let me begin by telling you how difficult it is to write action scenes. like cuttting-off-his-long-slimy-arm-while-kicking-another-monster-in-the-head action scenes. all my favorite authors make it sound like a romantic walk in the park. the blank white screen which i had stared at for thirty minutes told me it wasn’t so.
i seriously don’t know what i was thinking when i signed up for the strange lit class. for one, i am a chick lit kind of girl. although i read a whole lot of paranormal stories, i was sure as hell i couldn’t write a decent one if i tried. secondly, one month. four weeks. thirty days. that was all i had to come up with a 5000-word story.
procrastinator that i am, i highly doubted i would reach the finish line with pompoms. the determined person that i am, on the other hand, the one who’s mostly responsible for all the impulsive decisions i had made in the last 33 years, argued with the low self-esteem cowering version of myself. i don’t have a job, i would be in our sleepy hometown most of the time, i would have a lot of idle days in my hands.
plus, i grew up in a small town where brownouts were not considered nuisances, but opportunities to badger the grandparents to tell us stories about engkanto, the aswang in the next town, and the flying coffin people who go home late usually encounter. so yeah, i have more than enough material to work on. so i clicked the register button.
oh, before i forget, #strangelit was an online writing class sponsored by buqo, just like the #buqoya class i wrote about before. this time though, the genre was urban fantasy/paranormal. the goal was to write at least a 5000-word story at the end of four weeks, and buqo will distribute it as an ebook. mina v. esguerra facilitated the class, and four of the most respected writers in philippine fiction, kate evangelista, marian tee, budjette tan, and paolo chikiamco served as the mentors, sending us
manna from heaven our lessons through email every few days or so.
if you’re following me on twitter, then you must have noticed my countless tweets with the hashtag #strangelit. that was because we collaborate, discuss, and make chicka with all of our classmates using that hashtag.
a week before the class started, i was hired. i now have a home-based work and i’m pretty happy with it, but that’s something we can talk about some other time. so there went my i will have a lot of time in my hands reasoning because the work requires eight full hours everyday. hah! i could do this after work!
then i was diagnosed with a disorder that needed me to be knocked at 10 in the evening at most. there goes burning the midnight oil. to add insult to injury, i cannot have chocolates, caffeine, soda, alcohol, and mocha in the next two years. how can someone who lives off on chocolate and milk tea and the occasional coffee survive the next two years? hint: tell yourself you will lose weight in no time.
so yeah, even before it started, i just had the feeling august was gonna kick my ass. and kick it did.
i tried to come up with a good enough schedule that would allow me to work, write, sleep, and take care of my children and household.
first week – the outline was in place. i knew my characters, i had a pretty good idea where i should angle the romantic side to, the setting was hardly a problem. yes, i had this.
second week – shit, i don’t think this would work. too many loopholes! i tried writing the first chapter and while it wasn’t bad (it was actually terrible, to be honest), it was something i wasn’t very proud of.
end of the second week – i am so screwed. i was back in cebu by then and bringing the kids to and from school, struggling with the new full-time job, and praying i won’t lose it in the process.
then what do you know, everything came together one time while i was driving. these were the days i am thankful that we live a bit far from the city so i always have a slice of quiet time when i can properly think and sort out my feelings.
third week – hustling is an understatement. i was re-arranging chapters in my head while in the shower and saying dialogues out loud while driving. i told my doctor i had to adjust my medicine schedule because i am working on a project and i have to be up until 12 midnight everyday if i want to make it to the deadline. my calendar was panicking. i had to write one chapter a night, and there were days when my eyes were already half-closed while my fingers were feverishly dancing on the keyboard.
fourth week – on the fourth week, the stubborn kaith won. i was not feeling well myself while taking care of two sick children, and nursing P’s tantrum. the story was what only kept me going. it was that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, something i greatly looked forward to when i had finally put the children to sleep. and i came up with my title on the final week as well. lol.
i broke the rule. i had two milk teas on friday and saturday night so i would be up all night. i played with words from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am. woke up at 1:00 pm and did it all over again. when i am determined, i get crazy. when i am crazy, i get stuff done. and this is stuff that i won’t mind letting other people read because i bled for it. i would be more than proud to have you read it.
so by september 5, which was the deadline, i happily submitted my story whose final word count is 29,500 something words. it’s not a short story, but rather a novella. i was sure my editor (hello, jurex!) was counting down, too, and i hope he didn’t worry too much when i sent the final MS for his editing two days before the deadline. lol.
there you have it. i wrote a novella, an urban fantasy novella at that, and lived to tell the tale. all of our stories will be published by buqo, and will be sold as bundles. i will share with you how to easily buy them as soon as they will be out.
now to reveal the cover of my novella! this was created by B, my colleague at my new job. there may be some slight changes to this before we send it out but more or less, this is the final design (ang labo ng statement na to. lol.).
PS i created a new category. Kaith Writes. this is making me so emotional. chos.