Craft Better Stories With These Seven Values

Man staring at a bunch of newspapers

Photo: Filip Mishevski

The only qualification I had when I first started writing for a living was an accounting diploma. That, and some six years of hairdressing experience.

So I was surprised to get a call from a local NGO about my mentorship application I had sent in just the day before. Apparently, someone like me—who’d blundered from one writing niche to another—did have something to offer the next generation.

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How To Get An Editor’s Attention

Woman on phone in office

Photo: Dane Deaner

I remember reading a travel magazine and browsing the list of editors and writers, wondering how I could secure such a sweet gig. I used to picture these writers as a team of handpicked talents, each so sure of their craft, writers who could fly to Myanmar and find themselves a story behind every temple.

I would later land one such job and learn that things weren’t so mystical behind the scenes. The writers had trouble coming up with story ideas, their work often met the chopping block, and the editorial team didn’t function as smoothly as I had thought it would.

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NON FICTION: What Writing Fiction Has Taught Me About Life

Stack of books

Photo: Fallon Micheal

What could I possibly learn from writing fiction? Aren’t I basically just making stuff up? What lessons even await me in the worlds of make-believe?

I had written for eight years before I decided to embark on my authorial journey, and I thought I knew everything when it came to this new pursuit, but boy, did I learn that I actually knew jack squat.

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UPDATES: My Story’s Featured In A Book

Illustrations of Stuart Danker's story in Money Stories From Malaysians 2

The illustrations for my story. They really do resemble me I think. Photo: RinggitOhRinggit.com

I guess this is the first time I’m being published for my unsolicited stories (most of my published work was commissioned).

While I’ve just signed another book deal for my cyberpunk novel titled Homecoming, it’s not set to take off until April 2021 or so.

Meanwhile, enter Money Stories From Malaysians Volume 2. A book project spearheaded by one of Malaysia’s most prominent bloggers, Suraya Zainudin.

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