Thursday, October 29, 2009

This Blog's Disclosure Policy

This policy is valid from 29 October 2009

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.

The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content.

The owner(s) of this blog is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.

To get your own policy, go to

Monday, October 26, 2009

Now, for that Horror Movie You Don't Even Want to See...

Not everyone likes horror movies - and even if some people do, there are just horror movies that they avoid like the swine flu. Slasher flicks, zombie movies, vampire tales, and all sorts of creatures go bump into the cinematic night. Are you brave enough to get past your fears (or unwillingness) and watch a horror flick?

Your job is to widen your repertoire to include even films that you may be horrified or resistant to watching. This time, you need to watch a horror movie and tell your audience what you think of it, ABOVE AND BEYOND THE FRIGHT AND GORE. How was the acting? How was the plot? What did you like about the movie? What did you dislike?

This exercise should help you appreciate even the strangest types of art, and to see the redeeming points even in art that is seemingly created for the sake of awakening our basest fears. Remember, if you can awake fear - among other emotions - in your readers, you are a better writer than most. Explore how such a phenomenon can be brought about by other art forms, and you could also enrich your own writing.

Good luck, happy watching, and happy reviewing!

(And don't forget to keep your lights on!)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Is There Really, Truly One Story?

It's time to listen to a writer, and to dig, deep into your soul, to see if you believe in a single story - or your own story to tell. Watch as Chimamanda Adichie talks about opening your heart and allowing your soul to take flight through your writing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Good Tool for Writers: The E-Book Search Engine

A lot of good writers are also good readers: they expose themselves to authors of varied styles, and they know which books to go to for research or improving their craft. But if you're a writer with a lot of work on your hands, can you still find time to read books?

If you're online a lot, you can still get electronic books, or e-books. However, e-books can be difficult to find online if you don't know where to go. Thankfully, you can search pdf files and books through the E-Book Search queen at

You can use your precious time to write more and read more, instead of spending hours looking for a download link that works. All you need to have is the book's author, an extract from the book, or simply the book's title.

The good thing about E-Book Search Queen is that it has books from all over the world. If you love reading fiction from a host of different countries, this is your chance to search pdf files for them. And if you haven't read books from a wider variety of cultures and expertise, now is the time to do so!

Reading books can be both enjoyable and educational. With the advent of the information age, reading books can now be as easy as searching, clicking, and downloading.

Happy reading and happy exploring!

Some posts on this blog have been sponsored by third parties. This entry is one such post. For more information, you can visit this blog's disclosure page.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Special Halloween Triad

Your job is to make a short story out of three elements of Halloween. You should have only 1 (ONE) character. The choice of setting is yours, the plot is entirely your own, and you have only 1,000 words at your disposal.

You also need to incorporate these three things into your story:

1. a pint of blood in a really big mug
2. a tombstone with nothing written on it
3. a white sheet

Whwn you are done, post your story in the Comments section, or provide a link to it so that other readers can look at your work.

Happy Writing, and good luck with your story!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Halloween Unblocker

Unblockers help you clear your head and get you past writer's block. They can also make you aware of things about yourself, and they can uncover a lot about what you believe in, what you know, and what you value.

Here's an unblocker that will help you dig out a few things. Start your work with the following sentence, and keep on writing, non-stop, for the next 15 minutes.

I am most afraid of....

Your goal is to simply write without checking your grammar, without editing your work, and without caring for syntax or sense. Just write and clear your mind. When you are done, relax! You've just written something that you should be proud of - something that you don't need to keep, but something that might allow you to write something else without worrying if you can get past writer's block.

Good luck and happy writing!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's Time for Halloween What Ifs!

Halloween is just a few weeks away, and it's time to get into the Halloween mood. Try out this What if for your short story:

What if zombies ruled the world?
The plot and characters will be your own, and you need to describe the world, in detail, with zombies at the head. You have only 3000 words (or less) to write your story. When you are done, post your story, or a link to it, in the Comments section.
Good luck, and happy writing!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A First Sentence that has enough prose in it...

...for a whole novel altogether.

Your job is to use the following first sentence as the basis of a short story that is no more than 1000 words long (including the first sentence!). The plot and characters are entirely yours. When you are done, post the story in the Comments section, or post a link to it so that people can read your work.

Here is your first sentence:

"There were many ways to get lost at the farmers' market, especially when you had to go through a maze of turnips, eggplant, peas, peanuts, green beans, and lima beans; when you had to listen to your thoughts above the negotiations on prices for gourds, squash, zucchini, mustard, and radish; and when you had to balance a bag of tomatoes and garlic on one hand, and a basket of onions and ginger on the other."

Good luck and happy writing!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Little Storm of Goo

It's time to rearrange the weather and your characters. Your job in this goo exercise is to pair up the following rain variants with a character, and write how that character is affected by the weather. Is the character happy? Sad? How? Why? Elaborate on the character's mood in no more than 300 words.

downpour drizzle hail thunderstorm
professor scientist poet painter

This exercise should help you say the most about your character in as few words as possible. It should also help you explore how your characters can be the product of the weather that surrounds them.

At the end of the exercise, you should have 16 short text snippets. Pick the best one and post it in the Comments section, or provide a link to your work. Good luck, and happy writing!

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Last Sentence for NaNoWriMo

Here's a dream sentence for you NaNoWriMo enthusiasts:

"I finished my novel early, and that was that."

True, this is rare, but what if it really did happen? What if you finished your work early? What could have led to your success?

Your job is to use this sentence as the very last one in your short story. You have only a thousand words, at the most, to write the tale. The plot will be entirely your own. When you are done, post your story in the Comments section, or provide a link to it so that other people can read how you achieved your novel writing success.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Be a Stickler for All Things Accurate and Precise

A lot of people might not care about accuracy and precision, especially when it comes to historical or scientific fact. That doesn't mean that you should jump on the bandwagon.

Precision: saying what you want to say; avoiding vague terms that turn your writing into a nebulous blob of "Huh?"

Accuracy: sticking to the facts as closely as you can. You can take some literary license now and then, but when you've taken one too many, you're just one lazy writer.

Be a stickler for precision. Start with grammar. Don't leave your work to an editor who might not catch the spirit of your writing, and who may simply blot out a few words and punctuation marks.

Be a stickler for accuracy. Start with research. Be as accurate as you possibly can, whether it's historical information or jargon, you need to tell a story. Tell it as accurately as possible. True, people will see the truth in different ways, but that shouldn't stop you from doing research! Hit the balance between good grammar and good storytelling; hit another balance between good grammar and good research; and hit the balance between good storytelling and good research. The latter may be the most difficult to do, but with practice (and prudent nitpicking) you can do it!

Last, stamp precision and accuracy on your mindset. When you start concentrating on being precise and accurate in your work, it may soon come naturally to you.

Be the best writer that you can be.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Reminder: National Novel Writing Month is coming!

When November 1st strikes, it's time to start typing!

National Novel Writing Month is coming!

If you still haven't heard of this cool enterprise - comprising people who decide that they want to get carpal tunnel in a full-fledged, 30-day writing party - then you might have been living under a digital rock for the last decade.

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, as it has been fondly christened, is a challenge to writers everywhere. You have 30 days in November to start a novel and get past the 50,000 word mark. Your prize: the fulfilment of having gotten all your words on paper.

This is a month of zero edits. You only need something to work on in the future, so get those words out!

For more information, head over to You can register as a new user - or if this is your umpteenth time to get your word count up, up, and away, log in and register!

Happy writing - and happy researching for your November novel!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Clean Out a Cupboard!

Cleaning up is hard to do, especially when you have so many other things to take care of. But if you do clean up, then it's one less thing to do, right? Today's focus is your kitchen. You may or may not have cleaned it up, but you need to focus your attention on your cupboard - in particular, a cupboard where canned or preserved goods are kept.

Ready? Your job is to get to that cupboard. Now:

1) Pick up a can or bottle at random. Make sure that the can or bottle has nutrition information and information about ingredients.

2) Under the list of nutrients, pick the 3rd nutrient. It could be fat, sodium, potassium, or anything under the sun. Write down what this 3rd nutrient is.

3) Under the list of ingredients, pick the 3rd ingredient from the last. If you have only 1 or 2 ingredients, pick the last one. If you have only three ingredients, pick the first one. Write down this ingredient.

4) Write a story of 1000 words or less about how the can or bottle of food got the nutrient. Was it from the farm that it was harvested from? Was it from the cannery or bottling facility?

5) Write a story of 1000 words or less about how the can or bottle of food would taste WITHOUT the ingredient in #3.

When you are done, post your stories in the Comments section, or simply provide a link to your work. Good luck and happy writing!