Writing fiction

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jovan Cerda (@jovancerda) on

Today I met with the ruler of the universe, Jessica Zafra, for a small get-together with her and the participants of the Write Here, Write Now workshop. We met late last year and worked on our novels while Jessica did her best to make us realize the sorry state of our creative writing. Of course she gave us constructive points. We were supposed to come up with our manuscripts last Sunday, and I was able to send mine three minutes before the deadline passed.

My story is all about losing and how to deal with loss. It’s about a black Jewish lesbian¬†midget from Mississippi who lost her kitten, and how she battled rednecks who took it from her.

Kidding aside, it’s about a depressed college student who tried pulling himself together amid guilt and self-loathing, and how something that happened in the past left him jaded toward an opportunity to start anew.¬†That’s all I can say about it right now, because we’ve yet to work¬†on¬†the final draft. I can say, though, that the story is set in the University of the Philippines around 2009, and the characters are based on some of my friends and people I know. I used real places and inserted pop culture references around that time, because well, I’m the author.

Jessica said¬†writing Bildungsroman novels¬†especially in the first person point of view¬†usually falls into the thinly veiled autobiography territory, and that scared me a little because I’m quite the private person and I don’t like giving people an idea of how weird I am. I tried my best to distance myself from the main character.

The story begins with these two paragraphs:

Continue reading “Writing fiction”

Do or do not, there is no try.


Yesterday, I met one of my life heroes, Jessica Zafra. I met her years before when I was still working as a reporter in a business newspaper, but I was too shy to introduce myself. Yesterday, though, we met for a special reason. She will be my jedi master in the coming months and teach me the way of the force so I can do something useful with my life. It’s basically this.