I interviewed a budding writer, Marcus Vance, about his keen interest in micro-fiction and other short prose recently. Unlike my own fiction, in which I prefer to give my story a long timeline to play out on, micro-fiction is a very contained and controlled expression of the writer’s distilled thoughts. Read what Marcus had to say. His answers are revealing and beguiling; they make me want to try a little exercise in short prose, just to see if I have what it takes!
Cheryl (C): Tell us a bit about Marcus the Writer. Where and when did you get your start? Why do you write?
Marcus (M): I wrote my very first short story in 2015, when I was in the Air Force. I started it because I had always felt a pull to writing, but wasn’t sure how to begin until I read a book that I thought was terrible. At that point, I figured: “If this can get published, then so can I!”
I’ve since learned that it’s not so easy. I even quit after my first two rejections. I only started up again with the support of my wife, who gave me back my confidence. Now I write for a different reason: stories have always inspired me, and I want to create something that inspires other people.
(C): Explain a little about what micro-fiction is, and why do you enjoy writing in this style?
(M): Micro-fiction is difficult to explain because it can be so many different things. It can be an entire narrative, and tell you everything that you need to know. It can be a moment-in-time snapshot. It can be anything in between.
I enjoy the format because it sets a limit. You have so few precious words to craft your tale, to bring across the emotional content, or to set up the punchline.
You need to work within a box, but you can do amazing things there. That makes it feel great when you can pull it off well.
(C): What has the audience reception to your work been? Is there a particular subject or theme that they seem to prefer?
As a writer, one of the greatest honors is having someone seek you out after reading a piece you wrote. I’ve been incredibly humbled by the times that has happened so far, and by people telling me: “Hey, I read your work and it made me feel something.”
My haiku and other poetry has been doing incredibly well, which is interesting because I write fiction the most–I even write stories daily on Twitter. But magazine editors and followers alike enjoy both my poetry and prose.
In terms of my micro-fiction: people really enjoy my urban fantasy shorts. I’ve recently finished a longer piece in that genre, which I’ve been told is my best work yet. I’m looking forward to sharing that with everyone once it finds a home!
(C): Where can people read your writing? Are you in any journals or magazines you’d like to mention?
(M): You can find a sci-fi piece of mine, “Everynaut,” in Bull & Cross #13; a speculative poem “Conquistadors” in Gathering Storm #9; and a horror piece, “Fey Nursery,” in an upcoming “Sounds of the Night” anthology.
Look for me in the October issue of Star*Line. Also, Scifaikuest will be publishing a half dozen of my pieces in 2019.
(C): What are your long-term goals as a writer?
I want to write a novel. I’ve plotted out and storyboarded one that mixes magic, war, and diverse character motivations. Another idea mixes superheroes and the occult. I would love to complete either of those.
Aside from that, I have the same goal as many writers: to make at least a partial living from my writing.
Until those two happen, I’ll hopefully keep my audience riveted with speculative prose and poetry.
Thank you to Marcus for allowing us a glimpse inside his process. Not all fiction is the same and there are so many dimensions, facets and incredible insights to be discovered through exploring the different modes of writing. You can find Marcus on Twitter to follow more of his poetry and micro-fiction tweets.