All posts filed under: Writing 101: Class of 2014

My Most-Prized Possessions

Books Are the Things I Treasure the Most

We are now going to wrap up Writing 101: Building a Blogging Habit. I immensely enjoyed this course and I think it really helped. I looked forward to going home to sit in front of my laptop and check out the new challenges. What will happen to this blog after the course? You’ll definitely miss the crazy bookish ramblings that were inspired by the not entirely bookish challenges. But you’ll see more book reviews, which is something that I terribly miss writing. I intend to focus on my review back log in the upcoming months. The final challenge asks us to do this: Tell us the story of your most-prized possession. Today’s twist: We extolled the virtues of brevity back on day five, but now, let’s jump to the other side of the spectrum and turn to longform writing. Let’s celebrate the drawn-out, slowly cooked, wide-shot narrative. Books. Why Books? It’s not an entirely subconscious decision although I admit that books had this irresistible charm for me. You’ve probably read in my past posts how …

My Norton Short Fiction Anthologies, 3rd and 4th

Here’s a reading project that I might organize in the future

It’s the penultimate day of Writing 101, and it’s a free one. Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about. I have always wanted to be a part of a group blog. I don’t know what’s with my obsession about this, but I just want to. I was once part of the Booker, Nobel, and Pulitzer projects. They are nice group blogs, but I left. Why? At the time I left, I felt that the members were merely cross-posting their book reviews, which is not a bad thing. It’s actually a good thing because these blogs offer rich content regarding the projects’ respective focus. I guess I wanted something more than that, something more collaborative, like members pitching in their ideas, and writing about original stuff without having to cross-post them and link them up to the …

Damaged. Ugh.

So you want to hear a story told by a twelve-year-old?

I’m not going to completely follow today’s Writing 101 prompt because it asks me to rewrite a story about the decline and fall of a family into poverty using the POV of a twelve-year-old. But I’m going to write a story that’s told by a twelve-year-old, at least someone like me 18 years ago. Today’s prompt: write [a] story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street. Today’s twist: For those of you who want an extra challenge, think about more than simply writing in first-person point of view — build this twelve-year-old as a character. Reveal at least one personality quirk, for example, either through spoken dialogue or inner monologue. I’m super pissed off because I’m supposed to be happy because it’s raining but I got the books that I ordered from The Book Depository and when I opened the packages, half of them are damaged. I just can’t stop whining so my roommate maybe got pissed off at me but I don’t care because I have to whine and complain. So usually …

Scary books?

What books are you scared of?

We will not talk of horror books. I have not read a lot of such. Horror movies do not appeal to me. So do horror books. But horror is not the scariest. Hopelessness is scary. The inability to transcend is scary. The degradation of humanity is scary. Enough of it. Let us proceed to the titular question: what books are you scared of? I picked three books: Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun – Because I love the novels of Hamsun. I am scared that I will not love this. Middlemarch by George Eliot – Because I want to read this. I am scared that its length will be too much for my attention span. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion – Because Didion is scathing. I am scared that my heart will be battered. You. What are you afraid of? This is courtesy of today’s Writing 101 challenge. We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears. Today’s twist: Write this post in a distinct style from your own. …

Where's the book?

Lost and Found Books

Writing 101 challenges me to finish a three-part series that we’ve started a couple of weeks ago. We talked about Lost Books, we talked about Found Books, and for the third and last part, we’re going to talk about Lost and Found Books. Imagine you had a job in which you had to sift through forgotten or lost belongings. Describe a day in which you come upon something peculiar, or tell a story about something interesting you find in a pile. On day four, you wrote about losing something. On day thirteen, you then wrote about finding something. So, today’s twist: If you’d like to continue our serial challenge, also reflect on the theme of “lost and found” more generally in this post. Lost and Found Books could be books that are at any Lost and Found counter. Duh! Let’s give it a more personal and exciting definition, shall we? Let’s put it into the following context: you love a book so much that it hurts, you feel the need to share its power with other readers, these other …

Hi Angus. Hello David.

If David Mitchell stopped writing books

Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Your hometown’s annual fair. That life-changing music festival. A conference that shifted your worldview. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force. How does that make you feel? Today’s twist: While writing this post, focus again on your own voice. Pay attention to your word choice, tone, and rhythm. Read each sentence aloud multiple times, making edits as you read through. Before you hit “Publish,” read your entire piece out loud to ensure it sounds like you. Writing 101’s challenge today is just perfectly timed. I’ll be talking about a bookish event, of course. I’m still reeling from all the good feels that I had since David Mitchell’s webchat yesterday. What if it were cancelled? I wouldn’t have minded it because I was at work and I couldn’t really mope at my desk had there been such an announcement. Besides, I wasn’t really expecting anything. It was a Q&A thing, and even if he didn’t answer my question, I would still get something from the answers that …

When?

A letter to HoL

Dear HoL, We met last September 13, 1012 at the Manila International Book Affair. Remember? Louella introduced you to me. She’s this perky and petite friend of yours who loves to talk about books. Big books. We talked about David Foster Wallace, Murasaki Shikibu, and you. Her eyes lit up at the mention of your name. I think he’s around, she said. Indeed, you were. We instantly became friends. We weren’t that close though because I could hardly read you. You were a mystery. Still a mystery, I guess. Every chapter of your life is a radical departure from previous ones. What should I do with you? Oh right, I should introduce you to Jonathan Franzen, Christina Stead, George Eliot, and William Faulkner. They will get along with you. You are all big boys and girls, so why not hang out together in a special corner of the neighborhood? You were introduced to my other friends. You were quite popular. That’s when I decided that you and I and my friends should all hang out together. …