Start a new week the right way: join us as we chat with Dominic Rascati, whose short stories have appeared in several anthologies. Dominic tells us about their love of sci-fi and fantasy and his experiences of both writing and editing short stories in Skullgate Media's Chronicles of New Albion: Adventures in 2187!
If you love a vast collection of stories by a range of authors, make sure to check our Instagram at 5pm to be in with a chance of winning this exciting anthology, signed by Dominic!
For more info about Dominic, visit their Linktree here.
Introduce yourself! What should our audience know about you?
I am a nonbinary, polyamorous author from Connecticut. I am also an aspiring academic in the field of communication. My focus is mainly science fiction and fantasy, but I’m open to other genres!
Your most recent works appear in Skullgate Media’s Chronicles of New Albion: Adventures in 2187. Tell us about your stories and what inspired them!
I have two short stories in that collection named “Superstorm” and “Voices of the Deep.”
“Superstorm” came out of me being in college myself and having taken trips to NYC over the years. I thought it would be fun to take these magical college kids and combine them with a city I know, coupled with the likely reality of climate change in 2187.
“Voices of the Deep” was a little trickier. Since the setting was collaboratively built, the underwater setting in this story was something I expanded on from another writer. If you’re a fan of anticapitalist themes and Irish mythology, this one is for you.
What drew you to the science fiction/fantasy genre?
Science fiction and fantasy are two special genres because of how much you can do with them. You have the opportunity to build a much more unique world, whether it’s a different planet or a magical place. You can also combine them with our world, like we did in Chronicles of New Albion: Adventures in 2187. That’s not to say you can’t do that in other genres, but contemporary fiction or historical fiction, for example, don’t allow for certain elements unless you’re intentionally blending genres like fantasy or sci-fi. Babel uses fantasy to build an alternate past. Percy Jackson infuses contemporary with mythology. Ultimately, I just like robots and magic and all that, so it shows in my reading and writing.
What do you enjoy about appearing in and reading anthologies as opposed to publishing as an individual?
Anthologies have been great for me so far. On the one hand, you get into a book without having to write 100k words, which is cool. But more importantly, it takes your ideas to new places. I’ve built more unique ideas with multiple writers than I probably would by myself given the same starting point. Plus everyone involved forms great relationships and helps get each other’s name out there. Especially if you’re starting out, anthologies are a great way to hone your writing and your relationships. Readers will get a variety of writing styles too to keep interest throughout. Honestly, I should put some anthologies under my reading belt as well, not just writing!
You also served as a guest editor in this anthology! Has editing affected you as an author at all? Do you carry any skills from one to the other?
The effect is a little more subconscious than anything else, but it definitely is useful practice for your own writing to edit someone else’s. There are different levels of editing, whether it’s more about the holistic project or more meticulous line edits. And editors can charge differently for these if you hire one! But it’s good to have both lenses in your toolbox. Maybe when editing someone’s work, you see something they did that you want to fix in your writing. Maybe they did something great that helps with a sticky part in your WIP. You never know how someone else’s work will inspire you, so you’re helping the other writer and yourself at the same time whether you realize it or not.
Do you have a preference between short stories and longer works? Are there any different skills needed to write short stories that perhaps other authors should know about?
At the moment, I tend to write short stories and read longer works. I’ve actually never finished writing a novel yet. But they are very different beasts. Novels are just naturally bigger, so you need a lot more detail. You can go into subplots or tangent storylines that you probably couldn’t fit in a short story.
When I go into a short story, I like to use the steps in Dan Harmon’s Story Circle before I write. I even have a sweatshirt with the diagram printed on it! It doesn't have to be a whole world-building document, and the steps keep me on track through the story. People probably have different thoughts on Dan Harmon. I’m not saying anything about him as a person. But the Story Circle he made to simplify the Hero’s Journey works for me.
Do you have any advice for other authors who would like to take part in anthologies but aren’t sure where to start?
Make friends. I wouldn’t be anywhere as a writer without the connections I’ve made along the way. And the writing community is so sweet and helpful! Following people you like will put the right opportunities in front of you. That’s also what makes indie writing so special. I’m pretty young, but social media has allowed the community to flourish. There are probably tons of great, niche anthologies out there that I’ve never heard of, but interacting with the community online will help you find them.
Tell us a little bit about your writing process! Are you a plotter or pantser? Did you overcome any challenges and how?
I am a plantser, a little bit of both. I probably world-build more than I actually write! At the same time, I can’t do a paint-by-numbers scene. When I write, there are bound to be twists and turns. This happened when I wrote the short story, “Beneath the Snow,” in Winter Wonders. I had those Story Circle beats, but some of the details woven in really just sprang up.
My biggest challenge is just sitting down to write. I’m a procrastinator. Writing can be like going for a walk, where it feels better once I’m actually doing it but it takes time for me to get to it. And that’s a challenge I still have to overcome. The biggest thing I’ve learned so far is that every finished project under your belt helps. You need to find the balance between proper rest and pushing through harmful procrastination.
Who are some of your favourite queer characters from other media, and is there any representation you’d like to see more of?
I think Lucifer had some great queer rep with Lucifer, Eve, and Maze! Same goes for Critical Role Campaign 2 (like Beauregard and Yasha), although I fell off of the series for the most part during Campaign 3. Gender representation such as with Riva is also good in Dimension 20: A Starstruck Odyssey, which I have yet to finish. I would love to see more polyamorous rep in general!
We’d love a hint about any of your current projects! Are you working on anything that might please or even surprise your readers?
I do have a novel WIP in the very early writing stages, like not even with a bow on Chapter 1 yet. But that will involve space, polyamory, and eventually a murder mystery!
There is one other anthology in the editing stage. My story was drafted, and I have done edits on other writers’ stories there. That one is an urban monster world. Other than that, there are a couple other anthologies I want to write for and submit to.
I’m on summer break, so I hope to get back into writing overall. These are projects I would consider active or soon to be so. Project timelines aren’t always predictable.
Have any shows, movies, books, or games influenced your own work at all?
TTRPG content has influenced me the most, such as Critical Role and Dimension 20. It feeds into my love of fantasy and sci-fi while also showing great stories that evolve organically and spontaneously.
I think Suzanne Collins was a big childhood influence too. I remember enjoying The Hunger Games series and The Underland Chronicles when I was young.
Our podcast focuses on media we’re currently loving. Are there any books, shows, movies, games, or podcasts you’re enjoying this Pride month? Any recommendations for our audience?
I’m going to get back into Dimension 20: A Starstruck Odyssey. I’m also in the middle of There’s a Dagger in Your Back by Stacey Willis, who is one of my partners. Read that one if you’re looking for urban fantasy with sapphic smut this Pride!