"A writer and nothing else: a man alone in a room with the English language, trying to get human feelings right. " ~John K. Hutchens, New York Herald Tribune, 10 September 1961

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

Just wanted to take this opportunity to wish all our readers and members a happy new year! Hope you hold true to whatever resolutions (if any) you make on the cusp of 2009.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Kapow! Bam! Splat! Introducing the Millenials...

From what started as a casual discussion of impending milestones for our members approaching 1,000 posts and a suited name for them (we settled on the "Millenials", courtesy of one of our only members who's reached the coveted spot, JC), and an elaborate comicbook type plot perpetuated by the aforementioned member, the idea has taken root and is now blooming into a full fledged comic strip idea, to be featured on our website once the characters have been sketched out.

For now, there are just two three four in the Millenial gang - Justice Jalal, the Mpress, Sahylar and Darth Noor (a shoutout to Star Wars fans everywhere!) - however, they will soon be joined by Imaginary and clarice - the purple princess. Our members have been alarmingly good sports about this, and have accepted their "millenial" names as their forum personas.

So while the Millenials mayn't be making their first official appearance until after the E-Zine debuts in mid-late Jan, 2009 they will be seen sometime after that.

What do you guys think about the idea? Interested, curious or turned off entirely at the idea of literary superheroes battling it out with the worst enemies of writers everywhere? Comment away!

Edited: To include S and DN, our latest Millenial(s).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Readings on hiatus until New Year

Due to the combined workload of the e-zine editing and coordinating the first transcontinental, Internet meeting, any subsequent readings held in either Islamabad or Karachi have been pushed back to somewhere in 2009.

As always, if you're interested, send in the material to readings@desiwriterslounge.net and it will be featured on a first come, first serve basis.

That's it.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Look, Ma! I'm here...and here...AND here! Ain't life grand?

Planning is moving forward for the first international meet of Desi Writers Lounge, pushing back boundaries of distance and geographic location and spanning continents, this is by far one of the most elaborate meetings ever. Getting everyone to the location is a Herculean task in of itself, everything else will (hopefully) fall into place.

Meanwhile, polls have started going up for the next e-zine issue, planned for July, 2009 with polls ending on April 15, 2009. January and July seem to be our publication points. It goes without saying that the editing process has been streamlined to incorporate the varying times and availabilities of our editors and their accompanying wards.

Publication is slated for mid January of the new year.

As for the much touted transcontinental meet, it comes to be December 25 on man's greatest invention: cyberspace.

We'll let you know how that goes!


Monday, November 24, 2008

New E-Zine, New Rules

Here's the thing: editing began close to 9 days ago for three of our editors, while two are pushing back their dates until they become fully available to their wards. So whereas some of our shortlisted candidates may have heard from their editors, there are some among that list and new candidates that have yet to be contacted because their editors are a little busy.

Obi should get in touch with his wards by Tuesday, and Shehla aka "Clarice" will be available from Dec 1 onwards. Editing concludes January 16, 2009 so you guys won't be lagging behind too far.

Meanwhile, work is continuing on streamlining all pieces that are being edited. It's going to be sad to see any of the material go down the drain, which might also happen if the editors don't hear back from their respective wards soon and so aren't satisfied with the final outcome. Be warned of their wrath!

They hold the future in their hands...


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pieces Shortlisted, Editing To Begin Shortly

Heads up, peeps! The pieces for inclusion in the e-zine have been shortlisted and the members will be contacted shortly both in terms of what they can expect from the process, and to the fact that this musn't in any way raise their hopes. Much along the lines of the last issue, no piece is finalized until after the edit. If, for any reason, the piece is found lacking either by its editor or the Chief Ed or both, it will be struck from the issue no explanations. We ask our members and all involved to respect this decision.

As we've discussed; each piece needs a massive edit to make it into the 'zine, and nothing's safe. Work hard with your editors, and they'll work hard with you; it's a give and take relationship so make it work. Writers who cross poetry/prose boundaries will be working with different editors, so chances are if you're a poet who doubles as a prose writer or vice versa, you'll be working with two or possibly three different editors at one time. We expect you to make it work.

Editing will begin either Saturday evening or Sunday morning spanning for two months and ending in mid-January; publication is still slated for January '09.

G'luck, g'luck!


Saturday, November 8, 2008

E-Zine Structural Changes

Editing has yet to begin, but that's mainly because we've put a new policy in place for e-zine selection. It took us 3.5 hours last Sunday to go through only two sections (The Abstract Thinker and The Poet), even though we left no room for idle chit chat. Because of the large quantity of material we had to deal with in this 6 month term, we've realized that maybe a meeting is not the best of ideas to get the job done. Enter Google Docs. Our resident "editor in chief" has put up an excel document that trajectorizes who voted for what, who's responsible for what and in general, where they're at in the editing business. It's a transition from the way we worked to the way we will be working from this issue onward. It'll be helpful to know where the individual editors stand on their individual pieces so when the executive call comes around, the chief ed knows what to do.

Meanwhile, please know that because your pieces have made it past Round 1: Selection and into Round 2: Editing, this does not necessarily equate that they'll make it into the e-zine itself. If the pieces are found to be lacking in any way, or the editor feels the end result was not satisfactory, they will be stricken from the issue. There are some that have already been sidelined, and are subject to a substantial edit to be given e-zine accreditation. Please know that this is all subject to quality only, and it's not personal.

Having said that, once everything is finalized and we're ready to launch Phase 2: E-Mentoring, the respective authors will be introduced to their editors and the editing will begin.

Publication of Volume 4 is slated for January, 2009.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

DWL Karachi Reading

Our Karachi chapter has arranged for a proper reading this time around, where you'll need to bring something to read although it isn't necessary. Expect many participants to bring something, however. But hey, no pressure! Details are below:

What: Desi Writers Lounge Karachi Reading (officially, it's the first reading)
Where: Cafe Avenue on Zamzama
When: October 20, 2008 @ 6 pm (Updated)
RSVP: If you're a 'Lounge member, head over to the Coordinations, Coordinations board and leave your mark. if you're not a member, email in to readings@desiwriterslounge.net and we'll address your queries.

That's all for today, folks! Hope the Karachiites will see it fit to mosey over to the rendezvous point and engage in some fruitful intellectual banter. We've been told our readings are anything but boring!

Update: The meeting date has been bumped forward due to unforeseen circumstances for non attendance by some regular members.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Consensus & Review Pushed Forward

Due to the wealth of material the editors need to read through, I've pushed the date of our meeting forward by close to a month, which of course means the editing process will begin a month later and end a month later.

Though we'll try for a December 31 publication date, Volume 4 might see the light of day some time in the first week of 09. We're committed to quality, and there's a lot of material to wade through.

As you can see, we don't take this task lightly.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Polls closing and Eid festivities...

Now that Eid has formally been announced, a very happy Eid to all our members and to the readers of this blog, if you celebrate it that is! Otherwise, it's just another celebration.

In other news, polls have officially closed and votes will be tallied up along with holding an independent ballot by our moderating and editing board. Results of that will be discussed at length, a finalized list of pieces compiled and the associated authors contacted. Of course, just because you've made it into one phase of the polling stages, doesn't necessarily mean you'll be in the e-zine. It simply means you've made it into that phase. :) We're very picky, and with each e-zine issue, our focus on quality becomes more acute and more necessary. Striving for publication for our members is a very real dream, and we know all what's needed to get there. To that extent, we ask our writers to work with their assigned editors. For the next two months, these people are going to be your confidantes, your friends and the dragons breathing down your necks all rolled into one!

We know: it's not a pretty process. It never is. But we guarantee it's going to be one helluva ride, and the end result...well now, that's just going to be dandy!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Closing Poll Dates

Polls will be closing on September 30, so now's the time to vote. So far, we've received a very healthy response. A lot of people have been voting in terms of what they'd like to see in the e-zine. Nice to know democracy still works.

The recent attack on Marriott in Islamabad, has a lot of us worried for the safety of our friends and loved ones in the capital city. However, from the reports we've been receiving, all of them are (thankfully) safe. We just wanted to give a head's up to any concerned party.

Meanwhile, if you haven't called the people closest to the accident (F-6, F-7 and F-8 sectors in particular), now's the time to call and ensure their safety.

We hope everyone is safe and sound, enjoying the comforts within their homes.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Of Submission Dates and the Future

We, at the Desi Writers Lounge, otherwise known as "The DWL Mod Squad" are patting ourselves on the back for an intelligent foresight. What is this amazing realization, you ask? Submissions for this half's e-zine and fourth issue, are closing today (September 15, PST). With over 9 pages of poetry and three odd pages of prose to go through, our work is cut out for us.

In other news, we're going to scour all present and past material for possibilities of publication. Yes, that's right...we're thinking of compiling all the really brilliant content together, into a book or collection of short stories, and approaching local publishers; thus realizing the dream we dreamed a little over four years ago, of having our names as a collective, in print. In addition, we'll be living up to our mission statement on our frontpage!

Who knows? Maybe somewhere down the line, we'll actually own our own writers cafe? Baby steps, though, baby steps.

That's it for this week's update...apologies for it coming after two weeks, but things have been hectic. That's a good thing, in case you were wondering!


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Reading Series & E-Zine Dates

Apologies for the lack of updates but we've been busy at the Lounge, what with the polls going up and all. This half promises to be chock full of a lot of poetry; writers seem to be a dying breed, and what few there are, are either suffering through massive writers' blocks or are in between pieces or finally, just plain lazy to put up their most recent work. We hate you all! :)

Our present reading series, being held in Islamabad, will be concluding in March 2009 (coming full circle), and we'll probably have two more readings before then. As to whether or not we'll continue the series remains to be seen. One of the moderators and key organizers of the reading, will be moving to Karachi on a permanent basis, so it's a case of the 'ifs and maybes' for now. We'll keep this space updated, however, as things progress.

Meanwhile, polls are going up with an expiration date of September 30. The date by which new pieces will be considered for inclusion into the fourth issue, is September 15. The interim two weeks will then be plenty of time for the bulk of our membership who chooses to mass-vote at the end.

Questions, comments etc? You know where to put 'em!


Monday, August 18, 2008

E-Zine Season Swings Around at the Lounge

September 15. That's when you can no longer submit your work for the 'zine. Why? Keep reading.

September 30. That's the date when all polls on pieces (from December 6, 2007 onwards) close.

The interim two weeks give our members enough time to comb through pieces and vote for whether they think the selected should be among those who represent the site for the next issue. We've chopped down our issues from three to two (from quarterly, to biannually) and increased the editing period.

Whereas previously, our e-mentors and associated writers only had a month to shape up the material, now they have two. More time, more chances of spotting mistakes and less reason for me to cut whole pieces out of the running, before going to publication.

See? This way it works out for everyone!

If you're interested in having your work considered for inclusion, and you're not a member, register and start putting stuff up. You only have till September 15, after all! And then September 30, all polls close.

Confusions, questions, comments? Post em!


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Celebrating our 4th

We turn four today (August 6) and as a community, we have come incredibly far. The present Orkut Desi Writers community is merely a ghost of what it used to be ye olde glory days. When we said goodbye, it turned more into a platform for advertisement as opposed to a place where serious writing could be done. Almost all of the present Desi Writers Lounge veterans are no longer affiliated with Orkut, and though our allegiance to the brand that is Desi Writers remains in tact, our loyalty to the community as it stands now, with nothing but our posts to prove we were once there, is questionable. And yet, without it we wouldn't have forged the relationships we built during those formative years. It was our home for a year, before we realized it was destined only to be temporary, and then another year before we finally moved. Desi Writers Lounge itself, is a little over three years old since it became a domain name, about two when it became an identity.

When we turn five, we're thinking of doing something extra special. After all, we'll have been together for half a decade. Surely that merits some kind of response, right? Ideas for the bash are welcome.

Meanwhile, the planning for the grand international meeting/reading continue, as a tribute to incorporate our members stationed out of Pakistan and who can't physically participate. In the end of course, it'll be up to "the administrator" to make it happen. But it will happen. Admin's committed to it, see. The last time that happened, the Desi Writers Lounge was born. Pretty decent track record, dontcha think?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

DWL Karachi Meeting & Reading

Looks like our Karachi chapter has begun its activity. Our members in the city met up for dinner and drinks at Ciao. A full account of how things went, is available here. Great stuff, and an impressive crowd. Seems the readings have build up something of a buzz about the site, which was admittedly, something we were looking for.

The city's first ever reading will be taking place on August 3. Details follow:

When: August 3, 2008 at 7.00 pm

Where: DHA Club, Phase 2

Who's Invited: Anyone who likes to read and write, and a) wouldn't mind critiquing the work of others, b) would like to read out their own material or c) just wants to participate.

Reading Deadline (by which pieces must be received): August 1-2, 2008. No later, because it'll naturally be a scramble.

Contact: readings@desiwriterslounge.net

Please note: This might well become a permanent thing in the city, and while we can't guarantee anything, if your piece doesn't make it for the deadline, it might be addressed in the next reading. We're still following the "no piece goes unread" policy.

So note the information above, and start sending in your stuff. We're hoping our Lahore chapter opens up soon, too. Then it'll really be a party!



Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Of meetups and other events

Our third reading was a scramble in some bits, but went through without a hitch in most parts. We had no short stories at all this time, and between three poems and one very highly charged political piece, which was debated at length, our reading hit a new high.

An attendance ranging from some old established reading participants to some newbies to a new introduction altogether, we had a good time.

There are two more events I'd like to announce, however. The first is a play by one of our moderators: Osman Khalid Butt, who we've referred to here as Obi in the past. He's directing a play entitled Superstar, Avatar and if the buzz around is any indicator, it's the best play done so far. Show starts at 7.30 pm (last one's on July 26).
Tickets available at both the Islamabad Club (where it's being staged) and Illusions.

The second event is a meeting for the Karachiites. At long last, we've generated some buzz of our own around the readings and the other cities have begun waking up. Although not an "official" reading, I can't guarantee that no reading will be done. Consider it an informal get together / meeting of the minds. Details below:

Where: Ciao on Zamzama

When: July 25 @ 7pm

RSVP: readings@desiwriterslounge.net

At best, you'll get to hear never-before-seen stuff of our members. At worst, you'll get to meet our members in Karachi.

No harm, right?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Formal Invitation

What: Desi Writers Lounge Reading Series - #3

When: July 20, 2008 -- 5pm sharp

Where: Cafe Incantare (basement Pizza Hut, F-10 Markaz, Islamabad)

Who's Invited: Anyone who writes, reads and is willing to offer a bit of feedback on someone else's work, or present their own.

RSVP: readings@desiwriterslounge.net

Reading (Pieces) Deadline: July 16, 2008 11.59pm

Note: Bring along a friend if they're interested. Pieces must be emailed in to the above address by the deadline. If sent a minute later, it's fodder for Reading #4. Questions or comments? Post away.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Preparations, Preparations

We did take a trip down to the Academy of Letters. However, for now, at least until peak heat summer time dies down in Islamabad, and generators aren't so much a necessity, we're looking for alternative venues. We'd decided on Cinnamon Cafe's Cigar Lounge but were thrown off when they told us they closed after lunch and reopened at 7.30pm, which is usually when our readings end. We can't have our readings running on especially since Monday's a work day for a lot of our attendees.

So now it's a toss up between Civil Junction or Khiva, both of which we'll scope out tomorrow to see the lay of the land. We've usually held our Islamabad meets at CJ, but due to its recent closing for redecoration purposes, haven't had the chance to poke our heads in there. Hotspot's out of the question, if it were ever in the question, because we'd have to take it outside, and it's far too hot to be sitting out there. 5pm on the new time means 4pm by the old time, and if memory serves, waay too hot.

So we're evaluating our options.

However, the deadline's still withstanding our indecisiveness and if you're interested to read out your stuff, mail it in to readings@desiwriterslounge.net. We're serving pieces up on a first come, first serve basis and if you send in your stuff before the July 16, 2008 deadline, you'll secure your place in this reading.

Realizing this is a series, I'm wondering when the first series should end. I'm thinking some time at the end of this year (November/Decemberish). We should plan things differently for the next series, or series in the plural. If we average about one every two months, we're looking at around 1-2 more by year's end. Meaning we'll have done about 4-5 readings. Not bad. Not bad at all.

The E-Zine selection process will also be starting soon, with the polls going up on all pieces. This time around, we'll be dedicating two months for editing to take into consideration the time of both our editors and their writers. Look for them in the next few weeks. A tentative e-zine publication date's been set for October/November around the time our first reading series ends.

If you'd like to take a look at our last e-zine (Vol 3), check it out here and if you'd like to be included but aren't a member, register here.

That's it!


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Desi Writers Lounge Reading Series: It Continues...

I think we've successfully managed to prove that we here at the Desi Writers Lounge are dedicated to this reading series. Our next in line will be held on July 20, 2008.

Interested writers must send in their material no later than July 16, 2008 to have their material featured in this session. Material received after this date, will be featured in our next session instead, for which dates and timings will be confirmed after July 20.

All material must be mailed in to readings@desiwriterslounge.net and remember to forward this address to anyone you think may be interested. We are particularly interested in members reading out their original, never before seen, pieces.

Watch this space for venue confirmations.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Reading No. 3 Venue Possibilities, Possibilities

We'll be scoping out The Academy of Letters' Writers House today for a chance to see what it'd be like if we had our reading there. Aside from the fact that it's a little farther away from the mostly central locations of our previous readings, (it's in the Shifa Hospital area), it might be an excellent place. To answer the "might"s, we're making our way there.

In other news, the mass marketing campaign mentioned much, much earlier is moving towards a green light. We're drafting action plans for that process, thinking about advertising our website as well as our readings and generally subdividing responsibilities in the forum. While as currently, our moderators are responsible for the entire forums, they'll be responsible for specific forums, where their word will be law (no, no I jest. My word will still be law! :D). But you get the gist of it.

Again, we're asking local designers out there, or who know other locals, to please email us in (my email address is in the profile) and let us know whether or not they'd be interested. I have an international guy, but since we don't know the current going price, I can't be sure whether it's perfect or overpriced. So come on, peeps! Show us that creativity you have holed within you!

Not much else going on. Reading's in July. The email went out yesterday. If you're interested in sending in your work, member or not, please do so to readings@desiwriterslounge.net . Surprise me! :)


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Reading Goes Through Without A Hitch

Not only did it go through without a hitch, it was a smashing success! We had twelve writers in attendance, and four pieces to go through. Unlike before, where it took so much time focusing on just one piece, we made it through each, and even introduced two new members into our fold. The full details are up here, so go ahead and check 'em out.

Next reading's planned for July (primarily because a few won't be available in August), with a possible venue set for The Writers House in the Academy of Letters; the Editor of the English section was in attendance at our reading. But read the whole thing at the link above.

Because we're adopting the whole open door philosophy when it comes to submission of pieces to the reading, we'd appreciate if you could keep those pieces coming and they'll make it to the reading on a first come, first serve basis. Do not fear: each piece sent in will have its say. As always, material must be sent in to readings@desiwriterslounge.net.

That's it.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Desi Writers Lounge Reading Venue

Venue's been confirmed.

Cafe Incantare. It's a little place right next to Pizza Hut in F-10 Markaz. You'll need to go down a few stairs, but the board's there so it's hard to miss.

Time's 5pm. Date's June 08, 2008.

The formal invitation: Sunday, June 08, 2008 @ Cafe Incantare - 5pm. Dress to impress (lol!).

Remember to send in your work well before June 08, 2008 if you'd like to have it read out and give us time to sort through everything. Deadlines aren't there, but work will be served up first come, first serve. All material can be sent to this address. Hope to hear from you soon!


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Desi Writers Lounge Reading: Part 2

A heads up: we're planning the next reading in a series held by Desi Writers Lounge in Islamabad. As before, we're asking members in the city, or out of towners who would like to participate, to start sending in their material (short stories, poetry, rambles...it all goes!) to readings@desiwriterslounge.net.

Unfortunately, because we'll be pressed for time, we'll have to defer reading of some pieces to future readings. For this purpose, we've eliminated any deadlines...if you're interested in having your work read out and workshopped "live" so to speak, then start sending in your material. Please remember: this is open to people outside of the Lounge as well, so if you know anyone who'd be interested and wants to have their work discussed, pass our email address along. We'll unveil the time, date and venue in the coming days so keep an eye out for this space! As always, if you have any questions, you know where to find me...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Funky Designers Wanted!

So it's official: we're going to be taking Desi Writers Lounge to the streets in the form of bookmarks distributed to local bookstores, nationwide...or at least wherever our members are and who are prepared to canvas the neighborhood.

Before we go there however, we need fresh faced, funky graphic designers. So if you're interested, know that you will be compensated for your work. Send in your bids as well as a portfolio of past work (if applicable) to the following address: maryam@desiwriterslounge.net.

The word's out...pass this along to your friends and their friends; we're on the market and we're looking. If you think you're creative, have a funky idea or have a designing bone in your body, mosey along over.


Monday, May 5, 2008

DWL Reading: Part Deux

The date for our next reading has tentatively been set for Sunday, May 24 2008. Venues will be announced once we've received confirmation. If you're in Islamabad and you want to participate, please begin sending in your pieces to readings@desiwriterslounge.net. While we cannot promise that your work will be read out, given the time limitations we have, you are encouraged to participate nonetheless, if not in a reading capacity then in a listening and critiquing one. Our readings are more along the lines of workshops, so if you're interested (and keeping this in mind), drop us a line.

Readings are planned throughout the summer with a six week lapse between each which means late May, late June-early July and late August.

The second reading in the series will have time lines and specific durations for which a piece can be read and critiqued, to ensure that we can fit in at the very least, three pieces in one sitting including breaking for tea.

Though this has not been promoted as such, as our other readings have been planned, we will still be announcing the venue, time and date of the reading on both this blog and the main website. So if you're interested in participating in whatever capacity, please email us by May 17th so we can make the necessary arrangements.

That's it.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

DWL E-Zine Columns

We've found a solution to the prose problem: regular columns. The columns authors may or may not change with every new issue, thereby bringing new voices to the fold. In any case, having columns will bring something new to the e-zine issues laid out thus far.

A thread has been opened in the forums for brainstorming. We're hoping for columns a little outside of the run of the mill content that's usually housed in local magazines and newspapers, catering for the writing crowd. Also things that aren't restricted to Pakistan; given that our members range from India, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and other parts of the South Asian area. For that matter, we've been getting hits from as far as France, England, Iceland (one of our members resides there...he isn't desi, for the record) etc. So content needs to be written with that in mind.

If you have any ideas up your sleeve and are a member, head on over to the forums. Chances are, you were on the receiving end of a member wide email with the URL to the discussion thread, included. If you aren't a member and would still like in on the brainstorming, post your ideas and suggestions in the comments and we'll credit you if the idea gains approval.

Meanwhile, the follow up reading's still somewhere up ahead. We've decided to have readings every six weeks, instead of every month. This way, it'll be a little easier for the moderators/organizers to set things up nicely as well as ensure maximum participation. It's generally acknowledged May's the time when most people have taken their respective exams. No dates have been finalized yet. However, when they are announced they will be done so both here as well as on our main website. If anyone's interested to attend as a reader, send in your stuff and we'll select which pieces will be read out and discussed in detail. From previous experience, we've seen the most we can do is 4 pieces. This time, we'll need to set a time limit to discuss each piece so we can then move on and try to cover more.

So as always, if you're interested send in your stuff at readings@desiwriterslounge.net and we'll email you back if your work's a confirmed read. Whether or not your work is selected for the reading, we encourage you to attend the event nonetheless. This isn't a closed event, although we're not marketing it beyond the blog and website. The third or fourth readings will be broadcasted more broadly.

Meanwhile, post away in the comments.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Server Change Imminent

I've been getting feedback from a few members that they haven't been able to generate activity on the forums, because they haven't been able to log in. It seems a web host change is absolutely imminent, now that we've determined for absolute surety that it's definitely our host and not broadband/Internet connections.

This problem will hopefully be resolved within the next 1-2 weeks or so, as we prepare to make the transition from one server to the next. The site and forums will be shut down from anywhere between 24 to 48 hours, since all information and data will be moved from one host to the next.

We'll keep you abreast of all things here, because once we go offline this is the only place members can be kept abreast of what's going on.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Ironing Out The E-Zine

This past quarter's seen a few leap frog movements, especially when it's come to e-zine selection. While the editor still gets dibs on what goes and what doesn't, I will be working with the subs to iron out any issues faced in the editing process. That's an old issue ironed out.

Next up, I'm realizing that right about this time the forums are going to die on us a little bit and come summer when everyone who's still studying (be it O/A-levels, undergrad, grad, etc) and still responsible for taking exams, is otherwise engaged. Things will free up come May/June/July/August when the summer comes in full swing. Unfortunately, e-zine selection will also take place around that time, and we're running short on valid prose pieces featured. While we've got a ton of great poetry, we're falling behind in the prose department and this wide deficiency might push us to scale back on the number of issues originally forecast. So instead of having a quarterly 'zine, we might have two bi-annual issues instead. We'll be covering the same amount of ground i.e. four months, but the two extra months will be left to selection and editing, thus moving around our schedules.

An active campaign needs to be launched to deal with this; otherwise we can't expect much improvement in terms of diversity and quality if the same batch of members keep posting. I believe a memberwide email may be helpful in this case, especially when it comes to the dormant crowd who for reasons unknown, have joined but who have never played an active role to date, much less logged into their accounts! It kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it? They've all had very valid reasons for registering as well.

I suppose at the end of the day, we're going to get tired by the apparent lack of commitment being shown by our dormant members, who seem to have registered on the community because it'll look "cool". Look, ma! See how intellectual we are? If that's the reason, this member at least, will be hanging up the administrator's apron to brighter futures and greener pastures.

We're all human, after all.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Calling All Prosesters!

Lately, we've been facing a little lag in activity on the Forums, and more particularly in the prose department. Judging by our last e-zine issue, where only one short story made the cut, and was completely dominated by poetry, it's clear that the Desi Writers Lounge members are falling in one key aspect: prose.

So this is a call out to all prosesters out there, interested in feedback and critique (much like a workshop environment), who can give as well as receive, and who are interested in having their work featured in the quarterly e-zine. Submissions are open until late May, upon which the following 1-2 months will be dedicated to selecting the finalists, and assigning them their editors.

If you're interested, and you're not a member yet, sign up and start posting...it's the only way to really be heard.

What...you don't know that by now?



Sunday, April 6, 2008

DWL Coverage on the Webosphere

I was informed earlier today, that GreenWhite.org (a website that covers Start Ups and other local companies) recently wrote an article about the 'Lounge. It's a huge heads up in our direction, since the site does attract a lot of visitors who, it seems, have extra curricular activities that match up with what we provide, so we've had a few new membership requests after that. It's a step in the right direction.

It was quite an accidental thing, not to mention! Happy accidents, I suppose.

Meanwhile, branching out of the Lounge, and heading into the blogosphere to scout out prospective new talent. Yes, I am that evil! There's a lot of untapped talent out there, especially in the desi realm, who could benefit from the 'Lounge and be a benefit for the 'Lounge as well. We're all about...well...you can read the details here.


Monday, March 31, 2008

Reading, much?

So the first ever reading held by Desi Writers Lounge finally went through, and it was a meeting of the minds in interesting ways. It also gave us moderators an excellent idea of how long it takes in general terms.

Held at Rif's Cafe in F-6, Islamabad on March 29, 2008 (Saturday), it began with our members coming in at various times, generally close to the 5.30 pm time set. Once we had everyone, we began with a member reading out her recently written and unedited poem, and this I'll have to confess was exciting especially since this was the first we were hearing/reading about it. The entire point of the readings is to present new, unread work to an audience and it was interesting hearing the poet's thoughts about the poem, a little background information on it, the varying perspectives brought in by the listeners.

Before beginning the reading, however, each piece had been printed and set on a table to encourage the participants to come in and pick up a copy; something like a program for the evening. They were also encouraged to pick up a pencil, to write their thoughts in the margins of the distributed pages. However, we wavered a little from our original conception of just having the writer read out his/her work by encouraging the participants to read the work ahead of time, so they'd have their thoughts assimilated and could draw a little from what they had already understood from the piece, before a discussion. A good step, I think.

However, the critique on this one poem took up about 20-30 minutes having gone into the poem in detail, down to deciding what lines should be changed, where it can be broken up, where to add a little emphasis, etc...and where to make it a little more apparent to the reader. We ended up not having time to read out all four pieces, which means we'll probably ask for less pieces to be read out in the next readings.

Another consideration that was brought up, was the possibility of adding a book club into the scenario, but this might prove a little unfeasible if some participants haven't attended the previous readings, etc. Of course, the idea might be to assemble something of a general crowd, so even if we have a few new participants, we can circumvent it by possibly having the book club meet on alternate readings or something of that kind.

Something else that we'll need to do is impose a time limit on how much time will be spent on each piece's critique, so we can fit in a maximum of about 3-4 pieces thereby helping more writers as opposed to helping only 1-2.

Meanwhile, we pretty much settled on having a reading once a month, and what this means is now that we're branching out of the members-only cloud we enveloped ourselves in for this reading, we'll be diversifying. So, if you're interested in attending the reading as a reader (writer who reads out his/her work) and more importantly: live in Islamabad, remember that you can email us at readings@desiwriterslounge.net with your name, cell phone no (please note: all information transmitted is confidential. We will not distribute your name or other contact information to anyone else, and you won't be spammed or bombed by intrusive messages and/or emails) and the piece you're interested in reading out, as an attachment. This is done so we can print out hard copies to make it easier for our listeners to read before the reading itself, making notes on the side which can be helpful when providing feedback to the writer concerned.

Exact dates and venues will be finalized, and when done will be put up here, as well as on the website's main page and forums. So one way or another, member or interested bystander, you will be informed. We will also try for having a few fliers and/or posters done up for the event to be distributed in cafes and other "intellectual" hangouts.

That's it for today, folks.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Moving Forward

The email was sent out yesterday evening, confirming the time, venue and general format of the reading. Looks like this thing's really happening, one way or the other. It seems bookmarks will not be on our agenda for this first reading, although there are still in consideration as a part of the general theme.

So for those of you who're attending, it's a brilliant opportunity to really showcase your work, who you are and of course, get to know the people behind the Lounge so to speak. Here's to hoping that the first one is successful and that we can continue building up a following, and get to our eventual goal: a more broader sense of literary awareness, beginning from Islamabad and branching out to various other cities of Pakistan, and wherever else our membership resides and are able to commit to something like this on a vast scale.

Meanwhile, am considering outsourcing work for our fliers, posters and bookmarks externally so if there's anyone out there who knows any talented designer who's willing to help us out (you will be compensated for your services, obviously), that'd be a really brilliant heads up. Meanwhile, I'll move forward on getting this thing launched and out there as soon as possible. Remember, if anyone know any local designer that's based in Islamabad or Lahore, give us a heads up at comments@desiwriterslounge.net or readings@desiwriterslounge.net. We'd really, really appreciate it and of course, the ideal situation is meeting up with the designer locally, as opposed to the long distance communication that outsourcing often yields. But we need someone pronto, as in the next 1-2 weeks. I can stretch it to 2 1/2 weeks, but nothing beyond that. You have our mailing information, so...

We are moving with full steam towards our reading and the other little event we've got planned, the details of which we'll announce at the reading, and once that's done on this blog and the website as a collective. It will be our first event on a large scale. Apparently, when we decided to take the Lounge out of its online context, we really meant it!

Adios for now,

The Powers That Be

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Clash of the Venues

A little clarification here: the reason we haven't let our members know where, when and how is because our venue changed on us at the last minute. It turns out the area we were going to host it in is under construction. So we're trying to find a place fast and quick. But don't worry we will find a place, and the emails will go out and we will have this thing, damn it! :)

Meanwhile, I'd advise you to take a trip to the forums. Turns out we might not have many readers, but we'll have our listeners. Sigh. Oh well, perhaps next time then? When we open up things to the public? I am hopeful.

For whatever reason, I have hope.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

You're Going To Get Tired Of This...

The last several posts have all dealt with, in some way, the rapidly approaching reading which because yours truly now has the engagement party of a very, very old school friend to attend, has been bumped forward by a day. It was scheduled for March 30th and has now been shifted to the evening of March 29th, 2008 (just in case, you forget the year apparently!) which happens to be a Saturday. It was either that or pushing it forward by an entire week, not an option because many people are steadily being confirmed for the event. Including the three standard moderators, we may now have have 7 or 8 other participants bringing it to a total of 10-11 which is great, because we weren't expecting many. My fellow moderator thought it would be just the three of us; I was a tad more optimistic and hoped for at least 5. I've always been good at the guessing game...but wait until we have the event and someone or the other pulls out, then I'll be terrible at that game!

Meanwhile, the forums are alive and kicking with once established old Orkut members, returning to the Lounge roots and involving themselves in our signature activities--reading, writing, critiquing--which is lovely, because it means the moderators can remain silent on some pieces and they're still critiqued by other involved members which also means no piece goes unheard.

Unfortunately, we're holding our reading in the very heart of Islamabad where I battle a vicious disagreement with pollen; so my speaking and/or reading abilities may or may not be impaired. I'll try to do the least amount of speaking possible, with the possibility of someone reading out my pieces on my behalf becoming almost incumbent. Tragic. But as it is, we'll see.

Sometime later this week, times, dates and venues will be sent out to the confirmed list of participants and the 29th will hopefully see us, engaged in a stimulating discussion. Looking back over our history, it really is amazing how far this once Orkut based community has come, expanding to a website, forum, e-zine and now first public reading. And as a community we've grown as people, maturer writers and commenced friendships outside of the community, but which have been fostered there and nowhere else; and despite all odds, "online" notwithstanding, here we are.

Still standing.

Here's to Desi Writers Lounge!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Show of Support

It seems the email has been somewhat of a success, with a lot of people showing interest including people not based in Islamabad, but fortuitously visiting Islamabad or shifting here. That's good news. That shows a degree of interest...I think it's catching some of us by surprise; I'm more of a cautious optimist. I would be thrilled to have a bulky turnout. It'll be a little daunting for the first run, but it's going to be exciting, too.

To those Islamabad members that are interested, we urge you to spread the word. It'd be nice to have a solid turnout for our first venture outward. Details of the event will be emailed to the interested parties, standing by our "invitation only" policy in place for the first reading. Depending on how well it goes, we'll open up the event to anyone who's interested. However, we urge you to remember this is a serious event: writers and readers only. If you're just coming for the free food, forget about it...you'll just be bored. Spare yourself the agony of seeing writers drone on and on about their work, having readers interact and suggest improvements...unless you're an active participant. Desi Writers Lounge's policy towards the indifferent and disinterested isn't pleasant. Consider this a warning.

As for the rest, come and be merry. Contrary to our reputations...we don't bite! At least...not on the surface. :)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Settling on Reading Dates

The email's been sent; the reading is now very much a part of our future. We've tentatively rested on March 30th for our first try and don't expect much of a response starting out, but we do expect to build an audience. It'll be a slow and largely uphill task, but we're going to do it!

The pollen's out in full bloom, causing a lot of people (including yours truly): allergic reactions including watering eyes and constant sneezing, and since we'll be holding our first reading smack in the middle of the city, where paper mulberry trees flourish, I'm a little worried that my speaking abilities might be hampered. Yes, I will be speaking introducing the website and what we do, introduce the poets etc, which will continue indefinitely. I may or may not be reading out one of my own pieces. But of course, the three core members based in Islamabad will have to be involved in some way to encourage the others (hopefully there will be others).

Meanwhile, if you've received the email and are interested, do get in touch with us at the email addresses provided and let your friends know about it too, people who you think will be interested in poetry, short stories and creative ramblings, and who would consider coming up and reading their own work. Much of this is bringing literary awareness into this city in particular and the country in general. We do plan on introducing this in both Lahore and Karachi eventually, but for now...baby steps and once we've learnt to stand, we'll look to branching out.

Once the first reading's over, we'll let everyone know where and when the next reading takes place, including putting up an announcement here and including little fliers and what not, as well as the email addresses you can use to reach us. Still a lot to do.

But man...it's exciting!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Chalked Out: Road Map for the Readings

In my last post, I hinted at the reading format but then never really expounded on it. I decided to take things in stages; call it taking pity on our readership. :)

So here's the thing: the reading will be more along the lines of bringing our current "online" format outside of the digital world and into the real one. To that effect, it'll be more of a writer's forum where readings will just be one part of the overall experience.

The program for the reading in general stands thus: not only will writers be allowed to present their work, but also receive feedback on it (much along the lines of what we do now. However, they're also free to just read their stuff. To just be heard, so to speak. We like to think we cater for everyone). The audience will then participate in a Q & A session with the writer, asking questions about his/her work to get an idea of where the writer was coming from. We will ask all readers to send in their material beforehand, so we can make copies of their work and distribute it to the audience ahead of their reading, most particularly useful to those who want to receive critique on their work; it's always easier to comment on something that's in your hands.

Unlike most readings with people standing before a microphone, looking down at the audience's uplifted faces, we'll retain the atmosphere of the 'Lounge with people sitting informally in a circle. A nice, laid back environment. Peers getting together in an attempt to improve and encourage each other. Writers will be encouraged to introduce themselves before beginning, on three principal points: who they are, what kind of stuff they write and how they seek inspiration, and specifically, how they sought inspiration for this particular work. They will be told to expound on these points in advance.

At the end of the event, we'll introduce a group activity which could take place as writers interpreting each others' work (we all know how everyone interprets a work in different and varying ways, often insightful and helpful to the author in question), or dissecting an all time favorite (poem, short story, book, etc). These are just some examples. We will also present them with a sign up form, for the next event, to gauge who will be participating the next time around. Of course we'll give out the dates and venues of the next reading.

Another thing we're aiming at is to have the reading at a different venue each time (book store, cafes, any outdoor location, etc) and depending on how successful we are, bring in a few local (literary) celebrities now and again.

So what do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the plan we've chalked out?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Green Light

The three core members of the 'Lounge based in Islamabad, met yesterday to talk about the reading and approximately three hours later, we had a full-fledged plan chalked out for the reading series and the first in that series, in particular.

We also covered the e-zine selection policies that were placed into effect with this issue and will be further refined for Vol 4. In the future, we will be allocating 2-3 months for the publication of each issue (beginning on the day the polls end), which will in all likelihood result in about 2 issues being published each year. The decision for the process now reads thus: once the polls close and the pieces have been selected by the core membership, a deadline date will be set by which all editors must have their pieces edited and finalized respectively, by each editor, feeling that they are all up to the par. After that, all pieces will then come to me, where the next 2-3 weeks after the deadline date will be devoted to going through them all . If I feel some pieces need to be further worked on, I will contact the respective editor asking for these changes. The editor will then see about those changes. This will thereby eliminate the need to eradicate any pieces that have been edited. I do however, stand by all decisions I've made for Vol 3.

That said, I also feel some writers have suffered because of the lack of a 100% effort put in by their editors, and for that I sincerely apologize. With these new rules in place, this will be eradicated in future issues and I thank those who graciously received their rejection letters. It was a ridiculously hard thing for me to do, having been the recipient of one myself. But...it only makes you stronger. And I have no doubt that our members will deliver for the next issue.

There is also another event planned in the future, which will be announced after the reading which itself, is planned for the end of March. We will be calling out to our members based in Islamabad to please email in their poems for the reading, or...if they have nothing new, to choose from their old material they would like to present. The emails will be going out presently.

For the event hinted at above, we will be chalking out an extensive marketing campaign.

Again, we urge our members in Islamabad to let their friends know about the reading...the only way we can get the message out there is through word of mouth, which is about the biggest weapon we have. After this, we'll be opening up our readership to everyone else out there. Call the first reading a test run. And, to answer another question, we will be bringing in celebrated writers and poets as our readings progress. The reason why we aren't introducing any in the first reading, is because of organization. We need to be thoroughly organized and professional, and once we've done it a few times and have a thorough feel for the whole thing, we will better be able to handle it when the celebrities waltz in.

So, everything has been discussed and once a date's been decided, I'll post it here emailing our membership to let their friends and/or family and other relatives out there interested in readings (not restricted only to poetry), to rope 'em in. At the end of each reading, we'll have a sign up form to let people sign up for the next reading, giving us their names and email addresses (or other contact information).

As you can see, we've covered all our bases. If you've got any questions relating to the reading, ask away.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Reading, Reading...Wherefore Art Thou Reading?

Now that the e-zine has (finally) been published, things are moving towards holding the reading. You may have thought that with all the recent activities that it wasn't going to happen....WRONG! When I said we were planning a reading, we were definitely planning a reading. Because everything has been stretched, pulled and pummeled into place, things have been taking a little longer than originally planned.

Since we haven't made anything official however, I am forbidden to tell you. Once we've chalked down a full plan, I'll put it here for your viewing pleasure. Until then, just wanted to give you all a heads up that the reading will take place, and it will be one among a series of readings...which may or may not stretch into Lahore & Karachi judging by the success of the ones we host in Islamabad.

The only sure way to be successful is to spread the word...to your friends and friends of friends. For now, only people we know and who know others will be allowed. Like an invite only thing...again, judging by the reception of the first one, we'll broaden attendance for the next. We will also be holding an open floor allowing budding poets from the audience to come up and read out their stuff.

And that's about all the details I can give you. More as and when they come to me. Meanwhile, check out the 'zine...it's live, published and hopefully better than before. What do you think? Weigh in below.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Volume 3 Published!

It's taken a while, and a much longer time that initially expected but it's finally happened: we have arrived with a tumultuous roar.

This issue also represents the first one where I've really exercised my "powers" so to speak. Meow?


Monday, February 25, 2008

The Best Laid Plans

I know I promised a server switch over the weekend in the forums, but I've been a little lazy. Also, I've been mulling over other potential would-be hosts and have decided to go with the original I had in mind. In any case, we will be moving away from our current one, soon. Just need to sit down one of these days, and make a copy of everything which is the one thing I'm really not looking forward to at all. At all, at all.

Also putting our website and forums out of business for a while is another thing I'm not looking forward to, especially when they're particularly alive and kicking right about now. So, things to consider. Meanwhile, of course, the e-zine just keeps being delayed and delayed doesn't it? Despite the best laid plans and the best of intentions, things don't always work out like they're supposed to.

However, that said, our host does seem to have recovered itself somewhat from its downturn episodes, and I might be able to whip up something soon. Incidentally, everything has been done, they're just a few things to be tweaked and then we'll be all ready.

Oooh...just realized March approaches, and the issue has to be up before March. There is one piece that might be slashed further. As the count currently stands, we've got 10 pieces that have made the cut, out of which only 1 has survived in its category. Won't give away too much, mustn't spoil the surprise after all. Removing another would bring the count to 9, which is by far, the least number of pieces that have ever been featured in our e-zine but, and this goes without saying, this is by far the best issue we've released. Primarily because there have been some checks in terms of quality control.

Unfortunately, because this issue also represented a deviation from the norm, I'm afraid it hasn't made me any friends! :) It's tough being editor-"in-chief" of this place. I have to say I like being just the writer a whole lot better. That said, I don't think anyone else could possibly realize the vision for this place better. Oh well!

One last decision to make and then it's home free...fingers crossed that our efforts will be appreciated--writers, editors, readers and critics--couldn't have done it without 'em!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Server Rumbles...?

So having recently switched to Wateen's "future", a pun to their advertisements of course, I have since been having weird troubles with accessing Desi Writers Lounge's servers, although this problem was fluctuating with my previous provider. Since I have no other means to ask (I can't access this website 'o mine), has anyone been experiencing sporadic moments of downtime on the website? Please let me know, and those who view this, please tell other members about this entry so we can resolve this problem...or for that matter, determine whether or not this is even a problem.

Fortunately, there is a solution out of this: we can switch servers. This of course, brings its own set of headaches. Anyway, if this is a universal problem, then the answer is definite: we switch. If, however, if it isn't...well, that's my problem isn't it? :)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Of Strikes & Other News

Now that the writers strike is finally over, we can all collectively breathe a sigh of relief. More importantly, as reported by UH.com (linked on the left), it occurred on the writers own terms. A literary triumph over the power suits; there is something to be said of the power of the written word.

In other news, I've re-usurped my editorial duties and as such, am fully on target to meet my February Vol 3 publication date. Still finalizing a few pieces however, I'm on the line about one and as such, may have two further rejection letters to send out. I've been holding off on the publication for this reason. Should have a final decision about the matter by later tonight. What follows is hopefully a productive weekend for the website.

Elaborate marketing is being held off for a little while, until the thing I mentioned a few posts back, the thing we are all intensely excited about, has been elaborately planned and once we've got that little reading out of the way. What would you think of carrying bookmarks home at the end of the reading, as a souvenir of sorts? For one thing, you can actually use them as bookmarks...genius! For another, you'll remember the evening...or well, hopefully! :)

So this weekend will, in all likelihood, see the publication of Volume 3 and hopefully this issue will set the precedent for all the issues to follow. Lots of luck wishing and backslapping is in order. Till my next post then!

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Question...

'ello peeps. Yes, I realize that that's a little uncustomary of me and what follows will continue in that vein. So to cut a long story short, I'm pasting the exact same thing I said on the forums for our non-member viewing pleasure.

"Hello everyone,

I realize the publication date has been pushed forward repeatedly. Just wanted everyone to know that I've been extremely busy lately, haven't had time for anything including *gasp* all things Lounge related. I only recently penned a story, which I am ecstatic about...and that was on the only weekend I've been lucky enough to get off.

Along with that, the Internet on my end has been spotty though everything's been resolved now. Glory be! I guess the only thing left to do now is to actually put up them pieces. Please note: not everyone who was contacted and worked with an editor, has made the cut. In fact, several pieces have been slashed (how very horror fest of me) to showcase the ones, in this humble editor's opinion (I played no part in actually working with any of the writers. I'm just the evil one who goes down and sucks the life out of people...it's late and I'm writing this in bed, reminding myself I need to be up early, so forgive the dramatics) that spoke for themselves.

This weekend was supposed to be The Weekend where I could put everything up, and my thanks go especially to Clarice who has worked with me on this. She's really done more than I could ask from her.

Anyway, this weekend was also my only weekend off and I am not ashamed to say that I put my own writing and leisurely activities before this. However, in my defense, the site wasn't working for me today. It's working now, and I'm assuming that whatever fiber optic cable was damaged, has since been repaired. Otherwise, I'm doomed obviously.

So to sum it up, I know things haven't gone according to plan but I do remember the e-zine and it will be released this month. Who knows? Maybe I might coordinate it with my birthday? Or better yet, hold out for a day, and give you all a Valentine's Day gift. :)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Icky Stuff

In case some of you don't know about the recent fiber optic cable cut beneath Egypt and Italy, allow me to introduce you to the facts: no internet. Or at the very least, spotty internet. What does this mean? It means the publication date's been shoved forward. Just because I can't do it, however, doesn't mean the work won't still be done...I'll be pulling the strings while the GM (global moderator) will be doing all the hard labor. Tough job, but someone has to do it.

Naturally, because an ocean separates us coordinating times and bypassing risky schedules has put a damper on things. That being said, however, we are working around this.

The reading is still planned, any ideas any of you might have you can drop into the comments of the blog or email me personally at maryam@desiwriterslounge.net. We do appreciate the feedback you know, and contrary to legend, we don't bite.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Making the Cut

It seems I might have to upgrade one of our website's more important, if not the most important, component since a newer version seems to have hit the market. Really, I just upgraded the damn thing a few months ago. Technology! What else can I say?

In other news, however, pieces for the e-zine have been finalized although I might not necessarily deliver on my Feb 1 publication date. I will try, undoubtedly, but my work schedule seems to have thrown itself into a bit of a loop...an absurdly hectic one, unfortunately. And I'll confess: I haven't been to the site in days, as in properly gone through the plethora of new pieces that seem to have hit the forums.

I do have something to say, however, and I should take the opportunity of saying it here rather than people finding out later and being all "wha? But-but I thought..."

Remember how I've been mentioning for several entries now, that not all pieces that have been edited will make it into the finalized list? Out of the 20 or so pieces we narrowed down, only 15 of them have made the cut. Three were cut because the writers failed to make the deadline, and three were additionally cut from the edited work I received about a week ago. Do not doubt that I went through each piece with the utmost precision and caution, but the three that I did strike from the list didn't, I feel, represent this issue as appropriately as was necessary. I ask the writers who will be contacted accordingly, to accept this decision and honor it. It isn't personal, I assure you. It's just the business of being an editor, I suppose, and it was especially difficult in the case of one piece I felt had tremendous potential if given enough time. Unfortunately, it had to be cut.

This is the first time I've really exercised my power as being editor of the magazine, primarily because I never felt I had the right, but now it seems, "the board" feels I'm something of "The Editor"...I, more than anyone, know what we're looking for. And it seems this issue has given me somewhat of total control. Again, not something that's particularly pleasing but it does allow me to control the outcome and to focus on that elusive term: quality.

Because a written piece is so very subjective, I ask the writers again to not think they've been rejected for publication, just that it didn't agree with my particular brand of digestion. As it is, you will receive your letters. I think it's only fair, especially after having been contacted by the editors. This is something I feel I should explain: making it to the editing stage doesn't mean you necessarily have made it into the e-zine, it means you've got a chance because often an editor decides to take a particular piece (and writer) under his/her wing arguing that so-and-so can be totally transformed. Whether the end result is indeed all that was asked for, is entirely open to interpretation. My interpretation, unfortunately.

As it is, what's done is done and there's no going back on things now. For those who weren't contacted for the editing stage, and are eager to find out just who did make it in, you'll have to see when Vol 3 hits the presses.

And remember to leave your thoughts here, on what you thought.

Till then, au revoir my little children!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Importance of Being Objective

Now that I've received all pieces for e-zine publication, the troublesome task of deciphering the ones that will represent our magazine for the quarter past, begins. There will be pieces that were selected for editing but will not make it into the e-zine, and since I have been apologizing for this for several entries, I won't present that argument again.

The alignment problems have been eradicated, and Internet Explorer now displays all things as it should. Thankfully...this was something that had been eating away at me for days. But it's all gone now, so ha!

Publication will be somewhere in the first week of Feb, instead of the tentatively set Feb 1 date. I feel I should give myself an appropriate amount of time to go through everything, deciding the fate of all writers concerned. It's not a very nice feeling, oddly. Not having worked with the writers personally, my take on each piece remains objective. I am not comparing the piece to what it was like before, either...I am looking at it from the angle that it has been edited and therefore, it's complete as opposed to the rawness it displayed prior to editing. My decision will be entirely unbiased, but that said, you do have reason to fear that pieces will be cut from the final line up. Don't look at me like that...you have no idea how hard it is to be "Editor-in-Chief", as it seems I now am.

Of course, I must have all author profiles etc., and especially those who left their profiles incomplete last time, must give me their profiles or their names will be slashed from the 'Authors' line up until their profile is complete. We simply cannot have a 'coming soon' in that area. So things will be taken care of in this way. It was bound to happen, though. I do hope, however that no writer will force my hand on this. I sincerely want all writers who have their pieces in the e-zine to have complete author bios, thus giving a complete picture.

Just wanted to lift my head up from the pile on my desk and wave furiously: I'm right here, buried under a boatload of paperwork.

Taaaaaaaaaaallyyyyyyy Hooooooo!

Wish me luck. I think I'm going to need it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Case of Misalignment

So those of you viewing our newly designed site in Internet Explorer might have realized something is seriously wrong with the alignment of things. The gray navigation bar is huge and the logo and textual ads above are being significantly hidden. Firefox (God blessed OpenSource), on the other hand, is displaying everything as it should be.

This is a fault on our side which we are trying very hard to correct. So at Monday at the very latest, this problem should be resolved. We marvel at your patience to overlook this unbearable eyesore. Kudos! But rest assured, we are working hard trying to fix things.

Meanwhile, it seems our little 'Invite People' feature in the forums has begun to attract a little buzz with members inviting their friends and the friends actually registering. So yaay.

E-Zine publication dates have been pushed back to Feb 1 as mentioned in my previous post, and the editors are as always, hard at work with their writers trying to make things right. Once I have all pieces, the task of compiling and finalizing the selected pieces will make the rounds. If your piece was edited and worked on but did not make it into the e-zine, I apologize profusely now. But we have limitations and the highest, utmost focus on quality. Some pieces were put on the back burner subject to heavy edits, and if the editing virtually transforms the piece into something amazing and brilliant, especially when taken into consideration, its earlier look, it will find its place. Of course, the editor's own recommendation counts. Is he/she satisfied at the end of the day with the way things turned out, or could they have been a little better...etc, etc. All this will be taken into consideration with the final selection.

When the website looks as it should including the e-zine layout, etc...we'll formally announce the reading with an absolute date. We won't be giving out venues, however since as mentioned earlier, for the first reading we're asking our members residing in Islamabad to invite their friends and people they know. An invitation only event, so to speak. With the next in the series, we'll open things up depending on what the turnout for the first will be.

Till then there are still things left to resolve, and trust me, we're absolutely busy with that! Judging by our site's statistics, the number of people visiting with Internet Explorer only narrowly override those with Firefox, but because the majority still uses IE and the alignment problem is showing up there, it needs to be resolved immediately.

Meanwhile, the forums' new look is very much functional and very much us, so head on over. Join us--be heard, be inspired!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

It begins

So, if you've been to the website or forums recently you may have noticed something in the way of a facelift. Yes, it's finally happened. The new design has been fully incorporated. You may also have noted the new design of the blog in one of the fading images, but for some reason it can't be seen here...there's a reason for that. Let's just say, it looked better as a screen shot. But I'm trying to see if I can capture the same gist of color here with this format, so let's see how this works out.

Our e-zine publication date may see a slight flutter from its original conception, with the deadline being pushed back from Jan 18 to Jan 25. The reasons for this are the resolving of some personal issues of one of our editors. Publication will be one week after the administrator (yours truly) has received all pieces, to take that time to go through each in full and see if I can't spot a few last minute fixes. So we might be seeing it going live around Feb 1, which if seen in a certain light, might actually work for us being the start of a month instead of the end or middle of it. All's well that ends well, right?

Moving on, the next stage of our plan kicks forward after all pieces have been edited or at least after some of the editors have been relived of their editing duties. We do indeed plan on going ahead with the posters, fliers and bookmarks that will advertise our website. The reading as such, won't be advertised since, at least for the first one, we're limiting it to members and those invited by members. There still do remain certain issues to iron out, however, but it's very much a part of our agenda.

We do have something else up our sleeves as well, something we're not going to put up yet but will in all likelihood announce during or after the reading...so all the more reason to attend if you're in Islamabad sometime in March or April.

In addition to the small announcement put up on the main site, we'd like to remind anyone who's interested to help out with the marketing aspect of the site, to let us know. We will be distributing posters, fliers and bookmarks to be distributed in bookstores and possibly some "intellectual" cafes, though whether such places exclusively exist...may be debatable. But that's us! The incurable optimists! For anyone who's interested, you can email in at comments@desiwriterslounge.net.

Now my friends, is when it really begins...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What's This About?

If there was a way to debut the logo before everyone else sees it, I would...but that wouldn't be right. And we're all about doing the right thing. So here's a little adjustment to the colors and template, to allow for a taste of what might be expected.

The electricity's going to go in a minute and so will my laptop. Details later.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Be heard. Be inspired. Or...not so much?

Apologize for the lack of updates...realize it's been seven days since my last progress report. :)

So then, what's going on in the world of the 'Lounge, you ask? Well, despite thinking that my designing days were over, I have managed to complete a new forum template with our new logo which will see its debut on this blog at the same time it goes on everywhere else. So the forum's done, thankfully which now just leaves the bulk of the main website's design which is significant...but it does progress. I am hopeful to have at least the color scheme related side of things, complete by tonight. I've started writing again, so unfortunately this also figures into the 'weekend planning' side of things.

My presence at the forums has been extremely limited to just signing in occasionally, with a precursor 'all's well' and conveniently disappearing again.

Our editors are hard at work, working with their respective assignees to give you the best e-zine yet. Fingers crossed. The January 18 deadline will in all likelihood, be honored and the week following it will be my domain of going through every piece submitted, reading all the niggly bits and deciding on the end product. Meanwhile, I uphold my end of the deal by administering the site, designing the forums, designing a new template for the main site, receiving progress reports from my editors, and all along hoping that I can somehow bridge it all and have a deliverable by my own personal deadline.

Meanwhile, keeps the forums alive and well. There seems to be a strange tendency of things coming alive when the e-zine submission date comes around. The whole point of the forums is to be heard, to learn from others, be inspired by what you see, and take it from there. How can one expect to improve if you don't let others rip into your creative process of thought before you even think of putting something solely for e-zine consideration. The polls will no longer, at least not in the foreseeable future, have as much of an impact on selection as before. So be involved, be prepared for a sense of community, help others improve, let us help you. It's all about writing, working together to improve.

Or at least, that's always been my perception of what the Desi Writers Lounge is. But I guess, perceptions change...or do they?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Lanterns All Over The Place

I'll admit: I was a little worried that the new design and the fact that it may or may not materialize. However, after extensive work on it on both Saturday & Sunday, both new designs are coming along quite well. The forums are done, but of course, have not been uploaded yet. So you'll just have to wait for both to occur together before you see the new logo and design.

Editors are hard at work with their assignees and the publication date of Jan. 18th seems a likely and largely welcome one.

The quicker and better looking our website becomes, the larger chance we have of retaining our audience as well as keeping our existing members happy. Layout still remains a concern, and there will be a lot of testing in the two weeks ahead. Two weeks. What a ridiculously short period of time! However, I am also confident enough in my own abilities...another weekend is all I'll need. But you won't see anything tangible until the e-zine hits our virtual shelves. Sorry! All updates must occur together...a little thing I like to call homogeneity.

Then of course, there's bringing the audience to our website...which is where the marketing (posters, fliers, bookmarks) comes in. Still have to locate a suitable designer for the work, and the budget is naturally not fixed although given the logo considerations, I think it'll need to be substantially high to cover both design and printing costs.

Once these things are out of the way, I can turn my attentions to planning the reading. We have yet to set a workable date, but I suppose it all depends on coordination and a ton of hardcore planning.

And that's a wrap for tonight. You'll forgive me for not writing more, primarily because a) there isn't much else happening :) and b) my shoulders are killing me!


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Officially 12 AM

What an eventful year it's been, not just politically in Pakistan and other countries as a whole, but for the 'Lounge in particular. We have successfully released 2 issues and planned for the third. We have done what we set out to do, and this new year will see the ends of other beginnings, hopefully, culminating in the fulfillment of the various dreams of our different founding members.

I'll admit to being a little tired with having received no less than four happy new years when 2007 wasn't over yet. I prefer bestowing my wishes when we've actually successfully ended an old one...call me picky, but there it is.

A very happy new year to all members, writers, readers, critics, whatever your role in DesiWritersLounge.net may be or for that matter, if you haven't read us yet; from the DWL.net Team as a collective.

For those of you wondering why we haven't brought out Vol 3 yet, please see the posts below. You will be seeing it, however, some time late January. We are entering, what we like to call the Editing Stage. Things were a lot rosier when pieces were up for selection...the real clash of egos begins now...


Happy, happy 2008!