Excerpt for Aurealis #118 by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


Edited by Michael Pryor

Published by Chimaera Publications at Smashwords

Copyright of this compilation Chimaera Publications 2019

Copyright on each story remains with the contributor

EPUB version ISBN 978-1-922031-75-4

ISSN 2200-307X (electronic)


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Hard copy back issues of Aurealis can be obtained from the Aurealis website:


From the Cloud—Michael Pryor

The Excuses We Make for Our Children—Rebecca Fung

Ogali—Nuzo Onoh

Dog Nebula—Subodhana Wijeyeratne

John Lang and the Hidden—Gillian Polack

That Did What? Contrivance in Speculative Fiction—Stuart Olver


Next Issue


From the Cloud

Michael Pryor

Tracy Chevalier writes during school hours. She aims for 1000 words in longhand and then edits the work and keys it into the computer.

Louis Sachar writes at least five drafts before he shows anyone.

Joyce Carol Oates prefers to write in the morning, before breakfast.

Ian Rankin writes in front of a blank wall. It helps him if the house is empty, or everyone is asleep.

Patricia Cornwell can write for 14 hours a day on a new book, only pausing to eat cottage cheese from the container.

Kate DiCamillo writes only two pages a day.

Dava Sobel likes to ‘get up at four and go to work in [her] jammies’.

When he’s in the middle of a novel, Colum McCann sometimes prints out a chapter or two in large font, staples it together like a book and takes it to Central Park. He finds a quiet bench and pretends he’s reading a book by someone else.

Anne Rice uses 14-point Courier.

Hilary Mantel takes a shower when she gets writer’s block.

Philip Roth writes at a lectern.

Flannery O’Connor shifted her desk so it faced away from the window.

Cormac McCarthy writes on an Olympus typewriter.

Before she began a writing session, [Sidonie-Gabrielle] Colette would first pick fleas off from her cat.

Blanche D’Alpuget once said that she printed out her first draft then deleted the original file from the computer. After that she forced herself to type it all again from the printouts.

When a narrative arc starts to appear for Margaret Atwood, she experiments with the order by printing out chapters and moving them around in piles on the floor.

Graham Greene wrote 500 words a day for five days a week. This meant he could write a novel a year.

Malorie Blackman writes in her attic.

Leo Tolstoy’s wife Sofia edited and transcribed Anna Karenina and War and Peace for him.

There is no magic formula for writing. Find the ways that work best for you.

All the best from the cloud.

Michael Pryor

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The Excuses We Make for Our Children

Rebecca Fung

I took a plate of cakes to Mitsu, who finally stopped crying after three days of flooding tears. I wasn’t sure which was worse, the incessant sobs and the wailing or the eerie silence. But I didn’t get to choose.

She barely acknowledged the cakes—and Mitsu had always been the soul of good manners. That soul seemed to be sucked dry now. I sat down next to her. She was staring into the distance, at everything and nothing.

Something had to be said. It would have been trite to say I was terribly sorry. That’s something you would say if you were running late or you broke someone’s favourite cup. I couldn’t say I was glad for her—but at least now she had some resolution. Where would you even begin to tell someone you’re glad that they’ve found her son’s dead body washed up in the nearby river?

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