Reading and Writing Novels

Myanmar non fictions on novel

Last week, I happened to immerse myself in these three Burmese books. They discussed about Burmese novels and storytelling but from different perspectives. It started with Yay Aye’s book named ‘What We Talk about When We Talk About Novels’. After reading it, I dug out similar two books by Ma Moe Myay’s two books: (a) Novelists and readers, (b) Theories of short stories and the art of creating them.

In Yay Aye’s super thin book, he talked about creating a novel from the beginning of ‘having an idea to write’ to the publishing stage. Here, he discussed about how Burmese’s publishing landscape is different from international. With a brazen assurance, the lack of editor(s) and their roles in publishing houses were presented. The writer concisely explained the important components of writing a novel: theme, setting, plot, atmosphere, structure, characters and style. Literary devices were briefly discussed, too. Although this book talked more about writing a novel, it also pointed out a few points for the readers, too.

For Ma Moe Myay’s books, I’ll be focusing on Novelists and Readers. The novels discussed in this book were the Burmese first novel, some renown works from Burmese literary scene and a few national literary award winning novels. So basically, these are old novels. Since this book was first published in 2009, I wanted to the writer to feature a few other works from new writers, too. Constructive information and analysis on these novels were presented but some points were pretty conservative for me. Nonetheless, it was without a doubt an eye opening read for me. Some of the opinions I had on old novels changed after reading this book. I used to dislike some classic writers for ripping off English novels and rewriting them in local theme. (I hate it more for not being honest about the original work rather than their attempt in localizing effort.)

I still haven’t finished reading Theories of Short Stories and honestly, I might dnf it. I’m in 2/3 of the book. This is my second read of it and despite its great content and intention, I was pretty bored. Possibly because the extensive information in this book reminded me of reading a school textbook.

All three books are from Kant Kaw Wut Yee Publishing House, one of the established publishers and they are definitely beneficial read. If you’re more of a reader like me than a writer, the two books I discussed worth a try.


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