meetup” or “human interaction”.

No? Just me? Okay then.

I mean, at first you’re like, This might be fun! I need some human contact.

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Because, you know,

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But then you start wondering if you annoyed them with your incessant Facebook and Twitter updates, and if they’re like all

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And pretty soon you’re like, I’m never going to be normal. They’ll hate me.

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But then you try to convince yourself you’re worrying about nothing and you’ve known those people for ages and hello, they’re NICE.

So you SHOW THE HELL UP and start working those rusty people skills.

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But then you sort of get the hang of this human interaction thing after a while and you’re like

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So here’s us (13 years on!) in a terribly grainy photo thanks to my phone:

Yes, I survived human interaction and I actually enjoyed it loads. Till the next gathering, guys!

Hope you’re having a good start to the week! :0)