Sharon X Wong

Writer of words. Builder of worlds.

Category: On Miscellany

Things I Learnt from Hotel Fulcrum

I’ve finally finished Summer at Hotel Fulcrum. This is the longest work of fiction I’ve completed by a long shot (probably the next longest would be under 2000 words). So this is a really big achievement for me, and a project that I’ve learnt a lot from. Specifically, the following:

Never publish a work in progress
I mean, I don’t regret publishing Hotel Fulcrum as a serial, because doing so gave me a schedule to stick to. But it’s obvious that what I have now is not what I started with, and I need to rewrite it a lot. Also, the added pressure to make it publish-worthy without actually being able to do so (because I was still working through the story) is not something I want to repeat. I admire fanfic and Wattpad writers who can just post every week and apparently still keep a story together. It’s not for me.

Scheduling and planning works (even more when the schedule is external)
I’ve been a pantser for a long time. But I’ve found a general plan does help me not write myself into a corner. And having goals for where in my story I want to be at a particular time works. Especially when I’ve told people I was going to publish every fortnight. That was helpful. There have been times where I’ve set time limits for my novels, only to throw those deadlines out the window. Couldn’t do that with this one which ultimately helped me finish it.

Editing is the Scariest Part of Writing
For me, at least. There were definitely times when I put off editing, or simply published without a final read-through, because the idea of rereading what I’d written and finding out exactly how much it sucked was not something I wanted to do. When I’m writing, there’s less pressure to make good words, because I know I can fix that in editing. However, when I’m editing, that safety net is gone. Editing is the safety. And yes, I am aware I can edit multiple times, (and I did), but that doesn’t take away the fear, seemingly. Especially when a deadline is looming. I’m going to have to dig into that and find ways to deal with it.

What Now?
I’m going back to focusing on short fiction, at least for the first half of this year. I’m hoping to have an anthology done by mid-year. About half the stories are already written, so on the bright side, there isn’t much left to do. On the not-so-bright side, most of that work will involved editing.
In terms of the blog, I have another series planned, but it’s more along the lines of book analysis rather than my own work. Stay tuned!

Update and Thoughts on Editing

So I haven’t posted anything lately. This is partly because I was caught up in NaNoWriMo (I won, but only by not sticking to a single project, which is still a win in my book) but also because I’ve been distracted by a number of other things. But I’m back! And I have plans.

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Unexpected Waters

I can now say that I’ve seen water in a salt lake. It’s an unusual sight, especially as you can’t really venture onto a dry salt lake because there are a whole bunch of grasses, or reeds. Large unwelcoming vegetation. But a few weeks ago, I decided to go for a walk on a fine day that had followed several rainy days, and to my surprise, found the path flooded.

A path by a salt lake that actually looks like a lake (the path, not the lake)

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Online Writing Challenges: A Free Education

There are quite a few online writing challenges floating around these days. There’s the big one everyone knows about (National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo) and there’s also similar ones for short stories (StoryaDay), scripts (WriScriVember), and more. What’s the point of these, you may ask?

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Story behind a story: Trial by Fire

Truth time: This is mostly an excuse to link to a story I wrote that was published as part of the Short Fiction Break 2018 Summer Writing Contest, which you can find here. It’s called Trial by Fire and involves a prisoner being offered a chance at freedom … as long as she can pass the trial.

On the other hand, I also have something to say about how I wrote this story, and maybe learnt a lesson from it, although I’m not sure what that lesson was.

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Why I Write (Fantasy)

I almost exclusively write fantasy and science fiction. I write about things that aren’t real, that couldn’t be real, not in this time or place. I do this because I love to make things up. I’ve been making things up since I was small. As a child, I populated my backyard with fairies, and I populated the school playground with cheese-eating grass-gulls. I didn’t just make things up. I also read about made up stuff. I grew up with Brer Rabbit and Aslan, and I spent my teen years with Harry Potter, Frodo Baggins, and Arthur Dent.

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If a tree falls in the forest…

If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
If a story is written, and nobody is there to read it, does it really exist?
If an idea is spoken, and nobody is there to act on it, does it make a difference?
If a life is lived, but never touches another life, did it matter?

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Original and Unique

So few things in this world are truly original.

So many things in this world are truly unique.

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