Mr Renganathan was the personal security officer to Singapore’s first foreign minister, Mr S Rajaratnam. He’s retired now. I interviewed him for a book I worked on documenting S Rajaratnam’s life through our first foreign minister’s photography.

The book is called Private Passion.

Mr Renganathan and his wife held Mr Rajaratnam is exceedingly high regard. In a personal tragedy that befell the couple, Mr Rajaratnam stepped in to help in his personal capacity. “He saved my life,” said Mrs Renganathan.

Although Mr Rajaratnam was assigned a personal security officer, he preferred to do things on his own. Not many know that Mr Rajaratnam was an avid photographer and his preferred shopping venue was Cathay Photo. He was very fond of nature as well.

I’ve been very blessed to have met so many people in the numerous books I’ve written. I’d estimate about 50% or less of our conversations make the book. Many times, after we’ve become comfortable with each other, we shoot the breeze and speak “off-the-record” about many things.

And they will remain off-the-record.

It’s my job.

—————

My partial portfolio can be seen here. For assignments, please contact danesh@write-studio.com.

 

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Some of my friends are going to cry, “foul!”

Yes, it’s true. I’m not a fan of lists.

Source: Wikimedia

But when the list is derived from Ernest Hemingway, 1954 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of books such as The Old Man and the Sea, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and A Farewell to Arms, I will pay attention. Here is Hemingway’s bibliography

Author Larry W. Phillips analysed Hemingway’s opinions and advice on writing from his various essays, passages and writings, and compiled them into a book, Ernest Hemingway on Writing.

The original source of the list below is from Open Culture. They selected seven of their favourite quotations from Ernest Hemingway on Writing and together with their own commentary, derived this list. Most interesting.

1: To get started, write one true sentence.

Hemingway had a simple trick for overcoming writer’s block. In a memorable passage in A Moveable Feast, he writes:

Sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.

2: Always stop for the day while you still know what will happen next.

There is a difference between stopping and foundering. To make steady progress, having a daily word-count quota was far less important to Hemingway than making sure he never emptied the well of his imagination. In an October 1935 article in Esquire “Monologue to the Maestro: A High Seas Letter”) Hemingway offers this advice to a young writer:

The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck. That is the most valuable thing I can tell you so try to remember it.

3: Never think about the story when you’re not working.

Building on his previous advice, Hemingway says never to think about a story you are working on before you begin again the next day. “That way your subconscious will work on it all the time,” he writes in theEsquire piece. “But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.” He goes into more detail in A Moveable Feast:

When I was writing, it was necessary for me to read after I had written. If you kept thinking about it, you would lose the thing you were writing before you could go on with it the next day. It was necessary to get exercise, to be tired in the body, and it was very good to make love with whom you loved. That was better than anything. But afterwards, when you were empty, it was necessary to read in order not to think or worry about your work until you could do it again. I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.

4: When it’s time to work again, always start by reading what you’ve written so far.

T0 maintain continuity, Hemingway made a habit of reading over what he had already written before going further. In the 1935 Esquire article, he writes:

The best way is to read it all every day from the start, correcting as you go along, then go on from where you stopped the day before. When it gets so long that you can’t do this every day read back two or three chapters each day; then each week read it all from the start. That’s how you make it all of one piece.

5: Don’t describe an emotion–make it.

Close observation of life is critical to good writing, said Hemingway. The key is to not only watch and listen closely to external events, but to also notice any emotion stirred in you by the events and then trace back and identify precisely what it was that caused the emotion. If you can identify the concrete action or sensation that caused the emotion and present it accurately and fully rounded in your story, your readers should feel the same emotion. In Death in the Afternoon, Hemingway writes about his early struggle to master this:

I was trying to write then and I found the greatest difficulty, aside from knowing truly what you really felt, rather than what you were supposed to feel, and had been taught to feel, was to put down what really happened in action; what the actual things were which produced the emotion that you experienced. In writing for a newspaper you told what happened and, with one trick and another, you communicated the emotion aided by the element of timeliness which gives a certain emotion to any account of something that has happened on that day; but the real thing, the sequence of motion and fact which made the emotion and which would be as valid in a year or in ten years or, with luck and if you stated it purely enough, always, was beyond me and I was working very hard to get it.

6: Use a pencil.

Hemingway often used a typewriter when composing letters or magazine pieces, but for serious work he preferred a pencil. In the Esquire article (which shows signs of having been written on a typewriter) Hemingway says:

When you start to write you get all the kick and the reader gets none. So you might as well use a typewriter because it is that much easier and you enjoy it that much more. After you learn to write your whole object is to convey everything, every sensation, sight, feeling, place and emotion to the reader. To do this you have to work over what you write. If you write with a pencil you get three different sights at it to see if the reader is getting what you want him to. First when you read it over; then when it is typed you get another chance to improve it, and again in the proof. Writing it first in pencil gives you one-third more chance to improve it. That is .333 which is a damned good average for a hitter. It also keeps it fluid longer so you can better it easier.

7: Be Brief.

Hemingway was contemptuous of writers who, as he put it, “never learned how to say no to a typewriter.” In a 1945 letter to his editor, Maxwell Perkins, Hemingway writes:

It wasn’t by accident that the Gettysburg address was so short. The laws of prose writing are as immutable as those of flight, of mathematics, of physics.

Source of list: http://www.openculture.com/2013/02/seven_tips_from_ernest_hemingway_on_how_to_write_fiction.html

 

Original Source: http://www.sff.net/people/julia.west/CALLIHOO/dtbb/feelings.htm

Character Feelings

You can describe your character’s feelings in more exact terms than just “happy” or “sad.” Check these lists for the exact nuance to describe your character’s intensity of feelings.

Intensity of
Feelings
HAPPY SAD ANGRY CONFUSED
High Elated
Excited
Overjoyed
Thrilled
Exuberant
Ecstatic
Fired up
Delighted
Depressed
Disappointed
Alone
Hurt
Left out
Dejected
Hopeless
Sorrowful
Crushed
Furious
Enraged
Outraged
Aggrivated
Irate
Seething
Bewildered
Trapped
Troubled
Desperate
Lost
Medium Cheerful
Up
Good
Relieved
Satisfied
Contented
Heartbroken
Down
Upset
Distressed
Regret
Upset
Mad
Annoyed
Frustrated
Agitated
Hot
Disgusted
Disorganized
Foggy
Misplaced
Disoriented
Mixed up
Mild Glad
Content
Satisfied
Pleasant
Fine
Mellow
Pleased
Unhappy
Moody
Blue
Sorry
Lost
Bad
Dissatisfied
Perturbed
Uptight
Dismayed
Put out
Irritated
Touchy
Unsure
Puzzled
Bothered
Uncomfortable
Undecided
Baffled
Perplexed
Intensity of
Feelings
AFRAID WEAK STRONG GUILTY
High Terrified
Horrified
Scared stiff
Petrified
Fearful
Panicky
Helpless
Hopeless
Beat
Overwhelmed
Impotent
Small
Exhausted
Drained
Powerful
Aggressive
Gung ho
Potent
Super
Forceful
Proud
Determined
Sorrowful
Remorseful
Ashamed
Unworthy
Worthless
Medium Scared
Frightened
Threatened
Insecure
Uneasy
Shocked
Dependent
Incapable
Lifeless
Tired
Rundown
Lazy
Insecure
Shy
Energetic
Capable
Confident
Persuasive
Sure
Sorry
Lowdown
Sneaky
Mild Apprehensive
Nervous
Worried
Timid
Unsure
Anxious
Unsatisfied
Under par
Shaky
Unsure
Soft
Lethargic
Inadequate
Secure
Durable
Adequate
Able
Capable
Embarrassed

I’ve been writing for years. I remember journalling from my teens. When I reinvented my career, I supplemented my personal writings with commercial assignments, most of which I have enjoyed. I’ve written narratives, aborted novels, ads, scripts, plays, short stories, poetry, social and political commentary, history, animations, digital books, prayers, all sorts of genres. I do it because I love to write.

I often go back to my past writings. More often than not, I cringe when I read what I had written. Sometimes because my thoughts were immature and sometimes because of basic language and syntax errors I had made.

Sometimes I cringe when I read what I had written because my perspectives have changed so much as I matured that what I felt strongly about, no longer matters to me. Other things have taken greater importance.

Some five to six years ago, I wrote a series of very (very) short stories called “Micro-fiction”. These are stories that are usually less than 200 words. I wrote these to convey a message in an extremely succinct manner. I had intended to compile a series of these, get them illustration and published.

I wrote a piece called The Masquerade Party which I revisited last night. This is one of the rare pieces that I still like very much reading it years after it was written. I edited slightly though, because I didn’t like some of the syntax and spotted an error.

So, here is The Masquerade Party, revisited 2013:

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 12.52.42 am

Span

Today caught up with sweet yesterday

They danced tentatively at first

Slowly Without them knowing

Rhythm snuck up

The dance grew faster

And raw

Until the eternal intervened

And brought them back

To the present

Where they belonged

Eternally

 

I’m working on 3 client assignments and looking seriously at 3 business ventures. Most times, I can juggle. This weekend, I couldn’t.

I had one assignment which was full on and I underestimated the time I needed to spend on it. Or perhaps I overestimated my abilities. Then I had another client who needed revision to a script I was writing for a video and she was sms-ing me well into the night. I have another deadline on Tuesday for a book I’m writing and yeah, I had to force myself to put that out of my mind.

So on Sunday, I spent 14 hours on the laptop. And for those of you who know me and my attention span, that is as probable as Mas Selamat turning himself in.

So at the end of the work day (I hadn’t quite finished but I was finished) my mind was buzzing and it’s now 130 am and I can’t sleep. I hadn’t drunk any coffee today so there’s no caffeine running through the system.

So, I needed to unwind. Tried Facebook. Didn’t work. Tried music. Didn’t work. Tried to cook. Too troublesome.

After spending 14 hours writing, I decided that the best way for me to unwind is to write.

Go figure.

I do enjoy writing.  Although I wish I had the guts to write half the things I think about.

Good night folks. 

“Oi”! she shouted at him.

It was a strange way to alert him of the beautiful rainbow.

He looked at her in annoyance.

She decided not to tell him about the rainbow.