Shards – Jordan Chase-Young

Shona’s seaweed harness creaked loudly as a cold, whistling gale tried to fling her off the Spire. She held onto the masonry until the air stilled, until her guts ceased to cartwheel. In the six years since Shona had escaped the deluge, she’d rarely felt vertigo. Even when her fellow earthmasons raised the Spire as high as it hung now—a mile or so above the ocean that now wrapped the world—the sun-pummeled water below seemed …

A question for Jordan Chase-Young

Q: When do you decide a story is finished?

A: The splendid curse—the maddening blessing—of fiction is that a story is never finished. As David Deutsch taught us, any artwork is infinitely perfectible; you could spend millions of years improving a story one word, sentence, or scene at a time, but the combinatorially unbounded nature of thought means you’d still be infinitely far from perfection!

So if you can’t finish a story, really finish it, the question is when to abandon it. I have a poetic answer and a practical one. The poetic answer: I decide a story is finished when it makes me feel unadulterated pride to read it from beginning to end. The prose is clear and smooth, the action is balanced and organic, the characters have full voices and satisfying arcs, and the ending leaves one with a frisson of wonder and the feeling of time well spent. The practical answer: I decide a story is finished when I can no longer see how to improve it. Oh, I know there are improvements to be made, glorious ones just around the edge of thought, but I don’t yet have the knowledge to find them. So I finish the story and start working on another, in the hopes of getting better.


Jordan Chase-Young’s story “Shards
in Metaphorosis Friday, 17 July 2020.
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About Jordan Chase-Young

Jordan Allan Chase-Young was machine-pressed into a science-fiction and fantasy writer by the cold grey skies of Oregon, where he spent most of his life. Now he is gingerly avoiding buff kangaroos and kamikaze magpies in the strange desolation of Australia, with his wife and one cactus, while reading and writing speculative fiction more ardently than ever—that is, when not nose-deep in texts about history, economics, future studies, or global catastrophic risk in search of why civilizations thrive or flounder. He is mostly optimistic about humanity’s potential to turn the dead, quiet universe outside our pale blue dot into a living, thinking one. He enjoys hiking, video games, Twitter, astrobiology, and illustration, and wishes he had more time to draw like he used to.

ebookofthenewsun.wordpress.com, @jachaseyoung


Jordan Chase-Young’s story “Shards
in Metaphorosis Friday, 17 July 2020.
Subscribe now for e-mail updates!