Q: If you could talk to your novice-writer self, what bit of advice would you give?

A: I would have a hard time whittling down my response to this (there were so many things I was naive about, and still am), but ultimately I would say these things:

1. Don’t expect any sort of success or recognition from the first or tenth or twentieth thing you write or publish. This is a marathon, and a really, really slow one. Write because you love it and have a hunger to do it, and for no other reason than this.

2. Don’t write typical stuff with typical characters—tropes; gender-conforming; predominantly white; a host of other problems that don’t promote diversity. You’re going to fall into this trap, and you’re going to learn and grow and move away from it, but just be informed and a better promoter of diversity in fiction from the very beginning.


Ashley R. Carlson’s story “The Friendly Ghost
in Metaphorosis Friday, 3 July 2020.
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