Interviews from the Void: Episode #50 – Ani Paoletti

Highlights How our upbringing impacts our storytelling. Learning what level of plotting and outlining works for each of us individually. The desire for our readers to escape into our story worlds. Welcome to the 50th episode of Interviews from the Void, where I Interview writers and other creatives about their writing process. In this episode, I chat with writer and artist Ani Paoletti. She produced a great cover for my short story, HUMAN, and is working through the final drafts of her own major work. She is also looking for other writers in need of cover art. Arthur: Tell me about your writing journey. When did you start writing? What is different about your writing now than it was in the past? Ani: I wrote a story for the first time in the seventh grade and ended up giving it to my English teacher (unfortunately I remember that it was a creepy urban fantasy and I probably scared her). That was the first time I ever really wrote anything down, but I have so many memories of sitting with my cousin as kids just telling each other stories we made up on the spot. After that first story in the seventh grade I definitely tried to write things down more often, but nothing ever really stuck. There were so many unfinished Wattpad stories that never had a plot and even a co-written story that didn’t take off the way we had hoped. I think the biggest difference between my writing today[…] [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]

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]

“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]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #48 – Andy Weir

Highlights Writing about the future can be a positive experience. Regular output is critical to writing. Finish the project you start. Don’t wander off. I write optimistic futures because I honestly believe the future is bright. Welcome to the forty-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’m honored and excited to be chatting with writer Andy Weir. Arthur: I love and appreciate your perspective on science fiction: a positive outlook for humanity, contrary to the dismal dystopian settings. Does this stem from your general outlook on life? Do you think more positivity in a story has a greater impact on audiences than a negative? Andy: I don’t know about how it affects the audience – I think readers just want a good story. I write optimistic futures because I honestly believe the future is bright. If you look at any year in history and compare it to one 100 years later, which is better? In almost every case, you would like the latter year better. Humanity just keeps getting better. Arthur: Do you have any writing techniques or practices you employ to hone your craft? Do you mind sharing? Andy: The main thing is to keep your output coming. You have to actually write. To do that, I set a word count goal of 1000 words per day when I’m working on a first draft. THE MARTIAN had a total of[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #47 – Brenda Drake

Highlights Practice is the best way to improve our craft. Reading is essential for great writing. The important of reading in our writing lives. I always loved to write from a young age. Welcome to the forty-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 young adult writer Brenda Drake. Arthur: Tell me about your writing journey. How did you start in the craft and what was your journey to your first book? Brenda: I’ve always loved to write from a young age, but I didn’t get serious with it until I remarried and stayed home with the kids. That’s when my husband asked (because I must’ve been a little clinging after our wedding) if I had any hobbies. I told him that I liked to write and he said I should do that. So I threw myself into writing and reading up on how to get published. My first book was a mess. I queried it, and it didn’t get a single request. It wasn’t until I started submitting Library Jumpers that I began getting requests for partial and full requests from agents for the manuscript. After a bumpy road, Library Jumpers landed with Liz Pelletier at Entangled Teen, and the rest is history, as they say. Arthur: How have you developed your writing voice and prose? Once your first draft was completed, did you go back and rework[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #46 – Victoria Griffin

Highlights Starting a book at the right point in the story is essential. Tips on managing social media. How “fluff” can reduce the effectiveness of our prose. My writing and editing crafts overlap and inform each other. Welcome to the forty-sixth 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 and editor Victoria Griffin. Arthur: Tell me about your editing journey. How did you start? What is your experience and how do you continue to develop your editing craft? Victoria: My senior year as a college softball player, I sustained a brain injury that affected the conditions under which I could work. Since I needed complete control of my work setting and schedule, I began to take on small editing projects. While I’ve always enjoyed editing my own work, I soon realized how rewarding it is to help a fellow writer with that part of the process and decided to make freelance editing my permanent career. I learn from each manuscript I work with, and I’m continually working to enhance my knowledge of style and developmental aspects. Every book I read for pleasure, I think of how I can apply the tools and techniques the author used to help my clients. And of course, my writing and editing crafts overlap and inform each other. Arthur: What are the top three problems you see when editing a book? What are your suggestions for[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #45 – Traci Ison Schafer

Highlights Just start writing your story, even if you don’t know all the “rules”. The importance of book covers and editing. Using social media to truly connect with your readers. Writing is a passion that fulfills me in ways well beyond money. Welcome to the forty-fifth 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 Traci Ison Schafer. From Traci’s book, THE ANUAN LEGACY: “The shuttle vibrated under the stress of friction with Earth’s atmosphere. Opening my mind, I directed my mental willpower into the shuttle. Slow to entry speed! Still, the vibrations rocked the shuttle. If I didn’t get the shuttle’s speed down, it would break apart under the continued force of entry. I focused everything I could pull from within myself at the shuttle. It slowed – not quite to a normal entry speed – but close enough to ease some of the stress on the craft.” Arthur: Tell me about your writing journey. What were your early influences? Why did you decide to start writing? Traci: Though I’d had a few people in the past tell me I should be a writer, I never really took that seriously. I figured that kind of career could never pay the bills—unless you were one of the fortunate few who hit it really big—so I just dismissed it. Only after I started writing did I realize, there’s more to it than[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #44 – Paul Bae

Highlights Grabbing a listener’s attention. Developing characters that suit a particular conflict will create better stories. How we stumble onto truths as we write our stories. I started writing short stories when I was nineteen and haven’t stopped. Welcome to the forty-fourth 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 writer and podcaster Paul Bae, best known for his amazing work on the THE BLACK TAPES and THE BIG LOOP podcasts. In recent news, THE BLACK TAPES will be adapted for television. Many of us will be looking forward to this. Arthur: Tell me about your writing journey. How did you develop your prose and craft? What were your early influences and how did you move from writing into podcasting? Paul: The first novelist I was ever into was Stephen King. I consumed Salem’s Lot, Pet Sematary, The Shining, and The Stand all in my first semester of my undergrad studies. I don’t remember reading any novels in high school so I consider myself a late bloomer. So when I stumbled onto King, I was simulataneously being exposed to the Romantic poets as an English major at McGill University. So I think those genres—English Romantic era poetry, gothic ideas, and popular twentieth century American horror—formed the way I’d filter art and stories for the rest of my life. Or, I was attracted to those things because of the[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #43 – Kayelle Allen

Highlights The importance of regular writing and blogging to build an audience. Great resources for book covers and other art design. Writing is just as much about asking questions as it is telling the truth. I love the freedom of creating my own personal worlds, languages, rituals and cultures. Welcome to the forty-third 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 science fiction writer Kayelle Allen. Arthur: Tell me about your writing journey. How did you develop your prose and craft? What were your early influences? Why did you decide to start writing? Kayelle: I credit my mother’s love of words and writing as the beginnings of my own interest. She encouraged me to read widely. She and my father were both avid readers and always had books around. As a child, I picked up a love of science fiction and fantasy. As a teen, I read Arthur C Clarke, Robert A Heinlein, Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov, Jack Vance and more. I often wrote short stories at Christmas as a gift for friends. For years, I heard “you have a way with words” and “you should write a book.” Although I had dabbled with the idea since I was eighteen (and actually wrote a 400 page monster that will never see the light of day), I did not seriously try to be published until I was fifty. Once I joined[…] [Keep Reading]