Trying to write fiction again

I’m trying to write fiction again.

This is harder than it sounds. My fiction and non-fiction writing styles are vastly different, and since I’ve been writing for print and online media, my fiction has been left by the wayside.

The last horror story I wrote may have been “All the Birds” for the anthology “All that Darkness Allows,” published by Summit Books in 2016.

I didn’t abandon horror entirely, however. That same year, I co-wrote the libretto for Gabby Barredo’s Opera upon the invitation of Erwin Romulo. It was performed by Ballet Philippines on the CCP’s Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater) as part of that year’s Art Fair.

The year after, I wrote Ilawod, a horror film directed by Dan Villegas starring super awesome actors Ian Veneracion and Iza Calzado, for which the former received the prize for Best Actor Award at the 38th Fantasporto International Film Festival in Portugal, which is all about “fantasy/science fiction/horror-oriented commercial feature films, auteur films and experimental projects from all over the world.”

A weird post script on the movie is that three different working psychics have told me that they think that the movie is one of the few they’ve seen that closely resembles what an attack of that sort is like. One of them actually uses the movie as an example in the classes they teach. Another said that they have a hobby of watching horror films just to laugh at how ludicrous they are, only to be surprised at how close Ilawod was to their reality.

I’m honored to say that even though I may have put horror aside for a while, it hasn’t forgotten about me.

Just this year, my Palanca Award-winning short story “Sidhi,” which appears in my first book Waking the Dead, was included in Kurata v hadí kleci (Chicks in a Snake’s Cage), an anthology of Philippine short stories translated to Czech. The anthology is headed by former Czech ambassador to the Philippines Jaroslav Olsa Jr., who has a passion for fiction.

Meanwhile, “All the Birds” was chosen to be included in the Valancourt Book of World Horror alongside horror writers all over the world whose included works will appear for the first time in the US. And there are other things, too.

To be honest, as of this posting, I have a grand total of four sentences in this notebook. But that’s four sentences more than zero, right?


Yvette Natalie U. Tan is a multi-awarded author of horror fiction and the Agriculture section editor of Manila Bulletin.