07 February 2015

TIPS ON WRITING YOUR STORY FOR URBANSKETCHERS SINGAPORE VOL.2

Hi all,

The sketches and stories for Vol.2 have been coming in. There are some very good ones and some that still need that extra spark to make it an interesting read. For those that need some work to make it shine more, we will give you a call. Or you can work on it some more and re-submit your story to us.
If you have yet to submit your stories, please go through this list to see if you have hit the key things that will make your story a better read and avoid the things that should not be in there.  Let's make this book a quality book with good art and stories that we can all enjoy reading:)

Key things to include:
  1. What is the name of this place? (This is the title)
  2. Describe the sights, sounds, smells here (if interesting). This makes your sketch more alive.
  3. Why does this place have special meaning to you?
  4. What is ONE INTERESTING THING YOU EXPERIENCED AT THIS LOCATION? This is the most important part of your story. So you MUST answer this. This part will be what makes your story JUICY.
    Eg. “I was in a gang fight here….” Or “I proposed to my wife here by asking her…” Or “a grumpy auntie runs this prawn meet stall here and she would...”  In short, give us the juicy details! Don't be stingy with the juicy details! This will be what makes your story much more interesting to read. It can be something non-dramatic and routine but give us a slice of life, like playing a video recording of what you did there. Bring us into the scene. Walk us through it.
  5. Are there any interesting facts about this place that not many know? eg. which food stall is best in this hawker centre. Give your food review! Small nuggets of information will make your story better.
  6. How has this place changed?
  7. How did you feel about it then? And now?
Of all of the above key things, the 2 most most important things are to 1) describe the place and 2) recount one interesting thing you did or experienced here (in some detail).


Key things to avoid:

1. DO NOT write like a historian or architect or an urbansketcher. DO write like a person living and experiencing the location in Singapore.
2. DO NOT just write about your memory of you sketching the location or going on a sketchwalk. We want to know how the location touched you during your everyday life while you are not sketching. The general public who does not sketch will be able to relate to that better.
3.  DO NOT just say you "used to come here everyday" and have fond memories of the place. DO tell us one of those fond memories in detail. We want to read that!
4. DO NOT submit sketches and stories of places that are just interesting to you. Visiting a place once and sketching it doesn't count as a meaningful location. DO submit stories of sketches with locations that have special meaning to your own life because you've experienced the location first-hand and spent a lot of time there in your day-to-day life. Think nostalgic places from your past (or recent past) that you have fond memories of. And tell us those specific fond memories.


Here are some examples of what we are looking for:


This is by Don Low:
Title: Geylang Lorong 27

Geylang, according to some, is a rich and colourful neighbourhood. The area bounded between Geylang Road and Sims Avenue, is interspersed with clans, places of worship, shophouses, offices, malls, and residences. Most would remember the place as a red-light district. I remember the location more fondly as one with lots of eateries. We used to frequent the “Beef Hor Fun” store, the “Tofu You Tiao” store, and one or two “Zi Char” places. My parents loved to go there for food too, despite the congestion and the crowd. When foreigner friends visited Singapore, Geylang is the place we would bring them for food. Besides eating, I would visit Geylang to sketch, more so recently for the last 2-3 years. Every time I was there, different things happened. This round, an uncle on bicycle pulled up right in front of where I was sitting and began to hurl loud but friendly exchange with apparently his pals at the table, who in turn nonchalantly returned the conversation as though this happened everyday. I don’t see this everyday though. This carried on for like 5 mins and immediately after the man on the bike rode off. I could see this as the opening scene to a movie or a drama series on TV. I spent the next 20 mins finishing the sketch.


This is by me, Andrew. There is nothing exciting or dramatic here. But I try to put in a few interesting details into the story to bring the sketch to life:

Title: BUONA VISTA JOGGING PATH

This is the start point of the jogging path that begins across the road from Buona Vista MRT station and runs toward Clementi. It’s part of the park connector network (PCN) and it follows a canal. If I start at this end, run to the other end and back, I would cover 4km and it would take me 45mins. I usually do that when I’m not too lazy. Whenever I manage to get there in the mornings between 7-9am, there would be all kinds of people already on the path. I would see elderly folk standing along the track flapping their arms and doing other curious movements in order to improve blood circulation (I assume). I would also see aunties with hats chatting with one another as they went for their morning stroll. And I would almost always see this caucasian lady with a bouncy ponytail, brisk-walking a dog and she would be talking enthusiastically on her handphone with her free hand for the whole walk. I would always imagine she was talking to her sister or good friend over on the other side of the world.

I’ve used this path for over 20 years. It has helped me get ready for national service, pass my army fitness exams, and help me keep fit in general. On many evenings in the past, I remember cycling to this particular start point, chaining my bike to a railing, and waiting for my good friend from the army to meet me. We would run at a relaxed pace and chat about what was going on in our lives. We did that for a few years before we started having kids.



This is by Chit Seng



Title: KTM railway bridge
Every time I pass by this railway bridge that cross over head in upper Bukit Timah Road, it brings me to my childhood days of riding the night train to Malaysia (Penang ) to visit my great grandma during Chinese New Year.

During those days, the train seats are not numbered. When it is time to board the train, everyone will rushed into the carriage and “chop” their seats. Those who fail to get a seat will have to stand all the way their destination.

One year, we could not manage to “chop” a seat. It means that we have to stand all the way to Penang! Luckily a kind young man let us children to have his seat. I remember seeing him standing near the carriage doorway on my way to the loo.

After the rail bridge, the train would pass Ghim Moh area. We live in one of the block just beside it. We would sometime go spider hunting along that track.
We missed the sound of the train when the Keppel railway station stop its operation.