The Aesthetics of Editing

For those curious about what editing physically looks like, here’s a page from my short story: Saturn: Journey to the Core. It’s interesting to look back on this and see how much I crossed out. I didn’t delete just words, but entire sentences. The first paragraph was deleted in the final version as it was not essential to the telling of the story. I read this short story again and can cut even more while improving the prose here and there, given my growth as a writer in the past four years. However, I’m not ready to make any changes yet. SATURN was my first published work, and to keep it in its original form seems like the appropriate action at the moment. Perhaps it will change in the future when I return to this story world. (Yes, that means we will hear more from the OKULOUS crew in due time…)  [Keep Reading]

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]

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]

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]

Kyanite’s Healing Words Project

My friends at Kyanite Publishing had a great idea when COVID-19 pushed many into isolation: publish short works on their website for reading enjoyment and a means to escape to another world. There are many great story tellers associated with Kyanite Publishing, and I hope my readers will check out their works at Kyanite’s Healing Words Project during these strange times. My short story, HUMAN, is now available for free as part of this project.   [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]

Setting – Why I Chose Saturn’s Moon: Daphnis

The prologue is complete at 2,500 words. Finally. I went through this many times, adding content, revising character names and deleting it entirely to re-write it twice. I tried putting as much into the first pages of the novel as possible, while finding a balance between establishing the setting and capturing the reader’s attention. Our story begins when a distress signal from an unknown source on Daphnis is received by a protectorate patrol ship. The ship lands on the moon to investigate. I chose Daphnis as the setting because I wanted the opportunity to explore the moon in detail. The moon orbits Saturn within the Keeler Gap in the rings. Its gravity impacts the nearby edges of the rings by creating waves with opposing amplitudes moving away from moon in different directions. How fascinating would it be to stand on Daphnis, looking at the huge waves of the rings, with Saturn itself looming in the background? Many of the edits to the prologue concerned Daphnis’ geography. What is the surface of Daphnis like? Humanity hasn’t been close enough to know. The closest photo we have that I’m aware of is from 2017. One of our characters originally stepped out of their ship onto bare rock, but after more thought on this, I changed the surface of Daphnis to have a fine dust. If Daphnis has a gravitational force significant enough to impact Saturn’s rings, perhaps it also brings any nearby dust particles from the rings to its surface. (I’m sure there[…] [Keep Reading]