Q: Do you prefer your SFF as books or movies?
A: While I love movies, I’m both a writer and an editor, so I pretty much have to say that I prefer books. And I really do! For a bunch of reasons. For one thing, they’re much more cost-effective! Just compare how much time you spend enjoying a book versus a movie, and these days you can usually get a book for less than a movie ticket. Plus, I love how books let you get deeper into the characters, into the backstory, just deeper into the whole world. There are lots of great SFF movies out there, but it’s the rare one that can compare to the book.
Timothy Mudie’s story “Sundown on the Hill” will be published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 31 March 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.
Q: From where you do you draw inspiration for your characters?
A: It really depends on the character and the story, but I believe I can narrow it down to three sources. Some characters are based on, or are composites of, people I know. With others the characterization comes from mе, although in such cases I try to be very careful not to reduce them to mouthpieces for my own opinions or ideas: perhaps infuse the character with a trait of my own personality, make them react like I would in a similar situation, but then I’d veer right off, forcing our personalities to diverge. (Side-note: I especially enjoy writing in the first person about characters decidedly unlike myself.) The third situation is when another work of fiction affects me to the point where I think up characters in response, as if saying, “The kind of characters I like to read about would never do that.”
All that said, most of the time I feel like characterization just happens spontaneously, right then and there, when I’m writing the scene, or perhaps during the long walks beforehand. I may start off with an idea of what a character is broadly about, but the Aha! moments — when you truly understand why your character acted the way they did — come much later.
Damien Krsteski’s story “Lake Oreyd” will be published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 24 March 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.
Q: Do you often include children in your stories? What role do they play?
A: Yes, I do, very often, include children in my writing. I have two small daughters and when they came into the world, everything changed entirely. That change was a vast surprise to me, and probably the biggest event of my life.
I think children evoke a completely non-rational principle that most everyone agrees on: we protect children. By “non-rational” I mean that there might sometimes be logical arguments for allowing children to be harmed … but in those cases, logic can go jump in front of a train: we protect children. Should we risk the lives of ten adults to save one drowning child? Yes. And count me in.
So children can represent a universal truth, a shared humanity, an absolute. These days, with post-modern post-everything uncertain, I find that certainty very comforting. Of course, children, about whom we care so much, are also dreadfully vulnerable, and I find that unsettling.
Children evoke strong feelings. That’s a useful role in writing.
Angus Cervantes’s story “Bad News from the Future” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 17 March 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.
Q: How has your writing evolved over time?
A: I didn’t start out as a fiction writer; I was an academic writer first, but realized while I was writing my dissertation that I hated it. When I started writing fiction–bad fiction, like most baby writers!–it was still immensely easier and more pleasurable than writing literary criticism. Over time I’ve gained confidence, both in my ability as a fiction writer and in the process itself. When I don’t have an answer to a problem a story poses, instead of panicking, I trust that it will reveal itself … and that writing more, rather than getting stymied, will probably show me what I need to know. Drafting fast and ugly, tidying it up in round two, and then getting lots and lots of feedback has been the key (for me) to telling the story I mean to tell.
Kate Lechler’s story “The Lost Heirs of Rose McAlder” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 10 March 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.
Q: Aliens. Are they out there?
A: In short, yes. Scientifically speaking, we have proof that water and organic compounds exist in space. We have a growing body of evidence that planets are plentiful and that they do exist in the habitable zone of solar systems. Which means life is almost a certainty. If life exists, there’s no reason to think technologically advanced life wouldn’t also exist. I think the one dimension not spoken of in the Fermi Paradox is time. Life has existed on earth for four billion years and in all that time a technologically advanced species has only risen on the Earth once and only in the last 100 years. If we add a time dimension to the Fermi Paradox, I think it answers the question quite nicely of where is everyone. They either have already existed or have not yet evolved. If you add to the Fermi paradox the odds to have developed technology and managed to do so in the same 100-200 years that Humanity has, the millions of alien species that should exist are so spread out over time that their odds of crossing another species are likely pretty remote. We also have no idea of the longevity of a technologically advanced species.
George Allen Miller’s story “Just Five Minutes” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 3 March 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.
Q: If someone wanted to make an animated series out of your work, based on the title or recurring themes, what would it look like?
A: Regardless of plot – which could be any number of things related to my interests, so long as there were birds somewhere! – the animation would be 2-D, with vivid, definite color palettes.
Kathryn Weaver‘s image “Snails” is the cover art for our March 2017 stories.