What is your Dream Writer’s Retreat? #IWSG

Writer's retreatWhat’s your idea of a Writer’s retreat? I recently saw an article on the writer’s retreats of some famous authors, Rowling, Hemingway, Ian Fleming and the like.

I stay on the lookout for nice places, on the off-chance I get to retire in them long term, or get short-term residencies. Recently, I stayed at a hotel in Udaipur, In Rajasthan, India– a family trip, not much to do with writing. It was an estate with stunning views all around, and I did a spot of writing while there. See all the pictures here.

This Couple Created a Forest! ‘We Are The World’ Blogfest #WATWB

We are the World Blogfest

To spread spread peace and humanity on social media, a few of us have worked together to create the We are the World Blogfest:

Belinda WitzenhausenEmerald BarnesEric Lahti, Inderpreet UppalKate Powell, Lynn Hallbrooks, Mary Giese, Michelle Wallace, Peter Nena, Roshan RadhakrishnanSimon Falk, Susan Scott, Sylvia McGrath, Sylvia Stein, Chrissie Parker.

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Each month a few of us would lead the co-hosting, and the inaugural month Lead co-hosts for  “We Are the World Blogfest” are Belinda WitzenhausenLynn Hallbrooks, Simon Falk, Sylvia McGrath, and yours truly, Damyanti.

In the spirit of “In Darkness, Be Light,” here’s a link to a heartwarming piece of news from southern India: A couple has transformed 300 acres of denuded farmland in Karnataka into India’s first private wildlife sanctuary. Check out pictures of the sanctuary here and watch this video to know more.

Excerpt:

“Once we bought the land, we allowed the forest to regenerate. We planted native species where necessary and allowed nature to take care of the rest,” says Anil.

Today, SAI Sanctuary covers approximately 300 acres, and draws naturalists and scientists doing research on the different animal species as well as hundreds of indigenous trees and plants, which have medicinal value as well. Hunting and poaching was a challenge…They worked with the forest department to set up camera traps and keep poachers away. “There are times I have fought poachers with logs,” says Pamela.

Thinking of #London and We are the World #WATWB

LondonAlmost one year ago, I walked the streets of London, and spent time with good friends, along with working harder than ever on my writing. Today, from deep within my editing cave, I think back on those times. After news of Westminster broke this morning, I’ve scrolled through my snapshots a fair number of times. They aren’t particularly great shots but for me, each of them carries a memory of a person or a conversation, and that’s what makes them special. May the spirit of London continue to enchant and inspire, may Londoners forever be defiant in their courage, optimism, and togetherness.

May the spirit of London continue to inspire, may Londoners forever be defiant in their courage. Click to Tweet

LondonI’d just like to add that I see a lot of sadness in the news today, and everyday, from London, from Syria, and other war-torn places in the world. I do not suggest flinching from it, but I also do not recommend wallowing in it. Instead let us spread just a little light, in our own small way. For me, I’ve just shared a few photos of London and its people, on social media, and posted an album of them here.

My last post announced the We Are the World Blogfest, I’d like to invite you to join, if you haven’t as yet, to post each month a snippet of positive news that shows our essential, beautiful humanity.

London We are the world Blogfest

What positive act of humanity in life, in the news, or social media did you find today? What are your thoughts on what’s happened in London, and continues to happen in other parts of the world? How can we make a positive difference? Would you like to join the We are the World Blogfest? CLICK HERE for all my shots of London, and a little bit of cheer.

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Would you speak for peace? Join us in ‘We Are The World’ Blogfest! #WATWB

We are the World BlogfestSocial media and news in recent times has been filled with hate and negativity. Just as you cannot fight darkness, only light lamps, Hate and Negativity cannot be fought. You need to bring Love and Positivity forward instead.

I bring to you the We Are the World Blogfest, along with these fabulous co-hosts:

Belinda WitzenhausenEmerald BarnesEric Lahti, Inderpreet UppalKate Powell, Lynn Hallbrooks, Mary Giese, Michelle Wallace, Peter Nena, Roshan RadhakrishnanSimon Falk, Susan Scott, Sylvia McGrath, Sylvia Stein, Chrissie Parker.

We Are the World Blogfest” seeks to promote positive news. There are many an oasis of love and light out there, stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit. Sharing these stories increases our awareness of hope in our increasingly dark world.

We will link to charities supported by the co-hosts, and you could choose to donate to some of them or add links to local charities you support, so we could all chip in to a good cause if we like.

Let us flood social media with peace and love, and “In Darkness, Be Light.” The first post for We Are The World Blogfest is on the 31st March 2017.

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

  1. Keep your post to below 500 words.
  2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Something like this news, about a man who only fosters terminally ill children.
  3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.
  4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.
  5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

We Are the World BlogfestSign up in the WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below and please help spread the word via the hashtag #WATWB.



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What’s the difference between Script-writing and #writing short stories?

Here on Daily (w)rite, as part of the guest post series, where I interview writers, editors, and agents, it is my absolute pleasure today to welcome S. Mickey Lin, who provides insights on writing fiction.

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  1. Your background is in scriptwriting so when did you start writing fiction? What prompted you?

I’ve always been interested in storytelling which is why I got into film. When I moved to Asia, I wanted to improve my writing by exploring different formats and genres. I started to write short stories and poetry and I’ve been fortunate to find publishers willing to publish them. I’m still writing screenplays and I find that my experience in different formats strengthens my understanding of writing overall. It’s still a learning process though.

2. How has your background shaped your work?

Well, screenplay has a lot more white space than prose and so I’ve been adjusting the amount of descriptions I would use in prose versus a screenplay. Also, short stories are a lot shorter than screenplays. It’s been a terrific learning experience in that I have think about the different requirements and considerations for each format.

#Writing is like a piece of muscle — if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. ~ S. Mickey Lin Click to Tweet

3. Then do you prefer one format over another?

Surprisingly, no. I think every format has a unique obstacle that a writer has to overcome. For a short story, the obstacle is how to introduce a relatable character in a very short period of time and dramatize an event to accentuate a conflict which they will need to overcome. For film, you have more time than a short story, but the obstacle is to keep the story entertaining throughout the entire 90-140 minutes. They’re both equally difficult, just in different ways.

4. In your opinion then, what makes a successful short story?

A solid structure that introduces an interesting conflict, a relatable character, and hopefully, an ending that is deserved. I won’t say happy ending because not all stories need a happy ending, but an ending that is fitting and appropriate for our protagonist.

5. Do you have an ideal reader in mind as you write?

Not really. I write mostly to try and understand the world around me. It’s through writing that I can think through things and hopefully the readers will enjoy some of the stories that arise from my curiosity.

Writers Uncany Valley Mickey Lin6. Marshall Cavendish recently published Uncanny Valley, your short story collection. What were some of your considerations when planning your short story collection?

For me, I wanted the short stories to be interrelated so that it would feel bigger than just a single story. For Uncanny Valley, some of the characters mentioned in one story become the main protagonist in another. I was very conscious about this when I was writing the short stories. I imposed a personal creative challenge — to link the stories in some way or another — when I started to plan my collection and that became a major consideration when I wrote the stories.

7. You were recently on a panel about local literature at the Singapore Writers Festival. Can you name five Singaporean authors that people should read?

I can name more than five but if I have to limit it to just five, it would be: Alfian Sa’at, Amanda Lee Koe, Audrey Chin, Josephine Chia, and Suchen Christine Lim. There are plenty more and I truly hope that more Singapore-based authors will get the recognition they deserve.

8. What advice would you give to aspiring/emerging writers?
Read as much as you can to find out what works and what doesn’t work.
Take notes — keep a notebook and jot down lines or phrase you like and why you like it.
Write daily — doesn’t have to be a story but write so that you can either discover your voice or maintain your voice. Think of it like a piece of muscle — if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.
Find a supportive community — sometimes you need to hear what other people think about your work. You don’t have to like what people say about your work, but you should at least have an idea of what people think. Also, I use the word ‘supportive’ because you want to find a community that brings out the best in you.
Pay it forward — help out other writers when you can. It’s just good karma.


Writers from SingaporeS. Mickey Lin is a graduate of the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, a writer and entrepreneur who spends time between Los Angeles and Singapore. His work has been published in the US, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Uncanny Valley is his first short story collection.

Are you a reader, a writer, or both?  Do you read more short stories or novels? As a reader or writer, do you have questions for Mickey Lin?

I’ll be giving away a signed copy of S. Mickey Lin’s collection of stories Uncanny Valley to one of the commenters!

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