C.S. Raeburn

C.S. Raeburn is the pen name of a London-based writer and actor. They began writing at a young age, inspired by the works of Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia E. Butler, and Brandon Sanderson. Their hobbies include amateur theatre, powerlifting, and playing the piano and violin. Currently, they are studying for a master’s degree in creative writing.

What inspired you to write ‘Little Patterns’ (Issue 4)?

The featured story is a chapter from my main WIP, Affinity for Fire, which I aim to release in the next two years. It will be the first instalment in a series, and the key theme of the novel is power. Power balance, power shifting, power plays. 

As for this scene, I wanted to explore the balance of power in particular. Who is really in control in this scene? How does power shift from one character to another? I realised that I needed a character who could recognise patterns, which is why I created Vander. I also needed two sides of the same coin: Armin, and the guard. Both have their own goals and motivations in this scene which I have found interesting to explore. To the guard, he is simply doing his job. Armin, however, sees an opportunity. And Vander is caught in the middle.

Could you give us an insight into your writing process?

I dedicate thirty minutes per WIP per day to my own writing, as I not only write for a full-time job, I am also studying part-time for a master’s in creative writing. My life is dominated by words, and I want to transition into teaching yoga so that I can specialise in helping other creatives. I try to get my writing done in the morning, but often I find myself writing at night with my cat, Poppy, by my side. She’s with me as I’m answering these questions! Purring away like my own personal white noise machine.

What do you consider to be the most enjoyable or important aspect of science fiction or fantasy, and why?

For science fiction, I would say it’s the willingness to be patient and gentle, and to trust your reader. I love an epic space battle as much as the next person, but it can become tiresome quite quickly. Currently, I’m reading The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, and what I enjoy most about it is Becky Chambers’s patience with her writing style. She knows what she’s doing, we’re getting just the right amount of information, and there’s a great amount of trust placed in the reader. That’s also what I enjoy about reading Ursula K. LeGuin, and it’s something I am trying to find in my own writing. 

For fantasy, it’s the willingness to take risks. Some of my favourite fantasy stories involve great creative risks. Currently, Affinity for Fire stands at around 35 000 words out of a proposed 150 000. During a workshop session, I was encouraged to consider where its own little niche lands. This is something I’m still giving due consideration, because in five years’ time, publishing and book markets are not going to look the same as they do now.