Sunday, October 19, 2008

Melancholy Mystery

Last Saturday, I read out my unpublished story during the monthly writers' forum organised by my instructor cum publisher. This was 'A Sweet Way to Go', yeah, the hotel King's cake story. I didn't have anything else short enough to read out, though I knew it was not one of my best.

When my instructor asked the audience, they politely said they liked the story and they would definitely buy a collection of my hotel short stories. However, judging from the way my instructor shook his legs while I was reading, I knew he was not happy. He said it was one of the weakest piece that I'd written. I was still sticking close to the truth and I was too proper. He told the audience that I could take harsh comments like that, LOL! Obviously, he was more blunt with me than he was with others.

After the session, he threw me a challenge. He asked me to write a brand new story for the December session. It has to be nothing like what I'd ever written before. I was not to think like myself. It CANNOT be based on a true story.

Feeling charged, I went off and completed my 'On the Road with Her' story. Yeah, it has become something else. I added a weird and supernatural element. On Friday evening, I shared the plot with Mr Designer. He liked its' weird element and mysterious tone. It is unique and nothing like what I had ever written before or even read.

However, he asked me to remove the mobile library intro and start with the weird encounter. It did work better if I go straight into the story, like what he suggested. He also asked me to dramatise the weather when the hero meets the heroine - sunny turns cloudy, creepy and haunting air, etc - and emphasise the heroine's sadness. He thought I should remove the seducing scenes and stick only to the weirdness of the encounter. Certain parts remind me of Mills and Boon, and I'm not sure if I should include them or not.

He stressed that though I would like to retain it as a mystery, I should still maintain logic and not leave the ending hanging, and the readers guessing. Wow! I think his feedback will make this piece much stronger and more impactful. It will be ready for December:)

On the Road with Her - 1st Cut

She cupped her palms and lifted up a bit of water. She held her hands towards him. “How many drops are there?”
He was puzzled.
“Touch it with your index finger until it dries and start counting.”
He did as she asked. Finally, the water was gone. He was not sure if he got all of it or it simply fell back into the pond.
“How many times?”
He swallowed. “255.”
He felt dizzy.

That night, in his dream, he had shrunk to the size of an ant. He was drown in a small pool of water in the palms of her hand. Her huge eyes watched him in silent as he struggled to get out of the water. He woke up screaming.



U.Lee said...

Hi Hazia, wow! You a story writer? I always admire people who do this....and reading that last bit, I think you on to something here....

I like the part you to take away the seducing part, ha ha....why? Its for children too?

One day I too must try write a book, ha ha, but saya punya all based on actual events and experiences....only some names, locations are not actual.
I wish you good writing Hazia, best regards, Lee.

Hazia said...

Thanks, Lee. I was lucky to get a super quick start when my publisher cum course instructor accelerated my 2 co-authors and I to write a short story collection in Oct last year. It took us only 2 months:)

Seducing parts... Mr Designer's feedback was that it dilutes the essence of the story. I think it may make it common and reminds one of Mills & Boon. Bear in mind that I cannot achieve anything close to your level of romance writing, Lee. Probably lack of experience. Haha! I'm still considering putting it in, briefly though.

You should write a memoir, you have more than enough materials, and charming writing style too:) I wrote many real-life inspired stories in my collection. Some readers like them. I do know enough people with exciting lives, hehe... Now, my publisher is challenging me to go beyond that and break barriers. He wants us to be versatile:)

My writing entries in my old blog: