Featured Talent: Aidan Spurgetis

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Featured Talent: Aidan Spurgetis

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For much of his younger school career, the idea of being a writer sounded outlandish to Aidan Spurgetis ‘21. Despite getting recognition from his teachers, he lacked interest in the hobby. He also knew that being a writer was not a stable profession. However, this all changed during his last year in junior high, when he wrote a poem for the school magazine and subsequently won the poetry contest. It was after this event that he truly started to enjoy writing and recognized it as a real hobby, and maybe even a potential career path later in life.

“Throughout later elementary school I would write something and my teacher would tell [me], ‘This is really good and you should be a writer,’ and I was like, ‘What? Why would I want to do that?’ But then once I reached junior high I wrote a poem for the magazine for South East and I won the poetry contest and I was like, ‘Wow, this is kinda cool.’ Then the next year, I wrote for One Book Two Book and got an honorable mention and I was like, ‘Okay, maybe I can actually write poetry.’ Finally, in ninth grade, I got “ninth grade best in Iowa’ and I thought to myself that I can actually write and that this might be worth doing.”

Once he had ignited his passion for writing, one of the first pieces that he began to work on was a grand fantasy novel. The plot follows a group of rookie soldiers as they make their way through a war-torn planet, attempting to survive the bloodshed. This novel has seen many different drafts as it is the story that Spurgetis continues to return to.

“I have spent so much time with it. I mean, with all of the drafts, I have probably put down over 200,000 words, even though the final was probably half of that because I am always chipping away at that one. I’m currently still working on it and hopefully it can take me somewhere, or maybe just get it published,” Spurgetis said. “The plot focuses on two nations at war. The story itself is written kind of like a high fantasy story with technological elements. I would also say that it is a military story because it follows a young squad throughout a warzone as they try to survive and grow their legend.” 

When Spurgetis sits down to write something, most of what he is doing is very much based on his current mood. He often has to wait for the actual inspiration to set in, and when he actually gets started, the mood he is in shapes a lot of the poetry that he is writing. This process, however, is very different when it comes to novel writing, Spurgetis has to dedicate a lot more time into the actual setup of the story. To write a novel, Spurgetis begins with world building, focusing on both large, overarching things, such as the general shape of the map, and more meticulous and specific facets of the world, such as politics or religion of certain states.

“With poetry, it’s mainly based on my feelings. I have to wait for an idea that I think works well with the poetry format before I can begin writing it. Usually with poetry I just sit down for an hour or two and just try and crank it out. With novel writing, that requires a lot more preparation because if you begin a story and you have no idea where it’s going or who the characters are it’s just terrible. I cannot do it. In the earlier draft I usually spend about 25 to 50 hours just on developing the world for sci-fi/fantasy. I really just enjoy world building and actually writing is much more challenging. Usually I just make myself write, for example, I challenged myself to write 10000 words for five days in a row-which I managed to complete. It also just kinda helps to have a community there to help me make my goals.”

Each artist has their own sets of inspiration that they pull from that helps shape the art that they are making. Spurgetis finds his inspiration in the works of Orson S. Card’s “Ender’s Game. To Spurgetis, this is his main source of inspiration as Card’s ability to create a galaxy with intense politics, science-fiction, and futuristic military simulation is what he wants in his own stories. Along with Card, Spurgetis finds the novel “Snowcrash” by Neal Stephonson to be a good work of science fiction as it builds an interesting cyberpunk world but has a lot of fun while doing it.

“I think the first two drafts of that novel I wrote kinda just subconsciously ripped off a lot of [“Ender’s Game’”s] politics and stuff,” he said. “As I have gotten older, I’ve gotten really into Niel Stephenson. There are two books that I am really into that he wrote ones called ‘Anathem’ and then the other is ‘Snowcrash.’ ‘Snowcrash’ is really just a fun book, whereas ‘Anathem’ is fun, but it is a really smart book, if not a little too smart. I honestly have a little trouble comparing ‘Ender’s Game’ with ‘Anathem,’ because I would say that they are on the same tier for me. For fantasy I am really into ‘Alvin Maker’ by Orson Scott Card. It’s a reinterpretation of colonizing America with folk magic actually existing. Some people have superpowers. Napoleon can do some stuff that kind of explains his story in our own time. It’s just really good.”

During his ninth-grade year, Spurgetis once again submitted his work to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards poetry contest and won numerous awards while there. After he had done this, Spurgetis decided to take a year break from writing poetry competitively and focused on his school work. However, during this time, he still followed his hobby of writing, slowly working on his novel among other things. This year, however, Spurgetis plans on submitting 25 poems to the Scholastic contest.

“I have gotten multiple scholastic awards for my poetry throughout ninth grade. I then just took a break from submitting anything in tenth grade. However, this year I am hoping to come back with twenty-five submissions to Scholastic.”

After recognizing both his passion and his skill in writing, Aidan has give writing a consideration as a career path. However, he can’t help but be reminded by the issues with the career, and what a more practical profession would lead to.

“I would really, really like to [write for a living], but as my parents constantly remind me, writing isn’t the most stable career field,” Spurgetis said. “The dream is for me to fully support myself by being a published and successful author, so I’ll start with that and see where that goes.”

 

Questions for Aidan:

  1. What it is it that you do) I do creative writing, mainly poetry and short stories usually focusing on the science-fiction/fantasy genre. I also do a novel writing in the same genre.
  2. What started your passion for writing? Well, throughout later elementary school I would write something and my teacher would tell ‘this is really good and you should be a writer’ and I was like ‘what, why would I want to do that?’ But then once I reached junior high I wrote a poem for the magazine for south east and I won the poetry contest and I was like ‘wow, this is kinda cool.’ Then the next year I wrote for a one-book two-book and got an honorable mention and I was like ‘Okay, maybe I can actually write poetry.’ Finally, in ninth grade I got “ninth grade best in iowa’ and I thought to myself that I can actually write and that this might be worth doing.
  3. Novel Genre talk: So I was really into Ender’s Game, and I thought that this was really cool and little seventh grade me was like ‘I’m going to write a novel’ and then I sat down and tried to write it. It was terrible. Then I started it again the next year, and then the next year, and then I finally finished a rough draft that I was into in tenth grade. It was hard because I didn’t really have computer access at that time, and I had to manage school, but it was still something that I was really into.
  4. (Favorite story) I would say that the story that I’ve been working on because I have spent so much time with it. I mean with all of the drafts I have probably put down over 200,000 words, even though the final was probably half of that because I am always chipping away at that one. I’m currently still working on it and hopefully it can take me somewhere, or maybe just get it published. The plot itself is maybe a little cliche, or atleast the world is. So the basic world run down is to the east there is a society that is only built on technology, and there is a society to the west that is built purely on magic. They’re at war, which is the basic world plot. The story itself is written kinda like a high fantasy story with technological elements. I would also say that it is a military story because it follows a young squad throughout a warzone as they try to survive and grow their legend.
  5. Have you written anything that has won awards throughout your highschool career?) Not any stories, however I have gotten multiple scholastic awards for my poetry throughout ninth grade. I then just took a break from submitting anything in tenth grade. However, this year I am hoping to come back with twenty-five submissions to scholastic.
  6. Do you future in writing?) I would really really like to, but as my parents constantly remind me, writing isn’t the most stable career field. I mean the dream is for me to fully support myself by being a published and successful author, so i’ll start with that and see where that goes.
  7. Writing process) So with poetry it’s mainly based on my feel. I kinda just have to wait for an idea that I think works well with the poetry format before I can begin writing it.Usually with poetry I just sit down for an hour or two and just try and crank it out. With novel writing that requires a lot more preparation because if you begin a story and you have no idea where it’s going or who the characters are it’s just terrible. I cannot do it. In the earlier draft I usually spend about twenty-five to fifty hours just on developing the world for sci-fi/fantasy. Even if it is just realistic fiction I still tend to spend a lot of time on making the world and then once the world built-usually I am talking to a bunch of people about those ideas just to see what’s plausible, what makes sense, what’s aesthetic. Then, usually at this point I tend to have an area in the world that I want to write in, maybe it’s the politics, maybe it’s the combat. Then I’ll usually create the characters, i’ll give the backstories, I’ll give the extrinsic and intrinsic, I really just flesh them out as people in my mind. Then the next thing i do is set out the theme-which has been skeletoned out this entire time. Then I will write I think about what I actually want the story to say. This goes in with the plot and what they are doing and the obstacles that the heroes have to face. I tend to follow the Hero’s Journey because I want to create a satisfying, if somewhat conventional story. Finally, I do the least enjoyable thing and actually have write it. I really really just enjoy world building and actually writing is much more challenging. Usually I just make myself write, for example, I challenged myself to write 10000 words for five days in a row-which I managed to complete. It also just kinda helps to have a community there to help me make my goals.
  8. Biggest inspiration- I would definitely say that Ender’s Game. I think the first two drafts of that novel I wrote kinda just subconsciously ripped off a lot of its politics and stuff. That’s honestly the main one that comes to mind.
  9. Favorite book) As I have gotten older I have gotten really into Niel Stephenson. There are two books that I am really into that he wrote ones called Anathem and then the other is Snowcrash. Snowcrash is really just a fun book whereas Anathem is fun, but it is a really smart book, if not a little too smart. I honestly have a little trouble comparing Ender’s Game with Anathem because I would say that they are on the same tier for me. For fantasy I am really into Alvin Maker by Orson Scott Card. It’s a reinterpretation of colonizing America with folk magic actually existing. Some people have super powers like Napoleon can do some stuff that kinda explains his story in our own time. It’s just really good.
  10. What sort of Poetry do you do? I don’t really think that I can constrain my poetry into one category. I kinda just write about what I want when I want. Currently I am working on a collection of poems that are all themed around the evolution of war. It is kinda supposed to give you the picture of the Crusades or WW2. It’s not really emotion though because of the structure of it. There are other poems that are more based off of my own personal life that tend to be more emotional though, so I would definitely say that it is based on my mood and what I want to write at the time
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