Aphelion Issue 295, Volume 28
June 2024 --
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Aphelion Editorial 044

February 2001

The Senior Editor's usual drivel about whatever...

by Dan L. Hollifield

Hello and welcome!

Happy Birthday, Aphelion!

If you're the type to check out the hit counter at the top of this page occasionally, then you have seen underneath the counter the words "Since January 27th 1997" which means that we are now four years old. Not bad in this ephemeral world of URLs that we share here inside the internet. There's been a lot of changes at this website over the years, and there's sure to be more to come. On the 27th of January, 2001, the hit counter re-set itself to zero. Spooky-- Some birthday present, huh?. Cary and I fixed the counter just the other night while we were in the new IRC Chat channel, #AphelionWebzine. Speaking of birthday presents, this month, Ralph Benedetto, Jr. joins our staff as Assistant Serials Editor. He and McCamy Taylor are our newest Editorial Mafia members, and they've both already made a dent in our submissions backlog. Please join me in welcoming both our new staff members. Another change is our new background wallpaper. We may be trying several more in the near future, so keep a sharp look out.

Now as to what's been on my mind lately, well... Imagination stretching. Wrapping one's mind around a new concept, stocking one's mental library with new things that could add to future stories, and wondering where we'll be going from here. Writers need that sort of thing to percolate new ideas for their works. A well-stuffed imagination is a writer's best tool.

So, given that-- How do you get there? The usual way, reading lots of different things, keeping up with the news, a bit of research... Stock your mind. Stuff it as full as you can get it. Be picky, though. Some things will have a direct bearing upon the style in which you write, others will wind up being "just for fun". The human mind is the ultimate computer, capable of assembling facts, knowledge, imagination, presumptions, insight, and intuition into the modern-day fairy tales that constitute modern SF, Fantasy, Horror... All the things we know and love. To be creative is sometimes somewhat of a curse; "How do you come up with... ?" is something all writers face, eventually. Stock your mental library. Stretch your mind with new ideas. Think! Fictioneering is hard work-- There's lots of skull-sweat in each and every story you write. You have to imagine each and every element; the scene, the plot, scene changes, characterizations, backstory, fore-shadowing, character development, specal effects... The list goes way on, folks. None of us works the same way, but we do all have things in common. One of those is a love of reading. Another is the-- hunger to write.

You owe it to yourself to write the best story that you can. You owe it to your readers, too. The more that you know, the better you can weave elements that the reader can recognize into your work. Make the reader care. Make them want more from your characters after the story is over. Develop your ideas, do your research, listen to the radio, watch TV, go places, meet people, do things. Then mix that all into your work. Story ideas can come from anywhere. Stock your mind, so that "anywhere" becomes a much bigger territory to play with. Sometimes left field has to be really big before something comes out of it. You as a writer can never predict what is going to set off the germ of a story idea. But one thing you can be sure of-- the more you've got to work with, the better job you're going to turn out. Stretch your imagination. Stock that mental library, but remember that it is still important to take time to write every once in a while. Watch out for that last step, it's a big one.

Thanks for your time.



2001 Dan L. Hollifield

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