Write-as-you-go plus Write-what-you-know

In between my commitments to my Writer’s home and the epub, I have most of my time occupied for time, not to mention that I’m back to FT work for a year. So I figured I better sneak in time whenever possible to actually write a post rather than doing lyrics posts or other alternative forms of what I call ‘slack/rush posts’.


What I’m referring to in the title of this post is actually what I experienced while working on a short story for the epub. To anyone who has read my About Page, they would know that I dream of writing a fantasy series based on ancient China, not now but one day. Now, for the epub, we had somehow decided that we will impose a theme on each issue and the theme for the first one yet to be released will be shape-shifter. Now I’m the type of writer who can’t really write with any type of pre-imposed constraints and a theme unfortunately often works as one on me. But somehow amidst my “turning the theme on its head” attempts due to personal dislike of the shape-shifter theme (actually the irony is that I’m the one who suggested it but that’s a long story for another day).one single scene of a teacher teaching children to write, two pieces of information from a HK TV drama and the Internet respectively and one of these ‘turning the shape-shifter theme on its head’ ideas of mine just came together and suddenly I’ve got a short story set in ancient China.


Now, I won’t delve overlong into my planning stage except to say that I cheated by chomping the story into two so that I can concentrate on the part where I know everything in a broad sketch way. In actual writing, I still encounter ‘blocks’ caused by details that I haven’t thought out completely as wont to crop up unless one actually works out all the meta-world stuff first. I’ll admit that while I cannot completely ‘wing it’ and just write, I also don’t have that kind of patience to delve down into that kind of level of details before I write. So going back to that particular story I was writing, I fully experienced the joy of ‘write-as-you-go’ as I call it as I was writing it and I think it’s a showcase of the power of ‘write-what-you-know’. To be honest, I didn’t really have belief in either before. I can handle a bit of ‘write-as-you-go’ but prior attempts show that I often write myself into a dead corner beyond an article type of creative writing which is what I do at my Writer’s home. Not real fiction in the way of novels and short stories but what I call meta-world fiction in which I write up particular aspects of a world in pretty much an article format but with prose. It’s been dubbed ‘meta fiction’ by the current leader of this Citadel epub that I’m participating in now. And I never really had respect for the idea of ‘write-what-you-know’ by which I mean that I know it’s technically correct but I have no personal use for the limitation it imposes on one’s writing (again, no limitations/constraints please!).


But everything has an exception as my Chinese short story (it’s called A Thread of Chance or Thread for short) shows me. I guess the take-home message from this experience is this: turn whatever you normally think of as constraints/limitations on its head and apply it differently and just see how it works out. You might get pleasantly surprised.


May everyone find some pleasant surprises of their own!


Published by moonlakeku

intermediate Chinese fantasy writer working on her debut series

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