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Saturday, 29 August 2015

Me? An Author?

I had recently finished writing a manuscript, in Malay language and was ready to find a publisher to publish my book. It was a light thriller. I was required to send in the first three chapters and the evaluation will be made upon that.
I sent to three different publishers. Within 2 weeks I got the reply. All three turned down my manuscript.

My manuscript was read and evaluated by a team of juries. One publisher had 10 juries (the figure differs in each publisher). In one publisher, three of the juries voted for yes, the balance of seven voted for no. The second publisher, I got four 'yes' and six 'no'.
Thus, I didn't get to publish my first ever book written by me since last year.

How do I feel? Down and dejected for sure. But Sophie, Sara and Soffian was quick to console me. They said even J.K. Rowling was turned down more than she can remember before she finally made it, and she made it big!
Well, I don't dream to becoming the next J.K. Rowling, I just want to be a writer, a great one at that.

After I got the discouraging ratings from the three publishers, I stopped sending the manuscript to any other publisher. I will keep it to myself for now. The juries gave their tips and feedback on how to write better and a few of them encourage me to slightly re-write especially the beginning of the story.
But there was one jury that I think was not too smart. No, I am not being a sour grape just because they turned me down. On the contrary, I am being matter-of-fact. You know what he or she wrote in his/her comment? It says, " The story line was good but predictable. I don't have to read the whole book to know what the end would be. And I am pretty sure there would'nt be any twist or suspense towards the end."
Seriously? Who does he think he is? A mind reader?  I myself didn't know what the end would be until I came close to finishing the story, and yet this person got the balls to say that he knew what my end would be?  
Now I am getting all worked up. I personally think that to be a critic, a person should at least had to have passion for reading. Lots and lots of reading. He/she had to have a good general knowledge in almost everything so that he can relate to the storyline that he's immersing himself in at that moment.
Somehow, this jury gave me the reverse impression. The impression that says that he is not into much reading.

I used to read many books years ago but nowadays I would give myself a pat on the shoulder if I could finish three books in a year. I must say that I only read books written in English. I admire the time, the research, the pain the author had to go through to produce one book.
I don't look down on the local Malay writer but somehow the storyline was too light and superficial
for me to get addictive or strong enough to give me a grip to keep on turning the page even after bedtime hours. I did read a few Malay books belongs to Sophie and Sara a couple of years ago but I can't say that I was thrilled with the way the story was presented. It was plain, empty and missing the 'umphh' in it.
Their storyline would usually revolve around love, marriage and family feud. I know these elements were among the important ingredients that make or break our lives but hey...what's wrong with making it more interesting and in depth so that they could draw more mature readers like me. The Malays have always prefer a laid back and simple living in their lives and it reflected in their thinking. Movies that filled with comedy and action packed will attract audience that resulted in box office. Books followed suit, if the title sounded something like these,  Will you marry me, Mr Squid? or Do you love me? or A Part Time Wife and many more, then you can bet your last dime that it's gonna be a hit among young readers.   

Most probably the juries that read my manuscript thought that I am in the same category as the above-said authors.

Sophie asked me to write in English, said that my writing in Malay sounded a little off. I think I know what she meant by a little off. Malay language has a limited vocabulary. That is why every time when I can't think of the word in Malay, I will search it in English first and try to translate it later on.
That is why my Malay grammar sounded a little off but I think I should be alright after a while.
I don't want to write in English because I don't think my English is that good to write a book. Writing a blog is different . I don't really care about my grammar or  my sentence structure. As long as I got something on my mind, I can just plop down anywhere and write it straight away. No hassle with proof readers or editors. I am the writer and I am the sole editor.

So, what do I do now? Shall I keep sending my manuscript to the publishers or shall I wait until I had enough money to fund it/ publish it on my own?
People? Give me ideas please..  I know I have you guys that follow my blog regularly, so help me out here. I am open to suggestions.

I am penning off now. Had a busy day today. My bed is calling and my eyes are half open. I need my beauty sleep and don't anybody dare to wake me up with any text messages or phone calls.

Good night people and be safe wherever you are!

29th.Aug '15

Saturday, 15 August 2015

What Will Be Sara's Choice?

Dear all,

I sure do been missing from the virtual world lately, don't I?
Well, to tell you the truth, I hate my existing laptop right now. It is moving ever too slowly for me to do anything, let alone do my writing. That is why I am kind of hibernating in my own world.

The laptop is still slow but I am feeling bored. I need to do something especially today, since nobody is at home craving for my attention.

Today, I have something that has been playing on my mind for the past two weeks. I feel I need to share this situation that I am in with you guys out there.
Remember I sent Sara to a prep science college last year in Sending Sara? Well, she had completed her study there last April. A few months ago, her result came out and she passed her final exam with flying colors. Being a mom, of course I am proud of her. So proud that I am beginning to doubt if she is truly my daughter. I mean, I flunk my math and science big time whereas she did very well in that two subjects.

Anyway, last week she received an offer from a university in the United Kingdom to study Physics at Southampton University starting this coming September. On top of that, her four year study there are being sponsored in full by the Ministry of Education. It's an offer hard to decline right? I am sure that's what everybody would say or think.

So guys, what do you think I do? I left the decision to her. She had to decide since this is her future. Initially she was about seventy percent agreeable to accepting the offer when suddenly she made a 360 degree turn and said she may not want to go and study there. Reason being, four years is far too long and she worried too much about my welfare, meaning she is worry that my cancer might recur within that four year.
Another reason I think is about money. By the way, for many, it's kind of  taboo for people to talk openly about money. In this case, I feel it's only right for me to share with others on how we tackle this matter.
Since we don't have any savings whatsoever, it is almost impossible for us to come up with an estimated amount of RM6000.00 prior to her departure. Visa alone to UK required 322.00 pound which is equivalent to about RM 1700.00. This amount does not include health insurance, passport, medical check up, winter clothing (Malaysia is an all year round sunny country) and her other necessities while there. However all these documentation and departure preparation will be reimbursed by the ministry. The only issue here is we simply can't come up with that amount on our own. So both my husband and I opted to take up a personal loan to fund her at this initial state.

Then, last Tuesday (11th.August) she received another offer. This time it's from our local university, UKM. And this time she was offered to take up medicine. In our country, once a student was offered a place to take up medicine, those who graduated between 3.5 CGPA ( I think) to 4.0 CGPA, they are eligible to receive a full scholarship from Public Service Department for the whole five years of studies.

Now comes the dilemma. She is indecisive between the two courses. Actually, come to think of it, she never showed any inclination towards anything, I mean career-wise. She never came up to me and said, Ma, I want to become a so or so when I grow up. She just didn't seem to have any ambition at all. Oh, she did come to me once or twice and said she wanted to be a professional gamer or Radio DJ. But I never took her seriously because she is being tongue-in-cheek with me.
For this course, we will have to come up with about RM3000.00. Subsequently, the scholarship will come, most probably after her enrolment.

Now, truly the decision and choice are all up to her. She asked for our input and ideas and finally she made up her mind. She is going to let go of the offer to study in the United Kingdom and accept the offer to become a doctor. She said, she is more familiar with this profession since I have been in and out of hospital throughout her teenage years and she hoped to become a good and dedicated doctor so that she will have a chance to attend to me in the future years should I ever need a medical attention ever again.

Me? I am happy with whatever choice she made. After all I am her mother. Money? What's there to be afraid of? Almost every other day, I walked around with five ringgit in my purse and I still manage to feed and clothe my family comfortably. I am happier now than I was five years ago.

Whoever is in the same situation as I do, worry not. We live our lives within our means. We love our family beyond our means and we support them all the way way beyond our means. That is what life is all about to me. After all, I am going to be a mother to a doctor in the making, if God wills it. And who knows, one of these days, Sophie's dream of becoming a Travel Journalist may come true. I will become a mother to a TV personality. And I can become a mother to a pastry chef and a mother to a hotel manager. There's no harm in dreaming a good dream for our children.
Gloating? Maybe a little. Which mother wouldn't? I would prefer to say proud or take pride in, instead of gloating. Mothers do that. They gloat all the time about their children. Don't believe me? Open your Facebook and see for yourself.
I am just being happy for my children, that's all.  Just who knows what tomorrow brings.

Until then, have a pleasant day and be good people. Be healthy and be safe.

15th.August '15