Interviews from the Void: Episode #51 – Brett Abrahamsen

Highlights Ideas are more important than the writing itself. Flash fiction and short stories are essential mediums for ideas. We need ideas that haven’t been written about before. Welcome to the 51st 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 Brett Abrahamsen, who specializes in short fiction and seeks to get his readers to think deeply about the existence of the universe and their place within it. His flash fiction piece, A NEW KIND OF APE, is an intriguing read. It was the year A.D. 73,000,000 on Alpha Centauri. A scientist was preparing to give a speech. The speech was to discuss a book, for which the scientist had received a prestigious honor. The scientist’s book was only a sentence long. He had called it A New Kind of Ape. Archaeology was the dominating field at the time, and the book had reflected his discoveries in this area. Specifically, it described his excavation of the fossilized remains of a new, previously-unknown species of ape, a kind which – or so he believed – was central to evolution. He began to speak before an appreciative – ecstatic, in fact – audience. “I feel this is the culmination of my life’s work – the thrill of discovering a new species”. He cleared his throat. “I was excavating beneath some curiously inscripted stone markers, and there were the remains, remarkably well preserved, of[…] [Keep Reading]

The Key is to Start

Starting provides the necessary momentum to keep going. In a recent interview with my fellow creative friend Andrew Hall, we discussed the transition from world building and research to writing. When – and more importantly, how – do we make that transition? How much world building and outlining is too much? I’ve given these questions additional thought, and hope to inspire you to just start the writing process. Before driving into the first draft of my science fiction novel, I intended to have the entire story outlined. However, three months into the planning process, I had a 30,000 word outline in front of me and quickly lost interest in the story and the story world I developed in my mind. 2019 approached and I didn’t work on the novel at all, partly because I did not believe I had enough of the story planned. One of my fears is that I didn’t have a solid beginning or end and if I don’t plan it out, I would write the infinite story. Where’s the fun in that? Writing is to be enjoyed. Let the pressure of having the story be perfectly planned drift away. Just start. I believe many creatives – like myself – struggle to start, or we get addicted to starting projects and never finish them. I suffer from both. And at some point, I needed to admit to myself that world building, planning and outlining was becoming a means of procrastination. Once I figure out this section, I’ll[…] [Keep Reading]

Human – A Short Story

I was fortunate enough to meet Ani Paoletti via Twitter when she noted she was providing free book covers for writers during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve been searching for an artist to help me with cover are for a long time through Twitter and DeviantArt with no luck to date. I sent a note to Ani and she helped put together the cover below for my short story, HUMAN – which originally appeared in Kyanite Press last year. This cover exceeded my expectations and I wanted to share it. I’ll be doing an interview with Ani in the coming weeks, serving as another entry in the Interviews from the Void series. Read on to explore the world of HUMAN. I hope you enjoy it. Be sure to reach out to Ani if you need cover art assistance. In the near future, we’ve overcome the limitations of non homogeneous communication. A man lost in his life and career hopes to get the latest HUMAN-SIM upgrade and get promoted at work, with unexpected consequences… DAY ZERO My brain processor lagged. Susan – the barista who always took my order – told me the price for my regular, black coffee. It was always $9.56. My Human-SIM integrator card already released $9.56 from my account and transferred it to the café. Yet something was wrong. “Scott, I’m afraid prices went up today.” “They did?” I asked after a brief delay. Maybe I had a poor connection to the network. The café was one of[…] [Keep Reading]

Deep Work

Writing a novel takes intense focus. How do we focus on such a task when there is so much noise around us? I sought the answer to this question in 2018 through my interview series with other writers. One concept I wanted to explore further was Deep Work, an idea originating from writer and professor Cal Newport. I’ve been a student of Deep Work for five years, modifying the approach to focused, meaningful work as my career, writing life and personal life change. I thought it would be impactful to share what I’ve learned these past five years. Finding Time It’s not so much about finding time and increasing productivity, rather honing focus during the time available. We sometimes find that we only have 20 minutes, perhaps less. Even if we only have a few free moments to write one or two sentences, we’ve still made progress. Finding Space We can find focus in many places if we are open to seeing the world differently. Some may disagree, however I find airplanes are a great space for focus and Deep Work. No one can call or text. There’s no instant access to email. We’re forced to sit in one place for several hours. There’s no choice but to focus on work and writing. A Quiet Mind We don’t always have to be doing or consuming. Letting our minds wander in boredom – especially during this pandemic – allows new ideas to come to fruition. For those interested in finding a[…] [Keep Reading]

My First Story

Looking back on the my writing history, I think it’s important to thank the group of people who read and published my first story, Saturn: Journey to the Core. Without that first publication, it is possible I would not have had the confidence to write more short stories. I started this blog in 2014 and posted on and off until 2016. During that time, I received a comment from someone starting a new quarterly publication, and they were seeking submissions. The publication was New Zenith Magazine, featuring art, poetry and short stories of all genres. My short story, Saturn: Journey to the Core, appeared in the inaugural Summer, 2016 issue. New Zenith is no longer around, but I felt I should share this story with my readers. Thank the first person who published your story. They believed in you. [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #49 – B. K. Bass

Highlights How to start a publishing company. Why the classics are critical for improving our writing. How to create new creatures and monsters for our stories. Welcome to the forty-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’m very excited to be chatting with BK Bass, my friend at Kyanite Publishing. I met Mr. Bass through Benjamin Hope, and they’ve published two of my short stories: THE SCHLIKT and HUMAN. Mr. Bass also shares more writing knowledge in an in-depth interview with our mutual creative friend and photographer, Andrew Hall. Arthur: Tell me about how you came into writing. Are there any experiences you have which inspire your stories? BK: I fell into it at a young age. In fifth grade I started reading Greek mythology, Edgar Allan Poe, Terry Brooks, Tolkien, and others. I fell in love with everything fantasy, mythological, and macabre. Soon, that branched out into science fiction. It wasn’t long before school writing assignments turned into a chance to explore my love of these stories from the other side of the pen, and before you know it, I was writing for fun. I kept practicing for about 25 years, and here I am today! Arthur: Tell me about Kyanite Publishing. I love working with you and your team. How did the idea for the company come about? What were the challenges? What has been the most positive part[…] [Keep Reading]

The Purpose of Writing

Why do we write? It’s a question we often ask ourselves amidst the struggle of developing a story or writing a novel. Once our writing reaches a stagnation point – when the enjoyment of it becomes work – we stop. During that moment, I ask myself: Why am I writing this? It’s simple to think we will complete a writing project and no one will read it. It won’t have an effect on the world. It is also tempting to think this about anything in life. Why go through the effort? While working on a separate project for my professional career, I came across the following quote: “The English author and essayist Samuel Johnson said, ‘The only aim of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life or better to endure it.’ This happens, we think, because great authors lead readers to find or make meaning in their own lives.” I found this quote very powerful the moment I read it. The only aim of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life or better to endure it. To return to my original goals, and to further expand upon what I noted about writing in my interview with Andrew Hall, I hope that through my writing, I’m able to equip my readers with a sense of joy through the story; I intend to provide a sense of being which allows them to endure whatever moments they must. This is my purpose for writing. Source: Rosenbach, William[…] [Keep Reading]

“Creating Awesome” with Andrew Hall

I was recently interviewed by my fellow creative friend Andrew Hall – a photographer, entrepreneur and freelancer. His photography is incredible, with several different projects surrounding a potentially apocalyptic future. What’s intriguing about Andrew’s interview series, Creating Awesome, is the depth to which he is able to go with his interviewees. From business futurists to artists and writers, this interview series is a great resource for other creatives looking to connect. Some of my favorite quotes from the interviews: B. K. Bass: “One of my biggest motivations for writing is to leave something worthwhile behind after I’m gone. I want to contribute something to our society, and my writing is how I want to go about doing that.” Ron Gavalik: “A lot of writers don’t realize the power they hold.” Jack Uldrich: “The biggest change is that the rate of change is changing–it’s getting faster!” Wolfgang Muchow: “It’s all about story and character.” Robert Marzullo: “Produce something every day.” Cliff England: “I would rather do it myself and fail, then wait around for months or years for someone to give me permission or approval to do something.” Eric Ninaltowski: “If you’re young, don’t waste time. If you’re old, don’t waste time.” Ron Gavalik: “If you don’t know your truth, put down the pen and live a while. Figure out who you are and what makes you tick.” Liam Wong: “Make sure it will be fun and feasible – something that will keep me on track and that I will still be[…] [Keep Reading]

Starting a Novel

I wrote previously about my 2020 writing goals and my commitment to finishing the fourth draft of my science fiction novel in 2020. As part of that commitment, I intend to blog every two weeks about what I’m learning from the writing process. In this post, I intend to address my struggles with completing the first few chapters. There’s a lot of material required in the first chapter of a novel, and the pressure to fit it all in is causing me to over-analyze and continuously outline instead of write. However, this constant analyzing is causing me to grow anxious because I’m not truly writing. Many writers I previously interviewed discuss the concepts of beginning a novel at length. The first sentence is essential in capturing the reader’s attention. An agent will decide if they will read on based upon the first paragraph. The main characters need to be introduced on the first page. The story world should be clear by the end of the first chapter. Conflict should be established to create forward progression of the story. I find it overwhelming. Without planning and outlining the entire novel before writing, how can I pack all that material into the first few pages? I just want to write! In a recent blog post, Cal Newport discussed how Charles Dickens had “A Christmas Carol” planned out in its entirety prior to writing the book. That’s an impressive feat. While I’ve had the novel’s story world in my head for several years now, I’m[…] [Keep Reading]

Short Story: THE SCHLIKT

Super happy to announce my short story, THE SCHLIKT, was published this month in Kyanite Press’ special Halloween addition. A lot of great writers have their work in this publication, including Benjamin Hope and Eric Lahti. I’ve interviewed both of these great writers and can’t wait to see more of their work. Benjamin’s piece in particular reminded me of M. R. James, one of my personal favorites. A very special thanks needs to be given to B. K. Bass, for putting this all together. In addition, thank you Sam Hendricks for her editing and proofreading work. Thank you so much. And of course, thank you to the writers who contributed their work for the rest of us to read and enjoy. It’s all about the story and the creative minds behind it. [Keep Reading]