Ethan Hedman, whose story ‘The Collection’ is published in the debut issue of Lucent Dreaming, is a speculative fiction writer from South Florida, the land of heat, humidity, and hurricanes. He conjures up new stories from his home in Cutler Bay. Ethan started writing short fiction in 2016. His work has been published in a variety of online publications including Trembling With Fear, Speculative 66, and Wax Seal Literary Magazine. Some of his stories have also been read as episodes of 600 Second Saga, a speculative fiction podcast. Ethan has more work forthcoming in various anthologies, including Tales of Ruma, Unrealpolitik, and Darkling’s Beasts and Brews. Writing aside, Ethan is a secular humanist and occasionally wreaks havoc on mechanized combatants with ELK Robotics, a local robot combat team. Read our interview with him below where he gives fantastic advice about how to get published!
What does writing mean to you?
From the time I was little I’ve marveled at fictional worlds people have made, from entire galaxies in Star Wars and Star Trek to the fantastical realms of Middle Earth, Nirn, and Hyrule. Writing fiction is my small way of giving back to the pool of creative work I love so much.
It’s also a magical process. A writer can sit down and create interesting characters and unique settings with nothing more than a some brainstorming and strokes of their keyboard or pen. Fiction writers are all wizards and witches, conjuring stuff up as if from nowhere. It’s a pretty awesome thing to be.
What writing/creative projects are you currently working on?
Short fiction’s been my focus for a while now, and I always have a bunch of publications with open submission calls scribbled down which I hope to write for. I also have some longer works-in-progress which aren’t anywhere near having their drafts finished or being ready for publication yet.
What are you most excited about right now and for the future?
There are a few anthologies coming out in the future which I’m really excited for, not just because of my own featured work but because I want to see what everyone else came up with. One is Gunsmoke & Dragonfire, a fantasy Western anthology including a story of mine about an enchanted gun. Another is Unrealpolitik, a collection of speculative fiction stories with political themes. I coined the genre term civicspunk when I submitted my story, since I couldn’t really find an appropriate subgenre of fiction to classify it, haha.
How and where do you find inspiration to write?
Inspiration is a really tricky thing, and it can be awfully hard to wrangle. It can strike anywhere, anytime. Sometimes ideas are prompted by other creative works, sometimes they’re triggered by a phrase in a conversation or a split-second glance at something in the middle of a crowded street. The important thing is to not let a loose idea run away, because ideas are incredibly slippery. I write down a bunch of little notes and story ideas in notebooks to make sure they won’t just vanish on me.
What advice would you give those who want to do what you do?
Writing isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time, energy, and attention to detail, but it’s well worth the effort once you start sharing your stories with the world.
You can find advice for how to write just about anywhere, but I think a lot of fledgling short fiction writers aren’t terribly familiar with how to get their work published, so I’ll focus on that instead. There are a lot of great resources you can use to find outlets for your work, such as The Submission Grinder (an incredible, searchable database of publications–I use it every single day), The Horror Tree (a website which consistently highlights publications seeking submissions), and Ralan (a regularly-updated catalog of markets organized by type and pay rate), to name a few.
When you start to send your work off to be considered, make sure to follow all of a publication’s submission guidelines. Editors will have different preferences and standards, so it’s best to double-check everything before you submit. Be polite and concise in your cover letters and be ready for a ton of rejections. Everyone who starts writing and submitting their work to publications is going to rack up a whole mountain of them before long, myself included. They’re really not as bad or disheartening as you might think. Rejections are stepping stones towards refining your stories and getting them published elsewhere.
More than anything else, don’t stop trying. Writing fiction is the most fulfilling thing I can imagine. I can’t adequately explain the joy of hearing someone tell you how much they loved something you wrote. You have to experience it for yourself.
Where can people see more of you and your work?
The best place to catch up with everything I’ve been up to is on EthanHedman.com. I put up posts whenever something of mine gets published and maintain a bibliography of my work. I’m also on Twitter as @EthanTypesWords and on Instagram as @ethanhedman.
Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, imaginative and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Our aim is to encourage creativity and to help writers reach publication! Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.