PGS 2023 Q&A: Sharmaine Galve

Sharmaine Galve is an entrepreneur by force, a writer by passion, and an electric biker by accident. She has been a fictionist since high school, an editor-in-chief in college, and was first published in Philippine Free Press in the late 90s. She had been published in Philippine Graphic as well and won third prize for a short story on mental illness. She loves a lot of things artistic: books, movies, music, paintings and the occasional plays.

Sharmaine was published in Philippine Genre Stories Volume 1, Issue 3 with the story “Y” which was inspired by the “Nature vs. Nurture” issue. She recalls that the last time she wrote a story was in 2015 and she shares her return to writing stories through “DIFFERENTIAL” in Philippine Genre Stories 2023.

Where did the story idea for  DIFFERENTIAL come from?

I had a friend who started working in a BPO company. It reminded me of my days when I worked the graveyard shift for a subtitling company. It was a different world working at night. You feel isolated from the real world. 

Also, I read a line from a book (So Much Blue by Percival Everett) I was reading at that time which inspired me to rewrite it as an opening line. I didn’t know what the story would be about but I just knew I would be able to write a story based on that line from the book.

What came easy to you when it came to writing this story?

The whole story actually came easy. I wrote it on December 24 and finished it by December 25. I wasn’t planning on submitting it anymore because the deadline was December 31. But the story, I could say, wrote itself.

What was the most challenging thing you had to overcome to complete this story, and how did you deal with that?

The ending. I always have trouble writing endings. I guess because in my mind the story goes on. Stories never end.

What are the top three writing tips you would like to share with all aspiring storytellers out there?

  1. Write for someone. It helps to be less self-centered knowing someone will read it. It’s a sort of self-discipline.
  1. Read a lot. There is no writer who doesn’t read because that’s what we do. We create things meant to be read. So read. Never stop reading. Read even the back of a shampoo bottle if you have nothing to read.
  1. Values of a writer: listening and empathy. We write about people. We cannot conjure stories. We really do write about real people. So listen to people you talk to. Empathize. And you will hear their real stories.

What’s the one thing not mentioned in your profile that you would like people to know about you?

What I love most is listening to people’s stories, not just the surface but their traumas, their hurt. Sometimes I don’t even know how to talk to people unless it’s about their inner selves. The more painful their stories, the more engaged I become. 

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