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Aphelion Editorial 097

October 2005

by Dan L. Hollifield

The Usual Rant from the Aphelion Senior Editor

Hello again, friends. Lindsey is here with me now and things are going wonderfully well. We're working out the usual co-habitation adjustments rather well. Be happy for us and wish us luck.

This past week has seen some strange weather here. The last remnants of one hurricane hovered nearby for the last three days, and may yet drop more rain here. Everything greened back up after the sudden end to the four weeks of near rain-free scorching heat. The air smells fresher, the dust washed out and gone. Hard to believe that summer is nearly gone. Another Fall is rolling in. Hopefully, hurricane season will draw to a close soon as well. I've seen too much tragedy this year, and despite the distance it was from me, I was still shaken.

I'm willing to bet that you can tell by now that I don't feel a rant coming on. (Grin) I'm just rambling.

I'm all ranted out about NOLA, and Iraq, and politics. I haven't turned on my TV in over a week. I can't get excited about the plan to go to Mars, because I doubt it'll ever happen. The most exciting news on that front that I've heard lately is that SpaceShipTwo is under construction. They'll launch in a year or two. Aphelion might get another good cover photo from their in flight cameras.

And once SSTwo works out, then SSThree will be close behind, and maybe I'll be able to take a sub-orbital hop over to England or such - before I'm 60.

Or the entire future could change in an instant. After all, nothing is fixed and permanent. Change is the only constant in existence. And who wants to live in a stagnant, static, unchanging universe? Bore--ing! And consider the writing lessons to be garnered from the events of just this last month. And if you thought there weren't any lessons involved, you're kidding yourself. Every facet of life gets stashed in the writer's mind, to be sorted, replayed, subtly edited, and fired back out at the dreaded Blank White Page in a broadside of creativity. Not only are the events of your personal lives recycled thusly, but everything you see on the news, or read about, or hear. Part of being a writer is mixing all that together and focusing the result through the filter of storytelling. Yes, it sounds a bit like a form of mental illness, but then that's exactly what writing is, after all.

So how can all this tripe I blathered on about in the above paragraphs help the aspiring writer? It's all just unconnected ramblings from some love-sick would-be fictioneer? Right? Wrong. Look again. It's all about how different elements pop into a character's mind from all the bombardment of events in the character's fictional universe. Besides the basic "what do they look like" and "what do they sound like" there are endless background elements that can added to flesh out the description and characterization or each of your actors on your personal stage. What do they *think* about? What is the weather like in your story? What's on the News? What are the gossip topics? What is the music like? I think you can all take it from here and apply it to how and what you write, yourselves. NOLA, Rita, Iraq, Korea, Hollywood, Politics, pop music, TV... You're characters have a life of their own, just like you do. They have infinite dimensions of characterization that you the writer can utilize in whatever blend suits your stories.

Just as no man is an island, complete unto themselves, no writer can create in a vacuum. We must live and work and play in the real world to understand it. And even more so for us to write to the best of our abilities. Everything, everywhere has an effect on us as a private individual. And as a writer, everything is fair game for us to use as daubs of paint on the palette of our textural portraits.


I now return you to your regularly scheduled reading...


2005 Dan L. Hollifield

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