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Why You Should Stop Playing Defense

Writers do it all the time. No, I should rephrase. Creators do it all the time. It’s almost natural – something we were born to do. And after many bouts of defense, we consider it normal. To be clear, I’m not saying it’s wrong. I do it too. I’m saying we should change our game plan – we should stop playing defense and start playing offense. Because only then, we can win the game.

Recently, I’ve been playing Clash Royale (#NotASponsor). It’s a live mobile game played amongst strangers. The tutorial of the game teaches players how to attack and defend their towers. However, playing defense will not result in a win. In order for the game to end – for a victor to be crowned – one must destroy the opposition’s three towers. The only way to win a game… is to attack.

In games as such, it’s almost considered dumb to merely play defense. How long can you keep the enemy at bay? Why are you wasting troops and strategy on defense? My dad once told me that in a game of chess, you have to think about attacking not just defending. When you start moving in on your enemy, your enemy will stop making offensive moves in self-preservation. Now, you’re in control. And when you’re dominating the game, it becomes easier to win. So then, why can’t we stop playing defense?

When someone criticises our work, leaves a not so favourable comment, or voices their dislike, why do we play defense? Why do we explain ourselves? Why do we make excuses repeatedly, without considering a possible problem?

Again, I’m not saying it’s wrong to be defensive of your work. I’m defensive of mine too – I always feel the need to explain myself, my actions, and my plans. But being defensive and never taking a constructive feedback into consideration is a silly move. If we’re constantly sweeping the problem under the carpet, we’re not cleaning the mess. We’re merely hiding it until someone else uncovers it. It doesn’t make anything better. And as creators, don’t we want our works to be better?

It’s time to stop playing defense and start playing offense. Always take a step back and evaluate every comment – good and bad. If there’s an obvious problem with your work, stop making excuses and fix it. If more than one person finds something odd, stop justifying and look into it. Defend your work, but learn to attack issues that are holding it back from becoming better.

Just like us, our work isn’t perfect – there’s always room for improvement. Sheltering ourselves from the truth changes nothing. Protecting our pride will not help us grow. If we want to improve in our craft, we have to start attacking. We have to accept we’re flawed. It is only when we stop hiding our flaws – embracing our weaknesses – that we become strong.

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Posted by on November 2, 2017 in Writing Journey

 

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The Hate In Art

Recently, I read an article about a young adult novel under fire by the YA twitter community. Influencers claimed the pre-released book was racist. They questioned the publisher for publishing it. Members of the campaign advised their followers to stay clear of it. And whatever good reviews it previously received… well, those were buried under a 1-star average rating on Goodreads. But, while I scrolled through the article – it was really long, so I skimped through – I found myself frowning. I frowned not because the book was supposedly racist – I frowned because I felt for the author. And after I wondered how she faced the criticism without breaking down, I feared… for myself. Reminded that this world is unafraid to voice its opinions – most of the time in a brutal manner – I was anxious.

Yes, we know not everyone will love our work. There’ll be haters. Many will bash the good out of our art. Some will even take it personally and attack us as creators. It’s a scary world we live in. And as much as we wish for harmony, kindness, and our faith in humanity to be restored, the reality stirs warranted anxiety. It’s something we, unfortunately, cannot avoid. So, I guess now’s the perfect time to say, we can change the world, right? Alas, I can’t say that. Because, we can’t. At least, we can’t change how people chose to respond. We can’t convince others to go easy on us. We can ask, but it doesn’t promise a kinder response. However, there is hope. Because amidst the hate, there is love.

Out of curiosity, I headed to the questionable book’s Goodreads page. There, I found an average 3-star rating. Outside of Goodreads, on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, it had an above 4-star rating. It’s safe to say, the heat it took prior to its launch didn’t burn it to the ground. Now, I’ve not read the book itself nor do I intend to -I’ve long past my teenage years obsessed with supernatural YA novels – but I’m glad. I’m glad for the author. Though the review section alternates between good and bad ratings, the book has its defenders. There are those who saw what some found negative to be positive. There are those who chose to give the author the benefit of the doubt. While I don’t dismiss the bad reviews, because some of them are objective, not all hope is lost for the future of this book.

Using this book as a case study, I realised how fleeting events are. No matter the intensity of a campaign, for or against something, it will come to an end. It has to come to an end. Though some crusades last decades, there’s always a finish line. Just like a ripple, its waves eventually abate. We cannot predict how long it takes, or when the remaining residue evaporates, but we can find rest in knowing it’ll end. And such is the case with hate.

I believe hate has no lasting throne. Despite its countless attempts to crown itself, through events, people, and circumstances, it’ll ultimately be dethroned. So the next time we find hate in a battle to take us down, let’s look at the end. Let’s find love in those who’d stand by us. And let’s not forget, that in time, it’ll be over. Hate may have the power to set us off track – detouring our dreams and destroying our passion – but hate can only do so within its short term. If we stand firm during it’s brief tenure, it’ll lose its power… and we’ll win the war.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2017 in Writing Journey

 

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Hangout with Me! #InksharesReviews

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Do you like to read? Do you love sharing your thoughts? Do you clamour for free books? 

Then mark your calendars this coming Saturday, 19th December for the inaugural Inkshares review-a-thon!

On this date, all authors and readers are invited to leave reviews on currently funding Inkshares books using the Inkshares “leave a review” option.

Everyone who leaves a review on December 19th by 6pm EST  will be eligible to win one of these fantastic prizes:
– Sword & Laser Contest Winners Package (print copies of the 6 winning books)
– Nerdist Contest Winners Package (print copies of the 5 winning books)
– An immediate pre-order of the book of your choice for 5 winners
– $30 in Inkshares credits

From 6 – 8pm EST, JF Dubeau and Paul Inman of the WriteBrain Podcast will be hosting a video live-stream (on YouTube) filled with author interviews (which includes me), review readings, and live announcements of prize winners!

Throughout the day, we’ll also be hanging out on Twitter in the ‪#‎InksharesReviews‬ tag as we share our favourite book projects, answer author Q&As, and much more!

Sounds fun? Feel free to email the event organizer, Cara Weston, at cara.c.weston[at]gmail.com to learn more.

Personally, as one of the authors scheduled for the live-stream interview, I’m really excited. Let’s just say I’ve never done this before, and I’m hoping I won’t mess up. Haha! So aside from winning awesome stuff, do tune in for the live-stream. I would love to have your support. I know the time might be a little too early for some (being in Malaysia, it’ll be 7am for me), but if it works for you, come and hangout. I know it’s going to be fun! See you then!

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2015 in Others

 

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We Are Definitely Not in Kansas Anymore!

Check out what this book blogger has to say about The Battle For Oz: Exitium!

Exitium is the first out of three parts in the complete novel. It can be downloaded HERE for free. If you wish to see the complete novel in bookstores near you, be sure to check out the crowd-funding project for it. I need all the help I can get, and your support would mean a lot to me 🙂

*Do note that the artworks in Exitium would not be in the complete novel.

Scale of Books

The Battle For Oz – Book one: Exitium by Jeyna Grace:

I think we have all, at the very least, heard of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A delightful children’s novel by L. Frank Baum. The novel has had countless remakes, movies and plays, it has inspired new stories and been the focus of many literary commentaries, not to mention its presence in various classrooms.

Is it not then refreshing to find a whole new take on this beloved classic? Is it not intriguing to find out what might have happened after the death of the Wicked Witch and Dorothy’s return to Kansas?

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I thought so, at any rate, when I started reading the first few pages of The Battle For Oz, Book 1: Exitium by Jeyna Grace. And in truth, that thought remained with me throughout. Evil queens, magic, monstrous guards, and a heroine or two? What’s not to…

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Posted by on October 26, 2014 in Others

 

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