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In the video, there are five pointers to prepare you before you embark on your new book:
- Go out into the world and observe
- Make art (collage, draw, idea board)
- Conduct research
- Read books as a writer
- Write everyday to practice
It is important to be prepared rather than go straight to writing the new book even if you know what it’s going to be about. You are excited to write it. I know the feeling. But once you start to write it, later along the way, you will probably get writer’s block or your ideas will be over the place. Therefore, it’s best to have a written/drawn up plan in place. It doesn’t have to be fully detailed.
As mentioned in the previous post from Day 1, I am always filled with ideas for new books to write. Everything and everyone around me serves as my ideas and inspiration, which is why I carry my small brown book with me wherever I go so that I can scribble in it. I even scribble down what I feel about anything at a particular moment. I can easily forget, so the book is handy.
I love getting creative with an idea board or doodles in my notebooks. The following pictures are of my visual ideas for the series Fauna and Residential Stories. They have been drawn in a way only I can understand. It doesn’t matter what it looks like to others so long as it works for me.
Sometimes planning for a new book requires research, and don’t get confused with inspiration. For me, I usually conduct research on books that are of strong Chinese background where I would need indepth research, like with ancient Chinese myths and legends. I have been conducting research for my series Fauna for 15 years now, and the research is still ongoing.
One of the common rule for writers/authors is read, read, read and also read as a writer/author. In other words, when you read don’t just pay attention to the storyline, but also the way it has been written. Every writer/author has their own writing style, and it’s always good to learn the different ways and styles there are when it comes to writing. Don’t forget, reading is knowledge. I have been told by a reviewer for one of my books Who We Were that my writing is ‘easy to understand’.
“The first thing that grabbed my attention was the reader-friendly writing — simple, crisp, and fluid. From the start, the reader will appreciate the realism that is injected into the writing.” – Christian Sia
For me, I feel that my writing stands between the authors Amy Tan and Cecelia Ahern.
I read a lot of horror, including limitations in dark horror and fantasy, memoirs and fiction books of Asian themes. Even with a hectic schedule, I still find the time to squeeze in my reading during commuting to and from work and before bed. I try not to make any excuses to not read. Even a short chapter is better than no reading at all.
Apart from reading, every writer/author should write constantly. The more you write, the easier it will become to set your mind on writing, and the better and easier your writing will become until it is in your blood. Even great writers/authors keep on writing. There’s no stopping. It’s like keeping a healthy and balanced diet. You don’t stop being healthy. You keep it up because it’s good for your wellbeing. It’s the same for writing.
I write every day, unless of course when I’m on holiday, which is rare. Most writers/authors write a certain number of words each day, whereas for me, I go by chapters if I’m working on my book projects, or I’ll be doing several writing exercises (as mentioned in the post from Day 1). Depending on the length of the chapters, I make sure to write a minimum of three to four chapters a day or a minimum of four writing exercises (minimum a full page long – A4 or A5 size).
There is never a dull moment in my writing life. I love what I do and am living the dream.