Daniel Pearl Day

Catch the Taipei Writers’ Group members at Daniel Pearl Day, Taipei, Saturday 26th Sept!

Come and say hi, collect your free bookmarks, meet the writers and peruse the books.

Print copies of Taiwan Tales and Night Market will be available, and writers will be selling their individual novels and short story collections. Don’t forget to get your copies signed by the authors.

Daniel Pearl Day, Taipei, 2015

Daniel Pearl Day, Taipei, 2015

14.00 – 22.00

客家文化主題公園 Hakka Cultural Park, near Taipower Building MRT Station, Taipei

中正區汀州路3段2號, No. 2, Section 3, Tingzhou Rd, Zhongzheng District

Taipei City, 100


Why I can’t just finish my novel already.

I’ve been working on the same novel for over three years.

That’s a long time.

Taipei Writer’s Group, which I’ve been attending for two years now, has been very patient with me in this regard. I’m guilty of submitting scenes I later toss, scenes only slightly rewritten, and more than once I’ve asked them to view my beginning…again.

I get a lot of (good) advice from the group, most of which is in the lines of just finish the darn thing already. But I’m not worried. I’m not even slightly panicked. I’ve written full novels (this is my fourth!), so I’ve already reached the thrilling milestone of finishing something huge. But for me this novel has never been about just finishing. It’s been about becoming a better writer. Every draft, every experimental and rewritten scene, and every failed rewrite has been about getting my writing to the level where I can read it and not cringe. Where I can read it and be satisfied. 

Today I am closer to finishing my novel than I was yesterday, because today I sat down and put in hours despite the fatigue that often plagues me when I commit myself fully to writing while holding down an 8-5 job. I will finish my novel…when it’s ready. And I will be a better writer for it.

Comics, Part 2: Movies and Comics and Comic Book Movies

There’s a whole new genre of films called “comic book movies”. You know: they’re those movies that don’t have Wonder Woman.



Newspaper comics predate cinema by a just few years. Check out this silent movie where the comics artist Windsor McKay makes “pictures that move” while his friends drink brandy and guffaw at such an idea: http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Little_Nemo_(1911_film).

A fairly clear line can be drawn between comics “before cinema” and “after cinema”.Little Nemo in Slumberland by McKay ran from 1905-1926, with every strip following the same basic story: Little Nemo has a dream that ends with him waking up in bed.The panels are set up like a stage play, with the viewer at a fixed distance from the action:



Now let’s look at a strip from Terry and the Pirates in 1942, 16 years after Little Nemo ended and well after film became really popular. Zoom! Pow!



Comics now have a “camera” that follows the action, zooms, and pans. By trying to imitate movies, comics became more like storyboards instead of an art form of their own. Aside from motion lines and weird characters, comics started to lose what made them unique.



Of course, there’s nothing wrong with one medium borrowing from another. But while movies exist in time, comics exist in both space and time. There’s a lot of fun to be had with the page itself! Take a look at these Sunday pages from the 1930‘s comic Gasoline Alley:


Gasoline Alley by Frank King,  Linesandcolors.com


Gasoline Alley by Frank King, Nijomu.com

Now look at this spread from the 2014 book, Here:


Here by Richard McGuire, Wired.com

The fixed viewpoint is back, with every page taking place in the exact same room, traveling through time instead of space.

Or you can play with how people think in pictures as well as words:


Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli, Goodokbad.com

Or how people think in video game mechanics:


Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Ethermetic.com

If you want to, one of your characters can even bust out a blackboard and explain his view on religion right to the reader’s face:


Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli, Killingthebuddha.com

Podcast: The Art And Craft Of Story With Victoria Mixon

In a previous post, I shared why The Creative Penn is one of my favourite Podcast series about writing. Today, I decided to sift through some past episodes, and I am very glad I did, because I discovered this enlightening, action-focused discussion on the art and craft of story with writer and editor Victoria Mixon.

Particularly useful for new writers (which I still am), Mixon shares how to strengthen and deepen stories, as well as why and how thinking about key aspects of the story in advance will help with writing better and faster. Mixon also explains the differences between literary genre fiction that clarify how a writer should approach each style, and then focuses on genre writing.

I was so impressed with this 2011 episode that I bought Mixon’s book “The Art and Craft of Fiction”. I truly felt I could follow her process and actually write a novel I would be happy with. I’ll let you know how I do with that!

*Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net