Taiwan Tales-A Year in Review

One year ago today, TWG published its first anthology, Taiwan Tales. I remember the moment well that I learned it had gone live–and to my surprise, a bit early! It was thrilling, but to be honest, I never foresaw the wonder of the year that would follow.

Not only did Taiwan Tales receive fantastic reviews from local papers, but it triggered within our group a tremendous drive for output and social networking. Our second anthology, Night Market, released in the summer amidst launch parties and readings, and several of our group’s authors have since taken new books and short story collections to Amazon and beyond. We are looking forward now to the release of our third anthology, Peak Heat, and are exploring ways to reach further into Taipei and beyond as an active group of published Indie authors.

So Happy Anniversary (or Birthday?) Taiwan Tales, and thanks for the fuel!

 

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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.

Night Market Anthology Official Book Launch

This past Sunday the writers of Taipei Writers Group gathered once again for a book launch, this time for our second anthology, Night Market.
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Hosted by author and poet CK Hugo Chung, our event was held at Rue 216, a lovely French Bistro in the bustling Zhongxiao Dunhua area of Taipei.

11947447_10154145862133696_5850635620231696862_nWith stunning cover and chapter art by the talented Hannah Charlton, and stories by ten local and expat authors, our second publication of short stories has sold quite well in Taipei since its July release.

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Taiwan Tales, our first anthology, has also continued to sell well nearly a year after its release, with sales increasing in Taiwan after the announcement of our special deal with Night Market, offering a discount for the purchase of both paperbacks sold locally.

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At our Sunday afternoon event, anthology contributor J. J. Green also read the gripping opening of her recently published novella, Death Switch, and Brian Q. Webb read a rather humorous excerpt from his own science fiction novel set to launch later this year.

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Special guests included Bradley Verdell, who spoke of his thrilling steam-punk series, TWG friend Mark Chapman, whose Blue Prometheus we were excited to learn more about, and Patrick Whalen, a Taiwan Tales contributor and the commander-in-chief of our long-standing crew, who recently published his second novel, Deadman Bay.

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It was an excellent event and a full house! Stay tuned for news on more TWG events, and announcements about our dystopian-themed anthology coming Christmas 2015!

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How Much of Critiques Should Writers Take To Heart?

I recently came across some great advice in Madison Smartt Bell’s book, Narrative Design. It has since stayed with me, despite my neglecting to take the wisdom to heart.

This is a section in the book where Bell writes about how he opened/opens his classes (Iowa workshop):

“Assume that when your work is being discussed, about 90 percent of what you hear will be useless to you and irrelevant to what you have done. Learn to listen carefully and to discriminate what’s useful to you from what’s not. Remember the relevant part and ignore the rest. If even one person understands what you intended to be understood, then you can say you have succeeded. Past that, the only issue is just how widely accessible you want your work to be. Don’t try to please the group. Don’t even try to please me. The person you have to please is yourself. Your job is to become the best judge of your own work. If you do become a professional writer at some point, you’ll need that skill more than ever before.”