Marisha Pessl

Writing Progress

Hello there! Turns out the phone reception is fine over here. And it’s been a lot of fun in Sawarna. Very relaxing. Sticking to the plan, I’m catching up with my writing here. Got ten pages on my notebook so far, which is a good progress considering I’ve left this manuscript for a few months. I’ve finally passed the halfway mark. I hope I can finish this next month at the latest.

As I’m writing the story, I’ve begun to realize that it’s true: you write what you read. I’ve been taking a few books as references. Marisha Pessl’s “Night Film” has taught me a lot about writing impersonal and distant characters, much like Sauron in “The Lord of the Rings”. Andrea Hirata’s style has also influenced me so much in terms of flow and inserts, especially in making sure things go light and fun. And lastly, this one’s come as a surprise, I’m referencing Gol A Gong’s “Balada Si Roy” to help me with male perspectives. I’m aware that Roy as a character is very hyperbolic and overdramatic, but I think he makes a great learning material.

I hope when I got home and retype what I’ve written, I’ll have reached the 20k-word mark. My target is 33k words, 100 pages. Who knows writing could be so mundanely administrative? Often I find myself writing useless stuff just to fatten up the word count. I’m gonna need one hell of an editing.

Meanwhile, I also have to finish Chenpionships when I get home. I’ve reached the minimum word count requirement, but my story is still far from finished. I don’t know how I’m gonna get this done by the end of January. Wish me luck!

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My 2013 in books

It’s that time of the year where I wrap up all of my reading experience for the last 12 months. My Goodreads reading challenge was to read 52 books in 2013. It was quite difficult in the middle, and it looked like I was about to fail. But I managed to catch up (and maybe cheated a bit) and ended up reading more than 52 books! Here’s the list!

1. Enderverse books by Orson Scott Card
I finally finished all the books in the series. The ones I read in 2013 were: Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, Shadows in Flight, A War of Gifts, Ender in Exile, First Meetings, Earth Unaware, and Earth Afire. Duh! Greatest sci-fi series ever! Didn’t review the books, but I did review the movie here.
2. Star Wars, Lost Tribe of the Sith: Precipice by John Jackson Miller
3. Lupus Kecil: Sakit, Lah, Dekh, Donk, Weew! by Hilman & Boim
4. His Dark Material series by Philip Pullman
The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass, Lyra’s Oxford, and Once Upon A Time in the North. Somehow better than Harry Potter. Basically about a child trying to stop her father from killing God.
5. M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman
6. A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin
A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons. Best epic ever since The Lord of the Rings.
7. Inferno by Dan Brown
8. The Fuzzy series by H. Beam Piper
Little Fuzzy, Fuzzy Sapiens, Fuzzies and Other People. Classic sci-fi.
9. Balada Si Roy series by Gol A Gong
Book 1 and 2
10. All the Wrong Questions series by Lemony Snicket
Book 1 and 2. Always perfect. Lemony Snicket rarely goes wrong.
11. The Naked Traveler by Trinity
12. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
JK Rowling is in love with crime fiction.
13. Sci-Fi 1.0: Kumpulan Cerpen Fiksi Ilmiah Indonesia edited by Ismanto Hadi Saputro
Bad. Really bad. I was embarrassed to read this.
14. The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis
15. Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
Because proper authors write fanfictions too.
16. Every Day by David Levithan
17. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Great book. Truly. I was honored to ever read this.
18. Abarat series by Clive Barker
Abarat; Days of Magic, Nights of War; Absolute Midnight. Only reviewed Absolute Midnight here.
19. Night Film by Marisha Pessl
EVERYBODY MUST READ THIS BOOK. And her debut novel too.
20. Ranah 3 Warna by A. Fuadi
21. Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
In fandom words, it’s an Islam!AU fantasy.
22. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
In fandom words -oh fuck it- every fangirl must read this, really.
23. James Potter and the Hall of Elders’ Crossing by G. Norman Lippert
24. The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L’Engle
Review here.
25. Attack on Titan series by Hajime Isayama
Japanese manga, read volume 1 to 12.
26. Dragons in the Waters by Madeleine L’Engle
Review here.
27. Divergent series by Veronica Roth
Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant. Review here.
28. Bossypants by Tina Fey
Review here.
29. Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer
Review here.
30. Mango Seasons by Michelle Cruz Skinner
Review here.
31. Fantasy Fiesta 2010: Antologi Cerita Fantasi Terbaik 2010 edited by R. D. Villam
This anthology gave me so much hope for Indonesian fantasy genre.
32. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Review here.
33. Across the Universe by Beth Ravis
Book 1 and 2. Somehow reminds me of Divergent, except it’s better. As a matter of fact, I’m in the middle of reading the sequel (third book) now.

And I thought I was busy! Turns out I wasn’t that busy to miss these 50+ books. It’s been a great year of books for me, cos it feels like I’ve been catching up. I used to read a lot, then somehow I stopped reading as much, especially when I started to work. But now I’ve caught up and it feels glorious to be back in this familiar sphere of words. Not only that, now that I can finally afford to get books on my own, I’ve been shopping a lot!

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Books I bought in 2013. More are still coming, will arrive on my doorstep next year. And I actually forgot to add 2 books to the stacks. Some are still wrapped. They’re all over the place right now cos I’m running out of shelves.

As satisfying as my reading experience has been, some books are still bad. So I made a mini personal awards of my own.

Best Book of the Year: Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Worst Book of the Year: Sci-Fi 1.0: Kumpulan Cerpen Fiksi Ilmiah Indonesia edited by Ismanto Hadi Saputro
Best Fantasy Book of the Year: A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin
Worst Fantasy Book of the Year: Sci-Fi 1.0: Kumpulan Cerpen Fiksi Ilmiah Indonesia edited by Ismanto Hadi Saputro
Most Recommended Book: Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Most Recommended Collection: Abarat series by Clive Barker
Most Overrated: Inferno by Dan Brown
Most Underrated: His Dark Material series by Philip Pullman
Most Favorite: everything in the Enderverse of course ♥

I think that basically summed up my year 2013 in literature. Reading 52 books in a year has been really hard, I don’t think I’m gonna do it again next year. I think I’ll just stick to at least 12 books and focus more on writing stories of my own and book reviews. It’s time to slow down and relax. I got a couple of half-finished manuscripts and I have to submit at least one of them to a publisher before April. Just a personal goal of mine. There’s my literary wishlist of 2014 too, so yes, I’m still going strong on building my own mini library. I want to read non-fiction more than fiction though next year, just so I won’t get bored.

This is just the beginning, my friends! In 2014, I read less, but in a way I also read more. I want to contribute a lot more in regards to books, since now I’ve realized that it’s the only thing I gladly work on without any complaints. Many great books are coming in 2014 and I hope I’ll get to discuss them with you.

Keep reading, folks. ♥

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Favorite Title

Day 28 of the 30-day book challenge


Click pic for Goodreads page

To be very honest, I don’t remember what this novel is about anymore. Noora gave it to me a long time ago and I thought the cover was really pretty. I think there’s something about a lonely girl, being puzzled over his weird dad, at the same time trying to solve a murder mystery. I may not remember the full story, but I remember feeling good and confused when I finished reading it. I need to reread it again.

The title though. Often I’d stare at the cover for minutes trying to figure out what the title really means. It’s that kind of curious title that leaves you lingering, thinking that you got it, only to be confused again moments later. I don’t think I’ve ever found any title as intriguing as this.

Marisha Pessl recently released her second novel, Night Film. It looks very promising. I can’t wait to read that too. ^^

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