SDS 1.8 – Open Book

Co-stars of this episode includes: Avariel and Mintea.

Now, this episode had me thinking, should I write nicely or should I just say it as it is in Sarah form. Hmmm. And when I mean nicely, I mean in a semi generic manner without putting my take on it. However, then it wouldn’t be a Seriously Sarah posty so HECK THAT. New readers, those who don’t know my style, note that being ridiculous and chic-lity is my forte so that’s what you’re going to get. Oh for a MORE comprehensive general outlook for this event, Mintea has posted here.

This is all going to blow up in my face somehow sooner or later since I’m involved book-wise here and in the end, I’m SO gonna see these people once more but eh, whatever man. It’s not mean… Just CHIC-LITTY once you read what I mean.

SUPER WARNING: This is gonna be wordy as all heck.

The registration for All in! Young Writers Seminar at The Arts House actually started at 9.30am and I arrived that just a little before that which was pretty sad since I DIDN’T EAT ANYTHING IN THE MORNING. I thought, “Heh, maybe I’ll get something from Earshot Cafe or something” but uuugh, that opens at 11am(??) and that Avariel and Mintea were there telling me that it was going to start later. Well gee. Okay, that’s alright at least we were all early and not late!

I registered at the counter and then got a blue plastic file with the programme schedules and the bios of the speakers for the day including some paper for us to use to take notes with. Unfortunately (or fortunately considering my lack of breakfast?!) the first speaker of the day for the plenary session : Writing and the New Media: Redefining the Author/Reader/Text Relationship was cancelled as the speakers couldn’t make it due to something.

Alright, the first session was cancelled, no biggy and thus the organizers were nice enough to tell us that we could go and have the tea first while setting up for the concurrent sessions instead. The concurrent sessions were: The Age of Blogging – “Why We Write: The Future of Content-Creation” by Ivan Chew and Lucian Teo and Comics by Otto Fong and Jerry Hinds.

I stuck around for the Age of Blogging since I didn’t need to go for the comics panel.

For seriously, I’ve been to quite a bit of them and it’ll be like a rerun for me.

So thus after tea, it was time to sit down to listen to Ivan and Lucian!

I made sure not to wear something obvious for that day, like to show who the heck I was but MISSION FAILED! Ivan spotted me. BWUAHAHAHA. Oh yeah, actually I pretty much knew the info for the whole day but just that I wanted to see what were the discussions or questions asked since it was a young writers seminar.

What do these young writers want to know?

Not to be TOO utterly braggy but when I read the programme contents I was like, “Huh, I could actually do a panel at this seminar” but then I don’t think I could because I might be evil. OH before I go on, I’d like to say ALL the speakers were pretty good in giving advice to the audience and they are so nice and tactful and understanding.

And I mean REALLY, they’re good and nurturing.

No one’s paying me to say this but this should be a great hint of how evil I could be if I did a panel. Well, not that evil since I’d be polite enough to answer questions and people have asked me questions before so I’m not that evil, DON’T LET THIS CHANGE YOUR MIND IF YOU WANNA INVITE ME TO GET ON A PANEL.

Um, right.

Anyway back to Ivan/Lucian’s panel. They talked more about Creative Commons and other ways on how collaboration online could work and how blogging is like a way you can also showcase your stuff AND have other people helping out etc. Basically, don’t knock off blogging or online collaboration before you try it, mmkay? Soooooo many comments I could say when they presented but I was being a good girl plus, when I looked at the audience, I knew that I was going to be in for a ride.

For that guy was there.

The guy who asks rambling questions that I can’t get the gist of unless I wrote them down and disappears after eating the food.

In fact, he’s the reason why I have a “Please ask me questions in 10 words or less” policy because I’m a ditz who can’t remember long questions unless they’re written down. (I can answer long questions when it’s written but I can’t do it when it’s asked audibly because I’ll FORGET.)

In the midst of their panel, Ivan or was it Lucian, well one of them asked the audience who wanted to be a writer when they graduated and a bunch of them raised their hands up. The following question was something to the point of who wants to make money out of their writing or live on it or something and they raised their hands up too.


As stated, this was a young writers seminar and really, we could see hope bubbling in their eyes  as they confidently raised their hands up when asked that question. Joelyn says it best in the blog post here regarding the matter actually.

Some of the audience, I knew were gonna be trampled when the harsh realities of being a writer once it hit them with a 2 by 4 while the others I knew in that bunch were gonna be stubborn people who’ll make it work somehow. Still, tsk tsk, to think we were young and full of dreams back then like the young writers there and now we’re  the cynical biyatches of literature.

Hmm, that sounds like a good band name somehow.

We still write and want to make those dreams true but ya know, still cynical.

Anywho, the questions after the presentation that were most memorable for me for this panel was about copyright and creative commons. Check out what CC can do for you, it’s like giving people specific permission to use your stuff.

Next up was lunch so the three of us hit Funan to have some sandwiches at Delifrance. After lunch was a plenary session called New Media and Creativity – the Great Leveller? by Paul Rae.

It was interesting in a sense that it was to engage the audience into thinking, are all these media things actually good for us?

For sure we have access to Wikipedia and such information at our fingertips but do we actually use it?

Kinda like does hoarding books make us smarting if we don’t read it properly? So indeed, it was also a session that informed us how the use of spreading info with the use of  media helped in the past, present and perhaps how it could be in the future. So it’s like the pros/cons of how media could work.

And then another tea break! Amusingly that guy disappeared after the first session so oh well! Next concurrent session was about Online Journalism by Ravi Philemon and Quak Hiang Whai and Publishing and the New Media by Lance Ng and Sean Elwell-Sutton.

The three of us went for Publishing and the New Media.

I am so glad I went to that one even if I knew the contents of their talk.

Mr Darcy Sean is on the most left while Lance is on the most right. Just so you know they’re both publishers, Sean manages the digital publishing solutions for education and language teaching products for Cambridge while Lance is a romance book publisher at Renaissance while looking like a romance hero himself.

So Mr Darcy Sean presented about new media and the future of publishing in regards to the whole Kindle issue and electronic formats of books. It wasn’t specifically about ebooks but he did present about what more can be available too as they also publish online educational games.


I know he was talking about something something ebook contents and that their main staple of publishing is academical books and that Cambridge has been around for hundreds of years and they know what they’re doing. Also that it was informative and stuff that I knew from reading articles about e-publishing.

What I remembered was:

Ha ha, Cambridge, that’s kinda in the UK… Like where Mr Darcy is. He looks kinda like Mr Darcy and he’s a publisher. That’s so hot. I wonder how it would be like the scene where Mr Darcy comes out of the lake but more like the Lost in Austen version since I’m a modern day girl. This is inappropriate to think in a writing panel. I should pay attention. Oh here’s Lance’s turn now!


Okay, his presentation, I remembered because he had a power point! I remember things when they’re written down more also for the fact that he actually did state to the audience the process of how publishing works here. This was very good since what he said was SO totally true.

Heck, if you were wanting to know how to publish a book in Singapore, his presentation was pretty much it. Well, it’s actually the same thing what I’d answer so it was good he lay it out in a tactful way of saying, don’t quit your day job, if you want to write, WRITE but you won’t make the big bucks yet.

It was a process of manuscript to distributor and to post distribution. Since he’s a publisher, he did get reactions from his own writers that they’re too shy to go on tours around and book signings and such and to ME that’s appalling (of course to him also).  See, you actually DO need to go around to doing this and not be “shy” since you’ll need to be marketable else heck, who’s gonna publicize for you?

You may be a writer but after writing your story, it doesn’t just end there for you. There’s still much work to be done after that. You want to know more, go check out his website with the guides there. Just know it’s a tough stubborn process to get your book out and I know it from my experience too.

And then I zoned out and thought of dragonboat rowers paddling up next to Mr Darcy and how this would all fit in a romance book.


Then it was the last bit of the day with a discussion forum entitled: Career Options for those with Writing Skills and Aptitude to Write. I had no idea what this one was going to be about because remember? Cynical much?

Though vaguely, I was sure you can make money out of some freelance work in writing since yes, some of us do that but besides that? In Singapore… Not so much unless you wanna be a journalist or copywriter etc.

This session had Koh Juat Muay, Chua Hong Koon, Adibah Isa and Anita Prakash.

It was good because they laid it out what the options were and in the end, it summed up to: Don’t quit your day job. Well for fiction anyway. Anita Prakash was so good at this since she did say it logically to the audience who were those bubbling hopeful things that they needed to be sensible and all for our current market etc. You can do it but you need money to support yourself still.

Oh and that writing would still be a good skill for you in any type of job related to media or whatever. I agree with this because you still need your communication skills and it would win over anyone who has none at all. Lastly, there was just a tiny bit from Adibah that if you wanted to write travel stuff, go check out Guide Gecko, hahahah!

In the end, nothing I didn’t know since after all, it’s a young writers seminar for those who didn’t know nothing at all. It’s a VERY good seminar for beginners to know what on earth the obstacles they’re going to face. I hope to those who went, well it’ll equipt them with the knowledge that they’ll be facing that 2 by 4 of a reality plank to the face and they’ll be able to roll with the punches as they get on with their dream of being writers.

I’m mixing metaphors but heck that, write on, right on!!

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Well, this is seriously Sarah and that's all you need to know for now.

3 thoughts on “SDS 1.8 – Open Book”

  1. Did Sean have chest hair? I hate chest hair. Gotta have the important details in there woman! Dragon boats and Darcy so work. I think our next short story anthology foray should be historical romantic fantasy fiction set on the Singapore River of yesteryear. Preferably with characters who have lost their sense of smell. (I’ll do anything to avoid Ch 7. It’s driving me insane!)

  2. Hey Sarah, boy am I glad you blogged this post! I was searching for references to the talk that Lucian and I gave that day (wah, one year ago). I don’t think anyone else blogged about it. 🙂 Cheers!

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