Mi Vida

New Books

Every time I write a new post, WordPress is updating something. Either the panels are suddenly on the right and then on the left and then it’s everywhere. It’s confusing. That’s how long I’ve been doing other stuffs besides blogging.

I’ve been working hard to the point that my hand isn’t what it used to be. The tiny bones around my middle knuckle is not happy each time I grab a pen or typing something. It aches like a mother. It’s my fault probably. I punched a wooden cupboard in fits of anger and now I’m paying it with my unworthy fist.

I finished an English book about 56 K unedited words. A paranormal thing that I thought a lot about. I’m letting it stew for about a month before I have another go at it. I sent the 3 first chapters to my old publisher because one of the workers told me back in 2014 that they were looking for English manuscripts but it came back with ‘we no longer publish English books’ in my inbox. That’s a shame. They published a few, I think. I have to find another publisher who does. I’m nervous when I think about book agents and international bestseller with my name but it would be so cool to break out from this maze.

I finished a travelogue with about 60 K, edited without mercy. I thought it was one of my most emotional works. I put a lot of effort into it. Sent the 3 first chapters to the same publisher and it was rejected after miserable 2 months. The long manuscript queue almost drove me insane. One should never advertise to give one’s feedback after 3 weeks when one only have time after 8 weeks. The panels (there were 9 people judging me, most of them writers of the same company) said that the 3 chapters don’t have enough ‘hook’ to bait the readers. I admit that’s true. I moved it back to chapter four because I need to say something important (and boring) in chapter three. 4 people agreed to publish it. 5 said it sucked big time. I accept defeat and try to connect with another publisher.

I wrote to him in fits of anger. Maybe this dude could help. I followed his rants on Facebook. He seemed cool and fearless and just absolutely sincere to the point that he was banned from giving speeches in universities and some public places. He didn’t reply. I was desperate. 2 down. I have to search for other people and I’m running out of lists.

I sent to another publisher, a relatively new name with 12 books under its belt. It was a scary mail. I was terrified of another rejection mail. 4 days later they said yes. We want your full manuscript. I was over the moon. It’s been a month after they asked me for it. I hope it went well. I really do. The manuscript is important to me. It contained half of my precious life. I was hoping to publish it since the past 10 years and when I’m ready, I hope to do it as swiftly as I could.

Meanwhile, I found another publisher who publishes English, Malay and even short stories. Interesting. I worked on several short stories (sucky ones, I’ve been told but this is when I didn’t know much about short stories) and sent it to them on their website. The CEO liked it. Sent me a mail on the same day saying that it caught his attention. The 10 stories was about 13 K, a meager meal way below the company’s requirement of 20 K words for short stories. He said he had forwarded the stories to their English editor and it has been a week that I’ve been waiting for that bloody girl to write me something. No word.

I have two pending works and I am going crazy because I can’t do anything about it. Now I’m working on a love story. It should be about 70 K but that was not the most terrifying thing about it. I didn’t know much about love but I’m lying about it anyway. I’m up to chapter 5 (out of 35) when suddenly I thought it would be a great idea to write a series of Malay short stories. Now I have three. Needs seven more before I could send it off.

My thoughts are everywhere. I hope my babies are all alright. I’m paranoid. My hand hurts. I hope things will get better soon. I really do.

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4 thoughts on “New Books

  1. It takes a lot of ‘stamina’ to write a book. I hope you would write full length stories rather than short stories compiled into a book.
    People nowadays tend to collect ‘facebook status’ or ‘posts’ or blog post even and then put it on paper, produce a book and call themselves authors. To write a compilation of short stories is acceptable as a mental exercise or for beginners or as a break but it shouldn’t be a ‘ writing trend’.
    True journalism has also gone down the drain as I read in a reputable alternative online media of a so called ‘article’ when in fact it started off as a long facebook status – and the status was copied word by word! What happened to real proper news?!

    I believe in your talent. I believe in your perseverence. I believe that just like J.K Rowling.. you will find that one publisher who believes in your work. Until then keep writing on the things you love because you have this one fan here who can’t wait to read your next original piece.

  2. That is the kindest, most inspiring words to ever reach me in this time of self-doubt, demon fights and inspiration drought. Thank you so much for extending your courage. It means a lot to me.

    I think you’re referring to the zines? It’s trending lol The good thing about alternative publishers are that they’re brave (they question everything) and they have so many things to complain about that sometimes they rely too much on the shock factor – LGBT, (soft/hardcore) porn, the government, education system, religion. The content is basically simple, often sarcastic, laced with superb swear words, aimed at university students/youth to think outside the box, e.g. not to accept everything on mainstream media, not to judge everything at face value. Some made great points. Some just bitch on and on. They created a special niche and people loved it. I marvel at how people who disliked reading actually got to start reading again just because of this. Maybe that’s their market – to get people to think about the unresolved issues today, to let freedom of speech roams free on bookshelves. I still have mixed reviews about publishing zines.

    Short stories are the hardest, in my opinion. Novels are like marathon but short stories are like 100 m sprint. You have to finish it as soon as you start and also give the reader a proper punch. It’s a good exercise on how to evoke a strong feeling with very little room to play. I’m not good at it, not yet. But I try my best.

    We live in such an uncertainty that art is practically unappreciated. We constantly worry about taxes, crimes, social justice, etc that we sometimes forget about the moon, rain, flowers and starlight. Poetry is almost extinct. I sometimes wonder why bother speaking when no one understood. Why write when no one sees magic anymore.

  3. sakiinah says:

    busy bc….we were in your kampung last eid…tired to contact you but with much failure..kambing..kambing everywhere…hope your okay…and good luck on your new book! selamat hari raya!

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