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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I completed NaNoWriMo!

So yeah, I managed to hit 50k words today. I went into a writing spree yesterday which resulted in me doing about 5000-6000 words. I'm rather satisfied, but it merely means that I can breathe easy now and attempt to finish what I've written at my own pace (the story's incomplete, and the last few parts were rushed jobs, I intend to insert scenes between what I've written to flesh things out more).

I will see whether I intend to serialize my story online, while I think it's reasonably good and rather unconventional (despite having a hybrid fantasy/sci-fi settings, this tale is more like a love story/social commentary/coming-of-age tale than a generic 'hero goes on a quest to save the world from the almighty lord of evil' story), I have to ensure that it is as presentable as possible for my readers. So yeah, stay tuned.

So, is there a celebration of sorts for Malaysian Nano-ers?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

NaNoWriMo Deadline Beckons, I'm Slightly Anxious.

I am near 45 000. Will make the one final push towards hitting 50 000 tomorrow. The reason why I worked slower than I've expected was because of the perfectionist within who wanted the work to be perfect when I hit 50 000, but I guess it's impossible to do so considering how many shit I had to juggle throughout the entire month of November, like...

1) Final assignments for my Shakespeare and Pop Literature class.
2) Final exams for Pop Literature
3) Preparation to return from Perth to Malaysia
4) ... the 'Sellout Week'
5) Playing host to a Japanese friend, Maiko, who came to Malaysia with me.
6) The Italian film festival

Not that I'm whining, but seriously, if I had only had to work on half of the things mentioned above, I could've probably finished my NaNoWriMo in around two weeks. Random notes of the day.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Bumper Book of Completely Useless Japanese Inventions

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It's not often that I feel a book is important enough to give it above-the-line review status. Some of my favorite novels of recent times didn't make it, so I couldn't think of what else would. But that was before I read The Bumper Book of unUseless Japanese Inventions.


嗨!大家好!我姓杨名叫毅恒。笔名是Eliar Swiftfire或者是Swifty。我并不清楚如何翻译自己的笔名,所以还是叫我扬大人吧,如果觉得不好意思的话,您可以叫我恒恒,听起来瞒亲切的!


Monday, November 14, 2005


Hello, my name is Michael Peterson, and I was invited to guestblog here at "The Great Swifty Speaketh," because Justin and Swifty have both sold out, making them irrelevant in the internet community. Because on the internet, we value things that are INDY. If you didn"t like them before they were cool, then your opinion is without merit! Only conforming to Ape Law will let you live amongst the tribe! I have been brought in to save this site from its Timberlake-lovin" self. "Bring me 50 cc"s of Patchwork," Swifty said, and I was rushed in on a makeshift crash cart, still in my bath robe.

See, I am still INDY. I have known Justin since long before he was cool – he was, in fact, a slack-jawed convenience store employee who walked amongst the internet unwashed, like Christ in his early years. What"s more, you know for a fact that I am truly INDY because I shun the love of women. Right, Indy Rock Pete?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

NaNoWriMo Progress Report (Day 12) Trying YET ANOTHER Fantasy Name Generator.

17000 words. So I did 2000 words after the last progress report. Things were getting talky, thus I changed the rhythm. Writing action scenes are harder for me compared to dialogue.

Also, the usual elven generator I use was down, thus I had to surf around to find another. Ended up finding THIS instead. Where you can type in your name and get your name of some Middle-Earth races (hobbits, elves, humans, dwarves and wizards) in return. A particular elven maiden is named after a particular much-talked about blogger.

Anyway, excerpts:

Yet the rats were getting closer, only meters away from the immobile sorceress. The knight stepped forward, his sword drawn, attempting to shield the rodents from her even though he knew it would be futile. Silently he whispered the prayer of the Zeltanian knights, and the blade upon his sword glowed white in response.

“Step aside, you dolt!” The sorceress shouted.

Despite his confusion, Erik did what she said, and she, with a loud sharp command, placed both of her hands upon the ground. Intricate runes of magic flared into life upon its surface, moving and spreading by themselves and towards the all-engulfing darkness and the stone walls of buildings around them. Pulsating silvery-white light of pure brilliance sliced through the sea of rats, bursting into explosions that sent dozens of tiny charred carcasses into the air. Rivers of light streaking through the sea of darkness.

Friday, November 11, 2005

NaNoWriMo Progress Report (Day 10) I'm in 'WRITING' Mode, Not 'FILMMAKING' Mode.

Hit 15000 words. I wrote 2000 words since my last progress report. I would have written more, but my time was spent on the previous entry, some grocery shopping, and watching some performances from people in my Shakespeare class.

Never in my life have I felt unexcited about preparing to shoot a film, yet this is how I feel now. For the very first time in my life.

I will be shooting my Hindi film tomorrow, and I can't say that I'm enthusiastic about it. Usually when I'm hit by inspiration to do something creative, I would rather do it as soon as possible because I am more motivated to do so, and I can expend all my energies upon it. Unfortunately, like Aisyalam, this Hindi project has been delayed too much that I cannot find the fire I had when I first develop my ideas for both film projects.

It's simple, I am currently in 'writing' mode, not 'filmmaking', I'm incapable of being in both modes simultaneously. Both are methods of telling stories, and for me, I prefer focusing my energies upon one particular story to ensure that it is perfect. That is why even if I am a writer myself, I prefer to have Guestblogger Justin doing the screenwriting for me so that I can just concentrate upon the filmmaking instead.

NanoWriMo has started, I have spent the last few days in full 'writing' mode. I have immersed myself so thoroughly into the world and characters of the novel I'm writing now that I have fallen head over heels in love with them. To be wrestled away from it now to work on my film is like the unwelcome arrival of a spurned lover appearing to win my affections again.

Anyway, here are the excerpts.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

NaNoWriMo Progress Report (Day 9)

13000+ words. I've written 3000+ words today, Everything is starting to flow pretty well, once I can maintain this speed, I'll do fine. I would've actually written more if I hadn't gone to Fremantle for a break. However, I managed to finish Akutagawa Prize (highest literary honour in Japan) winner 'Snakes and Earrings' by Hitomi Kanehara while I was hanging out at the bookshop there, it was short read, think it took me less than an hour (I posted her photo in this entry). You may choose to Google her if you want to, I'm not putting up my book review until next month's edition of my Monthly Book Reviews.

Here are the excerpts.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

In Defense of Fanfiction: Guestblogger Justin Goes Robin Hobbnobbing

If you had of asked me on a given day whether I'd one day end up passionately defending fanfiction, I would have given you a strange look. I don't read any of the stuff anymore, and my own endeavors in the field ceased long ago. And yet, I found myself reading Robin Hobb's rant (Swifty: The rant was taken down sometime after this entry was posted) with growing outrage, not just because I disagreed with Hobb's sentiments, but because I COULDN'T BELIEVE that a published author of some repute could hold opinions so closed-minded, reactionary, and ridiculous. The outrage, though, stemmed not so much from this as from the idea that Hobb's opinions, through her position as an eminent fantasy author, could actually discourage young writers from practicing fanfiction, and thus, exercising their creativity. Therefore, SOMETHING MUST BE DONE. THIS SHIT CANNOT STAND.

NanoWriMo Progress Report (Day 8)

I've past the 10 000 mark. Meaning that I have written nearly 4000 words since last night's progress report. I was stuck for a while, having difficulty rediscovering my rhythm, but once I did, it just went pretty smoothly. Some dialogue between characters have sorta elevate my novel beyond conventional fantasy bindings, I think.

On the other hand, I found this site which keeps track on the largest message boards and forums in the world. Rankings were done based on the amount of posts, but you can also view them based on the amount of members. Forum administrators might have to use the top-ranking message forums as a measuring stick. It might not be entirely accurate, and I'm sure some major forums aren't listed, but it's worth a look.

Now, some excerpts.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

NanoWriMo Progress Report (Day 7)

After working on my Shakespeare assignment for days and submitting it (the lecturer seemingly loved it) I am now returning my attention to Nano-ing. Unfortunately, the three day break had broken my rhythm, and I found myself having more and more doubts while writing today's part. It's not actually writer's block, more like myself questioning whether what I'm write is really good enough, or is it going to suck?

I did write a little. I have 6345 words now, meaning that I've added nearly 800+ words from before. But I am still 8000 words behind. Which is kinda bad. Think I'll need to have some caffiene-aided writing sessions.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Parallels Between Terminator 3 And William Gibson's Neuromancer

An essay written for my Popular Literature, Sci-fi & Cyberculture class last week. Still busy working on my Shakespeare assignment, so you gotta make do with this.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

NaNoWriMo Progress Report (Day 4)


He plunged his hand into the pregnant woman's stomach, ripping out the fetus, squirming and oozing with blood. Laughing sadistically, he tossed the fetus into a cooking pot and started cooking.

It was going to be a fine night indeed.

The woman let loose a high-pitched scream, crumbling onto the floor like a rag doll, her stomach a gaping hole. Annoyed by her, he picked up a sledge hammer and bashed her head repeatedly until it was reduced to nothing more than a bloody pulp. Laughing in amusement, he licked the bits of brains and skulls off his hammer.

Junichiro Tanizaki - Naomi

Naomi by Junichiro Tanazaki
Description from amazon.com: Naomi is the first English translation of Tanizaki's first important novel (originally serialized in Japanese in 1924-25). It is a subtle adaptation to a Japanese setting of the basic story in Maugham's Of Human Bondage . Joji, the narrator, finds Naomi, a girl half his age, working in a cafe. He takes her to live with him, tries to groom her (with English and music lessons), indulges her whims, encourages her ``Western'' ways, and eventually marries her. She becomes a torment to him, but he is so obsessed with her that he tolerates even her infidelities as long as she will stay with him. The recurrent theme in Tanizaki's novels of the danger in sexual fascination may here represent a self-criticism of his youthful preoccupation with things.

Friday, November 04, 2005

NanoWriMo Progress Report (Day 3) Trying a Fantasy name generator

I managed to write 2200+ words, which brings my total to 5636, I'm still almost 400 short. I realized that many NanoWriMo writers from Malaysia are writing fantasy stuff, which is quite a surprise considering that just eight years ago, when I was form 1, my oral presentation about the fantasy genre was scoffed at, with most people being amused, or awed by my good looks, than really listening to what I said. Guess Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings have helped many in jumping onto the fantasy bandwagon.

Well, for me, coming up with names is always the hardest thing to do whilst writing fantasy, thus I use the Fantasy Name Generator. Great thingie to abuse. Hah!

More excerpts from what I've written thus far.

Eliar applauded when the man finished his poem by intoning the numerous ‘x’s, (twenty-three of them, Eliar counted) unfortunately, he was the only person clapping his hands. The other patrons were barely paying any attention. Lloyd was busy drinking his beer, while the other two, a young couple, were busy flirting and giggling.

“Seriously, I can never understand his poems.” Lloyd whispered.

“I don’t either.” Eliar agreed.

Thanking Sanford graciously for giving him a small bag of gold coins, Justinius got off from the table he was standing on and moved over to sit near Lloyd and Eliar.

“Ah. Eliar Swiftfire, I didn’t expect to see you here. What do you think of my poem?” Justinius asked, grinning.

“It’s great.” Eliar nodded while desperately finding words to praise the poem, but finding himself at a loss for words. He KNEW he was a MIGHTY wizard, but not a wordsmith nor a poet, so he could only settle for something simpler. “It’s really deep and stuff. Totally cultured, man.”

“Aye.” Lloyd added nonchalantly before ordering another mug of beer.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

NanoWriMo Progress Report (Day 2)

3400 words written. 600 short from my target. As you can see by now, I'm targeting 2000 a day. I'm rather disappointed.

This story I'm writing now was meant to be a bridge between my unfinished novel and my Blogathon story (check my August archives, for crap's sake), a pseudo-prequel to the former and a pseudo-sequel to the latter, however, to really do that can be pretty restricting, My Blogathon story good enough as a standalone, leaving everything else to my readers' imaginations, while my unfinished novel is a product of my teenage fantasies, and writing style, so it is not good enough for me to use it now. Elements can be borrowed, but I can't based everything on it. What I write now HAS TO BE a standalone.

This means that I'm not working with a preexisting template, and without proper worldbuilding and planning. And also, in a way, creative collaboration fucked up my own vision, because I didn't really have any idea what was it that I was trying to write back then, an epic storyline about WHAT??? I had to frequently compromise some of the stuff I wanted with my partner (and he had to suffer the same fate as well). It was all bits and pieces of his ideas, and then mine. I was unable to reach the 4000 mark last night because I was so confused with the main plot that I had to visit Justin and try to spill out my original plan to him. Not because I wanted reassurance, but more like I wanted to articulate my ideas. It was something I used to do with my little sister in the past. Not being the type of person who keeps a note for stuff, this is my own method of remembering story ideas.

And this kinda brings me to an amusing incident with Kyels last night, when I sent her what I've written for NanoWriMo thus far, and immediately within five seconds, she told me it was 'cool!' and 'it has a cool storyline'. My jaw almost dropped open. I guess due to the fact that Kyels herself wasn't really into creative writing, she didn't really grasp the concept of me sending the story to her. And thus when I said "I need a reader!", it became more like I was seeking reassurance for what I've written.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

NanoWriMo Progress (Day 1)

2122 words thus far. Two seemingly unrelated plot threads that take place in a world that is a fusion of fantasy and science fiction, where my imagination is boundless. It always sucks that so many fantasy writers out there allow themselves to be restrained by D&D rubbish, and not go further than that. And seriously, there are too many Pratchett wannabes out there whose smug and condescending prose style annoy more than amuse, but then, I was even worse than a Pratchett wannabe (since I've only read ONE Discworld book, and Good Omens, which he did with Neil Gaiman), I was a Pratchett wannabe wannabe whilst writing fanfics.

I was a fan of such writing, but when every Tom, Dick and Harry and their moms and grandmothers started praising praising Pratchett as if he were a god, not to say emulating his writing style as well, it was impossible for me not to feel mildly annoyed. It's not as if Discworld's the only fantasy series out there anyway.

Some excerpts of what I've written.

The sorceress muttered and groaned in her sleep. Despite his annoyance, Erik remained silent, carefully searching for an inn. She was heavier than he had expected, and he was soon bathed in sweat, panting and gasping for air. Above him, flocks of dragons flew past, accompanied by dozens of witches in brooms, laughing and singing.

“Damn. Another one of those illegal races again.” A man nearby grunted, looking up into the sky. “Can’t even get a good night’s sleep these days because of them.”

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Joining NanoWriMo, here's what I'm going to write

And thus, I ended up joining NanoWriMo. Why? Because there is a story that has been floating in my mind for eight years and I intend to use this as motivation to finish it, or at least make something out of it. I'm not getting any younger (a strange phrase from a guy who's only 21), and if I let this wait anymore, I'm afraid I will outgrow this story, and all the efforts I've put in preparing it will be for naught.

What do I plan to write? Sorry, gotta keep this under wraps, let's just say that it's linked to this unfinished novel of mine and my Blogathon Story (go check out the August archives). It's a risky thing to do since I have a Shakespeare final assignment due next Monday, and also a take home exam for Popular Literature and Sci-Fi due on the 24th of November.