June 24, 2022
Welcome to the weekend, everyone.
What's going on at Rahaman Writing:
I scanned a few pages for typos...
Due to still being super-busy with a variety of tasks, I've—once more—not done any website updates. Although, you're probably used to the lack of updates on this front by now. Again, it won't be forever; it'll just be until I have time to fine-tune things. Thankfully, there's nothing that really needs to be done for Rahamanwriting.com. It's in a good spot.
Although, despite being busy, I managed to find a bit of time for my fiction. Not much, but it's better than nothing.
I'm still working on my worldbuilding project-turned-book "Of the Sky, Of the Sea, and Of the Stones". In the previous chapter, I had the protagonist explore a flying city that had landed in an ocean. However, in this chapter, the protagonist will be exploring the depths in search of secrets about the sea.
This chapter is planned to be the third of five considerably thick chapters—which I may end up changing to "parts" and making smaller chapters within each "part".
I'm happy to say that it's still fun to write and develop this ocean-dominated planet. This bodes well for SSS as well as future books planned to take place in this world.
The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #50
As a reader, I like to be challenged to a certain degree. I like to figure things out and come to my own conclusions about the setting and characters.
And, as a writer, I try to give my readers the same kinds of challenges. For example, in most cases, I tend to write characters realistically instead of writing them to be likable or relatable.
I want readers to come to their own conclusions about places and people, as I feel that this will immerse readers better and also challenge their minds to think critically about what they are reading.
However, it's very possible to be heavy-handed in this regard. You don't want to challenge your readers too much, as that may make them not want to continue reading.
My advice for this month is to be careful how you test your readers. Challenging their imagination is one thing, but you don't want to challenge their morals or personal beliefs. Fiction is for creative freedom, not pushing your thoughts and opinions on others.
If you're looking for a challenging read, consider checking out Inner Expanses. Set in two dimensions that are enigmatically linked, things are not what they seem.
Death is not final, and the inhuman ones are not the true monsters. You'll have to read to the very end to learn the truth about the dark tendrils that push and pull lives apart across the fabric of reality.
July 23, 2022
Good Friday, readers.
What's happening at Rahaman Writing:
Made a few thousand words of progress on my WIP
Damn, it feels good to write.
After weeks of nothing, I finally had some time to work on my WIP—and boy, did I get some great stuff down!
I was able to progress through a scene that introduced a lot of unique concepts while also explaining a lot of lore. It was a fair deal of setup for the next scene, but I felt that I was able to write it in a way that was interesting and organic that didn't feel like I was just expositioning at the reader.
Yes, I know "expositioning" isn't a real word, but it bloody well is now!
I don't know if I'll have too much time to return to this ocean adventure WIP anytime soon, however, getting down around 4,000 words in a week is good enough...for now.
Back to the (enjoyable) grind of work and (tiring) life stuff.
The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #51
When significant things are happening in your story, you want to evoke some sort of emotion in your readers. Making them feel as well as think will let your scenes hit harder and remain in the minds of readers.
One of the kinds of significant things that I've been told my work gets across well is betrayal—which I'm quite proud of, as it's something that can be hard to pull off.
Betrayal needs to sting; it needs to anger or sadden the reader. If it doesn't, then the reader won't be as satisfied when the protagonist gets revenge. Furthermore, the reader may not be able to empathize with the protagonist who was betrayed.
Betrayal and revenge are themes that I'm a big fan of, and one of the tales where I apparently used these themes the best is in Burning Blood.
You can find this short story, and others, in my collection: Unusual Tales for the Curious Mind.
However, you can also read Burning Blood on my website for free. No first-chapter-only tricks—you can read the full story! Click HERE or click on the image below to do so.
Unusual Smells for the Curious Nose
August 26, 2022
Welcome to the weekend, readers.
What's new at Rahaman Writing:
Made a few more thousand words of progress on my WIP
As I keep writing my WIP, the protagonist keeps going deeper into the depths of the ocean. Thankfully for them, I've written in a way that they can breathe underwater (the blessing of Sea Breathing). That doesn't mean it's safe—it's just not guaranteed to be lethal.
And I kind of know what that's like as I'm writing the story, as I'm somewhat out of my depth when designing the faith structure of this world. This is because I'm trying some new things. I've been basing the religion of the undersea creatures (they're all pretty much sapient) on aspects of Christianity.
For example, in this organized undersea religion (which is as of yet unnamed) there are clergy members who take care of the spiritual needs (and more) of the ocean's denizens. There are gigantic eels who are bishops, flounders who are deacons, cephalopods who are pontifices, and more.
Now, I've got an idea of where things will go, but not many of the details. Those will be fun to figure out as I write. There are probably going to be lots of "talking" sea creatures. I'm glad I wrote in a way for the protagonist to communicate with all underwater beings (the blessing of Sea Hearing). That will be sure to make things easier.
Hopefully, the denizens of the abyss will help the scholarly adventurer learn the secrets of the deep that he desires so greatly.
The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #52
When you're coming up with a fictional world, you don't want your readers to feel like they're just hearing about it. You want them to feel like they're there. You want to physically bring your reader into your world.
There are lots of ways you can do this. One method that I especially like is to describe things that the protagonist is physically sensing. And I mean more than just what they're seeing or hearing.
Describing the scents of a location can subtly force your readers to think about similar smells they've encountered. A human's scent memory is surprisingly strong. And it is something you can use to immerse your readers into the experiences of the protagonist. The damp decay of a bog or the fresh morning mist of a mountainside can do the trick.
But don't stop there. You should mention tactile sensations, like the chilling bite of a bitter wind or a gentle, warm summer breeze.
Even taste can be used. Small matter drifting in the air can land upon the tongue, like ash from a great fire or dust from ancient ruins.
If you occasionally like visually smelling fantasy scents, I've got a whole perfumer's trove of olfactory adventures you may enjoy. And by that, I mean a short story collection. Click on the image below to check it out on Amazon.
September 23, 2022
Good Friday, everyone.
What's happening at Rahaman Writing:
Removed the update section on the homepage
Ended my social media marketing
I finally got rid of the updates section on the homepage of Rahaman Writing. I felt that it doesn't need to be there while I'm not actively updating my website. Ironically, that itself is an update.
Furthermore, I also deactivated my Twitter account and deleted my GoodReads account as well. I wasn't really using them, and, after some thought, I've decided that I'm not going back either.
Social media marketing requires a level of time and effort that I don't feel like putting into it. I had a good run and generated some interest in my fiction, but that was back when I had lots of time to do so.
I'll continue mentioning book releases and stuff about my fiction through my newsletter, but nowhere else. And you bet your ass I'm going to continue writing my fiction novels. There's lots more to come...eventually.
And I also plan to keep my books on Amazon indefinitely because that requires minimal effort to manage. Although, without doing any marketing for my fiction, all releases will be small releases, to say the least. Which doesn't bother me one bit.
Conversely, the readership of my non-fiction writing is growing pretty well. A bunch of my articles are on the first page of Google results for their given topics. Some have even claimed the first result spot on the first page as well! This is in large part due to how I write and optimize my content, but also due to the marketing expertise of the websites I write for.
I'm a demon of progress with lucrative contracts. As I grow more powerful, so do those who require my services. This creates an upward spiral. That's much more my vibe.
The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #53
Progress in your books can sometimes feel as slow as gaining new readers. However, there are some things you can do to avoid certain scenes feeling like they're too long or boring.
Casual conversations between characters are important to have once in a while. They are great ways to develop those characters, have them share their thoughts in an organic way, and much more.
But, if you're worried that you have too many of these scenes, insert conversations into the traveling parts!
Often in books, I see scenes that transition from static character dialogue to prose briefly describing a journey. While there's nothing wrong with this, you can do both at once.
Keep the same conversation but write it into the passages where characters are going from one location to another.
For example, if your protagonists are walking through a forest to reach a town on the other side, have them talk to each other as they're traveling instead of having a conversation before or afterward.
This is a way that I've included tons of details about the world lore and other stuff in my own stories without slowing the pace down. If done right, it can add to the "I can't stop reading" factor that can cement your book in the minds of readers as truly awesome.
Speaking of truly awesome, did you know that my website has a poetry section? Maybe check it out by clicking here or the image below. You can also listen to me reading each poem via the respective "Listen" buttons on the linked webpage.
FREED FROM FLESH
October 28, 2022
What's haunting Rahaman Writing:
Landed another freelance writing contract
Summoned a spooky new short story
Hilariously, I've infiltrated a group of ghosts and am siphoning their offerings. They think that I'm also a ghost...but I'm not. I didn't intentionally deceive anyone, however, I am not opposed to letting humans and lesser spirits make assumptions that benefit me. Such is the way of a demon.
And by that, I mean that I've recently landed a freelance contract with a ghostwriting firm. My boast from last month about acquiring more power (financial power, in this case) was even more valid than I thought.
Soon, I'll have access to projects that need a ton of written content. For this company's application trial, I was given five days to write 5,000 words...and I did it in one. The feedback I got from the administrators was splendid as well, which proves that I can write large volumes in short time spans for this client with ease. My mouth is watering just thinking about the potential.
The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #54
Over the years, I've learned that while being obscure and mysterious can be positive traits for more sinister stories (and the more sinister parts of less scary stories), you need to make sure you shroud the right sections.
As I've said in previous tips: there needs to be a fine balance between what you show and what you don't. This, of course, depends on your tale and its purpose. However, there are some things you should always make clear.
Your readers need to understand what is happening but don't necessarily need to understand who, why, when, and where at the same time.
Be specific about what is taking place in your scene. Don't skimp on the physical details unless it serves a purpose.
For example, if a human character is being ripped apart by a werewolf, you should describe how the beast attacks them (pouncing, slashing them with claws, biting them, etc.) so that there is a physical representation that the readers can mentally picture. You don't need to immediately say where the werewolf came from or how it got there—focus on illustrating the action. They'll be time to go into other details later.
Getting your readers to accurately imagine what's occurring is the key to drawing them into any action-oriented scene. It's more satisfying and is often more frightening.
All throughout this month, I've been enjoying horror media (more than usual) and revisiting some old favourites. One such example is a dark poetry tome written by a friend and fellow writer-fiend, Spyder Collins.
This collection, combined with a few video games and films of a similar tone, got me in the mood to write some fresh horror fiction.
Below, for your eyes only, is a 1,500~ word short story about a trapped skeleton. It is an exclusive bit of content that will only appear here (and in Rahaman Writing's archives). Consider it a Halloween treat from me to you, dear readers.
Content Warning: Body Horror
I’m trapped in this body and I can no longer stand it. Being enclosed in a prison of flesh fills my soul with agony. My unnatural existence should be purged.
The sun is setting as I wheel myself in front of my study’s mirror to stare at my abhorrent form: meat wrapped around the bone with silk wrapped around the meat. I bring my hands up to my face and clutch at my cheeks, wishing that they would slough away. I pull at my face as if to dislodge it—but not with any true force. Damaging this thin facade would cause those who I see on a regular basis to look down on me even more. I hate myself but I cannot change just yet.
I look long and hard at my reflection; thinking, contemplating, and dreaming for change. But I know change does not come from idle hope, as it can only arise from taking action. I gaze and glare and leer at myself until my energy is spent and I pass out. Just like I do every night.
As my mind descends into the Dreamlands, I promise myself that this will be the last time that I fall asleep in this accursed form. I will take action tomorrow, but not now. It is not yet time…but it shall be soon.
When I awake in the morning, my sweet nurse is already here and tending to me. She cleans me and feeds me as usual, all with her fleshy hands. As she goes about her duties, I stare at her skeleton through her muscles and her organs—at her lovely bones. How I wish I could free her from her corporeal prison. But I cannot help her until I help myself. Soon, we will be free. I will make sure of it.
My dearest nurse pulls the curtains aside and the sun’s rays find my eyes. It feels disgusting; as if I am a slab of rotting pork being slowly burned. I smell my warm skin and I wish I could strip it from my body. I pull my silken garb over my hands and face before I turn away from the window. My kind nurse frowns but then closes the curtains once more. I do not tolerate having the sun upon me. It feels too human.
Hour after hour I peruse my many manuals and tomes. I look over the ways to free a soul from its visceral jail. These are all passages that I have memorized long ago, but it brings me comfort to see the familiar words and to know that they will guide me to my release soon enough. Soon…
As the sun sinks below the horizon, my sweet nurse bids me farewell. I watch her leave into the sunset and wordlessly promise to save her after I save myself. It will be tonight. Once the blood moon rises, it will begin.
Dusk dies and the night comes alive, signaling the beginning of the end. I wheel myself around my abode, gathering the ingredients needed for the ritual: a sown flesh effigy, the bones of a beast whose body was devoured by disease, and threads from a wraith’s cloak. These are all things that I've had lying in wait for this very moment. Finally, they can serve a purpose as opposed to slumbering in glass jars full of alcohol and sigil-covered containers.
I tear the curtains of my office away to reveal a garnet moon bleeding into the gloom. I then push myself out of my moving chair and l land with a thump on the hardwood floor of my study. There is no pain, as I have not felt my legs in decades. I drag myself to the mirror and begin to connect the components.
First, I position the fleshy effigy. Its many pinks and reds stitched together from the skin of many people. It is warm in my hands; as if it is echoing the faint life held by the humans from which it was born. I set it down and then I arrange the bones.
I hear that the wolf from which they had come slowly fell to canine distemper; most of their innards were consumed by the virus but the skeleton was left untouched. I place them as my familiar diagrams instructed: around the flesh effigy in an inverted star with many surrounding osteoconstellations.
Lastly, I use the ethereal wisps of the wraith’s cloak to bind the flesh to the bone. It is challenging to manipulate the nearly intangible threads, but I eventually manage to put together the macabre monument. Unlike the poor fool that acquired them; who was pulled apart by the very wraith whose cloak he defiled.
Next comes the hard part: I need to sever the threads joining the flesh to the bone, but with something from my own body. I pull out a pair of pliers and grab hold of the nail on my offhand’s pinky finger. Agonizingly, I pull it free—as free as I soon shall be. I spend a moment staring at my severed nail with envy before I begin the final part of the ritual.
I grasp the bloody nail in my undamaged hand and I cut through the wraith’s threads while reciting the necessary incantation. These words are not of a tongue that I am fully acquainted with, but their meanings ring true. Each holds sentiments of separation, liberation, and unrelenting determination.
When I cut the last thread and say the final words, the assembled figure before me erupts in black fire. The dark flames drink the low light of the blood moon’s crimson rays, and with their passing, I can also feel something being pulled from my body. White wisps emerge from my corpus and flow into the small occult pyre.
The surface of the mirror becomes foggy, like mists obscuring a moor; signifying that a change has occurred. Then, just as suddenly as they appeared, the black flames vanish. It leaves behind the flesh, bones, and threads—now naught but a pile of smoking ash. I briefly entertain the thought of how magicians use smoke and mirrors to fool common folk, and I wonder if rituals like mine are the origins of such spectacles.
I sit in the silent darkness and allow my mind to become still. Once my thoughts are clear, I peer at my reflection in my study’s smoky mirror and clutch at my face. Slowly, I pull at the flesh of my cheeks, and, miraculously, they begin to slough away. I tear more of the same from my visage and am soon greeted by my true face: my serene skinless skull.
I laugh for the first time in years. It’s happening! I’m finally going to free myself from this damned meat suit. Eagerly, I rip the silk from my body and then do the same for my sickly skin, malevolent muscles, and odious organs. With each bundle of tendons removed, I feel lighter. With each handful of ligaments plucked, I feel happier. But it is not like with my torn fingernail; it is not painful. It feels good. No—it feels fantastic!
In a manner of minutes, I finish my liberation. For the first time in decades, I stand. No more would my weak muscles hold me back. No more would my hideous skin hide my true beauty. I gaze adoringly at my gorgeous skeleton—my lovely true self reflected in a cloudy looking glass. Blood covers my bones, but that will soon run off. With my freedom attained, I now set forth to free others as I promised I would.
I burst out of my front door and I feel the cold night air on my freshly unchained body. I bask in the carmine luminance until I hear screaming. With eyeless sight, I look to the origin of the shouts and see two people cowering before me. One is a man in a blue suit and the other—to my surprise—is my sweet nurse in a white dress. What great timing for her to take a moonlit stroll by my abode.
“Darling…” my throatless voice rasps as I walk forward with arms extended. The man runs away, struck by an utmost fright, but my lovely nurse’s legs collapse, dropping her upon the sidewalk. I crouch down beside her and caress her face, “Do not worry, I will free you. Just as I’ve freed myself.”
At that moment, her eyes widen in recognition. “No…” she whispers.
“Yes…” I respond before I set to work. I hold her close with one arm and begin freeing her with the other. She cries and screams, but not for long. After I tear the flesh from her face and free her lovely skull, her cries become laughs and her screams become encouragements.
“Don’t stop…” she hoarsely urges, which makes me hasten my movements. It is not long before her sensual skeleton is fully liberated. I cradle my dear nurse as she rests; breathing lungless breaths.
“You have tended to me for so long, it is only right that I return the favour,” I say as I run a skeletal hand over her smooth skull.
“Thank you…” she responds as she sits up. “I didn’t know that I was trapped…until I was not.”
“Few do, my darling. Few do…” As my lovely companion and I rise amidst the shade and scarlet moonbeams, we see people around us. They are screaming and pointing at our beautiful bodies. They do not understand…but they will. “Come, my sweet nurse, let us show them all how it feels to be freed from flesh.”
COMMA ÇA VA?
November 25, 2022
Good Friday, readers (and belated gobble gobble to my American friends)
What's up at Rahaman Writing:
Wrote an e-book (as a ghost)
Since you last heard from me, I wrote a relatively short e-book (28,000 words) for a client. Furthermore, I did so in about a week. I wasn't in a rush, mind you, I just wanted to get it done before I took a trip. I thought that it'd seem unprofessional to land a contract and then immediately leave on vacation.
Thankfully, the quality of this ghostwritten book—which is about dark psychology—was high enough that the editor barely needed to do anything. As such, the post-writing portion of this gig went smoothly. The only thing that the editor actually needed to help me with is my atrocious usage of commas. According to them (and Grammarly), I suck at using commas in general.
Which, frankly, I shrugged at. Commas are important, and I've been meaning to brush up on how to use them better, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
In other news, I've been a bit more focused on American Thanksgiving this year than usual, as I've been spending this week in the US visiting some loved ones.
It's been a nice vacation and has allowed me to see how my family and friends south of the border celebrate this time of the year.
I'm grateful that I'm able to spend time with them and that I get to learn about this part of North American culture. But, you know, without the consumption of turkey. I don't eat animals. To me, they are friends, not food.
Don't feel bad if you do, though! I'm not trying to guilt-trip you. Humans are designed to be omnivores (eaters of both meat and plants), however, in this regard, I'm thankful that the world is in a state where I can stuff myself with tasty food without needing to consume non-human animals.
Maybe give it a try sometime! Meat-free meat has become pretty damn good since its creation.
The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #55
I got a simple one for y'all this month: try new types of punctuation!
Varying the types of marks that you use in your writing not only increases readability but also unlocks new techniques—which can allow you to flex your big brain.
For example, if you're a fan of long-ass sentences (like me), having multiple types of punctuation marks will enable you to keep slapping words into a phrase without having to compromise your style; you'll enhance your prose while maintaining clarity.
If you're not quite sure on how to do so, then use Google! There are tons of legitimate free resources online that quickly and easily explain how to use certain types of punctuation. Alternatively, download and use Grammarly. It's also free and you can turn it off whenever you want if it's annoying you.
With the internet at your fingertips, doing some research and gaining new tools for writing has never been easier! Taking advantage of such tools is always beneficial and undeniably improves the quality of your work.
Don't be lazy: go crazy!
...Says the person who can't make the time to look up how commas are used.
LATE OR EARLY?
January 9, 2023
Happy New Year, readers!
What's new at Rahaman Writing:
Updated the website copyright
Right away, I'll admit that I didn't write a newsletter issue in December. I didn't forget, I just didn't have the time. I was on vacation and was having too much fun to write anything besides a bit of fiction.
I apologize for not sending one out. I said that I would in the November newsletter but didn't. That's on me.
Though, it got me thinking about how often I should be sending newsletters out. I've come to the conclusion that I would prefer to write these less than once a month.
I'm starting to run out of things to share with you—and have been for a while. I still enjoy writing newsletters but I feel that due to the lack of content, they should be sent further apart.
That's how things will be in 2023 and likely beyond. I hope that's okay with you. If not, then you're welcome, as always, to unsubscribe. The button for that is at the very bottom of every newsletter (including this one).
The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #56
Have a few characters exit the story without dying. Also, write a few new and important ones into the world during the later parts of your story.
When a few characters come and go, it can make the world feel larger—as if there's more going on than what's happening to the protagonists.
They don't have to leave for good. The departed could begin some sort of journey of self-discovery.
Bonus points if you do not do this during a time skip. Time skips are fun and useful but come at the cost of lessening how much you can show your readers.