A question for Suzanne J. Willis

Q: If your writing style were a bird, what type of bird would it be and why?

A: A bird uncaged, flying about a wonderfully strange garden. A bird who collects the beautiful shiny things that catch its eye, then weaves them into a story-nest, built of twigs and branches and Spanish moss. The garden is the framework, the rules of writing, but they’re there to support the story, not to constrain it. Within the rules is an abundance of space to play and to map one’s own path. The story-nest is pruned and plucked and woven over and over, with the bird discarding some of the bright, shiny objects so that the nest becomes something lovely in its own right, more than the sum of its parts. And sometimes, a bird that flies clear of the garden’s boundaries to test what lies beyond, for that is where the best monsters live.

Suzanne Willis’s story “A Nightingale’s Map of the City” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 10 February 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

A question for Eric Del Carlo

Q: What’s your favorite story?

A: It may be that, as I read recently, there really is only one story: Things are not as they seem. As for favorite ready-made plots, I honestly do not have one I favor over any other in the sense of plot mechanics or story movement. I am much more drawn to themes, which grow out of characterization. One of my personal maxims is that what happens in a story can never be more engaging than the people it happens to. Without characters who elicit emotion, a story is artless. It becomes a scholastic exercise. A writer will know this when her or his work is greeted with this soul-shriveling comment: ‘Your story was really clever.’ That indicates a tale that is a literary mousetrap, a ba-da-bum of words leading (rather than inviting) the reader toward a prefab conclusion. The reader has to care. I vastly prefer sympathetic characters to tell my stories, though some successful writers manage with sets of players who elicit no empathy whatsoever. (I don’t care for this sort of work.)

As far as themes, my favorite is probably personal redemption. A Christmas Carol wasn’t about three ghosts hounding an old man; it was about a miser’s spiritual reclamation. I also like, in this mode of personal redemption, to tell the big story through a small lens. I often put relatively insignificant characters (as far as their place in my imagined society or future) in the foreground and have them fight their little battles, while commenting on something much bigger–i.e., a character resists some oppressive aspect of a futuristic society, making the struggle immediate and desperate, rather than broad and epic. In my stories an evil empire might crumble, but you’ll find out about it through a guy trying to put together the money to cover next month’s rent.

Eric Del Carlo’s story “Halfsies” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 3 February 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

A question for Kaos Nest

Q: What do you think is the single most important quality for a good artist to possess?

A: The ability to change. In term of techniques, style, but also mental view. To not be afraid to try new things and start again, over and over, to practice and improve.

Kaos Nest‘s image “Giant” is the cover art for our February 2017 stories.

Metaphorosis February 2017
February 2017

A question for Sean R. Robinson

Q: Do you write with a particular audience in mind?

A: I don’t, really. I think I ascribe to Stephen King’s idea that the “perfect reader” exists in the head of every writer. I hope folks are willing to believe in the story that they’re reading. I hope that it can provide them entertainment, or escape, or whatever else brought them to the story. My hope is that, by coming to my work, someone finds something for them unexpected that resonates inside of them.

Sean R. Robinson’s story “The Snow Queen’s Daughter” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 27 January 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

A question for Rachel Kolar

Q: What are you reading now?

A: I’m currently reading The Martian by Andy Weir. I’d been reading a lot of depressing cyberpunk like Neuromancer and Feed, so The Martian is a breath of fresh air. I love the humor and the way it makes the science relatively comprehensible for an English major, and as an epistolary junkie I’m a fan of the log format. As a fun side effect, it also makes me feel like MacGyver every time I jury-rig something during a simple household chore. I put up the Halloween tombstones in a creative way? Oh, yeah, I’m totally ready for Mars.

I’m also listening to the audiobook of Revival by Stephen King. Based on the title, I was wary of reading it at first—I like King a lot, but his Christian characters tend to be a thousand and one variations on Carrie’s mom. When I learned more about the premise, I gave it a try and am thankful that I did. Here’s hoping that the second half is as good as the first.

Rachel Kolar’s story “Be Prepared to Shoot the Nanny” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 20 January 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

A question for N. R. Lambert

Q: What’s a genre you’d like to write, but don’t or can’t?

A: I love reading biographies, but (to date) it is one of the few genres that doesn’t appeal to me as a writer. As someone who often falls down deep wikiholes chasing answers to even the most innocuous questions, I think I’d become utterly lost in the sheer volume of research required to write a biography (and do it well). As with Scotch, Key lime pie, and graphic design, this is a case where I’d much rather sit back and enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor.

N. R. Lambert’s story “Business as Usual” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 13 January 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.