Posted in Creative Writing, Musings In Fiction Writing

Look, Shooting Star! Or How To Build Up Suspense In A Story

First, let me tell you that this is not about sex. As always, this is about writing. But let’s have the sex rolling first.

Rex, of the male sex, and a freshman high school student, has been fantasizing about Lisa Arceño since they were classmates in elementary school. Although he still doesn’t understand the feeling, or even why he’s feeling it, one thing he knows is that looking at Lisa makes him ‘real hard.’ What is unclear though is how and why he gets ‘real hard’ when ogling Lisa.

‘Gee, I don’t know,’ Rex confesses to Blas, his classmate. ‘It really makes me real hard. Like. . . real hard, you know.”

Blas doesnt know. And neither do I.

Now picture this, if you may. Continue reading “Look, Shooting Star! Or How To Build Up Suspense In A Story”

Posted in Creative Writing, Personal Essays

To Problem Or Not To Problem

Is ‘problem’ a verb?

Apparently, yes. But only if you’re in the Philippines.

It’s a kind of Filipinoism that is generally accepted in informal conversations. There’s a popular saying that goes: ‘Don’t problem your problem. Let your problem problem your problem.’ The use of ‘problem’ as a verb, however, is frowned upon in formal writing and will probably get you a failing grade if you include it in your college essay.

But now, to the million-dollar question: Should we problem our problem?

Continue reading “To Problem Or Not To Problem”
Posted in Creative Writing, Flash Fiction

One Minute Late

The dawn approaches and a strange quietude heralds its arrival.

A wizened old man, panting and with his alchemist robe clinging to his frame like sagging skin, arrives one minute late outside the celebrated Muktar’s Portal and begins a one-sided conversation with the ancient oak door. As his whispered words slowly fade into nothingness, the only entrance to the great hall of Seludong Castle yawns open.

Two small steps later and he finds himself inside, forcing his instant awareness of a singular thing — the mighty hall is chillingly silent. An eerie stillness hangs in its lofty stone-vaulted ceiling like a thick blanket. The tapestried wall seems to sigh in relief because for once, the massive stone foundation is given a reprieve from echoing the incessant cacophony of sounds.

Gone now are the mighty roars and whiny laughter of warriors and fools; the booming commands and whimpering obeisances of kings and slaves; and the monotonic sermons and condescending chatter of priests and advisers. Gone too are the pitter-patter of all kinds of feet — the steady marching of soldiers, the dragging steps of prisoners, the sure strides of nobles, and the dainty footfalls of princesses.

He gazes past the two massive bronze pillars supporting the stone roof and looks upon the pedestal elevation on the marbled floor. Then his eyes, two tiny slits of blackness on a small, pudgy face, instantly narrow down on an enormous gaping void — once the repository of the transporter machine he himself had helped build when the sages of the kingdom foretold the imminent doom of the world.

And that time of doom is now, the grand sages proclaim.

We are prepared. He smiles, albeit a fleeting one.

For a moment he begins to marvel at the grandness of it all, marveling even more at the oppressive silence and emptiness in such a noble hall. But it only takes a single breath, a single blink of his eyes, before the gripping realization finally sinks in. The transporter machine is gone, along with all the people who knew what was coming.

They have left — he is alone, and the asteroids are arriving.


Posted in Creative Writing, Musings In Fiction Writing

Brevity is killing me.

Today, we live in a world of instants — instant coffee, instant food, instant sex… Instant everything. Our society has become accustomed to instant gratification, and if you make your sentences feel like journeys that require extensive travel to arrive at your main thought, it’s a surefire way to not get traffic to your blog or get zero interaction on your Facebook posts. At least, that’s what I have observed.

Continue reading “Brevity is killing me.”
Posted in Musings In Fiction Writing

Toilet Musings on the Re-readability of Fiction

Back when I was still active in online writing forums, somebody posted this question:

“As writers, how you do you deem your story “re-readable“, and how do you add this value to the story?”

I answered tangentially and rather sarcastically, “When I dream of the books I read, I re-read them.”

She replied: “To enforce the dream that usually slips memory when people wake up?” 

I answered back: “No. To check out which book made my pants wet.”

She was speechless after that.  Continue reading “Toilet Musings on the Re-readability of Fiction”

Posted in Creative Writing, Personal Essays


I used to be a voracious reader — no, an obsessive reader. I devoured books like a hungry animal. I was somebody who couldn’t drop his torpedoes down the toilet bowl without first reading something, sometimes making do with printed words on shampoo bottles.

In turn, my voluminous encounters with books have made me secretly dream of becoming a writer. But now that I have finally become one, I deeply regret knowing how to write.


Because now that I write, I am no longer able to read. I would pick up a book, read the first few pages enthusiastically and then suddenly lose the drive to go on.

If I can just spin the clock back to when I first picked up the pen and discovered the joy of writing, I would have gladly put the pen down, beat it to smithereens with a hammer and dance Macarena instead.

I just want to enjoy reading.


Posted in Creative Writing, Personal Essays

The Real Me

‘Live Free or Die Hard’ is an action movie with Bruce Willis in the lead role. The movie itself is highly forgettable but the title intrigued me. The way I understand it is that you either live free, with no boundaries or conditions, or you die hard fighting for that freedom. But after watching Julian Baggini’s ‘Is There A Real You?’ TedTalk, I had to rethink my understanding of it. In a sort of epiphany, I realized that a more befitting interpretation would be about emancipation from the abusively restrictive nature of the self.

Continue reading “The Real Me”

Did You Read The Fucking Letter?


when light is low

and it is dark


for then the shadow on the wall

would start to leap, and dance, and crawl

and when it senses you are near

it starts to twitch, and curl, and twirl

now if you see it stretch a formless hand

alas! it is too late; you have been warned!

when night is mute

and silence reigns


for then the whispering begins

that later turns into a scream

and once you hear the deathly sound

of this I’m sure, to hell you’re bound

to beg; to plead for help is out of hand

alas! it’s too late now; your soul is damned!

when light is low

and silence reigns

when night is mute

and dark is king




By reason of weird translation, many such instructions read like poem anyhow. — Brian Ferneyhough

Posted in Creative Writing, Personal Essays

Cacoethes Scribendi

Sickness, in almost any form, is not a usual thing to be desired. If you hear somebody say, “I want to be sick,” you’d almost always be inclined to tell him that he’s out of his effing mind. You’d even start to think that he might be suffering from an unknown mental malady since, as a matter of principle, only a sick person would want to be sick at all.

Today I badly want to be sick.  Continue reading “Cacoethes Scribendi”

Posted in Creative Writing, Musings In Fiction Writing

The Benefit of Two Chickens

What is the benefit of having two chickens fuck their brains out in a barnyard?

Answer: We get eggs for breakfast.

That is why sometimes, before I gobble an omelet, I would close my eyes, bow my head for a few moments and whisper a few words, ‘Thank you rooster. . . thank you dearest hen. Big thanks for that good tumble and now I’ve got myself an egg to pair with my sandwich.’

That was the answer I gave to a certain dude who asked me about the benefit of an erotic-themed writing contest. My writer’s group, San Docena, popularly known as Literati in Symbianize Forum, conducted an erotic-themed writing contest a few years back.

I wasn’t exactly sure what he was trying to point out. I assumed he was asking a rhetorical question, maybe subtly implying the indecency of such a contest.

But it got me thinking: Is there really a benefit? Continue reading “The Benefit of Two Chickens”