Interviews from the Void: Episode #11 – Benjamin Shelor

Highlights The magic of the first draft. Finding time to write when we have a family and a full-time job. Experimenting with our prose to find our own voice. I am of a mind that there should be an abundance of magic in the first draft. That’s where the story is born, and as with any life, inception is a work of wonder. Welcome to the eleventh episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process and the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I’ve asked Benjamin Davis Shelor about his writing process and what draws him to fantasy and science fiction. Arthur: You’ve been writing for a long time. Since childhood. Is writing now a full-time occupation for you, or do you have another full-time job and or a family? What is your writing schedule and how do you find time to write? Ben: For me, writing has always been more a way of life than a way to make a living. If it ever became an income to support a family I’d be all for it. But I’m a pragmatist and so I have a full time job (in a field that I like even) to pay the bills and support a family. Which means my writing comes in sentences and paragraphs strewn throughout a chaotic day. It also means I have plots thickening on back burners while family time and work time are happening. That way, when the elusive[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #10 – Adam Inglis

Highlights There are no hard rules to writing. Managing all the tasks associated with being a writer. Strategies for our writing productivity when we only have 20-30 free minutes per day. It has an adventurous and hopeful feel, which fits my attitude to writing.  Welcome to the tenth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with short fiction writer, Adam Inglis, about how he focuses during his writing sessions. Arthur: Your website is very well maintained. Do you run it yourself? Adam: Thank you, it has taken quite a lot of work to get it looking the way it does. In short, yes I run it. I own the domain from one company (fasthosts) but the hosting and design tool comes from wix.com. They have a rather bold claim that “It all starts with your stunning website.” There is, however, some restrictions on what you can and can’t do. If you can live with that, then it’s a decent service. It took a while to accept that what I wanted was too complex. The website as it can be seen today is a happy compromise. Arthur: How do you create the images on your site? Adam: I created all the artwork using free-to-use images that I’ve either manipulated in an editor, or cropped and filtered. It is an obsessive compulsion to give every story, or poem, a sort of “cover[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #9 – Bryan Aiello

Highlights Why we need to write more than one novel to improve as writers. Being brief in our prose while keeping the flow of the story interesting. The importance of setting goals for ourselves and doing what we say we’re going to do. Writing a singular novel is not going to make you a good novelist. Writing many novels will though. Welcome to the ninth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with speculative fiction writer Bryan Aiello about finding more time to write and where he finds his inspiration. Arthur: You’re an Army Veteran. I want to personally thank you for your service. You discuss on your blog that you’re working on a military science fiction novel for 2019. Will your military experience have any influence in the story? Bryan: I enjoy writing about soldiers. If I was forced to boil it down, most of the work I have done is fictionalized military history. I use my experiences digging foxholes to imagine what life is like for people under the gun. I do have a military fiction short story collection I would like to publish. I have not done so yet. Is there ever a right time? It’s got about nine stories in it at the moment. I am debating whether there might be a more concise way to construct a collection. Hopefully within the year I will have decided[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #8 – Paul Huxley

Highlights How we learn the writing craft. Starting a publishing company and building a writing business. Writing tools and self-publishing. I believe you learn the craft mostly through osmosis. You have to submerge yourself in the best writing and then let that accumulated knowledge pour out when it’s ready. Welcome to the eighth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with fantasy and weird fiction writer Paul Huxley about developing the craft and how he started his own publishing company. Arthur: You mentioned to me that you’re a part time writer, and your other job is looking after your kids. Are you a stay at home Dad? How do you find time to write being a full-time Dad? During naps? Late at night? Early in the morning? Paul: I do have at least a couple of days a week to myself, those are often taken up with writing commissioned work. That is to say things I’m paid to write whether that be screenplays, ghostwritten novels or simply editing other people’s work. I do try to squeeze in some time to work on my own stuff. Recently I’ve taken to writing on my phone on the fly, which has lead me to produce a lot more short fiction. Arthur: Do you have a daily word count you try to achieve? How do you manage your writing schedule?  Paul: I tend to schedule[…] [Keep Reading]

What it Takes to Write a Novel

Post Highlights: It can take years to write a novel. Writing a novel doesn’t happen overnight. Take advantage of small blocks of time. Writing a novel is a journey. Focus on your overall progress. It Can Take Years to Write a Novel It took three years for Tobias Klausmann – who I interviewed in Episode #4 – to draft the third novel of his “Slingshot” series. He kept a graph of his progress, which I think is a great visual to illustrate what it really takes to craft a well-written and character-driven novel. Writing a Novel Doesn’t Happen Overnight This is real proof that nothing happens overnight, whether it’s success or a change of our habits. Everything we produce as writers – or as a creative in general – takes time, focus and energy. Many of us have sat down to write a novel and thought: “I’m going to write every day and finish this in a few months.” We set aside entire weekends to focus on nothing but our craft, only to find twenty or thirty minutes – if that – to press ahead on our project. Take Advantage of Small Blocks of Time There is always time to be found. As Eric Lahti said in Episode #7: “I sincerely believe you make time for the things you want to do.” If you want to write, you’ll make the time. However, remember that you don’t need 8 hours to be productive. You can make progress on your novel in small chunks of[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #7 – Eric Lahti

Highlights How we make time for the things we want to pursue. The type of experiences we are hoping to create for our readers. How listening to people talk helps us write great dialogue. I sincerely believe you make time for the things you want to do.  Welcome to the seventh episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with writer Eric Lahti about his writing process, finding more time for the craft and why he writes. Arthur: On your blog, you mention you started writing five years ago. What made you start writing? And what has been the most rewarding experience you’ve taken from your writing experience? Eric: In late 2013, I was watching TV and playing Saints Row for the umpteenth time. Something clicked and I wondered if there wasn’t more out there than just watching things happen. I’d had the idea for Henchmen pinging around in my head for a while at that point (although it was quite a lot different from what that book eventually became) so I cracked open Word and started writing. About six pages in, my wife asked me what I was doing. That was a sheer panic moment – not as bad as handing her those pages to read, I hid in my office while she was reading them. Finishing that book was rewarding in and of itself. Writing a book is a[…] [Keep Reading]