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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

entry arrow9:45 PM | On Writing Challenges

My short story "The Flicker" -- which was something I wrote for LitCritters Dumaguete's most recent writing challenge (this time an exercise in horror writing) -- is in this week's issue of the Philippines Free Press, the one with Erap on the cover. This follows the publication last week of Nikki Alfar's wonderful "Adrift on the Street Formerly Known as Buendia." (Come to think of it, LitCritters seem to have a habit of following each other's stories in PFP. Last year, Andrew Drilon's story followed the publication of a children's story I wrote, which literary editor Sarge Lacuesta earnestly considered, despite the genre.) My story is coupled with Conchitina Cruz's poetry, and I found that a little strange since Chingbee's name and nickname is the inspiration for one character in my story (which would also feature several characters with distinctly familiar surnames ... Alfar, Kwe, Drilon, Simbulan, Yu, Evangelista, Osias, anyone?) "The Flicker" came about after I read Stephen King's unsettling "1408" a few months ago (a week before the film adaptation came out), and I wanted to know if I could venture into that kind of creepy, atmospheric writing. The truth is, most of my recent stories spring from challenges I give myself. Can I write science fiction? Then I wrote "The Pepe Report." Can I write slipstream? Then I wrote "A Strange Map of Time." Can I write absurd fantasy? Then I wrote "A Tragedy of Chickens." Can I do minimalist fiction? Then I wrote "Old Movies." (Right now, I'm asking myself: can I write crime fiction? The story I'm working on in that vein I've already promised to Kenneth Yu of Philippine Genre Stories.) The results to these challenges are sometimes successful, mostly not, but I like the feeling of having tried. It's a pain in the butt every time I read another writer/critic complain about the "lack of (or the death of) this and that" in our literature (e.g., "Filipinos don't write crime fiction...," "Where is the humor in our literature?..."), and I always end up arguing back: "If you're so concerned about it, why don't you just fuck off and write something?" Anyway... "The Flicker" may prove to be the only horror story I will ever write in this lifetime: the experience spooked me so much I couldn't sleep the night following the finish of that story.

On another note, the comics genius that is Andrew is joining the line-up of The Chemistry Set with his series, Kare-Kare Komiks. Check it out, and read Dean's post about it.

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