Q: What work of art has been the most inspiring for you?
A: The work of art that has most inspired me over the years is Alfred Kubin’s “The Symphony.”
Jonathan Laidlow’s story “The Astronaut Tier” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 26 October 2018. “The Astronaut Tier” began life as a story called “Flailing”, written for a challenge on the sffworld forums in 2015 with the theme of “surprises in desolate places”. I remember I immediately had the image of a blighted Britain, but it took a little longer to find the main theme of the story, which was the Mars One project – …
David Cleden is a British author. He hasn’t led a colourful life, doesn’t live in an exotic location and possesses little in the way of interesting hobbies, so he tries to make up for all this by writing speculative fiction.
Long before dawn I give up trying to sleep and walk around the apartment packing some essentials into a travel bag. If things go badly today, I’m prepared. As I’m putting my government passport into my purse, a wave of nausea sloshes through my guts. I make it to the toilet this time. When the heaves subside, my phone buzzes with the first of the day’s texts from the boss. From Insindiso, Queen of Toronto, …
Gregory Kane’s story “Twins” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 19 October 2018. The inspiration for “Twins” came from a discussion with my Biology students about Dolly the sheep. She made headlines in the late 1990s when scientists cloned her using a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer. Basically, DNA was taken from a body cell in a living sheep, placed in an empty egg cell and carried to term by a surrogate. Many students …
Q: Do you use critique groups or other resources to polish your writing?
A: I’ve experienced a lot of different critique arrangements over time. When I was an undergrad, I started getting a group of people whose work I admired together outside of class to read, write and encourage each other with feedback for each others’ work. I have an MFA in Fiction from George Mason University, so I’ve also experienced a few dynamics when it comes to critiquing and being critiqued by mentors, professors, classmates and peers. I’m thankful for all of those experiences, because they really taught me how to take constructive criticism, disconnect the personal from the work, and offer clear, concise feedback in return. I’m not entirely comfortable with having twenty or thirty people involved in the early stages of a draft, though. It can be too much to synthesize when you have that many opinions to go through.
Now, I have a group of 3-4 people I tend to run work by for feedback once I get a first draft finished. These are people I’ve met at some point during my writing journey, either when I was getting my degree or from interactions in writing communities and retreats, and who write a diverse set of things. I’ve actually found it’s really helpful to have someone who doesn’t normally read or write speculative fiction take a look at a draft — they’ll see things that reviewers who are familiar with SF/F won’t, and often what they respond to is surprising. So I tend to send things to a few people I trust, and then see where the areas of overlap are when I move to editing.
I also love reading and responding to work, too. Reciprocating feedback is exciting. It helps me feel intimately connected to my personal writing community and recharges me on days when I’m having a hard time interacting with my own stories.