November 20, 2020
Happy Friday, everyone.
Here are some sinister developments on Rahaman Writing:
Over the last few weeks, I have been writing for my current freelancing contract by day and working on my personal projects at night. It has been wonderfully productive on both fronts but I've recently realized it's been over a month since I took a day off and I'm starting to feel a bit worn down.
Happy and healthy, but a bit tired.
The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #20:
Remember to take breaks!
I pride myself on being able to work long and hard. All-day, every day. But, I don't need to. Neither do you. Once in a while, take the morning, afternoon, or night off. Or, better yet, a whole day! Maybe even two!
When you get back to work, you'll feel refreshed and full of new-found vigour. The kind that could help you not only accomplish your tasks but overcome ones that you were having trouble with before.
As the Aetherians get used to life upon Mount Oros, Athos and Cais discuss a topic the former has been curious about since the destruction of Temptes Equit at the wrath of the colossal crimson eel: the nature of the core of a flying city.
A Soul; A Heart
The Right Place
November 27, 2020
Welcome to the weekend.
Here are new additions to Rahaman Writing:
Sometimes I wonder about how I ended up where I am. What led me here and where I am to go now. I don't just mean physically but mentally and emotionally as well.
Reflecting on such things can give one a bit of perspective and can allow one to remember things long forgotten.
Everything has a reason and everything has a place, even if that may be hard to see at times. This is also true for characters and creatures in fictional stories.
The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #21:
Purpose and locomotion are the two most important factors that one should address when determining what kind of organisms to put in which settings. I'll break each down into some of their more important aspects by using dragons as a control example.
Why the creature is here. The reason for an organism to stay in a certain area is because it benefits from doing so. Abundant food, cleaner water, safer shelter, and much more are valid reasons.
Dragons usually live on or in mountains because they need a lot of space due to their large size. They also don't get along well with people, so high and remote regions where people rarely travel are ideal.
How the creature moves about its environment. Specifically, how it goes about fulfilling its purposes of acquiring food, water, shelter, etc.
Dragons get around their mountainous domain by flight, allowing them to travel far and wide to hunt prey or escape enemies, though wingless creatures would need other means to travel the rough terrain.
Great climbing skills due to specialized hands, feet, and tails could be a potential method; as can narrow, yet cleft hooves; or even some way to stick to sheer faces with a natural adhesive.
Think about the needs of the organism and then give them a method to fulfill them.
Athos finishes up this chapter from Of the Sky, Of the Sea, and Of the Stones by elaborating on the changes that occurred after the Aetherian scholars integrated into the GLRU.
Soon, a new chapter of this tale begins, where Athos will begin recounting how he learned ancient secrets of the Sea.
The Calling Currents
Meet Rahaman Writing's newest website friend!
Des M. Astor is an Urban Fantasy writer who weaves complex worlds full of brutal and bloody conflicts. If you like vampires, half-dragons, and other supernatural elements that interact in a dynamic setting, be sure to check out Des' work by clicking the image below!
The Changing Tide
December 4, 2020
Rejoice, Friday has arrived!
Behold some updates to Rahaman Writing:
December has arrived, which heralds the end of the year.
And what weird fucking year it has been.
But with the end comes a new beginning. One for a fresh start that is full of promise.
Sometime in January, I hope to release my 2nd book, a short story collection to be titled Unusual Tales for the Curious Mind, and begin working on my 3rd (A high seas adventure about pirates set in the SSS world). To do this in combination with my current freelance writing contract (which keeps me busy for about 6-8 hours most days) I am going to need to ease back in a few other areas.
I love writing this newsletter and will continue to do so. However, I will be decreasing how many issues are sent out per month at the beginning of 2021. Instead of being sent every week, I will be sending these out every other week. Specifically the 2nd and 4th Fridays of each month.
Furthermore, Of the Sky, Of the Sea, and Of the Stones will be on a short break. Chapter 3: Of the Sea, will return in the 1st issue of The Rahaman Reader in January. I want some more time to polish and format my short story collection before beginning the marketing phase and taking a small break from the SSS series will be greatly beneficial in this regard.
The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #22:
It can be cathartic to finish something you've been working on, and the year's end is the perfect time to do so. But it is not recommended to rush your current big project.
Instead, pick something small and fun to complete. A poem, a drawing, or even finishing a book!
Pick something enjoyable and see it through before December 31st.
With this sense of accomplishment, you could end 2020 off on a higher note, regardless of how the rest of the year was for you. Starting 2021 off with success and satisfaction could be the beginning of a wonderful trend.
This is for those who wish to have all the parts of SSS - Chapter 2 in one convenient place. I have edited for as many spelling and grammatical errors as I could find, so this 23'000 word chunk of the story now is more readable than ever!
If you haven't been keeping up with this tale, now is the best time to hope in.
This chapter reads like a standalone short story that follows a curious scholar as he explores the world and learns about a flying city. Athos Angion sets out to study The Sources, the origins of all energy and matter in the known universe, but the forces of the Sky and Sea make it clear that there is much more going on in the world than what humans are aware of.
Chapter 2 - Of The Sky
December 11, 2020
Welcome to the week's end.
New occurrences on Rahaman Writing:
There will be some changes made to The Baron's Journal.
When I started writing it, this story was meant to be a series of 1-page entries posted primarily on social media as quick-reads to draw people toward my content. This didn't draw as much interest as I would have liked and since then have started posting entries on Rahaman Writing while tweeting small excerpts instead. This seems to be a better strategy for drawing people in as I have been seeing some increased visits after posting excepts compared to posting full pages.
Though, this defeats the gimmick of writing the entries 1 page at a time and is actually detrimental to the content. One of my strengths as a writer is vividly describing complex and interesting imagery. By limiting myself to merely a single page I am essentially holding my content back from being truly awesome. With this in mind, I wrote "Page 18" more like a "Part 18" in that it technically is 3 pages long.
This was liberating and allowed me to convey this part of the story much better and in a far more interesting manner. I plan to do this with further parts as well in addition to adjusting the Rahaman Writing pages for The Baron's Journal.
I am also going to be changing the title of this ongoing series to "The Baron's Journey" as it feels more fitting. I am recounting my tales, though no longer via journal entries. I'm just telling the masses about my epic tale of conquest.
A few weeks ago, I gave you all a tip about taking breaks in Issue #31. This week's bit of advice is related and was inspired by the recent actions of some good friends.
The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #23:
Take some time for yourself.
Away from others, if need be. Regardless of how much you, your friends, and family care about one another, there can definitely be too much of a good thing.
There's a specific kind of silence that the mind can only attain without other people. The kind that lets thoughts and emotions flow in and out in a healthy manner.
Solitude can be peaceful and help you to clear your mind, though it is not the only way. Maybe take a quiet trip somewhere with a loved one or two. Or even stay at home and purposely don't do anything noteworthy for a weekend.
Although not directly connected to the events of my first (and currently only) novel, this story is meant to expand upon the universe in a subtle way that can be enjoyed before or after one reads Inner Expanses.
Take a jaunt through another dimension. Insight into strange happenings may occur upon your travels. Magic and mystery await in this short tale following the antler-sporting, blue-skinned, elderly (yet energetic!) wizard Mercae.
Pilgrim of the Planes
Horrors from the Deep
December 18, 2020
Happy Friday, everyone.
Something new on Rahaman Writing:
Rebranded "The Baron's Journal" as The Baron's Journey
I very much enjoy writing about nature and find numerous excuses to do so in my fiction. Be it a demonic ecosystem or a high fantasy realm of completely different natural laws than our own, I sometimes like to pretend that I'm the god of some fictional universe as I spawn worlds with my thoughts and words.
One of the environments that I find the most alluring and interesting to write about are those that exist within a liquid. That is to say: oceans, seas, and lakes; regardless if they are composed of water or some other fluid. The variety of life and the mysteries of the deep give me endless flexibility and freedom to come up with the most interesting settings and creatures that my heart could ever desire.
A couple of weeks ago, I told you all another advanced creature creation tip in Issue #32. This week I'm going to give you another, though a more specific one pertaining to one of my favourite environments. The reason this is a 'creature creation' tip is because all living organisms evolve based on their environment.
The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #24:
Oceans (and smaller bodies of water), as I've mentioned, are fascinating and full of potential. There's a lot of variability of life in the seas of any given world, real or fictional. However, there are still some things that need to be considered besides basic food, predation, and shelter concerns for those who live below the waves.
Storms can flip entire habitats on their head. Imagine a thunderstorm, but where the air is as thick as water. It would ravage and toss about anything not sheltered or secured.
Wounds are signal flares to predators. Since blood, as well as other scents, travel so far in water, if an animal is even slightly hurt it can lead a horde of hungry sharks, or worse, to the injured animal.
Currents bring nutrients and different temperatures. This exchange and transportation of resources can create massive blooms of life in certain areas, even amidst otherwise inhospitable conditions.
To summarize: if you write about an oceanic environment, make sure to give the water, or other fluid, important properties as well! It's not just a medium for things to live in, it should have traits that affect all life found within it in order to feel real.
Despite not taking place exclusively on or in the sea, I've got one short story on Rahaman Writing about abominations that invade the small and fictional coastal city of Seravek. My usual work in this area is within the fantasy genre, but this one is a bit different.
Plague from the Sea, which I once mentioned in Issue #5, is set in an urban setting much like our own and follows a young woman as she fights strange creatures that seem to be infesting her home.
This is going to be one of the longer tales (about 10'000 words) in my upcoming short story collection, however, you can read it right now! I even edited it recently for increased readability.
If you like urban sci-fi stories with horror elements, consider checking it out below!
Plague from the Sea
The End of 2020
December 25, 2020
New things on Rahaman Writing:
Usually, I tend to write the issues of The Rahaman Reader a couple of days before I send them, but I had to rewrite this one. It initially contained nothing about the holidays, Christmas, or New Years, though I felt that would have been a missed opportunity.
I did a lot this year.
I self-published my first book, Inner Expanses, and have been receiving consistently positive reviews. I have written and am almost done editing my second book. I made a huge amount of connections via social media networking, and in the process made some friends; the kind I will cherish for a long time. I landed a freelance writing contract that will allow me to make a living while working safely from home, which will give me time to work on my books and personal content. Last, but not least, I started The Rahaman Reader, which now has a bit over 60 subscribers!
But I'm not the only one who has been busy. This year has forced many to think outside the box and find new paths to walk in life. You're probably one of those people.
The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #25:
Be proud of yourself.
It is not a guarantee that things will suddenly change when 2021 rolls around, and it may even be dangerous to think so, lest the world disappoints you. Again.
But, you made it to the end of one of the worse years in the past century. Don't belittle this notion, as surviving is not something to take for granted. As humans, we have removed ourselves from the majority of aspects that could threaten our lives, though not fully, as escaping death is impossible.
You did your best this year to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. You resisted the stupidity and ignorance of fools across the globe, which is a remarkable achievement considering how many of them there are. You found a way to make things work, despite all the hardships and bullshit.
If, for whatever reason, you still don't feel proud of yourself, that's fine. You don't have to, because I'm proud of you. I'm proud of each and every one of you who reads this. You did your best, and for that, you have my deepest respect.
Here's a poetic short story I wrote months ago after meeting someone who has become one of the most important people in my life. She has helped me become more balanced than I thought possible. This is pretty far from my usual style, but you may enjoy it if you want something short, light-hearted, and positive to read.
This one was inspired by a real-world love, the strong friendships between the hobbits in Tolkien's Legendarium, as well as a great admiration for nature and music.
Litany of Friendship
This will be the last issue of 2020.
Starting in 2021, the schedule for The Rahaman Reader will change. Instead of every Friday, newsletters will be sent out on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of each month.
This change is in order to give me more time to create content as well as more time to rest.
The first 2021 issue of The Rahaman Reader will be sent out on January 8th, where I will be beginning the 3rd Chapter of the Sky, Sea, and Stone series, as well as other high-quality content.
January 8, 2021
Hello again, dear readers.
Fresh findings on Rahaman Writing:
The past two weeks have been some of the most relaxing I have had in months. In addition to cutting down on newsletter writing, I pushed back some flexible due dates and have found what feels like a more manageable pace.
I have also vastly decreased social media usage. I found that it felt more like an obligation than fun towards the end of the year. There are some great people I've met on Twitter, though temporarily distancing myself from most of them feels like a breath of fresh air. Like being at a house party with a bunch of friends and stepping out onto the porch for a breather from the liveliness.
The party is always going, with or without me, which I take solace in. I plan on slowly increasing my social media activity so that it does not interfere with all the great progress and the better pace I've set for myself.
The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #26:
Set attainable goals!
I'm absolutely awful at giving myself manageable workloads. I always take on way too much and end up being disappointed when I don't meet my inhumane goals. I still make great progress, although it doesn't always feel like it. This is the ideal way to rob myself of accomplishments.
To avoid this, I have begun giving myself more time to do things. Not a lot more, just a bit more. Also, I have been trying to do less per week, as a way to limit the number of tasks I feel that I need to take care of.
Make a schedule, even a sparse and generous one, and try to stick to it! It can be tough at first, but once you get into a rhythm, you'll find that you may acclimatize quicker than you think! Give it at least a week or two to sink in.
The next chapter for Of the Sky, Of the Sea, and Of the Stones begins with a decade-older Athos traveling to a northern island covered in ice and snow. One home to a fishing community that braves frigid conditions and gigantic, monstrous crustaceans that thrive in the harsh waters.
Chapter 3 - Of the Sea
January 22, 2021
Good Friday, everyone.
Gnarly new stuff on Rahaman Writing:
Updated the website footer with a new excerpt and image from Of the Sky, Of the Sea, and Of the Stones
Uploaded the new cover for A Mad Current, a short story in my upcoming collection.
Condensed the newsletter archives
Just realized that these newsletters are more like blog posts than newsletters (another mold broken, I guess, lol)
I have recently finished editing the last of the short stories in Unusual Tales for the Curious Mind. Of the 13 stories, I edited about half of them myself in order to become more self-sufficient in this regard. From the editing notes that I got from friends on the other stories, I have been able to learn more about where my writing is lacking. It turns out that one of my biggest weaknesses is modern readability. By this, I mean a lot of my fiction writing style is based on work I've enjoyed that are decades old. There's nothing wrong with them, obviously, but that's just not how people write these days. Older writings, like tales from Tolkien, Lovecraft, and Poe, are beautiful, thought-provoking, and emotion-evoking. They are classic; timeless.
But I'm not them.
I needed to change my phrasing and adjust my sentence structure in many places so that things can flow better for readers used to more recent work, yet without compromising my style and the atmosphere of my tales. I'm happy to say that I think I've found that balance.
Speaking of balance, Rahaman Writing hit the page limit (100 pages) recently. This meant that I was not able to add any new pages until I deleted some old ones. I was expecting this, thanks to many warning messages by Wix, therefore had a plan ready for when the limit was reached. I merely waited for this long just to see what would happen. Turns out, nothing happens, you just can't add more pages. Rather anticlimactic.
The solution I used was to condense the Newsletter Archive. Instead of having an individual page for each issue, I grouped them all into pages with 10 issues each. This has saved me dozens of pages of space and has allowed me to set up a more efficient system for the future, as well as given me ideas of how to handle similar concerns, should they arise.
In other news, I've been incrementally increasing my presence on social media again. I have yet to get back to tweeting any of my own content, though I will soon enough. I need to go back to what I was doing in the Summer instead of spamming Twitter with my content like I was doing in Autumn and this Winter. That is to say, I need to tweet more casual things: interesting musings, fun games that seem to be popular, etc.
This, in combination with content related tweets and supporting others in the #WritingCommunity, will make for a much better social media existence.
At least, in theory.
I just need to make sure not to overdo things and not allow socializing to take too much time away from my writing.
The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #27:
Create a mantra!
A mantra is a sound, word, or phrase repeated with the purpose of helping you focus. This concept originated in eastern religions like Hinduism as well as Buddhism and is used heavily during meditation or prayer.
Though, they can be applied at any point in time when you need to center yourself. I came up with one a few weeks ago and have been saying it aloud whenever I need to remind myself of what I need to do.
This has helped me reel my mind back in after getting distracted while writing. Like a mental switch that I can flick at will.
I'm not telling you to adopt my mantra, in fact, you should NOT use my mantra, as it probably won't work for you since it won't have any personal significance. You should, however, create your own. It doesn't have to be fancy or poetic (unless you want it to be!), just simple, easy to remember, and above all, meaningful.
With some time, it may help you gain a bit more control over your thoughts and help you focus on your current writing task.
The next part for Of the Sky, Of the Sea, and Of the Stones picks up from where we left off last week. Athos observes the giant crab assaulting a docked fishing vessel and marvels as its living shell, half the head of a sky serpent, unleashes destruction alongside its crustacean host.
Chapter 3 - Of the Sea
February 12, 2021
Happy weekend, everyone.
Hip happenings on Rahaman Writing:
With all the time between these newsletter issues, I have been able to write bigger chunks of story for both the SSS series and The Baron's Journey. I've also had a lot more downtime and freedom to work on the cover art for my upcoming short story collection, which I plan to release sometime in the spring.
I've also had a lot more time to gauge my relationships and whether or not many of them are healthy and worth having. I am a fiercely loyal person, and although this is a good thing most of the time...it can often put me in weird positions.
Positions that are at odds with my new mantra that involves being more at peace, not overthinking, and not obligating myself to things unnecessarily. Thinking about this has given me a revelation not only about real-life relationships but also writing projects and creative pursuits.
The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #28:
Abandon projects, and people, that make you unhappy.
I'll start by saying that you SHOULD NOT give up on things simply because they take long or because they are difficult. There's a huge difference between things that make you work hard and things that make you upset.
As a creative type, I have SO MANY ideas that I want to act upon. I love both writing and art but I came to a point recently where it was simply impractical to do both professionally. I had to bail on taking commissions for cover art because I simply did not have the time. It sucks, due to me losing out on making a bit of money and cool experiences, but I just prefer to make art for my own projects because: it is far less time consuming, it doesn't involve constantly interacting with clients (my clients were super cool! But communication takes time away from other things), and it lets me do exactly whatever I want.
I'm going to be applying the same logic to many of my relationships. Those that simply consume too much of my time and/or don't benefit me need to go. It may sound harsh, however, I mean no offense. Everyone needs to do what they feel is best for themselves first, because if they don't, they'll get stressed out and resentful, which can lead to a whole host of other problems.
If you're having trouble determining what is a project, or person, that you need to distance yourself from, just ask yourself two simple questions:
Is this useful to me?
Does this make me happy?
Useless things will make you unhappy, either sooner or later, so it is best to identify them early on so that you can save yourself some time and heartache.
That includes this newsletter.
If you don't enjoy the contents of The Rahaman Reader, and haven't for a while, you're welcome to unsubscribe. If you don't know how, send me an email and I'll unsubscribe you through the backend of my website.
No hard feelings.
This week in Of the Sky, Of the Sea, and Of the Stones, Athos witnesses a battle between the crab-dragon hybrid and the warriors from Kioshell island.
Chapter 3 - Of the Sea
February 26, 2021
Good Friday, readers.
The latest occurences on Rahaman Writing:
Recently, I attended an online event known as Evil Expo, where villainous creatives types, and other assorted weirdos, gather to share their work. I have quite an interesting story about what went down, which I shall share, though know that if you're someone who follows me on Twitter, you might know all about what happened from the tweet I have had pinned to my profile for a few days earlier this week. If you read that thread, you can skip to the next image in this newsletter and miss nothing, as I'm essentially going to copy and paste most of it into the following paragraphs.
First of all, I wrote up an outline the night before the event at around midnight because I was not told about my timeslot until less than 24 hours prior. So I didn't have time to advertise or promote myself, nor was I given a chance to read and discuss all of my content through no fault of my own (I'll explain this part in a bit). Thankfully, I didn't have to pay for anything, though these totally unprofessional developments meant that all my effort equated to almost nothing. That is, it would have, if I didn't record some of the footage on my phone, which is the video you see linked above. Sadly, my phone told me that it ran out of storage (at 45~ minutes into the recording), even though that's complete bullshit as the recording was only 4 GB and I have a 64 GB SD card. I think overheating was what made my phone freak out and end the recording, for it is about 5 years old, after all.
Though, it wasn't a huge loss as my set ended up being short (about 1 hour total). Everything went mostly well, despite the resolution of the stream being that of a baked potato and the audio probably of the same quality, until I was in the middle of reading from chapter 2 of my book Inner Expanses. I paused to swap from my laptop's kindle app to the stream window and saw another dude just chilling beside me, live. I checked the private tech chat and it turns out that this dude, a fellow author named Jeff Beesler, was hanging out, watching my set. So, I immediately engaged with him and asked him how he was doing, realizing instantly that he was the next one up on this stream channel's schedule. We chatted for a bit and it turned out his slot started at 8:00 pm (my time slot was supposed to be 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm). At that point, it was clear I could not return to reading from Inner Expanses and decided to just chill, chat, do a segue into Jeff's portion and then peace the fuck out once I was cleared to do so.
Not only did they send me my timeslot info last-minute but they also sent me incorrect information that prevented me from going into details about my book, or even finish reading the chapter I had planned to. And by "they" I mean Evil Expo staff, not Jeff. Jeff suffered from the same schedule bullshit that I did, though neither of us made a big deal out of it, as we were professionals and both cool dudes. Jeff's book is called Bloboids Vs. Faeries and is available on Amazon, if anyone wants to check it out.
To summarize: it went okay. Could have been worse. I'm glad I got an okay video out of it, despite all the nonsense. However, how this event went greatly decreased my desire to participate in any group activities of similar nature. At least, for a while.
The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #29:
This week's bit of advice is on how to come up with good names for your characters, the creatures in your world, and locations in your setting. Personally, since I have a huge love of science (biology most of all), I name things in my stories after the binomial names for existing species of living organisms. For those of you who are unaware of what a "binomial name" is, that is the technical term for the two-word identifier that scientists use to classify a species. To most people, the best-known binomial name is Tyrannosaurus rex.
To give you an example of how to use such information in naming, here's what I did to name a couple of characters in the next part of the SSS series. The island where the protagonist, Athos, is currently on is all about crab fishing, so I named some characters after the parts of the names of different crab species.
Eocarcinus praecursor is an ancient species of crab that lived in the Jurassic period. I named one of the giant crab hunters "Eocar" by simply extracting the front part of the first word (the generic name, the second word is the epithet).
You can fairly easily name things after any animal, plant, fungus, or even bacteria (and other single-celled organisms) that has been described.
This week in Of the Sky, Of the Sea, and Of the Stones, Athos sees the giant crab hunters finish slaying their prey. He chooses this time to greet them and advise them on how to deal with the dangerous dragon skull that now lies half-buried in the once-white sand of the bloody beach.
Chapter 3 - Of the Sea