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 Alexandra Seidel

Alexandra Seidel spent many a night stargazing when she was a child. These days, she writes stories and poems and drinks a lot of coffee (too much, some say). As Alexa Piper, she writes erotic romance that also leans toward the fantastical. You can follow her on Twitter @Alexa_Seidel or like her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AlexaSeidelWrites/), and find out what she’s up to at alexandraseidel.com.

Alexandra Seidel’s story “A Picture of Home, in Silence
in Metaphorosis Friday, 24 July 2020.
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Another question for R.W.W. Greene

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

A: A small, hard ego. Nothing big and puffed up. Nothing easily punctured. But a tiny kernel of confidence that can weather rejections and distractions and failure and keep them in the chair day after day pounding on the page.

R.W.W. Greene’s story “They Build ‘Em Tough on Magna Mater
in Metaphorosis Friday, 10 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.
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A question for Ashley R. Carlson

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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