Category Archives: Meta

For personal notes and asides, or posts talking about Novelr itself.

Novelr Hacked; Back Up Now

Just a couple of quick announcements:

1) Novelr was compromised for most of today and part of yesterday. Those of you using Google Chrome (or a browser with a Google search bar installed) would’ve likely seen a warning screen telling you to STAY CALM AND WALK AWAY. If you didn’t, and you visited Novelr in the past day or so, I must say that I’m sorry about this, and I recommend that you run a virus scan on your computer, just in case.

(You won’t need to if you’re on Mac, or Linux, but I suppose I don’t need to tell you that.)

2) I’ve hardened up security on Novelr’s WordPress installation. If you see something funny over the next couple of days, do feel free to drop me an email. For those of you out there with WordPress installations of your own, I’d recommend you install this, this and this plugin, and follow some of the guidelines in this document.

2a) I’ve been running WordPress for close to five years now, and must admit that I’m very annoyed with a day spent on hunting down exploits. Annoyed enough to consider switching to a static site generator like Jekyll … though I’ll probably have to put that off till when I’m freer.

3) I’ve implemented Disqus comments. As some of you probably know, the last week or so saw some pretty rabid discussion in the commenting section of Novelr. The Disqus system allows you to flag comments you find particularly nasty, and it allows me to collapse comment threads I have no interest in reading. My thanks to L. Lee Lowe, Jim Zoetewey, and Chris Poirier for helping out with some of the more ridiculous commenters.

The best way to complain is to build things. Let’s do that, and carry on.

Wednesday, 25 August, 2010

A Novelr Primer: All We Know About Web Fiction

I think it’s about time I made a summary of everything we’ve learnt about web fiction, at Novelr, for the past four years or so. This post contains all of Novelr’s work. Much of it is directed to the web fiction newbie, intended to bring new writers up-to-speed with all we know about writing and publishing in the form.

Some of these articles are four years old, and sometimes you’ll see a badly articulated idea refined through multiple posts. Looking back on it, I find some of my attempts rather pathetic, and also kind of cool – we’ve certainly come a long way since those early days of experimenting around the blog format.

I hope you find these posts to be of some use.

Why Write Web Fiction?

Web Fiction – The Format

This section contains ideas and observations on the web fiction form.

Designing for Web Fiction

Designing your web fiction site is probably going to be one of the most important things you do, second to the actual writing. Conclusions: the back button is your enemy. Do everything to convert the browser to a reader. Set a tone through design.

Writing Web Fiction

Some thoughts not included below: 1) some people recommend keeping a buffer of one or two chapters while publishing. 2) Talk to your readers while writing. 3) Find a posting schedule and chapter length that is best for your story.

Tuesday, 6 April, 2010

A Fear of Punditry

Novelr is four years old this year. Four years can be a long time indeed.

In the past six months a couple of things have changed at this site. Some of you – the older readers, I’m sure – may have noticed these changes. Novelr has begun to move away from helping writers write for the web, and has lately been posting links to, well, new-sy stuff. Things like the recent iPad launch, for instance, or articles on Margaret Atwood’s Twitter account.

This isn’t a good thing. I suspect one reason for this change has to do with the fact that there isn’t much left to explore about online writing. Novelr has done a fairly good job of connecting one good idea to another: there was information out there on how best to write for the web, how best to design for readability, and so it didn’t take much for me to constantly keep a lookout for the best ideas and to link those to the particular challenges of online writing.

Writers now know, more or less, how to write their fiction for the web. And if they don’t – well, they’ve got a decent chance at figuring it out. I daresay that Novelr has done a good job of teaching people these things. Writers ask each other for advice now, something that started here, and spread later on to other places. And many of the ideas that are in circulation in the community today were originally developed on this very site.

But Novelr is no longer needed today.

Or – if it is, it isn’t needed in its current form.

The easy topics have been written to death. For the past couple of months I’ve begun to feel increasingly uncomfortable as I’ve updated Novelr – I thought, rather, that I was starting to sound like a pundit. I don’t like pundits. I’m terrified of becoming one. Pundits tend to be more interested in complaining about things than in doing anything useful for the community. And for the large part – this is true. You don’t have to be a special someone to write about the state of the publishing industry today – indeed there are many people who’re already doing this, on their publisher blogs and the like.

I don’t want to sound derisive, but there are only so many articles on the future of publishing before you feel like tossing your laptop out the window.

What I want to do now, however, is to work on doing. On making things better for writers. Novelr’s had four years worth of good ideas all stored up in its archives – and it’s about time someone put them to good, coherent use. I want to do just that. We still have problems, after all:  problems that I believe – with experimentation – we should be able to overcome.

In the coming months I’ll be working on a startup called Pandamian. The site’s not up yet (it’s just a fancy splash page, at the moment), but we’ve started work on several interesting ideas, behind the scenes. Most of these ideas were taken from Novelr’s archives. Some of them will be released in the next two to three months. Others would take longer. The core philosophy, however, is that Pandamian will do everything in its power to make writers – particularly online writers – as awesome as they possibly can be.

But What About Novelr?

I’m far-sighted enough to know that Novelr will no longer be as central to the web fiction community as it has been, in the past. This may be a good thing, particularly so for web fiction. When it was first created, Novelr’s sole purpose was to figure out how best to present fiction on the web. I’m happy to say that we have figured it out, more or less, rendering Novelr’s original purpose – well, moot.

So two things will happen at Novelr. The first thing I plan to do is to compile everything we’ve learnt – and that means everything, or four years worth of ideas – into an ebook. In true Novelr fashion, the ebook will be available on the web, as well as as a pdf file. And the best thing about that is that I plan to make it free (unless, of course you read it and you feel like donating) – but I’ll be happy so long as you point new writers to the Novelr book, and tell them to ask good questions about the information presented within.

The second thing I hope to do is to write about what we’ve learnt, doing Pandamian. I’ll be honest here – I’m not sure how that would play out. Pandamian’s problems are large problems – problems like promotion and reader acquisition (ooh yes, I did just say reader acquisition) and big, thorny things like elitists filtering and community building and the like. I want to document the process – I’m not sure if it’d be helpful to the individual writer – but I think it’ll be an interesting topic nevertheless.

I’ve got a lot of work to do, soon. Till then, drop me a comment, or subscribe to Novelr for Pandamian updates. More stuff (on various other things) coming soon.

Note: this post has been edited after publication, for sentence structure and clarity.

Thursday, 24 December, 2009

A Simple Explanation

Imagine this: you’re a web fiction writer, and you’re approaching a publisher, or an editor, or a reader – a person who does not understand this thing that you do. You want to explain web fiction to him. You do not want to be associated with fan fiction (admittedly the bastard-child of the publishing world) but you know that there is this risk of association, especially so when you’re publishing to the web. What do you do? How do you explain this, simply and quickly?

Today I’ve gone and done up a simple definition site for web fiction. My hope is this: if you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to explain your work – repeatedly, say – fear not the ignorant man. Point him to the site, instead. I hope that this would save you the bit of time needed to explain your work; the same way it should prevent publishers from rejecting you as ‘fan-fiction’ material.

What Is Web Fiction?

Two more things.

First, I’ve asked a number of people about the definition, and most of them think that it’s fair. If it isn’t, or if there’s something that you think it lacks – feel free to start a discussion in the comments below. (Note: you may want to read Jan Oda’s excellent primer on web fiction definitions before you do so). My position, however, is simple. I believe that if a work is published to the web, it should be considered web fiction. There are two additional clauses in the definition:

  1. The work must be original. This clause was added to differentiate the field from fan-fiction, something that I think most of us would agree with. Web fiction is not derivative; it should be always original (in the copyright sense of the term, that is).
  2. The work must be written for the web. A tad puzzling, but we must remember that not all fiction found online may be considered ‘web fiction’. Take Google Books, for example. Google will soon upload a large number of books – some of them novels – formerly published under copyright law. These books cannot be properly considered web fiction, simply because they were not meant for the web. However, if an author takes a previously published work and takes pain to put it online, make it presentable for long periods of on-screen reading, etc; then the work may be considered web fiction (though, I have to admit – this is a loose interpretation of the above clause). I realize that I’m quickly approaching a thin grey line here – when is web fiction … web fiction? When is it an everyday novel? I do not know; and I do not presume to know at all times. I’m not sure if this definition will ever be all-comprehensive. I do know, however, that I recognize web fiction when I see it, and I expect that with enough time a reasonably bright reader would, too.

The second thing I would like to mention is how odd it may seem, to a reader several years down the road, that someone had actually taken the time to create this site. I certainly hope that this would soon be true: that in the near future, people won’t need a definition site like this one – that they’d know what web fiction is the same way you and I know what a movie is, or an EP, or a picture book.

Till then, pass this link to people who don’t yet know what Web Fiction’s all about. I hope this helps, and – lest I forget – Merry Christmas, everyone! Consider this Novelr’s gift to the community. Now off you go, and have yourself a very happy new year.

Tuesday, 1 December, 2009

On The Weblit vs Webfic Debate

Over the past couple of days, there has been some debate over which or what term we should use when we are talking about our work. On the one hand, we have writers who think that we should call our field ‘web literature’, or ‘weblit’; on the other, we have writers who want to use ‘web fiction’, or ‘webfic’. While this does seem like an unnecessary discussion, particularly so on the face of it, it appears to send quite a number of us into a religious rage, and so it would do to take these issues apart to explore them properly, if only for the sake of completeness.

Firstly: why settle for a name? The reason most commonly given is that a name serves to unify the platform on which we’re writing, making it easier to promote and/or find our fiction. On Twitter, these terms are particularly important: the hashtag feature of the medium serves as a community gathering point, and there should only be one of them in use (in order to prevent community splintering, word limit, etc et all). And so if we see promotion as a primary reason to choose a name, then it would be useful to note that we are really talking about two platforms on which said promotion occurs: normal web search, and Twitter.

Let us now look at the semantics of the two terms being proposed. I am particularly interested in ‘literature’ as it is used in the phrase, ‘web literature’. We must acknowledge that there are really two uses for this term in daily discourse. The first use (the one, I suspect, that is being adopted by the WebLit.us crowd) is the definition taken from the Oxford Dictionary: i.e. (any and all) works of artistic merit. This definition includes fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, and even certain forms of journalism (though this last category is certainly debatable). ‘Literature’ as is used in this manner can best be seen when a potential customer approaches a technical salesperson, and asks “to see the literature” on a particular technology. What we’re talking about here is that of ‘literature’ being used as a category, the same way that ‘prose’ is a category, and ‘photography’, and so on.

Thursday, 8 October, 2009

Utopia

An interlude, in which we find it helpful to imagine the future:

In the future of writing there are many websites. All the writers have one, like a new toy, or a fountain pen. They are easy to navigate, easy to read, nothing like the vacuous crap you sometimes find in the back-bowels of the present Internet. All the books are digital in this future, and all the books are published online (for free! – depending on author, the grouchy ones refuse, and so have less readers, and that serves them right -) or you can choose to buy them in Kindle/iPhone/pdf format. Some of these websites – design, tech and all, are run by the publishing houses. It doesn’t matter. The platform is intuitive and simple, and very transparent: new writers can set it up without reading even one line of code; they choose from a choice selection of basic web-fiction themes, all optimized to provide a unified, satisfying reading experience, and then they write. By golly they write! Gone are the days of the steep learning curve, the lonely writer piecing together the technology for publishing; gone is the code. There is no need for code, not in the future of writing. Everything is drag-and-drop. The barrier to entry for fiction publishing is effectively zero, the writer weeps for joy!

There are reader-centered communities in this future: review sites, filter sites; the interaction is instantaneous and warm and really neat. You can choose to chat about your favourite author (link to site included in discussion), and/or when you tire of conversation, you head over to the filter sites to choose from a list of editor’s picks. Everyone has a favourite. A favourite site; a favourite reviewer. You choose from the latest recommendations, and then you curl up in a corner of your sofa to read: laptop on pillow, head on hand. The hours go by. If it gets uncomfortable, and you have to go, you purchase the book for your phone and you grab the phone as you leave: for reading in the train.

Still later, you buy the book. The papers are crisp and fresh, and they smell good right out of the envelope, exactly like the old books of yore, of before Black Thursday – the publishing houses have converted the old printing presses into POD facilities. They’re very efficient now. Less paper is wasted. You customize the cover for your bookshelf – all your books look exactly the way you want them to, different covers, but embossed black spines. When you want to recommend a book, you shoot an email to your friends, or poke them in TheBigOnlineReadingRoom.com, and they say oh thank you we’ll see it later and they are happy because you send them books they like. Then you poke the author and write him/her a short note: thank you for that, it made my week so much better, and the author pokes you back, tells you that you’re welcomed, dear, it’s been a pleasure. And literacy programs are so much cheaper in the future of writing, your daughter buys all her books online, chooses her most loved ones for print, reads the rest on her phone, her PSP, her Kindle. One day, she tells you, she wants to be an author. And you smile now, you bring her to a computer, and you show her how.

Monday, 5 October, 2009

I’ll Be Liveblogging The 3D1D Event (Updated)

[Update]: Day 1 and Day 2 are over, and I’ve neglected Novelr quite a bit, but expect things to pick up once Day 3 is wrapped up. In the mean time, you can see the summaries for Day 1 and Day 2 here and here.

[Update2]: Day 3, the final day, is finally over. So I’m now back to blogging at Novelr. Will be posting a summary of the whole even on The Dispatch later.

MCM's WorkspaceJust a shoutout to everyone who’s into online fiction: this Tuesday (the 6th of October) fellow writer and webfiction-lover MCM will be attempting to write an entire novel in 3 days, in front of a live, online audience. Some of you may already know this, and are looking forward to watching him work his magic. For those of you who don’t, I’ll be working a Novelr special throughout that 3 day event – a one-time only liveblogging gig, over at The Dispatch. Hop over for behind-the-scenes commentary, novel-as-its-being-written analysis, and Twitter summaries throughout the 72 hours of live writing. This is a really cool way to be writing a book, made possible only by the Internet, and I can’t wait to get started.

(Edit: the image above is, by the way, MCM’s laptop, which will be his writing workspace for the next three days. He uses Pages, and then uploads his materials online.)

Wednesday, 2 September, 2009

On Novelr’s Downtime (And One Other Thing)

You might’ve noticed that Novelr was down for the tail-end of August. For a period of roughly two weeks, Stumbleupon sent 1000-2000 visitors a day to the site, and it wasn’t too long before the flood took up all of Novelr’s bandwidth. I’m really sorry about that, and I’ll look to see if there’s anything I can do to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

One other thing: a sprightly discussion has sprung up around my proposal for an online fiction format, and I’d like to say that there are quite a number of suggestions in the comments thread that I’ve never considered before. I don’t know how this is going to turn out, or if one such platform will ever come to light. But if you’ve got a suggestion, as a reader or a writer of online fiction – post it in the comments thread, and let the community hash it out. Our eyeballs will thank you for it.

Friday, 10 July, 2009

A Book Buyer Complains About Books-to-Movies

In which I lament the inability to buy movie books during movie season.

You know book-movies, don’t you? Yes, I’m sure you do. Most people don’t care much for them, and neither do I. But if there’s one thing I detest about book-to-movie conversions, it’s that every single time (and I kid you not about this) one such conversion is made, the cover of that particular book changes. And that happens like clockwork, doesn’t it? The publishers will decide – one month before the movie release date – that it would be best to switch the existing book cover into a bloody movie poster. Or a still from the movie. And then suddenly you see your favourite bookstore plastered over with these hideously moviedified books, all covered with a messy porridge of actors and faces and backdrops that can only come from a studio-sponsored photoshop, and it’s all crass and horrible and you wonder at the state of taste in the publishing industry.

What’s worse is that the original book covers are often works of art in their own right. Don’t believe me? Alright. Take Atonement then, by Ian McEwan.

Before:
Atonement
After:
Atonement after the movie

That first one was better, wasn’t it? And when the movie came out I hopped over to the nearest bookstore to find the book, but I came back empty handed. I did not want Keira Knightly’s face on my bookshelf, hot as she was; if I did, she would pop up in my head the instant I sat down to read … and the idea of having my reading experience shaped by a hot girl on the cover; no sir, not my cup of tea.

I have by now lost count of the number of times I have stopped myself from buying a book … because of a movie cover. I own a movie-cover version of The Kite Runner, and a movie-cover version of The Lord of the Flies (think: half naked boy holding spear looking at second half-naked boy on a leafy set that can double as the backdrop to Gilligan’s Island … hell, I should sell the thing as a novelty item on eBay) and they are by far the two most despised covers in my collection. They stick out like sore thumbs. I bought another copy of The Lord of the Flies, and I now keep the second one in a storage drawer, far from prying friends and curious relatives.

Oh and The Kite Runner? That one sits buried under the casing of my external hard disc drive. I think it makes a fine shock dampener.

This is a quirk, sure, just as even the best of us have quirks. But it is a quirk with a reason: I want my books to be as perfect as they can possibly be, and in this day and age where we consume most of our text on the Internet, the book is the last remaining proof that there still is care in this world, and good taste. It is the final bastion of loving typography, and new-paper-smell, and tight binding, and I want my books to be beautiful things I can own, and when I’m done I want to pass them on – to my kids, perhaps, or to friends and family (and yes, by gum – I WILL get them to read).

Just – imagine now, would you? You’re old, and the movie stars of today have passed on the way of Marilyn Monroe and James Mason, and one day you give your kid a movie-copy of Atonement along with all the other books in your collection. And your kid asks: “Who’s that?”

I fear for my book collection. I really do.

Monday, 25 May, 2009

Introducing Novelr’s Linked List

You may have noticed several new posts shaped like little notes between the longer Novelr articles today: these are from Novelr’s Linked List, which are supposed to point you to interesting pieces related to digital fiction. I’d been considering switching to this link/article format for some time now, primarily because I was getting really frustrated with the amount of good stuff coming my way that I couldn’t share with you either because a) there was too little to write about, or b) there just weren’t enough good links for a proper Bookmarked! post.

With this, I am officially reitiring the Bookmarked! category on Novelr, and will be pushing links through just the Linked List. There’s also a new Suggest A Link feature which you can access from the navigation bar (see: top right on every page), should you find something that you really, really want to share with the rest of Novelr’s community. I’m still working out a way to separate the Linked List posts from the article-only site feed, though: I’ve a feeling that some of you may only want to read the long articles on Novelr and not have links delivered to your feed reader. Sorry about that. Also: note that these short posts don’t have comments enabled for them, and that they’re removed from normal post pagination. 

Otherwise, it’s business as usual.

Thursday, 21 May, 2009

Too Many Commas

We interrupt your regular dish of Internet fiction commentary with a brief interlude …

I admit that I’m not happy with the latest writing on Novelr. I feel that it’s starting to become too stuffy; too pedantic. Of the past 7 posts, 3 contain arguments that lack clarity and structure, 1 is a note on a month-long absence, and all involve writing processes that felt much like shitting through a bloody anus.  Moments like these call for a close look at my sentence-level construction … and I realized that I was using far too many long sentences. Dammit! I say. Bad habit of mine … and in front of a live audience, to boot!

On Novelr, I realize that I’ve got periods where I write stuff that I’m happy with – even two years down the road – and I’ve got periods where I just can’t seem to express ideas in a clear, chatty manner. I notice, too, that these writus horribilis periods seem to coincide with the waning of the moon, and are always preceded by a chorus of howling wolves. (I, err, was joking). But allow me to put up a short style guide for future reference, one you can bludgeon me over the head with if I stray too far from the beaten path. Also, feel free to learn from my predicament.

The Novelr Style Guide

The following are several tenets that I shall attempt to maintain over the next couple of months:

  • This writer shall put a lid on multi-clausal, long-winded, over-comma-ed, unstructured, rantish sentences that, added together, create multi-clausal, long-winded, over-comma-ed, unstructured, rantish paragraphs. (Sorry – couldn’t help it … I swear that’s the last!)
  • This writer shall use short paragraphs as much as is feasibly possible.
  • This writer shall stop pretending he is writing for the New York Times. He shall be personal. And chatty. Oh yes, who doesn’t love a chatty writer?
  • This writer shall stop playing casual games whenever he thinks he’s got a massive case of writer’s block.
  • This writer shall ask good questions, and (hopefully) find unexpected answers to those questions.
  • This writer shall attempt to be funny. If he isn’t funny, then he shall at least die trying.

I’m not sure how successful this style guide would be, considering that I’m supposed to have developed a proper style by now. (I have, after all, been writing here for about 3 years already.) But then again I seem to lose my way after every major examination in my academic year. No harm going back to the drawing board, and hashing out that idiot of a writer’s block. I’ll let you know how it goes.

[Update]: Thought I’d add several other things that I’ve been doing here at Novelr. All of the above are writing-related issues, things that I’ve been grappling with ever since I took that study break late last year (yeah, I lost my sense of direction during that period, which should change … in a bit). But the ones below are stylistic decisions I made, on the fly, while producing this blog. See if you’ve noticed any of them:

  • Novelr is referred to as a separate entity. Never my community; always Novelr’s community. Never my writing; always Novelr’s wiritng. This is to remind myself that Novelr is supposed to be community-centric: the ideas and the discussions are Novelr’s, and hence belong to the community clustered around it.
  • There are three kinds of articles in Novelr: Commentary, Ideas, and Bookmarked! posts. Commentary is a post providing in-depth analysis of a 3rd party link; Idea posts are original content written specifically for Novelr’s audience; Bookmarked! posts are collected links that I think you’d find interesting. This is an internal categorization, mind; not something you’d find anywhere in the blog’s archives.
  • All posts must be edited at least twice before publication. Sometimes more after. If a large amount of restructuring is needed, the post will be updated with an (edited) tag attached to the title.
  • I try to respond to all comments all the time. Lately, however, this has been erratic. Sometimes you guys are better at hashing out an issue than I am, and I gladly take a backseat in such situations. 
Wednesday, 1 April, 2009

A Note On The Month-Long Absence

I think I owe everyone both an explanation and an apology at the month-long absence I took in-between the last two posts. I was working, for starters, and I had only nights to come back home and go online and do proper, web-fiction related work. But the real reason for not blogging at Novelr was because I was struggling with a couple of things that I’d like to share with you today, for luck. The short of it was that I was sick and tired of writing, and for awhile I was adrift in the sea of ideas that Novelr comes across for a day-to-day basis. But consider, for a moment, the fact that I think of myself as a fiction writer, and consider too the immutable reality that Novelr (and all of blogging) is an inherently non-fiction job. This might not seem like a major problem, not at first glance, but think awhile and you’ll realize that non-fiction is not the other side of the writing coin; it is a very attractive escape, especially for the fiction writer suffering from major writer’s block.

When I first started writing, I reasoned that the blank page was a beautiful thing; an invention that gave the outside world the inner workings of my head. I could give a gift of imagination - my imagination – to others; to allow them a smell of the flowers planted outside the palace of Samarkand, to give them a taste of stolen cloud, taken from underneath a flying monkey God. And indeed that was the ideal that I strove for, that little imagined place where both writer and reader could meet; not over ideas, but over stories and shared experiences.

But then take non-fiction, where you’re still writing, and you’re still using the same tools of the craft, but you’re not actually telling any story. I find that non-fiction is often a weaker substitute for fiction, in the same way some people may chew gum to make up for an addiction to nicotene; or watch porn to make up for a lack of human love. Writing essays and blog posts are easier; they’re instant gratification to the slow-release pleasure of writing a novel; they make you feel as if you’re still engaged in the act of writing, with one crucial difference: you’re not actually doing any storytelling. And we all know how much harder storytelling really is, compared to the direct, non-fiction electricity of ideas from head to hand. This could be one reason why so many novelists turn to essays in their downtime, between books. It could also be one reason why I’d been writing so little fiction over the past 6 months. And it was true, and it was painful – the crux of the matter was that between Novelr and my blog I didn’t feel any need to ease myself into the hard grind of crafting and telling a good story. And that was sad indeed.

I wonder now if writers like Malcolm Gladwell and Seth Godin write non-fiction because they believe in this lie. Or if they’d examined themselves as fiction writers, found themselves wanting, and settled for the still-respectable, instantly-gratifying joy of non-fiction. Because to me it suddenly seemed that if you were not writing fiction you weren’t partaking of the most powerful thing writing had on offer: the ability to take yourself out of time, to live beyond your years in the curls of your letters and the ozone of your paragraphs. I believe now that stories last forever; that only ideas grow old and die. And what I was doing, I found, was that I was writing so much non-fiction that I was putting aside almost nothing of myself for the timeless craft of the fiction writer.

So what made me come back? Two things, I suppose. The first was a 43 folders podcast, How To (…) Turbocharge your blog with Credibility!, a punchy, inspiring chat between two old-time bloggers that reminded me of everything I had started out to do when I first launched Novelr. But that’s personal, and you aren’t likely to identify with me on my reasons. It’s the solution to my second problem that I find worthy of sharing: I decided that no matter how much work I was going to do on Novelr, or how many essays I wrote for myself, I would always, always set aside some time for wrtiting fiction.

And the thought of this – the very idea of it – made me instantly happier. I’m sorry for the hiatus. But I’m back now, and writing again. Thank you for sticking with me.

N.B.: Have any of you struggled with this? Or has fiction/non-fiction been your one and only calling? I’m interested to know if anyone’s had similar doubts, and similar blocks. Drop me a line in the comments section; I’d be delighted to hear from you.