Friday, March 30, 2007


April is a special month for the LitCritters as we shift into workshop mode. Each of the LitCritters has written a brand new novelette - prose fiction with a word count between 7500 - 17500. This length is not within everyone's comfort zone. Most of us are used to the short story format (my personal sweet spot is between 3000-5000), but I think it is good exercise for writers to develop texts in different lengths. We shouldn't be afraid of length - how else can one hope to write a novel?

We have 8 stories to workshop, or 2 stories a week for 4 weeks. The goal, of course, is to improve the texts and move them towards publishable quality. During this time period, I won't be sending out the usual fiction pieces to the readers of this blog who request them. As these are original unpublished stories, it's better to wait for the final published form. Come May though, it's back to normal. I'll start sending out the stories the LitCritters are reading, critiquing and learning from (from those written superbly to examples of problematic writing).

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(Photo by Benj Ordonez. L to R: Andrew, Kate, Sage, Alex, Dean, Nikki, Kyu, Vin)

I look forward to April's sessions, and to reading original fiction from Alex Osias, Kate Aton-Osias, Andrew Drilon, Vin Simbulan, Nikki Alfar, Ian Casocot and Kenneth Yu. My latest story will also be discussed, and I hope I pass the grade (you should know by now that I'm the last person to be impressed by anything I've written - I may be a harsh critic, but I'm hardest on myself).

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(photo from fredjordan. L to R: -top- Ian, Lyde, Dirg, Robert; -bottom- Ianne, Michelle, Anthony, Fred Jordan)

I'm also planning to make time to read the new stories written by the LitCritters Dumaguete. Headed by Ian, they also wrote new fiction this month - Fred Jordan Carnice, Lyde Villanueva, Rodrigo Bolivar II, Robert Jed Malayang, Michelle Eve de Guzman, and Anthony Odtohan (Ianne Tapales is off in Japan). If geography were not an issue, I'd love to have Ian and these young writers with us every week as well. As reality and finances permit though, I think the best bet for all of us to meet each other is at the end of the year, when the Manila Litcritters are hoping to visit Dumaguete again, just like last year.

Sometime soon, I'll also be sounding the open call for submissions for Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 3, which should be out by the end of the year.

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